Would I be crazy to camp at Zion in February?

May 5, 2004
Outside Magazine
Week of December 18-24, 1997
Choosing an adventure trip to Latin America
Would I be crazy to camp at Zion in February?
Ever heard of this remote Caribbean island?
Planning a Rocky Mountain National Park trip
Who will house my dogs during a snowshoe trip?

Would I be crazy to camp at Zion in February?
Question: Hi travel guru. My wife and I plan on taking advantage of a spring break in mid-February and a cheap flight to Las Vegas. We were hoping to spend a week backpacking in Zion/Capitol Reef National Parks, but have only been there in the summer. Are we crazy? Would we need to hit somewhere farther south to avoid a lot of snow and ice? (We can get that without having to fly anywhere.)

Tim McLaren
Toronto, Ontario

Year-round camping is possible at Zion, but be prepared for chilly nights

Adventure Adviser: Crazy is a relative term, however, I might be inclined to consider you a little off your rocker to go camping in Zion in the middle of winter. I say that only because I traveled through there mid-March a few years ago and there was snow everywhere. My experience, however, could have been a weather fluke because the park ranger I just spoke with told me that people camp year-round at the South Campground ($10 per night). To give you an idea of what to expect, mid-February daytime temperatures hover in the mid-40s to upper 60s with the average nighttime temperature in the mid-20s. Keep in mind also that the park elevation ranges from 3,800 to 9,000 feet, and with the infamous year of El Niño, you may find yourself in deep snow. That said, these conditions may seem balmy to you after a Toronto winter, but if I were you, I'd consider finding a cheap plane ticket somewhere farther south to, say, Cancun. For more information on the park, call 435-772-3256.
Search the archives | Ask the Adventure Adviser

©2000, Mariah Media Inc.

More at Outside

Elsewhere on the Web