Zion was our last stop in Utah and the last of the Mighty 5 parks, it also had the longest wait at the gate of all the parks we’ve visited over the last year. One mile, 1 hour and 25 minutes. I overheard someone in the park say the backup when they arrived was 7 miles and the park service was redirecting folks to the southern entrance, so I suppose it could have been worse. Still, it was worth the wait!
When you enter Zion from the east there are two tunnels, the first is short and not a big deal, you just drive through. But the second tunnel is a mile long and has height and width restrictions. If you exceed the width dimensions then you pay $15 round trip and the rangers close oncoming traffic for you. They’ve got their system down, we barely had to wait either time and it was kinda fun, but because the rangers have to be there the hours are a bit limited. Be sure to read about this if you plan to use the east entrance and are driving something bigger than a car.
Zion was also the only Mighty 5 park we camped in, and I’m so glad we did! We stayed at the Watchman Campground, which was great, very convenient and beautiful views! I spent an entire day in our hammock at the campground watching little critters run about, and our first night there we had a deer in our campsite.
We enjoyed Zion and look forward to coming back here someday!