Springdale, Utah ~ Gateway To Zion!
Where there is a popular majestic outdoor destination, there will always be one or more towns that are promoted as being a gateway to adventure. For example, at the Grand Canyon National Park the gateway community is Tusayan, while Bryce Canyon City serves the National Park that goes by the same name. At Zion National Park, there is a whole row of gateway communities lined up along the southern tourism corridor to this destination. Starting from the southern Utah state line, St George, Hurricane, Virgin and Springdale all are gateway communities that cater to the Zion tourism trade. This may initially seem like some kind of a gateway to adventure overkill, but Zion is one of the most popular scenic destinations in the west. The number of visitors that drive down the Zion travel corridor each year is in the millions, which means that it does take a lot of resources to satisfy the needs of visitors in this park.
Overcrowding at Zion National Park has been a real problem during the last decade and this has caused many tourists to look outside the park for campsites and accommodations. In fact, the first time that I drove through Zion back in 2011 during a Labor Day Weekend, finding a parking spot at a scenic overlook while casually passing through was nearly impossible and every campsite in the park was booked solid. Thousands of tourists were driving aimlessly with nowhere to stop the car, so after taking a few pictures, I simply got out of there and headed toward my final destination in Las Vegas.
On an average day at Zion, the crowds are not as overwhelming as they can be during a holiday weekend, but finding parking spots at the popular scenic areas still can be a problem. Finding a campsite in the park on short notice will still be next to impossible, unless a reservation was made well in advance. For a Zion visitor, finding accommodations or a campsite outside the park will be much easier, but the convenience can be costly, unless one shops around. Bargains can be found in any gateway community near a National Park and sometimes the best bargain actually is convenience itself. By choosing the gateway community that is closest to the park, a visitor can take full advantage of the National Park shuttle bus park and ride system. When doing the park and ride shuttle tour in Zion, there will be no such thing as an endless search for a parking spot at the popular attractions, which is a nice thought in itself!
Springdale, Utah is the closest gateway community to Zion National Park, so this small town is the top choice when seeking convenience. Springdale is where the Zion Park & Ride depot can be found, which is the best convenience option going on in this gateway town. On the downside, the closer a visitor is to a National Park, the higher the prices will be, so the convenience does come at a cost. On the other hand, the top dining destinations in the region can be found in Springdale and the outdoor outfitters are well stocked for big crowds. The local Springdale campgrounds and lodges are very competitive, so modern conveniences like wifi that actually works and clean RV pump stations are the standard.
Everything that a visitor would expect to find in a gateway community can be found in Springdale. Mountain bike shops and organized cycling excursions can be found in this town. Outdoor outfitters, tackle shops, white water rafting tours and ATV rentals can be found along the State Road 9 corridor going toward the park. There are native trading posts, rock & gem shops and western art galleries along this road too. Old fashioned western lodges, modern hotel chains, ritzy glamping resorts and high tech campgrounds round out the accommodations in this town. Best of all, Springfield offers much needed convenience for visitors that seek easy going comfort. Zion is only a short bicycle ride away from this town and the Zion Park & Ride system starts here too. If you simply want to avoid traffic congestion while visiting Zion National Park, setting up the base camp in the gateway community of Springfield is the best option!