In the heat of the summer where we live in the California desert to a tent camping roadtrip throughout the cowboy west, this was the first day of that trip.

First day of what we knew would be a long and potentially over-ambitious road trip.  Heat of the summer where we lived but probably not so hot where we were going.  Lots to pack for several weeks of camping, lots to prep and think through.  Love doing this stuff!

We finally pull out of the driveway heading northeast early in the morning.  I knew I would be driving all day, but had not driven the I-15 freeway beyond Las Vegas….in awhile.  So off we went through the California desert, finally reaching the 15 freeway and heading toward Vegas.  The kids didn’t remember Vegas, but even driving the I-15 past the “Strip” proved impressive.  We made good progress.  The I-15 freeway through California, Nevada, Arizona and finally Utah is a well traveled, multi-lane freeway where you can make good time and progress.  But much of the drive looks like below:

Yes, this is how much of the drive that first day looked…..flat.  This is ok because you can maintain good speed.

But our turn off the I-15 came just after St. George, Utah and the single lane roads made sure we still had several hours worth of driving to get through to Zion National Park.  We soon exited the freeway onto SR-9 and got through the smaller towns of Hurricane, La Verkin, Virgin and several others.  The drive into Zion was nothing short of spectacular.

We were stoked to have finally made it to ZION!

I’m very thankful we had a campsite booked (even just for our one night) because the towns outside the park were overflowing.  Arriving reminded us that this one of America’s busiest national parks, the Visitors Center was a bit of a zoo but neat to see pics of the rest of the park we wouldn’t see on this visit.  Making our way to our campsite, we were thankful to be camping and out in nature again…but every campsite in the entire park was full so there were people everywhere.

Loaded for weeks of tent camping. We did pretty good with what we brought…as we encountered days of rain, hot weather and drove through high passes in Colorado with snow on the ground….in June.
We quickly set up camp at Watchman Campground in Zion after checking out the visitors center. Then we did some exploring before getting dinner started.
Zion, along the river.  Our campsite was just about 50 yards to the left of this picture 
Grabbing some breakfast and coffee the next morning, this picture is taken looking back into Zion.

Although we were only able to stay one night in Zion as we could not get a longer camping reservation, we all thought it was rad and voted we would love to come back here when there was time.  That next day after Zion, we would go into our longest drive of the trip, traveling from Zion National Park to Dinosaur National Monument, right up in the northeastern corner of Utah all the way against Colorado.  But that’s another story…..

Zion National Park:  Getting there from anywhere:  If you are driving from the west coast, the I-15 freeway makes sense to use as it’s the only major freeway that comes close to the park.  If you are driving from the east coast, I would recommend coming through I-40 to Vegas then up the I-15  freeway.  Otherwise, there are multiple smaller roads that you can find on your own.  Other than the campground we stayed in, most larger vehicles have a challenge getting though the tunnels and roads in Zion as they were not built for larger vehicles.  But there were larger rigs at the Visitors Center and Watchman Campground where we stayed.  I would definitely strongly recommend a reservation before showing up, as we didn’t see any first come/first serve campgrounds.

You…our loyal readers and friends have not heard much from us in the last several weeks as we’ve been working on the Adventure Base non-stop…and going back to work (gasp) and school.  This is the way of things but we’re doing all of this to add to our goal of continued slow travel, when things are right and we can get to where we want to go.

Great first day of driving from Southern California to Zion National Park in Utah.  Next story….our longest drive & Dinosaur National Monument.

This small travel blog has evolved from writing about sailboats, cruising, cruising with kids to traveling slow…with kids.  We traveled slow on our sailboat, we traveled slow in our skoolie (school bus) and now we travel slowly as we continue to camp, roadtrip, hike, run and love our time outdoors.  We are entirely self-published, we take our own photos and write what we want.  We LOVE our followers and readers and encourage you to ask questions or leave us comments…and FOLLOW US.  

Wanna buy us a cold one? Check out our Patreon Site when you have time.

One Response

Wanna reach out to us with comments or discussion...use the comments button:

Keep Reading!