Zion Ponderosa Ranch

We stayed at Zion Ponderosa Ranch, highly recommended if you go this way.  This place was a big unexpected surprise.   When I was making reservations before we left a week and a half prior everything was sold out in the Federal campgrounds in the park, there was one or two patches of dirt left and they wanted upwards of $40 for them, Ouch!  With a bit of searching I found Zion Ponderosa on the North Eastern corner of the park just outside the lesser used entrance and the prices for a spot here were cheap.

We were really blown away by the place. Compared to what we were used to at all our other campgrounds we were only expecting a small dirt plot to throw the tent and a bathroom somewhere close by and maybe if we were lucky a shower. The next day we saw the sold out campgrounds by the visitors center and thats exactly what they were for twice as much.  We were a bit shocked to find Zion Ponderosa was more like a resort than a campground, they have lots of cabins from basic to deluxe and have all sorts of activities available from adventure Unimog, Jeep or 4 wheeler tours to horseback riding to rock climbing and miniature golf, etc. etc.   The nice girls at the front desk seemed sad that we weren’t going to participate in any of their activities and were leaving first thing in the morning.

We’d only found out the day before that the road through the east entrance to Zion National Park was closed during the day. WTF?  Only through sheer luck did our campground happen to be on the same side of the road closure that we were coming from, otherwise I’m not sure what we would have done.  I wonder if the construction had anything to do with the prices being so much cheaper than everywhere else.

Our spot was right next to the 2 story pool house, pretty sweet.  It took a while to find, we were looking for our number and the road dead-ends with a golf cart path and a sign warning no cars beyond this point, we had to ask one of the workers in a golf cart for directions and even they were scratching their heads looking for the number.  Turns out our space was down the golf cart path LOL.   I don’t remember if we put down motorcycle on the reservation form, maybe that’s why they put us there.  Either way we were closest to the amazing pool!

The pool house is GREAT!  There are rows of showers for men and women and these are real actual residential showers like what you’d have at home not a cramped drafty and freezing cold broom closet with a shower head stuck on the wall, they were nicer even than motel showers.  There’s also a couple of handicapped showers with actual bath tubs!  We’ve stayed at government and private campgrounds all over the country now and I’ve never ever seen bath tubs at one before. Wow.

The hot tub and pool were excellent! I’ve only seen pools this nice at high class hotels and casinos way above my budget and it was included with our cheap camping spot.   We talked to a nice couple in the hot tub who’s son was fascinated by Cece’s work with rattlesnakes, after a few dozen questions one of the parents had to take him to the other pool to distract him to leave the poor snake lady alone LOL.  They said they had booked most of a week and had been there three nights already, the first day they explored Zion and the last two they had not left the resort.  They’d been relaxing and doing activities here rather than braving the construction and crowds at the park.

The next morning we had to wake up at the crack of dawn and pack up and try not wake up too many campers with the bike to beat the road closure deadline.  I don’t know who was in charge of the construction through the east entrance of Zion but they were a complete moron.  You don’t completely shut down roads where there’s no bypass during peak traffic hours!   Put out some flaggers or better yet work at night!   I loved working at night on federal highway projects when I worked paving out of Aspen Colorado, we’d get paid double time and a half on those jobs and make bank.  Whomever was in charge of that project, next time the public and business owners in the area would prefer the road shut down at night and your workers would definitely prefer getting paid twice as much to do the work at night.

I love Unimogs!  Hopefully some day we can come back to Zion and try one of the adventure packages.  We will be back!

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