On Saturday, the Park officially announced Lava Point campground is open for the season, meaning the road is reasonable for 2WD vehicles, downed trees have been cleared, and the pit toilets are ready for business. As Zion’s ONLY maintained free camping area, Lava Point campground is an awesome but little-known gem, the perfect place for escaping the Springdale summer heat. Not only does Lava Point offer free camping and great views, but it is only 1/2 mile away from the West Rim Trail trailhead, the starting point for many 5-star adventures, including Imlay Canyon, Heaps Canyon, and Right Fork of North Creek, and, of course, the West Rim trail itself. Lava Point is also just a few miles south of Kolob Reservoir, another sweet place to escape the heat and go swimming, boating, and/or fishing (license required).
The advantage AND disadvantage to LPC is its mere six sites are first-come, first-served. Get there early in the day, and you’ll likely score a site. Arrive late, however, and your chances are… unknown. While the campground fills on most high-season weekends, your chances during the week are pretty good, even late in the day.
Lava Point sits at 8,000 feet, so be prepared with layers for the chilly morning and evenings if you go. Also, know there are no rangers or campground staff stationed at Lava Point, so you are on your own up there. Lava Point is about 45 minutes from the Virgin, the nearest place you can procure any sort of food (cafe/restaurant only) or supplies (slim pickings). You can find a grocery stores in LaVerkin (10 min. west) or Springdale (15 minutes east).