Under Canvas Zion is a 196-acre camp in jaw-dropping red-rock desert next to Zion National Park in Utah.
The closest airport is St George (SGU), where domestic flights land from cities including Los Angeles, Salt Lake City, Denver and Phoenix. For international flights, use Las Vegas McCarran Airport, which is served by major airlines including JetBlue, Emirates and British Airways. From there, it’s a two-hour drive to Zion. The hotel recommend that guests hire a car at St George or Las Vegas, as it’ll be cheaper and easier to get in and out of town, particularly if you’re staying more than two nights. If you don’t want to do the driving yourself, an Uber from St George airport is usually around $80. Call the Smith24 team for help with all your travel needs.
No railroads here – it’s the wild, wild Southwest.
You can take guided tours from the camp, but if you plan to explore at your own pace, a car is essential. Hire from the airport – preferably an SUV for tackling the occasionally hairy roads – and park outside your own tent at Under Canvas.
Worth getting out of bed for
As snug as it is in under the layers of linens in your tent, don’t go into hibernation just yet. Join a yoga or pilates class (free, several times a week), or round up numbers for a game of beach volleyball. Local musicians drop by for intimate gigs in the social tent, and every night guests gather around the fire-pit for chit-chat and marshmallows.
Choose a trail, any trail: there are 18 major routes in Zion National Park, plus countless offshoots. The Canyon Overlook trail is a gentle one-hour introduction with a handsome payoff at the top; tight switchbacks and steep drops make the Angel’s Landing trail breathtaking in every sense. If you really mean business – and don’t mind getting wet – take on Zion’s most famous trail, the Narrows. The nine-mile route follows the river through an astonishingly slim section of the canyon (in places it’s just six metres wide, but 600 metres high).
Aside from hiking to your heart’s content, there are extreme options aplenty: rock climb or abseil on the sheer sandstone cliff faces, mountain bike along the canyon rim, or take a hot-air balloon (or helicopter) flight high above the desert. For a mash-up of adrenaline-pumping sports, try canyoneering, which combines swimming, climbing, abseiling and occasionally desperate scrambling along the rocks. If you’d rather skip the legwork, join a jeep safari tour or hire an all-terrain buggy to explore the desert; motor-free alternatives include horse riding and river kayaking.
Armchair hikers can get a basic orientation and audio tour of the park by taking the shuttle from the visitor centre along the 57-mile Zion Canyon Scenic Drive. Be sure to allow enough time (at least half a day) to pause at each stop to ogle the surreal beauty all around.
Metropolitan foodie-ism hasn’t quite hit Zion yet, but there are a few solid options for a square meal. For stir-fry and sushi try Thai Sapa, or go to converted petrol station Whiptail Grill for zingy Mexican staples. Spotted Dog Cafe does pancakes, French toast and biscuits ‘n’ gravy to keep you going on an all-day hike. For a bagel and a shot of caffeine, the unassuming Deep Creek Coffee Company has you covered.