Under Canvas Zion is a one-of-a-kind glampsite, nestled in red-rock desert just outside Utah’s magical Zion National Park. Here, you can camp without cutting back on comfort – animal hides lie on the raised plank floor of each tent and there’s a roaring wood-burning stove beside the snuggly, no-sleeping-bag-required bed. Hell, most of them have a hot shower plumbed in, too. In the sociable restaurant, dinner slow-cooks on the barbecue, to be followed by marshmallows and stargazing around the fire. And don’t forget, just over the horizon is one of America’s most spectacular natural wonders, a desert eden of sheer sandstone cliffs and hidden emerald springs.
Get this when you book through us:
Use of the private fire pit (subject to availability) – including s'mores-making kit – or a daily coffee crate delivery and a dedicated activities concierge
10am, check-in from 4pm, but both are flexible, subject to availability.
Double rooms from £160.57 ($210), including tax at 11.02 per cent. Please note the hotel charges an additional resort fee of 9.992% per booking on check-out.
Rates don’t include breakfast, but you can order à la carte from the restaurant in the main tent (options include French toast for $11 and a breakfast burrito for $12).
Building and maintaining a desert tent village in extreme conditions is no mean feat: the camp won the Hospitality Design magazine award for sustainable design in 2018.
Under Canvas Zion will be open for the 2020 season from 12 March to 9 November.
Mid-November to early March each year.
At the hotel
Restaurant and bar, firepit, beach volleyball court. In rooms: wood-burning stove, EO bath products.
Our favourite rooms
Keep an eye on the constellations in the Stargazer Tent – there’s a window directly above your pillow. Some family tents come with an adjacent hive with two camp cots, and we all know little Smiths go crackers for (sort of) camping out on their own.
There’s no spa, but the concierge can book a local massage therapist to pop round to your tent and work on those aching muscles.
Layers to peel off and pull on – it might be scorching by day here, but the desert climate means temperatures drop rapidly after sundown.
The single-level main tent is accessible by wheelchair, and there’s one accessible Deluxe Tent bedroom with a ramp at the entrance.
Gather round the fire in the snug sunken pit – it doubles up as front-row seating for the live music, too.
It’s less catwalk and more country walk – don’t feel obliged to change out of your hiking boots.
The restaurant, Embers, is in the four-seasons tent at the heart of the camp. Lanterns and gas fires keep it cosy, and there’s a convivial atmosphere created by guests swapping stories about the day’s adventures and making new friends over drinks. The picnic lunches will keep you going and going – order a chunky club sandwich or steak-laden salad before 10pm for pick-up in the morning. For dinner, dishes straight from the sizzling grill include barbecue-smoked chicken, pulled-pork tacos and roasted trout with seasonal farm-to-fork vegetables.
Quench your desert thirst with a locally brewed craft beer or glass of crisp rosé. They do a good range of soft drinks, too, including cockle-warming hot chocolate and flasks of tea and coffee.
Breakfast is served from 7am to 10am.
There’s no room service – but in true Boy Scout style, you can always buy a stash of snacks and have a fireside midnight feast in your tent.
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 theAngel’s Landing trailbreathtaking 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.
Every hotel featured is visited personally by members of our team, given the Smith seal of approval, and then anonymously reviewed. As soon as our reviewers have returned from this tent village next to Zion National Park and unpacked their hiking boots and tea flasks, a full account of their desert break will be with you. In the meantime, to whet your wanderlust, here's a quick peek inside Under Canvas Zion in Utah…
As the sun sets over Under Canvas Zion, the sandstone landscape turns a fiery shade of crimson, a milky moon rises and the brightest stars begin to twinkle in the desert sky. It’s an awe-inspiring scene from the edge of one of the west’s most naturally gorgeous national parks, where the Virgin River has sliced a 600-metre canyon through the crumbling rock. Tomorrow, perhaps, you’ll go climbing and abseiling, try mountain biking and horse riding along the canyon rim, or maybe just marvel at the rock formations and wish you’d paid more attention in geography. But right now, it’s time to tuck into whatever Chef’s been cooking on the barbecue and swap stories with new-found friends around the fire.
Whenever you book a stay at a Smith hotel or villa, we’ll invite you to review it when you get back. Read what other Smith members had to say in Under Canvas Zion’s Guestbook below.
The scenery is truly breathtaking. The wood burner inside the tent on a rainy night certainly made the stay atmospheric. And the bed was lovely and soft. We felt very cosy.
This is glamping, but you still have quite a walk to the nearest toilet/shower block. They were kept very clean despite it being a muddy and rainy night. The bonus $100 to spend on activities courtesy of Mr&Mrs Smith was never mentioned by hotel staff, and therefore not used by us. Perhaps this is something that could be made more clear to staff?
Stayed on 16 May 2019
The scenery is truly breathtaking. The wood burner inside the tent and rainy night certainly made the stay atmospheric. And the bed was lovely and soft. We felt very cosy.
This is glamping, but you still have quite a walk to the nearest toilet/shower block. They were kept very clean despite it being a muddy/rainy night. Sadly we never received our Smith Extra, perhaps this is something that could be made more clear to staff?
Stayed on 16 May 2019
The location is spectacular, looking out from the tent can't be beat. The accommodations were great, the bed was comfortable and having the attached bathroom was perfect. I would say however that If you are traveling as a family that the teepee would be appropriate for smaller children, but it can be rough on larger teenage children. The teepee has cots and they can be a little tight for bigger kids. The community space is great, we spent one night at the campfire making s'mores and friends. The restaurant is also a great convenience.
Remember you are still camping. The showers are hot but operate on a cord, pull the cord and water comes out, release to soap up and the water stops, conservation is the point here. Also there is going to be noise so be prepared, like at any campground just because you are in a luxury campground the physics of sound propagation does not change.