Looking for a place to stay near Zion National Park?
A few weeks ago, I spotted an online ad for Zion Ponderosa Ranch and Resort, which borders the less-visited east side of Zion National Park in Southern Utah. We have visited Zion National Park many times, but I saw right away that our experience at the Zion Ponderosa would be different from the St. George, Cedar City and Springdale hotels we have visited previously.
I booked a three night stay for me, my two children and my dad. We stayed in April, which is a great time to visit Zion National Park. The weather was cool at Zion Ponderosa because it sits at a higher elevation – 6,500 feet.
I had another motive for wanting to visit the Zion Ponderosa. My husband's family has been considering a group vacation, but has not yet found a destination that offers the right combination of comfort, entertainment, affordability, and privacy. If you've ever attended a family reunion, you understand why that last one matters.
We found that Zion Ponderosa is a great choice for single and multi-family trips. Here's why.
The Zion Ponderosa Ranch and Resort offers a variety of lodging options to accommodate a range of tastes and budgets.
Families can choose from a variety of lodging options, which include:
- Tent camping
- RV camping
- Conestoga Wagon
- Glamping tent
- Camping cabin
- Cabin suites
- Vacation homes
My family stayed in a one-bedroom cabin suite, which included a private bathroom and kitchenette. Cabin suites also have porches, satellite TV and DVD players. My family loves the outdoors, but we prefer lodging with a certain level of comfort and convenience. Our Cabin Suite was perfect for us.
Zion Ponderosa's activities set it apart from all of the other lodging near Zion National Park. This resort is much more than just a place to sleep.
My kids were excited to spend time in the large bi-level pool and hot tub, but rain and chilly temperatures kept us out of the pool during our stay.
We enjoyed the recreation barn where well-used table tennis, pool and foosball tables are set up. Outside the barn, a tennis/basketball court, sand volleyball and playground looked like they'd be fun in drier weather.
The resort offers free family events every night of the week of the summer, such as outdoor movies and hoedowns.
Gathering places like the pool and recreation barn are fun places for families to hang out and a great way to connect with other guests. Zion Ponderosa attracts visitors from all over the world.
If you enjoy hiking, ask at the front desk for a map of the “back door” routes to some of the most spectacular view points in Zion National Park. From the floor of Zion Canyon, the Observation Point hike is 8 miles, round trip, and it climbs 2150 feet. From the ranch, you can shave two miles off that trek and skip the climb by hiking to Observation Point from the top.
- Top Stops for Families at Zion National Park
- Top Stops for Families at Bryce Canyon National Park
- Tips for Visiting the Grand Canyon North Rim
Zion Ponderosa offers a long list of paid on-site activities and guided tours. These include:
- Climbing Wall
- Bungee Trampoline
- Zip Line
- ATV Riding
- Horseback Riding
- Guided Hiking
- Miniature Golf
- Dutch Oven Dinners
- Jeep Tours
The zip line, climbing wall, bungee trampoline and mini golf were my kids' favorite part of the trip. I was pretty impressed when my 6-year-old son jumped off the zip line platform at the top of the barn with no hesitation. It was his first zip line and he loved it.
We were all impressed by the friendliness of the staff throughout the resort. When we were finished with the paid activities, two of the rec staff played foosball with my children. One of our young guides had grown up at Zion Ponderosa Ranch and gave us some good tips for visiting the area.
With all the on-site activities, you could spend days at Zion Ponderosa without leaving the ranch. But, don't forget that Zion National Park is just a few miles away.
If you're in the mood to explore, Bryce Canyon National Park, Grand Canyon National Park, Cedar Breaks National Monument, Grand Staircase National Monument, Pipe Springs National Monument and more are all within a two-hour drive of Zion Ponderosa. We toured Best Friends Animal Sanctuary one afternoon, and then stopped for ice cream in Kanab.
Zion Ponderosa has an on-site restaurant – Ray's Restaurant. It serves family favorite recipes made with fresh local ingredients. Ray's is open year-round for breakfast and dinner. During warm weather months, it serves lunch as well.
Zion Ponderosa also opens a coffee bar and poolside grill during peak season. A wagon ride with dutch oven dinner is a fun activity option.
If you prefer to cook your own food, hibachi grills and picnic tables are available at camp sites and cabins. Vacation rentals have full kitchens.
You can purchase campfire supplies and a few groceries at Zion Ponderosa. Supermarkets can be found about 45 minutes away in Kanab.
Catering is available for large groups and special events.
Ready to Book?
Learn more about Zion Ponderosa Ranch Resort and book directly at zionponderosa.com.
Want to read more reviews. Click the button below to see what other travelers have to say, and check rates and availability at TripAdvisor.com.
Disclosure: Zion Ponderosa Ranch and Resort provided our family with complimentary lodging, activities and dining for the purposes of this review. However, the opinions expressed here are my own.