Open Sky Zion

This Eco-Tourism Destination Takes Glamping to Ultra-Luxe Levels

By Melinda Rhodes
February 26, 2024

Cruising on state Route 9, it’s easy to spot the canvas roofs and Conestoga wagons at several other glamping resorts near Zion National Park. But you won’t even catch a glimpse of Open Sky Zion. To say this glamping resort is secluded is an understatement. 

Open Sky Zion sits on 80 acres located 4(ish) miles off state Route 9, up the unpaved Dalton Wash Road. Most people fly right by the turnoff without even realizing there’s a road there. And those folks don’t need to know everything we’re about to tell you, our dear But now that you’re in the know, you’re in for a “treat yo’self” kinda getaway where you’ll reconnect with nature, as well as your favorite outdoorsy companion(s). 

Off the Radar and Off the Grid 

Once you reach Open Sky’s gates, BAM! You are hit with a jaw-dropping view of the Star Seeker Superior II luxury camp, situated high on the cliff surrounded by red rocks and juniper pines. 

What you probably won’t see is the resort’s solar farm strategically concealed in a ravine away from the road. Open Sky Zion boasts one of the largest microgrids in Utah, and it powers the entire place. You won’t see many of the other sustainable initiatives in use, either. 

This eco-tourism destination has its own water treatment and septic distribution systems. Generator usage is automated to minimize fuel consumption without sacrificing any of the comforts you’d expect at a luxury resort. Indoor gas fireplaces and heated bathroom floors for winter stays? Yep. Air conditioning and ceiling fans for the hot summer days in the desert? Of course.

Outdoor lighting is also designed in a way that doesn’t pollute the dark sky at night, and guests are provided with rechargeable orbs that glow just enough to safely walk around the property after dark. Yeah, these folks give a hoot. I’m sure Woodsy Owl (remember him?) is proud. This is responsible travel at its finest. 

If You Build Around It, They Will Come 

The four owners of Open Sky Zion did not want to change nature. They drew upon their construction background, sourced sturdy safari-style tents from Africa, and intentionally built the camps around nature. They started with three accommodations when they opened in 2021, solicited feedback from guests to make the lodging even boujier than before, and then added seven more tents in 2022. Another three luxury camps were built in early 2023. 

Each of the 13 camps has a different patio or deck based on the terrain. And it’s not uncommon to see geological features incredibly close to the tent windows. There’s barely enough room to slide a sheet of paper between the side window showcasing the surrounding trees and cliffs in the sky lounge of a Star Seeker Luxury Camp. There is also a glass ceiling above the king-sized bed, so you can gaze up at the brilliant stars in the dark sky as you drift off to dreamland. 

The outdoor showers are built around nature as well. Some have the face of a cliff acting as a wall on one side and a rustic panel providing privacy on another side. But there is so much space between tents that sometimes the extra panel isn’t even needed. Truly au naturale. 

Seclusion doesn’t just speak to the location of the resort as a whole, but also the placement of each tent. You’ll feel miles away from everyone and everything. No wonder responsible travelers from all around the globe stay here. 

The Sound of Silence 

The mornings are magical at Open Sky Zion. All is calm. All is quiet. You might hear a chipmunk scurrying about as the sky changes from static gray to cotton-candy pink and pale purple, but that’s about it. And here’s a fun scientific fact: Coffee tastes better when consumed in these conditions. I tested the hypothesis and it’s true — especially if you’re sitting in one of the tear-drop-shaped hanging lounge chairs outside. 

The a.m. conditions are also perfect for a private yoga sesh, and mats are provided in each tent. I had a pose-off with a beautiful blue Aphelocoma scrub jay that was perched in a tree directly in front of me. It outlasted my balance pose, but no worries. I still started the day strong after my final resting pose. 

Ready for Recreation 

Glamping at Open Sky Zion is equal parts relaxation and recreation. The mesa-top Guacamole MTB Trail is less than a mile up Dalton Wash Road from Open Sky Zion. The resort has a few bikes available to borrow, or you can bring your own. Intermediate and advanced riding options, combined with spectacular views of Zion

National Park, make this a world-renowned trail. No exaggeration. On a Monday afternoon, there were a couple of cars at the trailhead with California plates and another from Maine. A father and his teenage son from Australia were riding it soooo steezy, along with their friend from St. Geezy (that’s local slang for St. George, Utah). 

Of course, you have to spend a day or two in Zion National Park while staying here. Emerald Pools has options for hikers of varying abilities. If you’re up for some advanced canyoneering, hike to Middle Emerald Pools then head over to Jacob Canyon. During the warmer months, The Narrows is a welcome wade through a shaded slot canyon. It can also be done during cooler months with the right gear. 

There are also several miles of hiking trails being developed on Open Sky Zion’s expansive acreage. Scrambling is necessary in a few places, and sure-footedness is a must. Or skip the trail and try your hand at cornhole by the picturesque pond on the resort’s property instead. 

Your multiday itinerary might also include a scenic helicopter ride or the Above Zion Via Ferrata tour. If heights ain’t your thang, there are plenty of other experiences to choose from in the area. Maybe a Jeep ride and tour of Grafton Ghost Town is more your speed. Ready for another fun fact? Grafton has been a filming location for several movies, including “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.” 

A Culinary Adventure 

When in Rome, eat pasta and drink wine. When in the Utah desert, drink prickly pear limeade and order the local squash fritters as an appetizer. Trust me, these menu items are musts at Open Sky’s onsite restaurant, Black Sage. There are also several mouth-watering entree options for vegetarians, pescatarians and full-on carnivores. Mineral springs smoked meatloaf, anyone? Yes, please! (Seriously … I want some. Right. Now.) 

The owners’ eco-tourism ethos is also reflected in the menu offerings. Some ingredients are grown in a garden onsite; others are sourced from local farmers. So naturally, the menu changes seasonally. 

And even though you aren’t in Italy, you can still drink wine at Open Sky Zion. Order a bottle that pairs well with your dinner selection, or take one back to your camp for a romantic rendezvous. 

Treat Yo’Self to a Stay 

Whether you’re celebrating a milestone anniversary with that special someone, a solo traveler seeking serenity or a group of lifelong friends planning a glamping getaway just because, Open Sky Zion will leave you satiated in every way. 

Reserve a luxury camp!