Best Camping in Utah

Your Guide to The Best Camping in Utah


7/23/20235 min read

Best Camping in Utah
Best Camping in Utah

The Best Camping in Utah

When it comes to outdoor recreation, few states can match the diversity and natural beauty of Utah. From the snow-capped peaks of the Wasatch Range to the red rock desert landscapes of Southern Utah, there's something for everyone here. This post explores the best camping in Utah, offering a comprehensive guide to finding the perfect spot for your next outdoor adventure.

Natural Wonders and Iconic Landscapes

Utah is home to five breathtaking national parks, fondly referred to as the 'Mighty 5'. One of the most popular times to visit these gems is during the spring and fall, when the weather is most amenable for camping.

Zion National Park is a natural wonder that attracts campers from around the world. The campground within the park fills up quickly, so be sure to reserve your spot well in advance. After a day of exploring Zion, consider driving to nearby Salt Lake City and sampling the culinary delights at local hotspots like Takashi or The Copper Onion.

Just a few hours away lies Bryce Canyon National Park, home to the largest collection of hoodoos anywhere on earth. Bryce Canyon offers two campgrounds, North and Sunset. For an unforgettable experience, visit the park during a full moon when rangers lead moonlit hikes.

Mountainous Campgrounds

If you're a fan of high-altitude camping, Utah has you covered with its wide array of mountain campgrounds. The Wasatch Mountain Range, extending from the Utah-Idaho border south through central Utah, is an excellent place to start.

Near Salt Lake City, Big Cottonwood Canyon and Millcreek Canyon are two popular destinations for campers. After a day in the great outdoors, consider relaxing at one of the best hotels in Utah, such as the Little America Hotel.

Mirror Lake Campground in the Uinta Mountains is another favorite among Utahns. It’s located along the Mirror Lake Scenic Byway, just an hour and a half's drive from Park City, making it easily accessible for campers from Salt Lake City and Park City.

Desert Camping

Southern Utah offers unique camping experiences in its red desert landscapes. Among the most popular are Goblin Valley State Park, home to thousands of eerie, mushroom-shaped rock formations, and Goosenecks State Park, where campers can peer into a 1,000-foot-deep meander of the San Juan River.

While exploring Southern Utah, take the time to visit the Utah Salt Flats, a truly unique natural phenomenon that's well worth the trip.

Luxurious Camping Options

If roughing it isn’t your style, consider trying "glamping" — glamorous camping. Conestoga Ranch near Bear Lake in Garden City is a popular glamping destination, offering furnished tents and wagons with soft beds and private bathrooms. After a night under the stars, you can hit the links at one of Utah's best golf courses.

Zion Glamping Adventures near Zion National Park provides luxury tent accommodations complete with a private bathroom, king-size bed, and kitchenette. While in the area, it's worth exploring the charming town of Springdale and perhaps booking a room in one of the top-rated hotels in downtown Salt Lake City.

Safety and Preparedness

When planning your camping trip, remember that safety should be a top priority. Always check the weather forecast and be prepared for sudden changes, as Utah's weather can be unpredictable. Consider investing in the best car insurance in Utah to cover any unexpected incidents during your road trip.

In conclusion, whether you're pitching a tent in the shadows of towering red rock formations, beside a babbling mountain stream, or under the wide desert sky, the best camping in Utah offers an unforgettable escape into nature. Remember, wherever your adventures take you, leave no trace to preserve Utah's natural beauty for future generations.

What is the best time of year to go camping in Utah?

The best time to camp in Utah largely depends on what you want to do. However, the spring (April to June) and fall (September to October) seasons are generally the best for outdoor activities. The weather is typically mild, the summer crowds have thinned out, and the natural scenery is at its most stunning.

Can you camp anywhere in Utah?

Utah has a vast expanse of public lands where you can camp, but not "anywhere." It's essential to know the specific rules of the area you are visiting. Always camp in designated camping areas in National Parks, and practice Leave No Trace principles.

What are some of the best camping spots in Utah?

Some popular spots include Zion National Park, Bryce Canyon National Park, Arches National Park, Canyonlands National Park, and Capitol Reef National Park. For a less crowded experience, you might consider spots like Dead Horse Point State Park or Goblin Valley State Park.

Is it safe to camp in Utah?

Yes, camping in Utah is generally safe if you take the necessary precautions. Always check the weather before your trip, carry sufficient food and water, keep a safe distance from wildlife, and follow all local rules and regulations.

Are there free camping areas in Utah?

Yes, Utah has several areas where you can camp for free, mainly on Bureau of Land Management (BLM) land and in National Forests. However, these sites often come with few to no amenities, so be prepared to be self-sufficient.

Are there RV-friendly campsites in Utah?

Absolutely! Utah has numerous RV-friendly campsites. These include commercial campgrounds with full hookups, state park campsites, and even some boondocking sites on BLM land.

Can you camp in Utah's National Parks?

Yes, each of Utah's "Mighty 5" National Parks—Zion, Bryce Canyon, Capitol Reef, Arches, and Canyonlands—offers established campgrounds. Reservations are strongly recommended, especially during peak season.

What should I pack for camping in Utah?

Packing for a camping trip in Utah should include a tent, sleeping bag, food and cooking equipment, water and filtration system, clothing suitable for the weather, a first aid kit, and items for personal hygiene. Also, consider bringing a map, compass, or GPS device for navigation.

Are there campgrounds in Utah that require a reservation?

Yes, many popular campgrounds in Utah, especially those within the National Parks, require reservations. It is recommended to book these sites well in advance, especially during peak season.

Can I bring my pet while camping in Utah?

In most campgrounds, pets are allowed but must be kept on a leash and under control at all times. However, note that National Parks have strict pet policies, and pets may be limited to certain areas.

Are there bear-safe practices for camping in Utah?

While black bears are not common in Utah, it's still essential to practice bear-safe behaviors when camping. This includes storing food and scented items in bear-proof containers or suspending them from a tree, and never leaving food or trash unattended.

Are campfires allowed in Utah campgrounds?

Campfire regulations can vary widely in Utah, depending on the campground and time of year. Always check local fire restrictions before lighting a campfire. During periods of high fire danger, campfires may be completely prohibited.

What wildlife might I encounter while camping in Utah?

In Utah, you might see mule deer, pronghorns, elks, mountain lions, black bears, and a variety of birds and smaller mammals. Remember to keep a safe distance from all wildlife.

Can I camp near the water in Utah?

There are numerous campgrounds in Utah located near bodies of water, including lakes, rivers, and reservoirs. However, it's crucial to follow all regulations regarding distance from water sources when setting up camp.

What activities can I do while camping in Utah?

Utah offers a plethora of activities for outdoor enthusiasts. You can enjoy hiking, mountain biking, fishing, wildlife viewing, photography, rock climbing, star gazing, and more. Winter brings opportunities for snowshoeing and cross-country skiing.

Are there camping options near Salt Lake City?

Yes, there are several great campgrounds within a short drive from Salt Lake City, such as Big Cottonwood Canyon, Little Cottonwood Canyon, and Antelope Island State Park.

Are there camping sites near the Utah Salt Flats?

While there's no camping allowed directly on the Bonneville Salt Flats, there are several campgrounds and RV parks in the surrounding area.