Home to unique red rock formations, gorgeous lakes, warm deserts, forests, mountains, and stunning beaches, Utah has something for everyone. The Beehive State is comfortably nestled in the Mountain West region of the US, where it shares borders with Idaho to the north, Colorado to the east, Nevada to the west, and Arizona to the south. Utah has 5 National Parks making it the state with the third-largest number of National Parks in the country. In addition to the National Parks, Utah boasts 43 State Parks with over 300 campgrounds spread across the parks.
With such a huge number of parks coupled with the breathtaking landscapes, Utah is an ideal place to go camping and forge sweet memories with friends and family. However, the multitude of campgrounds available within the state may also make it a daunting process to select one. Hence, we have created this piece highlighting the best camping sites in Utah.
1. Antelope Island State Park
Antelope Island is situated on the Great Salt Lake, which is the eighth-largest terminal lake in the world and four times saltier than the ocean. The island is about 15 miles in length and 5 miles in width, making it the largest island on the Great Salt Lake. Antelope Island has 40 freshwater springs that nourish the lush green forests and abundant wildlife in the area.
The island is home to amazing animals like the American bison, bighorn sheep, pronghorn antelopes, badgers, deer, and even coyotes. Beautiful falcons, hawks, and owls also make their homes on the island; hence, birdwatchers will find themselves pleasantly occupied. Along with its buzzing wildlife and picturesque landscapes, Antelope Island is fairly isolated, so campers can enjoy the peace and tranquility that the island offers.
Antelope Island is also home to the Fielding Garr, a historic ranch house and the oldest inhabited Anglo home in Utah. Campers are allowed to visit the house. Activities that campers can enjoy include horseback riding, boating, swimming, fishing, and bird watching. The campground has 52 spacious campsites for primitive camping only. The sites feature several amenities, including vault bathrooms, picnic tables, and toilets. But the most fantastic thing about the campground might be the fact that it is pet-friendly. So you can bring your pet for a fully memorable camping experience.
2. Calf Creek Campground
Calf Creek Campground is a small desert oasis situated within the impressive Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. The campground is surrounded by a creek and stunning rock canyon walls. The campground is located near a trailhead that leads to the 126-foot high Lower Calf Creek Falls. The gorgeous waterfall that marks the climax of the hiking trail makes Calf Creek Campground ideal for hikers. It’s among the most unique and well-known features in the Grand Escalante National Monument. This hike is a six-mile round trip. You can plan about three or four hours and pack enough snack and water. Note that it can get extremely hot here during summer.
The campground is quite small, with only 13 single-family campsites, great for both tents and RVs, and the campsites are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Amenities available at the campground include drinking water, flush toilets, 2 volleyball courts, a picnic area, and a playground.
3. Wasatch Mountain Park
Situated in Heber Valley, the Wasatch Mountain Park is home to the Historic Tate Barn and Huber Grove. The main attractions for campgrounds in the area are the modern conveniences that are nearby. The campground allows campers to enjoy a kind of “home-away-from-home” experience that may be difficult to get from other campgrounds that are mostly dedicated to primitive camping. However, note that the presence of modern conveniences at the park does not preclude the existence of nature in the area. Also, note that several scenic terrains and forests surround this beautiful park. Wildlife in the area includes moose, wild turkey, deer, and elk.
Campers can enjoy activities like golfing, hiking, horseback riding, biking, snowshoeing, snowmobiling, and cross country skiing as the park is opened all year round. There are over 127 campsites, including RV sites, with some of them fully equipped while others have only water and electrical hookups.
4. Dead Horse Point State Park
Situated 2,000 feet above the Colorado River, the park offers breathtaking views that attract photographers like moths to a flame. The park’s elevated position makes it one of the best places for stargazing in the entire world. Plus, the sunrise in the area creates a gorgeous view that is certain to steal your breath.
Apart from the stunning views you get at the park, the area is also a hiker’s paradise surrounded by miles of mountain biking and desert hiking trails. Campers who visit the park can choose between two campgrounds — Kayenta Campground and The Wingate Campground. Kayenta Campground offers 21 campsites that are shaded and equipped with modern restrooms and electrical hookups. The Wingate Campground also has 21 campsites for both RVs and tents, which are reservable only, along with 11 hike-in tent sites. Campsites in The Wingate Campground have modern restrooms but no hookups.
5. Devil’s Garden Campground
Devil’s Garden Campground is the only campground located within Arches National Park which occupies an elevated position of about 5,200 feet. The elevated position of the campground allows campers to enjoy amazing views, including the billions of stars that dot the clear sky at night. The campground itself is surrounded by arches, fins, natural spires, and a host of desert flora such as yucca, pinyon pine, prickly pear cacti, and Utah juniper.
The natural rock formations around the area make it an ideal place for hiking along the scenic trails within the area. Other activities that campers can enjoy include horseback riding, canyoneering, rock climbing, stargazing, backpacking, and photography. There are 51 spacious campsites for both tents and RVs with flush toilets and drinking water. The campground also has 2 group campsites and one accessibility site. Other amenities available at the campground include fire rings and picnic tables. But the camp has no showers or RV hookups, so make provisions for your own utilities.
6. Fruita Campground
Fruita Campground is a lush oasis nestled within the Fruita Historic District Orchards. The orchards planted along the Fremont River give the campsite a cool green atmosphere. It also makes it convenient for campers to grab a bite of fresh fruits like apples and pears. Although the campground itself is a prime example of green lands, it is surrounded by beautiful red-rock deserts. The campground has a small convenience store near it where campers can get a few supplies, including ice cream and homemade honey.
The campground is surrounded by loads of hike trails to keep campers fully engaged. Some of the hike trails in the area include Panorama Points and Chimney Rock. There are about 71 campsites in the campground for both RVs and tents. All of the campsites are available on a first-come, first-served basis only except for the single group site, which is reservable. Flush toilets are available at the campground, but there are no showers.
7. Spruces Campground
Spruces Campground is nestled within Big Cottonwood Canyon, where it sits at an elevation of 7,500 feet. The campground is only a 10-minute drive from Salt Lake City; hence, it’s especially ideal for campers who want to snuggle within the embrace of nature without necessarily going far into a wilderness. The elevated position occupied by the campground makes it a great place to go hiking as there are tons of hiking trails in the area.
Campers can engage in activities such as mountain biking, hiking, and fishing. The campground has 97 campsites for both RVs and tents with 3 separate group sites that can accommodate about 50 people. Note that only half the campsites are available for walk-ins; the other half is reservable. All the campsites at the campground are equipped with flush toilets, charcoal grills, and drinking water. Other amenities at the campground include a baseball field, horseshoe pits, and a volleyball court. But there is no sewage, water, or electrical hookups for RVs, so make appropriate provisions.
8. Goosenecks State Park
Goosenecks State Park is located on an elevated position above the San Juan River. Over the course of about 300 million years, the San Juan River has cut through the Colorado Plateau in its journey to the desert below where it flows to Lake Powell. The river path forms a stunning shape that looks remarkably like a gooseneck. Campers at the park can easily behold this breathtaking work of nature that has been over 300 million years in the making.
Apart from the captivating view of the gooseneck that the park offers, campers can also see the spires and buttes of Monument Valley as well as the Alhambra Rock, which takes the form of a dark volcanic shape on the horizon. Although there are no shades in the park, the park offers a peaceful and serene environment as there are only 8 campsites available in the park. Privacy is also pretty guaranteed when you camp in Goosenecks State Park. Campers can enjoy activities like stargazing, hiking, and photography in the park. Plus, the campground is pet-friendly, so you are free to bring your pets along for a more robust camping experience.
The 8 campsites in the park are available on a first-come, first-served basis, and all are equipped with vault toilets. But you have to bring your own water and firewood as the campground does not make any of those available.
9. Mirror Lake Campground
Mirror Lake is one of the over 500 lakes in the Uinta Mountains. Specifically, the campground is situated at an elevation of about 10,400 feet, so the area is often cold. Hence, you might want to schedule your camping so that it falls in the late parts of summer when it’s warmest. The campground is deeply forested, so there’s plenty of shade. There are also several hiking trails surrounding the area, so hikers will have a lot to choose from.
The campground is family-friendly and has a program that teaches campers about the various flora and faunas found around the hike trails. It can help teach kids about nature in a fun and exciting way to keep them fully engaged. Activities that campers can enjoy in the campground include horseback riding, kayaking, hiking, canoeing, swimming, paddle boarding, and fishing. The campground has 113 shady campsites, with 55 of those being equipped with water and 15 AMP power. Other amenities available at the campground include hot showers, a laundry facility, Wi-Fi, a general store, a playground, washrooms, cabins, and trailer rentals.
10. Goblin Valley State Park
Goblin Valley State Park is famous for its unique rock formations that form thousands of tent rocks resembling goblins around the area. The scenic landscape of the area creates an immersive experience that connects with the soul. The picturesque landscape attracts people who enjoy sightseeing. The rocky formations in the park are fun to explore with your kids. Campers can also engage in activities like mountain biking, hiking, and photography.
The campground has ten campsites for tents, fourteen RV sites, a group campsite, and two luxurious yurts fully equipped with heating and air conditioning. Amenities available at the campground include modern showers and restrooms. But there are no shades in the area, so it can often get pretty hot. Fall and spring are ideal seasons to visit the park. You’ll also enjoy hiking during winter.
Utah is brimming with the beauty of nature, and camping is one of the ways that you can immerse yourself in this beauty. And there are various camping sites where you can pitch your tent and establish a peaceful connection with nature. But some camping sites offer unique opportunities to enjoy nature in an unprecedented manner. You can select any of the locations highlighted within this article, and rest assured that you will have a fantastic camping experience.
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