Monday, December 4,2023 5:13 am EST

Travel Guide to Rocky Mountain Parks & Utah Camping

In Utah, the possibilities are truly endless. There is so much to see and do, from exploring the red rocks to the majestic mountains, that you will never get bored of the sights. Along the way, you can traverse the hikes or even scale the cliffs, however, you need to find the right location to spend the night. While there are plenty of state parks that can accommodate you, there are also other options available to make your travel experience truly unique. This article will hopefully help you with that decision as we will break down five of the best campgrounds in the Beehive State. Whether this is just one stop on your journey or the final destination, tell us in the comments below and be sure to document your trip!

Little Grand Canyon

Unbeknownst to many, Utah actually has its own Grand Canyon, though it is much smaller. Underneath the Wedge Overlook in the San Rafael Swell, you will see the passageway that connects Buckhorn Draw to the San Rafael River canyon. This area is magnificent, and the best way to view the entirety of it would be to find the overlook which is 1200 feet above the canyon itself. Equipped with cliffs and spires, it is almost like you are seeing the real thing. It is possible to go backpacking the whole way through and it would just take 2 or 3 days, but there are also just day hiking options available as well.

Regarding camping, the San Rafael Bridge Campground is close by and includes 17 sites. There are both tent and standard RV sites, so it is great for all options. People have said it was a pleasant stay since it was quiet and they had a great view of the night sky. To learn more, you can visit the campsite here.

Goblin Valley State Park

While the name may sound interesting, the reason for it is because of the sandstone rock formations that have been created after decades of erosion more than 170 million years ago. There are chances to hike both on and off the trail and you may even stumble upon a few gnomes! Closeby is the San Rafael Swell, so if you wanted to check that out, it is also a possibility. It is a popular destination for both travellers and locals just because there is so much that you can explore! For more activity options, you can also go mountain biking to view the amazing canyons.

Now about the campground specifically, there are 24 sites that allow up to 8 guests per site. They have cabins, yurts, and RV dock sites as well as showers, picnic tables and portable water, however, there are no electrical hookups. The most unique aspect of this campground would have to be the yurts that have heating and AC. Many have expressed that their stay was a lot more memorable as it was such as special experience. You can book your reservations here.

Dead Horse Point State Park

Dead Horse State Park has an amazing set of canyons, wood lines and plenty of hikes. In particular, during the evening and the sun rises, the golden rays paint the cliffs a beautiful hue. At night time, though, millions of stars appear and since you are so far from urban life. Dead Horse Point itself is 2000 feet above the Colorado River, overlooking the centuries of erosion and weathering that sculpted the structures below. Old deposits from water sources and the wind left behind layers of rock and sediment. If you are interested in hiking, there is easy access to a plethora of trails, both for on-foot and mountain biking alike. The Intrepid Trail System is known to provide an exhilarating journey for mountain bikers.

The Kayenta Campground is close with 22 sites as well as The Wingate Campground which has 20 RV campsites, 11 tent-only sites, and 4 new yurts. The former offers shade structures, picnic tables, fire rings, tent pads and RV electrical hookups, with a maximum of eight people per site. The latter has fire pits, shaded picnic tables, and access to running water and dishwashing sinks. Depending on your needs, both of these options are great for all travellers who are thinking of exploring the park.

Capitol Reef National Park

This National Park is known for the Waterpocket Fold which many call a geologic wrinkle on the earth. It is essentially, a 100-mile-long monocline which formed between 50 to 70 million years ago. It is over 7000 feet deep. The erosion of the rock layers now takes the form of bold cliffs, domes and spires that anyone would be in awe of. The easiest portion to access would be Capitol Reef named after the capitol building domes. Other fun activities would be to go on road tours of the landscapes through a series of interesting loops or even go horseback riding. More adventurous folks can try canyoneering, bouldering and rock climbing. There is a little bit of something for everyone.

The closest campground would have to be the Fruita Campground which has 71 sites available. Each site has a picnic table, fire pit and above-ground grill, however, there are no individual water, sewage, or electrical hookups. It is based on reservation only from March 1 – October 31 because of the popularity of the location, however, there are alternatives. If you are interested in learning more, head over to this site to book your spot!

American Fork Canyon

Last, but certainly not least, is the American Fork Canyon which has some of the most amazing hiking trails. Some to note would be Cascade Springs which allows you to see the canyon to its fullest and you also get the chance to view the seven million gallons of water that create the most lovely waterfalls. There is also the Pittsburg Lake Trail which offers mountainous scenery and is actually an old mining road, so you get to see a piece of history. It is fantastic if you like rock climbing, fishing and biking as well!

The campground you would want to head to if you like the area would be the Little Mill Campground which has 34 single sites, two double sites and one overnight group site. Each site comes with firewood, grills and picnic tables, however, there is no water available. Reservations need to be made 5 days in advance, so click here reserve your site.

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