Beautiful red rocks, beaches, forests, deserts, and mountains will transport you to a new world when you camp in Utah. With thousands of campgrounds and even more areas to make your own campground, your options of where to spend the night are never-ending. To make your choice a little easier we have put together a list of our favorite places to camp, but always remember to Leave No Trace.
The shores of Lake Powell are the perfect place to set up camp while spending time exploring all that the lake has to offer. Slot canyons, hiking, and water sports are all activities guaranteed to fill your days with adventure.
Dead Horse Point
2,000 feet above the Colorado River sits Dead Horse Point, once a natural corral where wild mustangs were broken by cowboys. Trails now cover this state park making it a destination for hikers, and cyclists of all levels. The views of both the Colorado and Canyonlands draw photographers and make anyone who visits feel like they’re in a wild west movie.
Antelope Island is the biggest island in the Great Salt Lake, a lake 4 times saltier than the ocean. Camping here provides scenic views and up-close encounters with many kinds of wildlife, the most common being bison. The island is a perfect place to explore and provides easy access to the lake where you can swim in water so salty that you can float with no effort. Don’t forget bug spray though, especially in the summer!
The Valley of the Gods
With no designated trails or campgrounds it is easy to make this place your own. Located on Navajo land, a permit from their government is required to enter the Valley of the Gods. Many people chose to travel with a Navajo guide who knows the land well for hiking, biking, and backpacking.
At the top of Little Cottonwood Canyon Road, Albion Basin is the Cecret Lake trailhead and the perfect place to experience everything Little Cottonwood has to offer. Go hiking, climbing, and biking around the canyon then down to Snowbird Resort for the alpine slide, zip line, and summer festivals and concerts.
North of Vermillion Cliffs National Monument you can find this gem of a campground. Right next to the Paria River and surrounded by colorful cliffs this place is perfect for any adventure you’re looking for. Explore Paria Canyon or try out “The Wave” a hike to a beautiful bowl of striped red rock.
East canyon, famous for where the Donner Party of Pioneers passed is the perfect place for a night to getaway. Close to Salt Lake City, this canyon has a lake to enjoy all kinds of water sports and rich history.
Up American Fork Canyon and less than a mile from Tibble Fork Reservoir is where you can find Granite Flat Campground. This is a popular spot for hikers and bikers as well as S.C.U.B.A. divers who are drawn to Tibble Fork’s South Shore.
Kings Peak, the highest peak in Utah stands at 13,528 feet, and sitting at the base of that is Henry’s Fork Campground. The trip to the peak is normally a 2-3 day backpacking trip and is rewarded with spectacular views and wildlife, but for those who choose to stay behind the campground has many activities including hiking, fishing, and kayaking.
The trail to Lake Blanche can be backpacked or completed in a day, but once you get to the top the scenery will definitely make you want to stay. Located up Big Cottonwood Canyon this trail has many places to camp along the trail and once you get to the top. Explore a while once you make it to the top to find the two smaller lakes to the West of Lake Blanche.
Red Pine Lake
Another great hiking and camping area offers great places to camp along the trail and up at Red Pine Lake. You don’t have to stop there though, from the Red Pine Fork Trailhead you can go to Upper Red Pine Lake or even all the way up Pfeifferhorn and White Baldy.
Enjoy the experiences of both Arches and Canyonlands without the overcrowded campsites. Granstaff Campground is located outside of Moab and is the perfect place to tackle both of the parks while keeping away from the chaos. Negro Bill Canyon is a great hike close by that is rarely crowded.
Little Grand Canyon
The San Rafael Swell Recreation Park is a little known beauty in Utah, both The Wedge and Little Grand Canyon are located here, camping is first come first serve and there is a huge area to explore. This area has something for everyone, hunting, Native-american art, hiking, and off-road trails are some of the activities you can find and just 30 minutes away there is climbing in Joe’s Valley Bouldering Site.
Outside of Bryce Canyon Park is the perfect base camp for anything, hiking, backpacking, and biking. Dave’s Hollow campground is a quieter destination than the Bryce campgrounds and the lack of light pollution makes for an explosive night sky where every star and galaxy can be seen and photographed.
Canoeing, kayaking, horseback riding, hiking, and fishing for rainbow trout are just some of the activities you can find in the Uintah Mountains. Mirror Lake is at the base of Bald Mountain and has educational displays about the flora and fauna all over the trails. This family-friendly campground is the trailhead for many small hikes and is great for teaching kids about nature.
See more adventures here.