Utah is primarily known for two things: its world-class skiing and winding slot canyons. But the Beehive State has much more to offer the outdoor enthusiast. It's home to five national parks and eight national monuments. And that's just the beginning. There is no shortage of exotic camping in Utah.
For desert dwellers, Monument Valley never disappoints. It’s the kind of place that leaves a person searching for meaning. When the sun dips below the monuments and the sky radiates with color, it’s easy to see why the Navajo people revere the land. Media buffs will also recognize the familiar landmarks from film and TV. Those visiting Bears Ears can see Monument Valley in the distance from campsites like Muley Point.
Campers who visit Goblin Valley get a unique experience. An amphitheater of bizarrely-shaped hoodoos greets visitors. Even though there are hoodoos all over Utah, none compare to the “goblins” in this state park. They make an excellent backdrop for photos, adventure, games, and soul-searching.
A worthy Utah destination is Zion National Park, growing more popular by the year. The etched canyon walls make a lasting impression, as they jut thousands of feet up from the earth. The sense of perspective visitors experience keeps them coming back. The Watchman campground is a popular choice for campers. It offers accessibility to trails, the Virgin River, a shuttle bus, and the adjacent town.
Many will also make a trip to nearby Bryce Canyon National Park, to see the infamous spires. Staying at the North campground is a great way to see the best parts of the park.
It doesn’t take a road trip to go camping in Utah. The state capital, Salt Lake City, butts up against the Wasatch Mountains. Fifteen minutes up one of the canyons is all it takes to trade city noise for alpine meadows and lakes. In the summer, Albion Basin blooms with color. Red Pine Lake is a secluded campsite with two lakes and frequent wildlife sightings.
For a different kind of mountain experience, the Uinta Mountains aren’t much farther. They’re the only mountain range in the contiguous US that runs east-west. Still part of the Rockies, they’re Utah’s highest range, with King’s Peak topping out at 13,528 feet. Most of the camping is dispersed, but Mirror Lake is a great campground right off the main scenic highway.
There’s something for everyone in the great state of Utah. From the desert climate to the fresh mountain air; unique experiences found only in the land of Zion. With nooks and crannies waiting to be explored, camping in Utah is, indeed, life elevated.
We visit every September for a week. Always something to do in Moab. The campground is always clean. The staff is very accommodating and so nice. Busy during the day but thats because there's so much to do. At night it's beautiful with the minimal lights and the starry sky. If you have a problem with winds, then don't tent camp there because it is a canyon and it does get windy. Will continue visiting this KOA every year. Never camping anywhere else in Moab.
doesn't matter if your tent camping or using an RV I guess I'm kind of partial to this campground my family has had our reunions here for 100+ years. There are freshwater places where you can hook up and get fresh water and there is a RV clean-out spot, and there are restrooms.
For those that need it DuckCreekVillage down the road has a store, gas station, and cabins you can rent. You can also go online and reserve a spot if you need to or a cabin or whatever you like in the area
This campground is quiet and out of the way from nearby Zion National Park. This is a great place to stay if the campgrounds near Zion are booked or you want to avoid the crowd, as long as you don't mind the 45 minute drive if you are going to Zion before or after staying here. The ground is mostly sand, except for the paved parking and driving areas. There are plenty of trees for shade, and a picnic table and fire ring are provided. Modern restrooms and showers are provided, but they are not the cleanest, though they are acceptable for a smaller campground in a secluded state park.
The real beauty of this campground is the nearby sand dunes. A short walk from the campground is the pedestrian entrance to the the Coral Pink sand dunes, which seem to go on for miles. There is a small shelter with informational plaques, and a path to where you can walk down to the dunes. Be careful though, because the dunes are very popular with dune buggy and off-road enthusiasts.
This campground was well kept and the employees were great. The community kitchen, restrooms, and showers were close enough to the sight to be convenient, but far enough away to not wake you up at night with people walking by. The tent sights in the upper portion are on different levels from neighboring sites, so you are separated from your neighbors, but they are close enough if camping with a large group. The upper tent sights have no trees around them, so you get a great view of the stars on a clear night, and you can watch the sun rise and set on the cliffs, but if you look to the left of the cliffs, you get a great view of an industrial-type area. Because there are no trees around the upper sites (and it's nearly impossible to drive a tent stake into the ground), windy nights can get really crazy. I had weighted the corners of my tent with everything I could (camp chairs, suitcase, even some rocks), but the tent still blew around and collapsed on me. Overall a great campground with KOA standards, I just have an old tent and some bad luck.
Devil's Garden is the most beautiful campground I have stayed at. It is very hard to get a spot, the slots fill within literal seconds of being released. All of the sites are unique and beautiful. This campground is set up so there are no sites backed to each other so you get views behind you, not neighbors! The bathrooms are well kept and have flushing toilets. There are 2 site hosts as the road is fairly long with 52 sites. When we were there the hosts were selling firewood, but the next day they were no longer selling wood in the park so make sure to check ahead. There is no store for other supplies. There is access to a few trails along the end of the of the road in the small loop. This is a fairly long walk if you are at the front of the campground. There is access to trails before the entrance to the campground, which is walkable along the road, but a definetly not close. For the most part the even number campgrounds are backed against red rock formations, the odd numbers are along the canyon side with further reaching views but less protection and privacy, and the highest number campgrounds seemed largest along the back of the loop at the end of the campground. In my experience I was not able to pick the site I wanted because of how quickly they go. I lucked out because I thought our site was the best.
Site 002: This site is the first site past the camp host house. There is a good distance and a very large rock formation between the host and this site. There is no site across the road from this site either, leaving it fairly private on 3 sides. The next site is close but there are several spaces to set up tents. I would say you could fit 3 tents throughout the site. The site is on a hill but the tent areas are fairly flat, although separated from each other. The lowest area was flooded during our stay, as were many areas of the entire campground(and park) from unusually heavy rain. The bathrooms are very close. If I had my pick of sites I would choose the one again.
We enjoyed this campground. Unlike the other Utah National Parks this campground was easier to book and had sites remaining for weeks after they were released. There are 3 separate loops with orchards all around. There is lots of grass throughout the sites and where you set up your tents. There is not much privacy in any of the sites as the trees are all very tall and the leaves are high up. You are sitting in the canyon so the views all around are beautiful. The contrast between the lush green grass and orchards and the red rock is stunning. It was nice being able to walk through the orchards. There are roads along and behind several of the camp sites. The visitor's center and historical sites are a pretty long walk along a road from the camp site. There are not many hikes in close proximity to the campground. It was ideal for us to drive to the trailheads and sites as the park is quite large. The bathrooms were well kept with flushing toilets. There is a pretty serious irrigation operation running along the orchards which resulted in a fairly loud pouring water sound.
Site C 070: Our site was at the very end of loop C. There are dumpsters along the side of the site, and a road leading to a parking lot for the amphitheatre and orchards directly behind the site. Luckily it was cool when were there so there was no smell, but I would imagine in the summer the smell would be unpleasant in addition to being an unwelcome view. The road was not at all busy when we were there in October. Across the road is an orchard which hosted several deer while we were there. The deer also seemed to roam fearlessly throughout the entire campground. This site is as far from the bathrooms as you can get. I would recommend a different site if you have the option due to the dumpsters. If it was the only site left I would still stay here.
Watchman campground is inside of Zion National Park. Reservations are hard to get, I booked mine the moment they were released and when I was done booking they were all filled. You can easily walk to the visitor's center to hop onto a shuttle. There are also trail access points off of the campground. The views from anywhere in the sites are lovely. The bathrooms are well kept with flushing toilets. There is no store on site, and you can only buy firewood outside of the park. We were able to walk to buy it but it is a bit of a hike back while carrying firewood, I would recommend purchasing wood before you arrive. This is one of the nosier campgrounds that I have visited. There was loud music until 10pm from the town right outside the gates of the park, along side the campground. This is nice if you want to enjoy the social party scene, but less appealing when trying to enjoy the nature.
Loop D, site 20: Our site was wonderful! I would book this site again if we return. This site is along the back side of the campground so you have no neighbors behind you, just a beautiful view of Watchman. You are on the curve so there is extra space between you and your neighbors. There is ample space for a large tent, or 2 smaller tents on a marked tent pad. The bathrooms are 4 or 5 sites down the road. There is a fire ring and a picnic table. This site is one of the furthest points from the visitor's center in all of the campground.
This campground is small, primitive, and quiet. We stayed here for a night before starting the Little Grand Canyon hike, just across (and up) the road. It was the perfect place to stay for a short rest before venturing out on our journey. We were there in early Spring and we only had two neighbors. Since it's a BLM campground, you can bring your dog, which is great for the area. The sunrise was beautiful, it made for a great start to our day.
Buckhorn Draw is a great place to bring friends or family for quiet, shaded summer camping. The San Rafael Swell is a gorgeous area in Utah that hasn’t yet been overrun with tourists. Buckhorn Draw Rd has a bunch of dispersed camping spots, of all sizes. There are a few campgrounds too, so if you need a bathroom you can go use one down the road a bit. The Buckhorn Draw pictographs are a sight to see, and the Wedge isn’t far. In the other direction, Goblin Valley is nearby, and there is a ton of hiking. I love this area and make a point to visit regularly.
Campground Review: First let me say, I have stayed at this campground before and reviewed it so check out that other review for additional information as I am going to try to provide new info about the surrounding area. Horsethief is a standard BLM managed campground. It has well maintained and stocked pit toilets, an on-site camp host in the peak season, dumpsters for trash, picnic tables, metal fire pits, and marked and level tent spots. Each camp site has room for at least two vehicles and accommodates both trailers and tents. It does not have hook-ups but it is easily accessible by both pull behind trailers or RVs. This stay was in early November. It was busy during the weekend but was dead during the week. I think my husband was one of the only sites occupied during the week which makes for a quiet camping trip. It was also quite cold—dipping into the 20s at night. So if you plan to visit in October, November, or December prepare for cold even though you are in the desert. We had a little propane heater in the tent which was quite nice. One other difference between my visit in the spring and my late fall visit was it was not overly windy. There was a slight breeze on occasion but not the high winds we experienced in the spring. We love this campground and will definitely return in our multiple trips to Moab. One final thing to note, is this camp ground is either expanding or they are building another campground right across the road because of the increased demand for quality camping close to mountain biking. I don’t have an ETA on when the new loops will be open for campers but this is great news due to the increased visitors to this site.
Horsethief Campground has become our go-to campground when we are coming to Moab to mostly mountain bike. As I mention in my other review, this spot it very centrally located and you can visit Canyonlands NP, Arches NOP, and Deadhorse State Park all within a 15 minute drive. However, the real convenience of this campground is its proximity to world class mountain biking. Every time we come, we see more and more sites filled with people with their mountain bikes in tow. We did bike this trip but because of the cold, we waited to bike until it warmed up a little bit. But anyway, this campsite is so convenient to world class mountain biking and trails for all ability levels. You can ride to Horsetheif, Mag 7, Navajo Rocks, Gold Bar (via Gemini Bridges Rd which is a dirt road), and you are a 10-15 minute car ride from the Klondike, Klonzo and Bar M trails. You can also easily arrange a bike shuttle for one way trips. My husband and I were able to do a shuttle between the two of us—we dropped the Jeep off at a trail head down the road, then over biked 12 miles to the car from our campsite then drove back. Super easy and convenient and the go-to site for mountain bikers.
Product Review: As a Ranger for The Dyrt, I get the opportunity to test out gear from our awesome partners from time to time. This time, I was able to test out the Midland MXT275 MicroMobile base station. I have also had the opportunity to test out another product from Midland (the X-TALKER T51X3VP3 Two-Way Radio) which we used when testing out the base station. My husband and I installed this in our Jeep Wrangler which has been out fitted for rock crawling (hence why we are in Moab a lot). First impressions: this little unit was super easy to install and use right out of the box. My husband loves radios and communication devices and has a CB, Ham Radio, and now GMRS radio all installed in the Jeep. He was able to fit the small, and sleek device easily among all his gadgets without taking up too much space. You can hardwire the radio into the vehicle or just plug it into the cigarette lighter (12v power jack). We used the plug in so we can unplug it if we are not going to be using it for a while. One other benefit is it has a USB port which allows you to charge other devices (like your hand held radios) while driving. It has 15 channels—half of which provide a higher power transmit (since it does not have a mic gain) to improve range. It is also feels really durable considering it is a small, compact and sleek unit. We are not easy on our gear and we feel this unit will be able to take a beating.
Usage Impressions: My husband was able to test out this in a variety of situations. He tested range with his friend who was sitting at home (using a non-Midland radio) in Heber City, UT and Jeremy was driving. He was able to get about 10 miles in this situation with super clear sound and transmission. We also tested range between two moving vehicles driving on Highway 6 to Moab. The jeep obviously had the base station and I had a handheld X-talker in my car. We were able to get at least 5 miles between vehicles while both were moving and going through the winding canyons/mountain passes. We were also on the higher channels which boosts the transmission signals. One huge bonus was the volume of the speaker. It was loud enough to be heard clearly over the elevated road noise of driving a lifted Jeep at high speeds on the highway. He came through super clear on my handheld and I couldn’t detect much of the surrounding noise.
Overall evaluation: we love this little unit. It just allows us to have another means of communication when we are traveling in the backcountry and cell reception is spotty. The sound quality cannot be beat and has the same quality whether you are using another Midland radio or a different brand. How we foresee using this more in the future, is when we are backcountry car camping or hunting where we need to set up some type of base camp while we go out and explore. It will also be great when we are doing bike shuttles and people aren’t stopping at the same trail heads. If you are looking to get a non-handheld radio that has awesome range, clarity and durability for a great price—the MXT275 MicroMobile base station should be on your short list of options if not the only one.
Its only 5$ a night. It is not hot but not to cold. This is where I go to get out of the heat of Moab. Its not crowded.
Another beautiful dispersed campground site that sits in a beautiful meadow at the top of one of the busiest canyons in the country! This site along with many others in the Grizzly Gulch area of the terminus of Little Cottonwood Canyon can be reached from either the Cecret Lake Trailhead or the Lake Mary via Catherine Pass trailhead. The place we like to set up is in a cozy secluded meadow that sits directly below Mt Wolverine and Tuscarora. The hike to this site is around a mile but you can camp anywhere in the area as long as it is a half mile from any road.
In addition to having breathtaking views of Devils Castle to the south there are numerous recreational activities all within close hiking distance. Hiking up to Catherine Pass gives you access to 3 lakes with fishing in the terminus of Big Cottonwood Canyon. From the pass you can also hike the ridge to the south to reach Sunset Peak and reach Mt Wolverine and Tuscarora on the ridge to the North. Going back to the trailhead for Cecret Lake you can reach the namesake lake within a half mile which is loaded with hundreds of cute little salamanders! For the more adventurous there is climbing abound from 5 single pitch crags that surround Cecret Lake and adventurous (read: chossy) mixed multi-pitch routes that will take you to the top of Devils Castle. Would recommend you being confident at at least 11a. for even the easiest 10b route as these routes are not heavily trafficked and you WILL tear some pieces off.
The Devil’s Kitchen is a “near” backcountry campsite. I say that this is "near" backcountry because the campsite is accessible with a 4x4 vehicle. Or one can reach it by hiking in. The main attraction of the area is of course a visit to the Devil’s Kitchen and the nearby needle formations in Chesler Park. The Devil's Kitchen is an natural alcove within some of the rock formations. You'll probably spot the latrine toilet before you spot the kitchen. Just past the latrine toilet is a huge rock overhang. Pass under the overhang and you'll enter the kitchen. It is an enclosed area shaded by the tall rock walls. The temperature and climate inside the alcove is cool and noticeably different than the temperature in the surrounding plateau area which is exposed and much warmer.
This is a backcountry campsite in The Needles District of Canyonlands National Park. This is dispersed camping so there are no services nor amenities once you leave the trailhead. Leave No Trace principles apply. WAG bags required. Carry in any water that you might need because water is scarce or non-existant.
Lava Point is a First come First Serve campground. It is small so get there early. You will take Kolob Terrace Road North. This will get you away from most of the crowds near Springdale. My suggestion is get a back country pass and take you pack and tent on one of the many side trails off of Kolob Terrace Road. You will see some beautiful country and you won't have to fight the crowds for a campsite. You are also at a higher elevation so it is a little cooler than down in the main park.
This is one of the most beautiful places on earth!
You can check out my other reviews for Zion National Park. Make sure you don't get confused, there is only one south campground at Zion National Park. If you are looking for long term reservations then you need to camp at Watchman. if you can take the risk of a first come first serve campsite and you have missed your window for getting a site at Watchman, then take your chances, it is worth it. But get there early, before 7:00 a.m. The campground fills up quickly.
Zion is becoming more poular every year. Expect big crowds.
South Campground is gorgeous. It is great if you are willing to take the risk for the first come first served. I am traveling from too far away to take that risk so I always stay in Watchman. If I lived closer I would take a shot at staying in South Campground. My advice, get there early because it fills up fast!
I used my Sony Camera rather than my Iphone for these pics. I think they turned out much better than my Watchman pics.
Don't be confused when you see two Watchman campgrounds. There is really only one campground and you need to book it six months in advance. It is so beautiful and so much fun. If you want to be around some amenities though, skip Springdale and drive an hour west to St. George and make sure you stop off at In and Out Burger. Especially if you live in the midwest like me.
Zion National Park is one of my favorites. This is the second time I have been here in the last four years. This time we spent a whole week here with the kids. It was awesome but it is tough to find a spot if you don't make your reservations six moths in advance. Make sure you book it early. It fills up fast
Bryce canyon is an all around pretty awesome place. I stayed here with my giant family, and thankful this campground had a site that a could fit all of us. They have one blocked off specifically for large groups, and you can add basically all the people you want to it. I think the price goes up the more people you add though, and they cap it after like 30 people. The campground was nice, and really big. No water or electric hookups at this place. We stayed in tents, but there are RV sites too in a separate area. There are bathrooms and access to fresh water.
My favorite part about this campground is that it's located right next to some pretty awesome hiking trails. You can basically hop right on one from your campsite. My favorite trail in the park was Fairlyland Loop Trail, which wasn't too far from the campground. It had some awesome views, but it was pretty long and hot (8ish miles) so just be aware of that. Definitely worth it in my book though!
Also, even though it gets super hot in the day, it can get pretty cold here at night, even during the summer!
All around awesome place though. Hope I can visit again someday!