the dyrt
THE BEST CAMPING IN
Utah
1586 Reviews 1061 Campgrounds

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.

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Recent Reviews in Utah
Ranger Review: Midland MXT275 MicroMobile GMRS Two-Way Radio @ Horsethief

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.

This is a great campground. It gets you out of the heat of Moab.

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.

fishing spot

great spot for fishing . dont know what else people get up to but it is a lovely spot.

beautfiul spot

Absolutely stunning spot. Sites had ample space for two tents. Want to come back with more time!

Beautiful lake camping

the drive in takes a while- slow on gravel. Lake is absolutely beautiful. The vault toilets were clean and the hiking was pristine. We'll be back when its better swimming weather!

pretty spot

Nice river access and plant life. Sites are really small so if you can swing it, maybe get two and have elbow room. Water was fun and foliage was lush. We'll be back. Solid amentities= vault toilet and such.

a place to sleep but nothing to write home about

for how epic Bryce is, this place is pretty blah and overpriced. Points earned are for clean bathrooms and premises. All in all pretty dull experience. Come for the park, not for the campground.

Beautiful area with access to many lakes

Rreview coming soon!

Devil’s Kitchen

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 or Try the Back Country

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!

There is only one South Campground at Zion NP

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 Camp Ground is amazing, but it doesn't take long term reservations

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.

There is only one Watchman

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.

Book 6 Months in advance

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

cool canyon

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!

Love this place

Really love this campground! It's small but nice. Good distant between sites and it's a really beautiful place with great hiking.

Quiet spot

Nice, peaceful spot in the National Forest. Not much in the way of amenities, just a toilet. Really liked the sites being more set back in the trees.

Nice and quiet!

This spot is right off the hwy but very peaceful. Lots of great tree cover. Best part is you can have your dogs here!

Large campground

Larger campground with several loops off of the main hwy in Bryce. These campgrounds have some good privacy and good distance between sites.

Great spot

Beautiful new campsites with partial shelter. Newer part of the campground features group sites. Great access to the park and shuttles!

In the thick of it

Excellent campground but not much privacy. This is a beautiful place with some much needed shade! Some sites are close to the creek and others are right off the road. Great place to camp if you need to hit the shuttle early to start your hike!

Small But Great Location

Let me just start by saying if you are trying to make it to this spot you might want to make sure you do so early, it is very small and with only 6 spots it gets packed quickly. If trying to get here on a weekend, GOOD LUCK! I recommend weekday excursions here since you cannot reserve and it is first come first serve.

So what makes this spot so appealing?? Well to start with it is FREE!! Yes, in all the camping which you have to pay for out by Zion this one is one of the few you will find that have limited amenities and is in fat free to visit. Of course with that being said it is popular.

Not all vehicles can make it out to this site and depending on what the weather has been a smaller lower car might struggle in some places if there is wash out in the region. I made it in my small Nissan on the day I visited only to find it was already occupied.

The sites here are pretty basic, no running water at the sites at all. Pit toilets were well maintained and stocked. Each campsite was large enough for comfort from your neighbors and had a picnic table and fire ring. The camp is at a high enough elevation that it gets pretty cool up there at night. I'd say at any given time it is probably 10-20 degrees cooler than the lower areas of Zion. I had on a light jacket exploring the camp and a wind nearly cut right through me mid day.

One of my favorite things about this camp was the access it has to the West Rim Trail, you can access it quickly from this area. Along this trail you can get some of the best overlooks in the park at some of the highest points. You can also use this trail to walk almost entirely around the park from big trail to big trail.

TIPS:

  • Bring everything!! Make sure that includes lots of water because you will not find a water spigot anywhere near you and if you plan on hiking from this camp you will need it.

  • Try a solar shower here, there are great sunny spots to set up a solar shower and let it heat up midday.

  • Check weather conditions. This area has signs posted about frequent lightening, you can avoid this by simply checking the weather to see if you are at risk.

Views are unbelievable !

This is dispersed camping. No amenities provided such as table or grills. They do have rock fire rings and sign/posts identifying the campsites. There are bathrooms at the Wedge Overlook as well as a more established campground with tables provided if you’d rather do that. Views are amazing there too! What I lived about our site ( site 5) was that is was at the halfway point of the mountain bike trail. This site is at the top of a shallow drainage. Other sites are literally right on the rim…see video.

Great campground with a climb in one of the sites!

The campground is perched right along the Colorado and steep red sandstone wall. There is also a intermediate crack climb right in the campground! It also gives easy access to Arches National Park

PSA: please don't climb on the rock after a rain storm. The rock is weak and could break. If the ground usn't dust dry at the base of the climb the don't try to send

There is so much near this campground! Nearby are ~100 climbing routes both trad and sport. A little bit of all styles featuring all sandy sandstone.

Beautiful camping near the Colorado

There is so much near this campground! Nearby are ~100 climbing routes both trad and sport. A little bit of all styles featuring all sandy sandstone.

PSA: please don't climb on the rock after a rain storm. The rock is weak and could break. If the ground usn't dust dry at the base of the climb the don't try to send

The campground is perched right along the Colorado and steep red sandstone wall. There is also a intermediate crack climb right in the campground! It also gives easy access to Arches National Park

First to Review
Along the Colorado with great climbing nearby

Rreview coming soon

Along the Colorado with bouldering nextdoor!

Review coming soon

First to Review
Perfect for climbers tent canping!

Review Coming soon

Another beautiful site along the Colorado east of Moab

Review coming soon

Right by the Colorado with single and group sites

Review coming soon