Alan B.
Salt Lake City, UT
Joined June 2018
@idahomefotography
Great Secluded Spot out in the Boonies!

This is one of my favorite spots to camp out in the west desert!  Marjum Canyon lies just north of Sawtooth Mountain and the enormous cliff of Notch Peak which rises out of the valley floor 2000' feet!  Within Marjum Canyon itself there are also numerous single and multi-pitch climbing routes There are a couple of small pull-offs of the main canyon road that leads to very primitive campsites and even a hobbit hole that was walled in by a hermit that lived in the area for 20 years!  There are no amenities here so bring all the water you need and haul out all of your trash.  There is also no cell service out here so bring a spare tire, let someone know where you're going, and have an emergency beacon just in case!

Typical KOA but next to Other Worldly Salt Flats and Casinos!

Is pretty typical for a KOA except for the location!  This KOA has all the usual amenities: playground, showers, flush toilets, RV hookups, a pool, and wifi.  Some convenievces can also be bought at the main registration cabin.  In addition to the usual RV sites there are also camping cabins and "tent" sites (which I do not recommend).  There are a couple of unique things about this KOA in that it has shuttles to the nearby casinos and is also a 5 minutes drive from the world famous Bonneville Salt Flats where numerous world speed records have been set.

First to Review
Amazing Sunsets but no Shade

Hands down the best campground for sunset views on all of Antelope Island!  The sunsets in the fall, and winter are the best as the bugs have gone down considerably and therefore you won't get eaten alive!  Hues of all different kinds of colors reflect off the perfect mirror surface of the Great Salt Lake and give you an endless sunset much like at the Bonneville Salt Flats.  I would have given this campground 5 stars if there was any shade whatsoever but there isn't any!

This campground is pretty primitive in that there is no drinking water available and only vault toilets available with picnic tables and a fire ring at each campsite.  There are only 20 sites with 2 equestrian sites that go for 40$ a night.  The closest drinking water is at Bridger Bay Campground and there is also a grill on the island that is open during the summer.

Dispersed Camping w/ Amazing Views!

If you don't plan on spending some time exploring, climbing or doing some photography on or around Looking Glass Rock, then there's not much reason to take the dirt road out to this spot.  The road is dirt and well maintained until you take a cutoff to your left right as you're getting to the western boundary of the rock form.  There are primitive campgrounds scattered all over the area surrounding the butte.  There are some sites that do require a high clearance/4WD vehicle in order to get to as you'll be driving over uneven slick rock and some moderately deep sand.  There are no amenities so bring everything you need and then pack it out!

As for adventures we did while in the area, we visited the always popular Wall Street climbing area to the west of Moab on Potash Rd.  If that's too busy for ya you can also go a little further up the road and explore around Day Canyon where we also climbed the tower in the pictures, Boognish Tower.  And of course if you're looking to just spend an afternoon or a night around the arch then the East Rib Route on Looking Glass Rock is an amazingly easy beginner climb (albeit slightly run out) that has a  spectacular ~120' completely free hanging rappel through the window at the top of the route.  Certainly the best arch rappel I've done in the area and definitely one of the more unique beginner climbs in the Moab area.

Like no Other Campground You've Been to!

This is one of our absolute favorite campgrounds in all of Utah!  Not only are you surrounded by the tallest desert towers in the entire US!  The "Titan" stands at just over 700' tall and is surrounded by other towers shooting into the hundreds of feet as well!  Not only do you have the Fisher Towers, but the large sandstone mesas and towers to the west are also very visible.

The campground itself is nothing special amenity wise.  It is a small CG that is first come first served for 5 sites that hold 10 people max and cost $15.  These sites are tent only so no RVs.  There are picnic tables and metal fire rings, along with vault toilets, but there are no other amenities.  So bring all your water and pack out everything.

While in the Fisher Towers area you can hike the 2.2 mile out and back trail that leads to a great viewpoint of The Titan!  In nearby Onion Creek there is also some fun off-roading to be had.  If you're looking for "quality" desert climbing then these giant stacks of mud are perfect!  Some of the less popular routes definitely have pieces break off on a regular basis.  Most of the short approach and really popular routes like Ancient Art are pretty solid rock though.  Since Ancient Art was crazy busy (6 parties in front of us) we decided to do 1 of the 2 routes up Lizard Tower, which is also the closest to the parking lot haha.  On a serious note, pretty much all routes here are of a serious trad/aid nature so please be cautious when climbing and know your limits!

Big Campground by the Creek!

This campground much like the others in this canyon is situated along the banks of the South Fork of the Ogden River.  Before you get to Causey Reservoir and Weber Memorial Park, this is the biggest campground you'll encounter.  There are 35 single sites @23$ and 8 double sites @46$.  Some campsites are reservable and some are walk in sites.  A picnic table and metal fire ring is at each site along with vault toilets and drinking water scattered throughout the campground.  The campsites in the teens seemed to be the closest to the creek

As for activities to do in the area, there are plenty of options!  Right by most of the campsites you can fly fish or set off on a tubing adventure down the Ogden River!  It is required that you have a life jacket before setting off.  If you're looking for bigger accumulations of water you can either head back down canyon to the huge Pineview Reservoir or head up canyon to the steep walled Causey Reservoir!

Nice River Access Right off the Road

A great medium sized campground that is halfway up the canyon on the way to Causey Reservoir.  It is tucked away from the road near the Upper Meadows Campground and therefore feels very serene next to the river.  There are 14 single sites at the typical for the canyon 23$.  and 3 double sites for 46$.  You can leave most of your main amenities at home as the campground is fairly well equipped with vault toilets and drinking water spigots scattered throughout the campground.  Each site also has a sturdy picnic table and a reinforced fire ring.  All sites are first come first served so get here early on weekends or holidays if you don't want a spot near the road at the other campgrounds!

First to Review
Next to the Creek and set back from the Road

Quaint little campground situated on the south side of the river away from the road.  You can get to this campground by crossing the same bridge you would for getting to the Lower Meadows Campground and turning left immediately after the bridge.  There are only 9 single sites @ 23$ and most are close to the river.  Since they are all single sites big RVs will not fit but a small trailer probably will.  The campground has vault toilets and drinking water like the other CGs in the canyon as well as concrete fire rings, picnic tables, and a prep serving table at each campsite.

As for recreation in the area you have a choice between 2 amazing reservoirs!  There is the huge Pineview Reservoir that is good for boating and Causey Reservoir which is further up canyon and whose steep walls is more suited for deep water solo climbing!  There is also great fishing all along the river and someone created a little rock bath in the middle of the river for you to chill out in during the hot summer!

Plenty of Recreational Opportunities Next to Causey Reservoir

This is a Huge campground and day use area, with 3 group sites, that is right next to Causey Reservoir!  The park/campground is maintained by Weber County and has plenty of amenities along with additional bonuses at the group sites!  There are 58 single sites and 3 very large group sites.  There are picnic tables and fire rings at both of the types of sites but the group sites additionally have electricity as well as horseshoe rings and volleyball nets.  There are also flushing toilets and trash for the whole area.

For recreation nearby you have very easy access to the beautiful and sprawling Causey Reservoir with its steep limestone walls.  There is some high quality climbing nearby but most of the bolted routes are advanced to expert.  If you're just looking to have fun climb/scrambling around you can do some deep water soloing on the south side of the reservoir.  If you're looking to recreate in other ways you can also boat around on the reservoir and fish or fish from the shores or in the south fork of the Ogden River.

Great Campground that is also a Day Use Area

A campground better suited for large gatherings rather than secluded getaways.  It also serves as a nice place to have a picnic for a day trip as they also have spots specifically for that.  Other than the day sites they also have 9 single sites, 6 double sites, 1 triple site, and 3 group sites.  There's more non standard sites than there are normal single sites which gives you an idea of how many people would be in the area if everything were booked up on a busy weekend or holiday.  As with the rest of the sites in the canyon there are picnic tables and fire rings as well as vault toilets and drinking water spread throughout the compound.  There is also a trail system to the south that leads to river access for tubing or fishing.

Great Sites with Space between neighbors

While a little bit larger than its Upper Meadows twin it still sits on the south side of the river away from the road and therefore offers a bit of natural tranquility.  The campground is about half the size of the Perception Park Compound but will hold maybe 1/6 of the people so you'll have lots of distance between your neighbors.  You can choose from 17 single sites or 6 double sites @ 23$ and 46$ respectively.  Like the other campgrounds in the canyon the amenities are fairly primitive with fire rings and picnic tables at each site with drinking water spigots and vault toilets scattered throughout the playground.

For fun things to do in the area there is Causey Reservoir which is only a few miles up canyon!  It is a wonderful spot to kayak, canoe, or SUP around and also to access the cliffs for some deep water solo climbing!

First to Review
Nice Pools to Soak in Creek, but Close to the Highway

The first campground you encounter while heading up canyon and also one of the smallest.  Right when you pull into the campground you see a large pole structure that has 3 info plaques about you guessed it! Magpies!  This is a good site for tents and for vehicles with small trailers as there are 6 single sites and 3 double site @ 23$ and 46$ respectively.  There are concrete fire rings and picnic tables along with 2 prep tables at each campsite as well as drinking water spigots and vault toilets throughout the campground.

For fun things to do in the area look no further than the large Pineview Reservoir!  Since the campground is low in the canyon it is easy to head the rest of the way out and make it to one of the reservoir's many marinas or beaches.  It's a great place to boat around and fish in or wake board or water ski in if that's your thing!  The beaches also make it easy to lounge about or fish from shore.

First to Review
Nice Little CG close tothe Creek but also the Highway

Is the 2nd campground heading up canyon and is also the smallest campground in the canyon.  While this is the smallest campground in the canyon half of the sites in this little loop are really close to the road and therefore have a lot of noise associated with that.  The ones closer to the river, however, are great and have tent spots nestled away right next to the river.  there are 5 single sites and 1 double site with picnic tables, fire rings, and prep/serving tables at each site.  There is also drinking water and 2 vault toilets at the entrance to the campground.

For close recreation Pineview and Causey Reservoir are about equal distance and offer great respite from the sun with different experiences to explore!  At the mountain, cliff lined Causey Reservoir, kayaking and deep water free climbing are popular activities.  While at the larger Pineview Reservoir boating and water sports along with relaxing on the beach are more common activities, due to the gentle slopes of the reservoir.

Great Options next to the Reservoir

This is a huge campground that sits on the south side of Pineview Reservoir that has a multitude of options for camping and day trips as well as a marina.  The first Forest Service Campground you'll encounter heading up Ogden Canyon and the only major campground on the south side of Pineview.  There are 58 single sites for 28$ as well as additional tent sites that are cheaper for 21$.  There are also 9 double sites and 4 group sites along with parking for boat trailers and day use for picnic and beach access.  Every site has a metal fire ring and a varying amount of picnic tables.  There is a small convenience store kin the reservation hut as well as vault toilets and drinking water spigots spread throughout the campground.

For fun things to do in the area look no further than Pineview Reservoir just to the north!  From chilling on the beach to fishing from shore or swimming.  There are many options for easy, cheap recreation direct from camp.  There is also a boat launch ramp right in the campground that makes it easy to spend the day motor boating around the reservoir.  Just down canyon there is also a decent amount of decent climbing on some good to high quality quartzite rock.

Ranger Review: Red Ledge Free Rein Jacket in and Around the Valles Caldera

Campground Review: 

Imagine 1.25 Ma ago an eruption blew apart the landscape of Northern New Mexico that would rival the shear volume erupted by the world famous Yellowstone hotspot!  Jemez Falls and its namesake campground are the closest, largest, and most developed CG to the Valles Caldera proper and the entrance to the caldera's access roads.  The Jemez Falls CG is more developed than the nearby primitive (dispersed) sites that surround the flanks of the caldera proper, this CG offers 50 single sites and 2 double sites, $10 and $50 respectively.  Most of the sites can accommodate RVs and trailers up to 40' in length with good options for tent camping as well.  Each site has the usual metal fire ring, along with picnic tables and a paved driveway/parking area.  You can reserve sites from mid May through Mid September.

Even if you plan to stay here for a couple weeks (which is the limit) you'll have more than enough to keep you preoccupied!  If you want to drive around and hike or fish in the caldera proper then you will need to go to the Valles Caldera Visitors Center and buy a pass.  They typically cost $25 but when we visited during the International Balloon Fiesta the fee was waived.  If they are charging when you arrive, you can also use your National Parks Pass to get entrance.  Be sure to arrive early on the weekends as they restrict the # of permits they hand out.

Now with all this exposed rock you know there's going to be some amazing climbing!  All of the rock in the immediate area was created by the caldera and related volcanic and magmatic activity in the area in the past few million years.  This gives you the opportunity to climb on some "bulletproof" welded tuff (hardened volcanic ash) much like what exists at the world famous Smith Rock State Park in Oregon.  If you want to find out more about the interesting geology of the area you can look Here

Product Review:

Being a Ranger for the Dyrt allows us to test and review gear from time to time!  This time we got to test out the Men's Free Rein Jacket by Red Ledge.

Pros:

  • First thing I want to say about this jacket is that it is super cheap for a rain jacket this rugged and with this many features!  It was only ~90$ after shipping and is comparable to some of my other jackets that were 2-3x as much! 
  • I also really liked the mesh fabric on the inner portion of the breast pockets.  It added another dimension of breath ability to the jacket to prevent condensation from building up on the inside.  This was a nice addition to the gusseted armpits flaps to help air out.
  • The last thing I really liked about this jacket was the amount of high-vis color options you had to choose from!  I went with the Hi-Vis Orange which is close to a hunters orange and came in very handy as there was active hunting while we were hiking in the Valles Caldera.

Cons:

  • There were only a couple of things that we thought could have been improved.  The first was to have the armpit openings be meshed on the inside to prevent it from opening wide up.  We really liked that feature in the breast/side pockets and wished it had been incorporated into the armpits as well.
  • The other thing was the inability to zip the jacket from the top or bottom, which would have allowed you to kind of blouse the bottom of the jacket.  

Score: 4/5

  • While other jackets have more features, this is a great, durable rain jacket at a price point that is reasonable and affordable for most.  This was a great jacket to test and I anticipate using it for many more rainstorms and windy belays in the future.
Not a Campground but Offers Amazing Access!

This is one of the best day use areas that we visited while on a 2 day tour in and around the Valles Caldera!  It has over 250 climbing routes spread out along the East Fork of the Jemez River with something for every level of climber!  The belay areas are nice and flat and the approach will at most take you an hour to get to the furthest walls.  Some of the climbs even allow for setting up top ropes from the tops of the cliffs.  You can access the cattle wall easily from the east parking lot but if you want to walk along the creek then use the parking lot that is to the west.  If you plan on staying overnight then the closest developed campground is the Jemez Falls CG just up the road to the west.

Great Spot for Free Camping before the Caldera!

This is a nice secluded dispersed campsite on the eastern flanks of the Valles Caldera.  It's the closest CG to Sante Fe along the 4 before it enters the caldera proper.  While most of the trees in this area were burnt by fires less than 10 years ago, it still provides great views of the valley below and the highest mountains in all of New Mexico!  The campground has no amenities so bring everything you'll need and bring along a high clearance vehicle if you plan on heading up the road beyond the campsites that are right off the pavement to the right.

Besides exploring the caldera there are plenty of amazing things to do in nearby Sante Fe!  Our favorite attraction was the MeowWolf permanent art exhibit.  It's an absolutely amazing surreal piece of art that you walk through and interact.  I cannot stress enough how much you should visit because in addition to being an art pillar in New Mexico they also contribute to local and soon regional art and philanthropic endeavors.

First to Review
Right Next to the Creek and the Best Climbing in the Stansbury Mountains

Stumbled upon this campground while fishing around at Grantsville Reservoir and decided to head up South Willow Canyon to review all these unreviewed campgrounds!  While the campground itself is officially closed for the season you could probably still camp here until the dirt road gets back enough that they close the gate towards the beginning of the canyon.  The main attraction for this and the Lower Narrows CG's is the extremely close proximity of amazing water carved bulletproof limestone climbing!  The Narrows climbing in South Willow Canyon is the premier HARD climbing spot for those in SLC that want to test their grit and push grades.  The routes here go up to 5.14a with very few routes under 5.11, although you can find moderates elsewhere in the canyon.  The 5.14a was but up by world renowned climber Chris Sharma and has been sent by other pros in the area like Jonathan Siegriest who claims it as "one of the top 5 5.14's in Utah."

Now enough about the absolutely amazing climbing and on to the actual campground!  This is one of 2 campgrounds that has very large group sites, so if you're coming here with a mob then this is one of the places to check out!  The group sites cost $50 and $90 and can hold 30 and 50 people respectively.  There are also 6 single sites @ $15 a night.  During the peak season May-Sept you can reserve the group sites on the recreation.gov website but at all other times they are first come first serve.  Like all the other campgrounds in the canyon you also need to bring your own water and trash bags.

First to Review
Great Views of Deseret Peak at the End of the Road CG

A wonderful place to set up camp for a week for a week or to use as a basecamp to climb the high peaks that surround the terminus of the South Willow Canyon road!  On the way into the campground you get a great view of the rugged 11,000 foot Deseret Peak that looms over the campsites.  While you can't really see it from most of the campgrounds, the serenity afforded by the trees and distance between the sites is more than enough to satisfy most outdoors people.  For those that want to get a little closer to the peak, there is a 7 mile one way trail to the top of Deseret Peak that offers amazing views of the Great Salt Lake Valley!You can see all the way to the northern end of the lake as well as beyond the Bonneville Salt Flats into Nevada.

As for the campground itself it is fairly primitive and is very much like all of the other campgrounds in the canyon.  It is however a little bit larger, having 12 single sites for $15 and a double site for $31.  Like the other campgrounds you also need to bring your own water and trash bags as those amenities are not supplied.  There are fire rings and picnic tables at every campsite and enough room for 1 car to park off of the dirt road.  Another thing that is a little unique about this campground is that the stay limit is 7 days instead of the usually 14 that I see at most places

Beautiful Creek Access w/ Expert Level Climbing Routes a Stones Throw Away

Let me start off by saying the other review for this CG is about 250 miles off target.  The Narrows CG the other person is talking about is located in Zion National Park near St. George/Springville in southern Utah.  There are no soaring sandstone walls here!  There are however amazing overhanging water sculpted limestone cliffs that contain some of the hardest climbing that the west desert of Utah has to offer!  There are a decent amount of routes on either side of the road with the majority of the routes being near the Upper Narrows CG. 

This CG is setup in much the same way as the Upper.  There are metal fire rings and picnic tables at each of the campsites with a vault toilet within a couple minutes walk from any of the sites.  There are only 3 sites and there are no water or trash facilities so bring all you need and then pack it all out!  The creek offers a nice respite from the heat in the summer and would probably be decent fishing as well.  I only saw a couple trout while wandering around but I'm sure there are more!