Windy Park, like a lot of camp areas in Ashley National Forest is free, dispersed camping. The only rule is that you have to camp within 150 feet of a developed road. There is a 16 day camp limit for leaving your camper in the same camp spot like most of the locals from Vernal do (leave it on the mountain, and come up on the weekends, or for the hunt, etc.). There are many ATV roads, and hiking trails in the area. It's a quick drive to Flaming Gorge Reservoir. Enjoy the aspen and pine groves located throughout Ashley National Forest. Weather can be unpredictable in the Uintahs, so prepare for anything! We've had hail and snow in July!
Massey Meadows is a beautiful place to camp. Mostly wide open meadow like spaces where you just pull up your camper and park (dispersed camping). There are a lot of beautiful places you can explore, including Massey Cave. However, usage is so high that I recommend trying to camp a little lower in the Dry Fork Canyon area. The two are connected by a wonderful trail system called the Flume Trail. The Flume Trail runs next to the river, and is absolutely beautiful. It's huge for mountain biking and hiking, and offers 10 to 24 miles of trail. There are several developed campsites on both sides of the road, each with fire rings and picnic tables. I highly recommend camping in Dry Fork/Red Cloud Loop/Massey Meadows area.
We were on our way to Glacier National Park, and were tired of driving for the day. We ended up taking a random road with a camping sign that lead us down to Flaming Gorge Reservoir, and to a pretty amazing little campground! I am so glad we ended up at File Hole Canyon campground, and wish that we could have spent more than one night here! Beautiful high desert scenery, and cozy campsites with fire rings, cabanas, and picnic tables awaited us. A very friendly camp host made sure that we were all settled and had everything we needed. There were even showers (weird, tiny showers, but showers none the less). I highly recommend making the trip to Fire Hole Canyon, and staying to do some boating, fishing, and hiking.
Picturesque with it's red rock, and the La Sal mountain range in the background, Ken's Lake is a gorgeous place to pitch a tent! It's about ten miles outside of Moab, but worth the drive! We enjoyed all of the hiking that was literally right there at the campground. A stream winds it's way through, and it's perfect for soaking your feet in on a hot summer day! Enjoy a hike to Faux Falls. Remember to take your own shade, and water.
We recently backpacked to the summit of MT Whitney. On the way to the summit there are several options for overnight camping. Lone Pine Lake is your first option, about 2.8 miles from the trailhead at Whitney Portal. This is a beautiful little lake, surrounded by pines and imposing granite walls. This is the last place you can camp without a Whitney zone overnight permit. Outpost camp is your next option at mile 3.8. Flat and shady with meandering streams and a waterfall, this is a beautiful place to stop for the night. Trail Camp is located at mile 6.3. Surrounded by tall, jagged granite peaks, and edged by a beautiful alpine lake, Trail Camp is awe inspiring. Trail Camp is about 12,000 ft elevation, so be prepared to camp at high altitude. If you can swing it, taking your time to ascend slowly, and camping along the way for at least a couple of nights will make your MT Whitney experience truly unforgettable.
We stay at the cabins at Red Canyon at least once a year, always in the wintertime when there are no crowds and everything is peaceful and covered in snow. The cabins that are available in the winter time are their "Ponderosa" units. They have two full beds, a separate living area, and minimally stocked kitchenette. They all have a cozy wood burning stove, with wood provided (extra in the antler covered shed behind the restaurant). There is a covered porch that looks out over a beautiful frozen pond, and in front of every cabin is a fire ring. They groom trails in the winter time for snowshowing and cross country skiing. Some folks even ice skate on the pond. There are no TV's or phones, so bring music and games :) The restaurant is only open on Friday and Saturday nights in the winter time, but has great food and huge windows where you can watch deer eat out of the bird feeders. You may even see a moose! The best part for us is that the cabins are dog friendly.
I love camping at Red Fleet State Park for so many reasons. Surrounded by beautiful red rock and pinion pines, the beauty of the desert will take your breath away. There are fossilized dinosaur tracks in the rocks across the lake, and beautiful hiking trails for you to enjoy. One of my favorite things to do every year is to camp there during Paddlefest. They close down the lake to all motorized vehicles, so that people can enjoy paddle boarding, kayaking, and all other forms of non motorized floating. Live music, vendors, and so much more! The camp spots are limited during this time, so you must reserve quickly. All camp spots have a fire ring and covered picnic table. Some of the tent camp sites have trails down to the lake. There are also two teepees you can rent!
Last spring we snowshoed into the Colton Guard Station. What a fun experience! It's about a five mile snowshoe from Highway 40. There is a gate in the winter preventing you from going any further than the parking lot on Forest Road 020. There is a cabin and bunkhouse on the complex, both with wood burning stoves (wood provided). The cabin has a set of twin bunk beds, and a futon that folds out. The bunk house has several twin beds with mattresses. There is an old outhouse that you can use in the winter (no running water to the guard station that time of year). We had so much fun playing games by the warmth of the wood burning stove and sledding down the surrounding hills. Our four legged friend enjoyed being able to accompany us on our adventure. Remember to bring your own bedding and water.
We did a small backpacking trip from the Greendale Overlook on highway 40 to the Canyon Rim campground for the night. The hike was beautiful, crossing creeks and surrounded by ponderosa pines. It's about 4.5 miles one way.
Canyon Rim Campground is beautiful, also surrounded by ponderosa and aspen, and with a beautiful overlook of Flaming Gorge Reservoir. There are specific sites for tent camping, and plenty of RV spots. Each spot has tables and fire rings. There are vault toilets.
Our only complaint is that all of the water to the campground was shut off! No signs warning that there was no water available. This was actually awful as we had backpacked in with our dogs (who at this point were very thirsty), and brought dehydrated food that required water to make. Luckily, Red Canyon Lodge is located about a mile away. We were able to hike over and buy water. 16 small bottles of water for like 45 dollars…not ideal.
We backpacked into Grizzly Ridge Yurt for a one night stay late this last summer. What a fun and beautiful place to stay. The Yurt is situated in a clearing at about 9000 feet. It's surrounded by pine and aspen trees, and at night from the front porch you can see the lights of Vernal in the distance. There is a fire ring located just below the yurt, with plenty of fire wood provided. The yurt is well stocked with two double bunk beds, a propane cooking stove, plenty of pots and pans, and a wood burning stove which kept us TOASTY WARM all night! Remember your own bedding, plenty of water, and lighting (no electricity or water at the yurt). We thoroughly enjoyed reading stories from the guest book.
Steinaker State Park and Campground is located about five miles north of Vernal, UT. The campground is beautiful, and the campsites vary between desert vegetation, large shady cottonwoods, and sandy beaches. There is also one cabin available to rent. Hike the Eagle Crest trail located at the large group site for beautiful views of the lake, and Vernal beyond. Make Steinaker your basecamp for the many mountain biking trails just up the highway, hiking (check out Moonshine Arch), fishing, and more.