Right outside of Grand Lake, this RV park is a good place to park. With showers, electrical/water hookups, dump station, and an on-site store, it’s well supported. $32/night and there are limited tent-only sites and cabins available.
Each plot includes a grated fire ring and picnic table. Some have grassy areas (request a group spot if you want this) and some are just dirt. Moose are frequent in the area.
The owner mentioned they close at the beginning of October. They are responsive via phone.
Ready to witness what desert camping is all about? Try your luck at Willow Flat campground.
At Willow Flat, you'll experience the most awe-inspiring milky way views you've ever seen. I'm serious - you won't want to go to sleep. There are insanely clean pit toilets and recycling/trash receptacles that are cleaned daily, though no running water, so bring your own. Each campsite has a fire pit (be sure to check fire regulations - there was a ban when we went) and picnic table under a pergola (perfect for hanging hammocks), along with room for ~3+ tents and a large vehicle. There is some off-trail hiking to the west of the campsites off the road, that I'm sure is not recommended, but allows you for some really cool views of the surrounding areas. The Green River Overlook is an easy 1/2 mile walk, perfect for sunset enjoyment.
Three of us arrived on Friday of Labor Day Weekend around 2pm and all 12 campsites were full - we went back to the Green River dispersed camping in Moab (45 min drive) to camp for the night, then returned Saturday morning at 8am to reserve a campsite here. It was worth the extra driving, and we lucked out as a few spots were open. Sites are $15/night payable by cash or personal check on site.
Truly one of the best camping spots I've ever experienced.
Note: This campground is only accessible via 4x4 vehicles. Do not attempt in your sedan or lower SUV.
Bigger note: The map to this campground is wrong. Follow the directions, not the map.
The camping sites are sparsely shaded and well used- we found a lot of trash at our site. Each campsite is equipped with a fire pit, picnic table, and room for 2-3 tents. There is no water, trash, or toilets.
We got there around 9pm on a Friday (not the brightest idea) and could not find any open spots, off the road or in the campground. We camped in a field behind the parking lot for the night, and were told in the morning by a (very nice!) ranger that camping anywhere but the designated spots carries a minimum $300 fine, so we moved to a newly vacated spot. If you are going to camp at an undesignated spot, be sure to leave by 8am or earlier so as to not get yourself fined.
There are only 6 camping spots easily accessible from the parking area, along with ~4 more down by the water (about a 1/2 mile walk), and ~6 along the road. These all fill up quickly after 5pm thanks to their closeness to Boulder.
The recreation at Gross Reservoir, accessible via beach about ~1/2 mile walking from the parking lot, is delightful. You do not need a boat permit - just a life jacket on board (1 for each person). No swimming is allowed in the reservoir and there is often a ranger on the lake ensuring everyone is following that rule.
If you are late to the campsite and absolutely need to find somewhere to camp (do not start a fire, even in "rocked-in pits" that have been used before), try:
West of campsite 24 (there's a ridge with 2 primitive campsites or the field)
North of campsite 24 (there's a field)
Between campsite 24 & 25 (there's a field)
Just South of the south parking fence (there's a field)
Trying to find a campsite at 8pm on a summer Friday night? When you've exhausted all of your options around Winter Park and Grandby, come here. Here there be campsites.
Dispersed camping at its finest, drive down a dirt road for ~1 mile and look for open pull-off spots. Some sites are easily visible from the road, while some are hidden down a slope about 700 feet. Each "site" is designated by a rocked fire pit and many have room for groups of 4 or more tents. Bring bug spray to combat the mosquitoes, and your own (dry) wood, as it rains at 2pm here almost every summer day. Plenty of trees for hammocking and shade. Animals are active in the area, so keep food in your car and sleep with protection (I chose bear spray).
Be courteous to others using this road for recreation - Vasquez Ridge intersects with a few mountain bike trails and serves as a popular walk for the active seniors in the area. Closest grocery store is the Safeway in Winter Park (which closes at 11pm).
We pulled off Route 40 at 7pm on the Sunday of Labor Day Weekend and were able to nab the last camping spot. Each campsite has a place for 2 cars, a picnic table, flat places for 2-3 tents, and a fire ring with an adjustable grill. Plenty of shady trees to hang your hammock from and enough space between campsites to give you some privacy. There were many RV's and family groups set up when we camped, though noise was not an issue.
Sites are $10/night payable by cash or personal check at the entrance. There are campground hosts just as you drive in, though they were not present the night we visited. Two different park rangers came by to check on all sites in the morning (payment and fire safety, I believe). Campground offers 2 pit toilets and a trash dumpster at the entrance.
The site is close enough to the road that you can hear when cars go by, especially when they drift onto the rumble strips (which happens frequently). Bring headphones if you're a light sleeper.
Down a 30 minute dirt road sits this breathtaking park with 4 campsites. We visited on a busy weekend (labor day weekend) and we only had 1 neighbor. This made for a very quiet, relaxing stay.
Each shaded site is equipped with fire ring with attached grill, an adjacent picnic table, and spots for a maximum of 2 tents in each campsite. The skies were very dark at night, perfect for seeing shooting stars and the milky way. You can park your car abut to the site, increasing ease of access to things stored in there, and walk down to the rocky beach for some toe-dipping. Note that you are not allowed to launch boats from there (even kayaks) without a permit, as the water gets fast quickly past the beach.
Sites are $6/night at the campsite payable via personal check or with cash. River rafting trips launch from the adjacent beach daily, so you'll have company at 10am and 6pm daily for ~15 minutes.
- There is little firewood around these sites, bring your own from in town.
- Site has pit toilets, hand sanitizer, recycling/trash, but no running water.
- Closest grocery store is the Walmart in Vernal, UT.
- Bring bug spray! The mosquitoes are vicious here.
- Road is easily accessible by sedans, SUV's etc…just not in the rain (the road will easily wash out).
- Be on the lookout for the house about 10 minutes away from the main road that is equipped with its own residential water slide…that was a fun discovery!