Camping in Utah (15 Best Sites in 2023)
In my opinion, camping in Utah is unmatched by most other U.S. states and is well worth the expedition. I mean, what better way to get your camping fill than by sleeping between wind-sculpted sandstone cliffs or next to the gorged-out rushing snake river?
I was born and raised in the beautiful Southwest and have spent many hours tent, van, motorhome, and cowgirl camping in Utah. Whether you’re a camping regular or looking to try it out for the first time, I can’t wait to share my insider spots. This list of Utah camping spots, many near some of the best things to do in Utah, truly can’t be beaten!
Table of Contents
- 15 Best Places to Go Camping In Utah
- Fruita Campground, Capitol Reef National Park
- Devils Garden Campground, Arches National Park
- BLM Land, Meadow
- The Needles Campground, Canyonlands National Park
- Sand Island Campground
- Gold Bar Group Campground, Moab
- Watchman Campground, Zion National Park
- Sunset Campground, Bryce Canyon National Park
- Bridger Bay Campground, Antelope Island State Park
- Goblin Valley State Park
- Coral Pink Sand Dunes
- Mirror Lake Campground
- Gooseneck Campground
- Kayenta Campground, Dead Horse Point State Park
- Mount Timpanogos Campground
- FAQs About Camping in Utah
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15 Best Places to Go Camping In Utah
Fruita Campground, Capitol Reef National Park
A quiet campground within perfect proximity to the main national park features.
🗺️ Distance from Moab: 2 hours, 20 minutes | Google Maps | Website | Reservations: online reservations | Amenities: picnic tables, fire rings, electrical hookups, dump station, potable water
Slip away from busy park crowds with a peaceful stay at Capitol Reef’s Fruita Campground. This semi-shaded, grassy campground is between canyon wall fortresses in the heart of the dense national park.
The Goosenecks Trail, the historical inscriptions of the Capitol Gorge Trail, and other top Utah hiking trails are within walking distance of Fruita Campground. Visitors are able to connect more with nature and enjoy their surroundings thanks to the absence of cell service within the park, a blessing and a curse.
As one of the least visited Utah national parks, you’re almost guaranteed to have the campground to yourself, especially in the winter. This is my personal favorite time to visit Moab and the surrounding areas for a more primitive, intimate relationship with the national park.
Devils Garden Campground, Arches National Park
The sole campground in Arches NP has spotty cell service but ample desert views.
🗺️ Distance from Moab: 20 minutes | Google Maps | Website | Reservations: online reservations | Amenities: flush water, drinking toilets, picnic tables, fire rings
Arches National Park is one of my favorite things to do in Moab. The quiet beauty of the national park and its red sandstone towers, spires, and arches contribute greatly to its appeal.
Devils Garden Campground is littered with local Utah juniper and pinyon pine as well as surrounding desert cacti and brilliant desert wildflowers, giving campers a true taste of desert living.
As the only established campground in the park, campsites fill up quickly. Be sure to reserve your stay ahead of time to secure a spot. Staying in the thick of Arches National Park is ideal for travelers who like to take their time or hikers hoping for an alpine start on the nearby hiking trails.
BLM Land, Meadow
Primitive free camping next to a most scenic desert hot spring.
🗺️ Distance from Provo: 1 hour, 40 minutes | Google Maps | Reservations: N/A | Amenities: N/A
Why go out of your way to visit a tiny town of 300 residents in middle Utah you ask? Why, to soak in Meadow Hot Springs of course! I highly recommend adding Meadow Hot Springs, one of the most beautiful Utah hot springs, to every traveler’s itinerary, no matter the duration.
Meadow Hot Springs is technically on private land but the owners typically allow camping, as long as soakers leave no trace. It’s not a rarity to encounter several other Sprinter Vans overnighting it at Meadow either.
Pitch a tent or find a level spot for your campervan at Meadow Hot Springs, a beautiful prairie-like destination backdropped by towering mountains and vast open country.
The Needles Campground, Canyonlands National Park
A campsite with giant gorge-ous views.
🗺️ Distance from Moab: 1 hour, 30 minutes | Google Maps | Website | Reservations: online reservations spring-fall; first-come, first-serve in the winter | Amenities: trash, amphitheater, on-site staff, seasonal potable water
Camping overnight in Canyonlands National Park is an experience like no other in Utah. There are views of the empty expanse of desert and sandstone formations from almost every campsite, the perfect place to view a sunset.
The remote southern portion of Canyonlands features The Needles Campground. It provides campers with an isolated desert experience close to top hiking trails and viewpoints like Confluence Overlook, Druid Arch, the Joint Trail, and Chesler Park.
Sand Island Campground
A campground right on a scenic Utah river that’s ideal for fishing enthusiasts.
🗺️ Distance from Mexican Hat: 20 minutes | Google Maps | Website | Reservations: first-come, first-serve | Amenities: drinking water, vault toilets, picnic tables, fire rings, boat launch
Camp right on Utah’s San Juan River for early morning fishing access. Petroglyphs dot the San Juan River’s shores right next to the campsite, another contending factor for choosing Sand Island Campground as your resting place in southeastern Utah.
Don’t forget to bring the camping essentials!
Gold Bar Group Campground, Moab
A quiet red rock fortress along one of the most scenic stretches of the Colorado River.
🗺️ Distance from Moab: 15 minutes | Google Maps | Website | Reservations: online reservations | Amenities: fire grates, picnic tables, vault toilets, shade shelters
Slip away from society and find refuge at Gold Bar Group Campground in Moab, Utah. This campground is just a short drive down the scenic Potash Road across from Arches National Park and is a favorite local place to camp.
Gold Bar Group Campground serves as a group site during the peak summer months but is virtually empty during the winter. It appeals to solo campers with 4WD (if visiting during a recent storm).
There are also nearby individual site campgrounds like Kings Bottom Campground and Jaycee Campground, both with similar views of the Colorado River only steps away.
Watchman Campground, Zion National Park
Enjoy a rugged camping experience in the heart of Utah’s most popular national park.
🗺️ Distance from St. George: 1 hour | Google Maps | Website | Reservations: online reservations | Amenities: electrical hookups, group sites, picnic tables, fire rings, shade shelters
You will want to reserve your stay in Watchman Campground as soon as reservations are public on Recreation.gov. As one of the most popular campsites in one of the most popular Utah national parks, it can be challenging to score an overnight stay at Watchman Campground.
Located inside Zion National Park, this campground offers both tent camping and RV camping up to 40 feet. The views here are stunning as the site is set between stratigraphic sandstone walls. Hiking and biking trails are within walking distance of this campground and chances for spotting local wildlife are doubled with a stay in the park.
Sunset Campground, Bryce Canyon National Park
A campground photogenically located within walking distance of Bryce Canyon hoodoo spires.
🗺️ Distance from St. George: 2 hours, 15 minutes | Google Maps | Website | Reservations: online reservations | Amenities: flush toilets, drinking water, picnic tables, fire rings, laundry, showers
Prolong your stay in stunning Bryce Canyon with an overnighter at Sunset Campground. This way, you have more time to explore the national park and not have to skimp on top trails. I recommend spending one night in Bryce Canyon and one night in Zion National Park for the ultimate southern Utah trip.
Sapping Ponderosa Pines tower over the campground, providing sweet, coveted shade in the summer months. Both tents and RVs are welcome at Sunset Campground, limited to 14 consecutive days.
📚Recommended Reading: Best California RV Parks
Bridger Bay Campground, Antelope Island State Park
A citadel on the water, this campground is surrounded by 360-degree lake views.
🗺️ Distance from Salt Lake City: 50 minutes | Google Maps | Website | Reservations: online reservations or first-come, first-serve | Amenities: fire rings, picnic tables, pit toilets
Islands in Utah? As odd as it may sound, there are actually a few islands surrounding the Great Salt Lake in northern Utah. Antelope Island State Park is among the most scenic of them in the Southwestern state.
Bridger Bay Campground is the perfect place to find refuge and escape from big city crowds. Besides a few Utah locals and resident island bison, you’re unlikely to encounter many other tourists, especially in the winter, making Bridger Bay Campground one of my top favorites.
Goblin Valley State Park
A campground that seldom receives overwhelming crowds perfect for slot canyoneering in peace.
🗺️ Distance from Moab: 1 ½ hours | Google Maps | Website | Reservations: first-come, first-serve | Amenities: picnic tables, fire rings, shade shelters
Just when you thought Utah couldn’t get any better, a trip to Goblin Valley State Park changed your mind. It’s easily one of my favorite places in Utah. The $45 fee per night includes the park entrance and is well worth the extra pocket change.
Goblin Valley State Park is an ideal place for canyoneers due to the sheer number of slot canyons available in this backcountry wilderness spot. The remote location between the Moab national parks and Capitol Reef National Park makes it less traveled and highly preserved.
Coral Pink Sand Dunes
If ATVing and off-roading are your go-to recreational activity, then this is the campground for you.
🗺️ Distance from Kanab: 30 minutes | Google Maps | Website | Reservations: online reservations | Amenities: picnic tables, pit toilets, trash, fire rings
Camping at Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park is ideal for travelers with ATVs and desert rats alike. The warm pink sand of the state park invites four-wheelers to stay a while and shred down the dunes on a vacation that’s not easy to forget.
Single sites without hookups are only $25 and $40 for water and electric hookups. The affordable prices appeal to families from all over the Southwest.
Mirror Lake Campground
A high-altitude campground with few amenities but many great surrounding hiking trails.
🗺️ Distance from Salt Lake City: 30 minutes | Google Maps | Website | Reservations: | Amenities: boat ramp, tent & trailer camping, picnic tables, toilets, drinking water
This primitive campground is surrounded by the High Uintas Wilderness right on the shores of Mirror Lake. The Mirror Lake alpine campground is situated at 10,400 feet, so bear in mind the possibilities of altitude sickness and be prepared by drinking a lot of water.
Hiking and fishing are the top activities in the area but rest and relaxation are also excellent ways to pass time by Mirror Lake. Leave your stresses in the city for a mind-clearing retreat to the Mirror Lake wilderness.
👉 My Favorite Gear: I never tent camp in Utah without my Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XLite Sleeping Pad. The pad can even be paired with a lighter foam pad to function as a snow-suited sleeping pad.
A primitive campground teetering on the edge of a river drop-off with very limited space and out-of-this-world views.
🗺️ Distance from Monument Valley: 55 minutes | Google Maps | Website | Reservations: first-come, first-serve | Amenities: picnic tables, fire rings
Gooseneck Campground is one of the most beautiful campgrounds in Utah. Perched right on a cliff overlooking the deep gorge and ever-curving river below, Gooseneck Campground is sure to be one of your new favorite camping experiences in Utah.
With only 8 established primitive campsites, I recommend getting to the campground early to snag a spot. While activities in the area are few and far between, the view itself is well worth the trip. Gooseneck Campground is open year-round but check weather conditions beforehand for a smooth trip, or check out our best time to visit Utah guide.
Kayenta Campground, Dead Horse Point State Park
A remote campground perfect for off-roading excursions.
🗺️ Distance from Moab: 40 minutes | Google Maps | Website | Reservations: online reservations | Amenities: picnic tables, fire rings, pit toilets
Just down the road from Canyonlands National Park, Kayenta Campground is one of the top places to stay in Moab to avoid tourist crowds. Campers prefer staying in Kayenta for its easy access to mountain biking trails, scenic overlooks, and plentiful hiking trails.
Enjoy scenic views of both the nearby La Sal Mountains and the Colorado River below.
Mount Timpanogos Campground
An affordable alpine camping spot heavy on epic mountain views.
🗺️ Distance from Provo: 30 minutes | Google Maps | Website | Reservations: online reservations | Amenities: picnic tables, fire rings, flush toilets
Stay amid towering pines in the Wasatch Mountains just outside of Provo, Utah. Swap red rock Navajo Sandstone for mountain crags and the sweet scent of pine at the Mount Timpanogos Campground for a versatile Utah camping trip.
This is also the best place to stay near the Aspen Grove Trail to the Mount Timpanogos summit. The campground sits at 7,600 feet and may be closed due to heavy snow in the winter months. Visit in the summer for the best possible experience.
FAQs About Camping in Utah
Can you just camp anywhere in Utah?
Camping is allowed on most public land in Utah for up to 15 consecutive days. Some areas may be restricted to mere 7-day stays, so be sure to do your research beforehand to not get kicked out.
Can you camp in Utah’s national parks?
There are campgrounds in Utah’s five national parks. Most require a modest fee and are open year-round, with fully-booked campgrounds during the spring and summer months and near-empty campgrounds during the off-season.
Is Utah good for camping?
Utah is one of the top Southwestern states for camping. The sights and surroundings are unbeatable, free public land is widely available, and national park campgrounds offer some of the most serene experiences in the state.
How much does it cost to camp at Utah’s parks?
Most tent sites in Utah’s national parks are $20 per night and RV sites are typically $30. RV sites are usually $35 per night at Utah state parks and tent sites cost $20.
What should I pack for camping in Utah?
Specific camping essentials depend on the season but you won’t want to forget a tent, sleeping bag, sleeping pad, water pump, and a rain jacket when you camp in Utah. For more, see our complete Utah packing checklist.
You’re now fully equipped to start camping in Utah! Don’t forget to give our camping in New Mexico guide a read to continue your primitive Southwestern experience.
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