Millions of visitors flock to Utah’s amazing natural landmarks and cultural attractions, so there’s no shortage of campgrounds to be found. “The Morman State” is one of the best places for RVers and tent campers looking for a one-of-a-kind view from their campsite. Arches, Canyonlands, and Bryce National Parks have campgrounds open year-round for those willing to brave any kind of weather, from high heat to freezing cold.
As the most populous destination in Utah, Salt Lake City makes a great base camp for exploring the state’s many natural landmarks and manmade attractions. There are numerous campgrounds close to town, suitable for both RVs and tent campers. The Wasatch Mountains create a beautiful backdrop to Salt Lake’s downtown skyline. Encompassing this mountain range …
Top Utah Campgrounds by City
Salt Lake City, Park City, Moab, and Saint George are among the most popular destinations for campers throughout the year. Given Utah’s usually drier climate and southern location in America’s Mountain West, even during the wintertime, there are campgrounds welcoming tourists. Consider hitting some of its world-renowned national parks during these camping off-seasons.
Where To Go Camping in Utah
There are few better outdoor playgrounds or places better to go camping than in Utah. The “Beehive State” has long been synonymous with year-round adventure from the trails to the slopes and continues to be on travelers’ bucket lists.
Destinations like Moab and St. George attract tent campers and RVers throughout the four seasons. Utah is one of the prettiest and most unique states in terms of natural landmarks, so you really can’t go wrong anywhere here.
Best Times to Go Camping in Utah
You can camp year-round in Utah, like many Western states, if you plan accordingly. Utah summers are hot and with varying humidity levels, making for less-than-ideal hiking conditions throughout much of the state, especially in the national parks.
Northern Utah is the place to be during the summer, as the higher elevations of northern Utah lead to more moderate summer temperatures. For reference, the state capital, Salt Lake City, rarely gets above 90 degrees during a typical summer.
While the hotspots (no pun intended) are the national parks, the peak season isn’t the ideal time to visit. Since all of Utah’s Mighty Five national parks are in the southern portion of the state, camping here tends to be quite warm. The yearly averages vary, of course, from park to park.
While you can visit any of the national parks during summer, be wary of monsoon season from mid-July to mid-September, which brings flash floods. While it’s fairly rare to run into a flash flood, it’s far from impossible, so routinely check the forecast.
Fall is the ideal time to visit Utah’s national parks, and spring is a close second. Fall and spring temperatures tend to be the most comfortable, with moderately high temperatures and usually little humidity. As a bonus, you can miss much of the summer traffic in the national parks this way.
In wintertime, travelers can enjoy off-season hiking and camping in southern Utah if well-prepared. Temperatures do get well below freezing overnight, so pack your cold-weather gear.
National Park Service Sites in Utah
There are 17 National Park Service sites (NPS) in Utah, with 10 of them offering camping. All of the Mighty Five are represented among the NPS sites here that have epic campgrounds.
Note that Dinosaur National Monument has six total campgrounds, with three located on the Utah side of the park (the other three cross the border into Colorado). If you don’t want to venture into the Centennial State, make sure you get a site at either Split Mountain, Green River, or Rainbow Park Campground.
- Arches National Park
- Bryce Canyon National Park
- Canyonlands National Park
- Capitol Reef National Park
- Cedar Breaks National Monument
- Dinosaur National Monument (three campgrounds are on the Utah side of the park)
- Glen Canyon National Recreation Area
- Hovenweep National Monument
- Natural Bridges National Monument
- Zion National Park
National Forests in Utah
Utah has every type of federal land you can think of, including a robust national forest system. The state has eight total national forests, though two of them are mainly in Idaho. For campers wanting to explore more than just the southern portion of Utah, about half of the state’s national forests are in the northern section.
- Ashley National Forest (a small portion of this forest extends into Wyoming)
- Dixie National Forest
- Fishlake National Forest
- Manti-La Sal National Forest (a small portion of this forest is in western Colorado)
- Uinta National Forest
- Wasatch-Cache National Forest
- Caribou-Targhee National Forest (mainly in Idaho)
- Sawtooth National Forest (mainly in Idaho)
Best Free Camping in Utah
Like most Western states, free camping in Utah is abundant. Roughly two-thirds of the state is federal land, with the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) responsible for about 65% of the federal land in Utah.
The US Forest Service manages just under a quarter of the state. Though Utah is synonymous with some of the best national parks in the United States, the NPS only manages six percent of the state’s land.
Some of the top options for free camping in the Beehive State include Valley of the Gods near Goosenecks State Park, the La Sal Loop by Moab, and Cottonwood Canyon Road near Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument.
Utah State and Public Parks
Utah has a state park system that keeps up with its world-class national parks and national forests. There are 43 total state parks, and 34 of them have camping.
Several of these state parks could be national parks in many states, however, being in Utah, they have some serious competition. It’s easy to take advantage of Utah’s beauty while skipping the crowds by visiting state parks, and any of these ten should be on your list.
- Bear Lake State Park
- Dead Horse Point State Park
- Antelope Island State Park
- Red Fleet State Park
- Goblin Valley State Park
- Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park
- Kodachrome Basin State Park
- Snow Canyon State Park
- Sand Hollow State Park
- Goosenecks State Park
RV Resorts and Unique StaysAlthough Utah is a four-season paradise for the rugged outdoor enthusiast, it isn’t short on comforts. Whether you want a basecamp for off-roading or just a relaxing retreat in nature, there is more than its share of fun, comfortable places to spend the night. These six are some of the coolest that the state has to offer.
- Sun Outdoors Moab Downtown
- Portal RV Resort and Campground
- Mountain Valley RV Resort
- Zion Wildflower Resort
- Conestoga Ranch
- Zion River Resort RV Park & Campground
Utah has so much to see that it requires a lifetime to properly appreciate. From its smallest state park to the ever-popular Zion, this spectacular state holds some of the best-untouched beauty in the Western United States.