Camping in Utah National Forest
Do you ever dream of escaping city life, even just for a weekend? Can you even imagine what it feels like being serenaded by nature? You know, sounds like birds’ chirping serve as your alarm?
Or the scent of barbeque against the chilly night wind? If you’re from Utah (and even if you’re not) and desperate for a nature break, then you’re in luck! We have a list of forest camping sites in Utah you can choose from to plan your trip.
Yes, Utah has its own share of National Forests. That’s because the state houses parts of the Rocky Mountains, the Colorado Plateau, and the Great Basin.
Also, these forests are known to be natural sanctuaries and recreation areas. That means some of these forests can be used as camping sites.
So gear up, and let us present to you these places where you can be one with nature and have fun!
Dixie National Forest
Utah’s largest forest, and stretching 170 miles across the south of the state. Furthermore, it occupies almost 2 million acres of land area.
It’s featured here since this vast forest houses 26 campgrounds and 5 picnic areas. This information also provides people the choice whether to camp individually or as a group.
If people fancy camping with developed drinking stations & restrooms, then these also exist in the Forest as additional options.
The campgrounds, however, vary in topography because of location differences. Some locate themselves near lakes and reservoirs. Others are situated deep in the forests.
Even some sites find themselves near mountains. In other words, Dixie National Forest provides various choices for the perfect camping experience.
Blessed with 2 lakes, the Barker Recreation Area and Campground literally begs for fishers to camp in it. However, Spruces Campground joins the competition by putting Navajo Lake onto the table.
It is also perfect for people who love to have a lake background for their Instagram picture.
On the contrary, campgrounds such as King Creek Group Site and Panguitch Lake North also provide great fishing and water activities. Furthermore, it also boasts wildlife adventure.
As a bonus, some campgrounds house a waterfall (for viewing and swimming purposes). These places exist, all in the name of a perfect water-based camping trip!
Several campgrounds provide activities that range from hiking to even just enjoying the serene sounds of nature. To have a spectacular view of the red canyon, the Red Canyon Campground is perfect.
Deer Haven and Te-Ah Campgrounds boasts privacy and serene nature moments. Pine Valley Guard Station brags camping experience with electricity and a touch of history if you’re downtime traveling.
Nonetheless, Dixie National Forest provides you many opportunities to get in touch with nature in its various forms.
Some campgrounds are on a first-come-first-serve basis. Others operate with inquiring reservations first. Regardless, it should certainly be on your list of places to camp too!
Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest
Don’t be bothered by its long name, as three national forests were combined to become one! Originally the Wasatch-Cache, recently the Uinta National Forest joined because of location purposes.
This place lives up to its name, with Wasatch meaning “low place in high mountains” and Cache being French for “to hide.”
It screams perfection for wilderness-mountainous types of campers, as it dominates the place. It also houses 106 campgrounds, making it literally one of the best places to go camping.
The 2.1 million-acre forest located north of the state literally aches for attention from hikers and campers. It stretches 2,500 miles and offers a wide array of activities and leisure moments.
Though primarily a forest-type of camping, ventures such as hiking and biking dominates the place. Mountains such as the famed Mount Olympus and Wasatch Mountain Range significantly contribute to the forest’s beautiful aspects. But beware of the bears lurking in the forest and other wildlife.
Campgrounds such as the Bear Canyon, Maple Lake, and Strawberry Bay, among others, offer water-based activities.
Like Dixie National Forest, it provides a serene view of the mountain ranges and a variety of fish that can be caught in the place.
You get to enjoy not only peace from the mountains, but also a tranquil feeling of being near the water.
Now, for nature-lovers, the Timpooneke, Altamont, Albion Basin, and Monte Cristo Campgrounds should be on your lists. Forests and flowery meadows dominate these campgrounds.
So enjoy panoramic views and literally be at peace with the wilderness. It also boasts the opportunity to observe wildlife in their natural habitat.
Next, for those who love hiking, skiing (during winter), and anything related, put the Bountiful Peak, Loop, and Rock Canyon Campgrounds on your GPSs.
Mountainous places such as these provide joy to those who possess the guts to hike them. Also, get to enjoy a scenic view perfect for your Instagram account or just for keeps.
If not satisfied with the campgrounds featured here, fear not.Remember, the forest boasts a whopping 106 campgrounds for you to enjoy. Also, activities such as watching raptor migration may spark your interests further.
You just have to go there to experience it yourself. For sure, you’ll definitely have fun camping in the Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest.
Manti-La Sal National Forest
The 1.4 million-acre forest situated at the southeast brags similarity from the two aforementioned: it also provides fun and excitement! At that wide area, it’s no surprise that it houses 40 campgrounds.
Activities such as hiking, fishing, camping, or just enjoying peace also dominates the area. So, of course, it should be on our list.
Moreover, this forest owns the record for having the thickest elk population and black bears in Utah. Not to mention, its large coal reserves provide the state with 85% of the total coal being mined.
So set up camp only at the places allowed and safe! You wouldn’t want a black bear to suddenly appear and trash your tent, would you?
Black bears and elks aside, the Manti-La Sal forest primarily splits into two divisions. The Manti division, located at the remnants of Wasatch Plateau, houses vast vegetation areas and panoramic sites.
The La Sal division, however, further splits into the Moab and the Monticello divisions. Mountain peaks, canyons, and forests dominate the Moab Division. Timbered slopes and natural formations seek refuge in the Monticello Division, on the other hand.
Campgrounds such as the Joes Valley Reservoir, Devils Canyon, and the Flat Canyon require one thing before enjoying: climb. Situated a few thousand feet above sea level, it offers a scenic view and a peaceful vibe.
Not to mention the lakes located there, which allows water-related activities also. Chilly nights, peaceful lakes, and a panoramic view, what more can you really ask for.
Next, for those who just want to have a plain forest camping trip, Manti-La Sal offers these campgrounds to you.
The wildflower-filled meadow with surrounding pine trees reasonably becomes the Twelve Mile Flat Campground’s pride and joy. Ferron Reservoir Campground’s similar characteristics battle that of the aforementioned.
The Lower Little Bear Campground’s mountainside location brags various activities, such as hiking, fishing, and just enjoying nature.
Believe it or not, a lot of the campgrounds here offer you three main things: hiking, camping and fishing. Three activities that you’ll surely enjoy and love whilst staying.
And as a bonus, the forest changes its appearance and set of activities during spring, summer, fall, or even winter. Coupled with a panoramic view, you will certainly spend every second worthwhile here.
Ashley National Forest
This forest, with an area of 1.3 million acres located northeast of the state, screams history. The late President Theodore Roosevelt established this in 1908.
Before that, it has even played its part in housing Native Americans. Since then, it has become a timber source, grazing materials, and even water for people. Also, recreation activities became dominant in this place.
Home to 74 campgrounds, the Ashley National Forest proves to be one of the places you should camp into. Imagine camping 6000 feet above sea level?
Not to mention various activities abound this place, such as hiking, skiing, fishing and of course, wilderness camping. Wildlife such as deer dominate this forest. It will be impossible to camp here without even seeing one for yourself!
Moreover, it attracts more than 2.5 million people yearly. One of the forest’s pride and joy, the Flaming Gorge National Recreational Area alone houses a whopping 700 campsites.
Its location includes a scenic view of red sandstone cliffs adjacent to the majestic Green River. This then contributed to the millions of memorable events for campers.
Named by Major John Wesley Powell whilst on a venture in the Green River in 1869, it became a major campers’ haven. To enjoy it, though, you may need a Recreation Use Pass.
Sitting just east of the Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest, you will be tempted to extend your camping trip here. It’s proof that you can never get enough of what these forests can offer you.
Also, fragments of history found its home here, for you to enjoy while relaxing.
Fishlake National Forest
This forest lives up to its name, as a fish-shaped lake somehow became the center of everything here. In addition, forests and wilderness actually surround this lake. 32 campgrounds also exist to cater to your camping desires.
Various activities here include fishing, hiking, skiing, and even biking, among others. Unlike the other aforementioned, the lake is the only source of water activities for campers.
Hence, the forests that surround it provide the wilderness and hiking part of the camping experience.
Campgrounds such as the Little Reservoir locate themselves near the lake. Whilst some like Mahogany Cove provides the wilderness camping experience you need.
One may actually enjoy the lush vibe of the forest thoroughly here. Authorities here actually offer vehicle-riding to explore the place.
Just imagine yourself enjoying the forest breeze while looking at various plant and animal life. Not to mention the scenic view of the mountains surrounding it. This indeed is a therapy like no other, and it varies from season to season too!
Each one of these forests provides you nothing but fun and excitement for your camping experience in Utah.
No matter what forest you choose, 2-3 days of camping in one will never be enough. Well, what can we say? We just have to keep coming back for more!
JP is basically a person who loves to write anything that comes to his mind. He dreams of becoming a published writer someday. Currently, he’s working on how to make that dream a reality.