Our Complete Guide To The Best Camping in Utah

Utah is a land of stunning scenery and limitless outdoor adventure. Mountain bikers, endurance athletes, hikers, and whitewater thrill-seekers all find plenty of opportunities in the state’s diverse landscapes. Though Utah is perhaps best known for its dramatic canyons and sandstone arches, it also has its share of mountains and pine forests.

In other words, it’s the perfect place to camp. Whether you’re into mountain, desert, or lakeside, here are our picks for the best camping in Utah.

In a state with five national parks and more than 300 public campgrounds ( plus many more private campgrounds), there are plenty of camping options. Perhaps too many. That’s why we’ve rounded up the top 12 best places to camp in Utah and have categorized them based on geography. (Including a place where you can camp for free!) Think about the terrain you’d like to explore, then read on to find the best campsite for you and your next family camping adventure.

best mountain camping in Utah

Mountain Camping

Utah’s highest mountains can be found in the northern part of the state and include the Wasatch Range and the Uinta Mountains. (The state’s highest peak tops out at more than 13,000 feet.) If you’re looking for a campground that allows you to explore the mountains, check out one of the following.

Wasatch Mountain State Park

This 23,000 acre state park offers hiking, biking, and golf along with ATV and horse trails.

Sites: 100+ (4 campgrounds)

Reservations accepted? Yes

Mirror Lake Campground

This campground in the Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest offers lake access and some campsites with partial lake views.

Sites: 79

Reservations accepted? Yes

Mustang Ridge

This campground in the Ashley National Forest overlooks the popular Flaming Gorge Reservoir in northern Utah.

Sites: 70

Reservations accepted? Yes

Lakeside Camping

Along with some gorgeous mountain lakes in the north (including that one famous saltwater lake near the capitol city), Utah also lays claim to a stretch of Lake Powell. (The southern end of the meandering lake lies in Arizona.)

Lake Powell Primitive Camping

Throughout Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, camping is allowed along the undeveloped shoreline of Lake Powell. No amenities of course, but no required permit or fees either.

Sites: N/A

Reservations accepted? No

Wahweap Campground

This RV-friendly campground is near the shores of Lake Powell in the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area.

Sites: 287

Reservations accepted? Yes

Mackinaw Campground

Fish Lake is the largest natural mountain lake in Utah and Mackinaw Campground is just off the scenic byway that runs along its shores. Popular activities include hiking and trout-fishing.

Sites: 68

Reservations accepted? Yes

desert camping - best camping in utah

Canyon & Desert Camping

It’d be a mistake to spend time in Utah without exploring its incredible canyons and desert landscapes. Though the national parks aren’t the only place to see these features, because of their popularity, we’ve included one campground from each park—and a bonus campground that’s not in a national park.

Devil’s Garden Campground (Arches National Park)

It’s not hard to choose a place to camp at Arches—Devil’s Garden Campground is your only option in the park. Most of the time, you’ll need reservations to guarantee a spot, but November-February, sites are first-come, first-served.

Sites: 51

Reservations accepted? Yes

Sunset Campground (Bryce Canyon National Park)

Sunset Campground is the closest campground to Bryce Canyon’s best hiking trails.

Sites: 100

Reservations accepted? No. In 2019, all sites are first-come, first-served.

The Needles Campground (Canyonlands National Park)

There are only two campgrounds at Canyonlands and The Needles is the only campground with easy access to drinking water. (Otherwise, drinking water is available at the park’s visitor center.) Besides the campground, backcountry camping abounds in this park.

Sites: 29

Reservations accepted? Yes, in spring and fall.

Fruita Campground (Capitol Reef National Park)

In the desert landscape of Capitol Reef, Fruita Campground is often described as a green oasis. (The campground is located in the middle of historic orchards.)

Sites: 71

Reservations accepted? Yes, from March 1 to October 31.

Watchman Campground (Zion National Park)

This campground is a short distance from Zion’s south entrance and the homebase for the park’s shuttle system. The campground also offers two wheelchair-accessible sites and six accessible restrooms.

Sites: 184

Reservations accepted? Yes

Dead Horse Point State Park

Right next to Canyonlands National Park, this state park offers a stunning view of the Colorado River as it makes an incredible u-turn in the canyon. The park has two campgrounds in addition to yurts.

Sites: 52 (Between two campgrounds)

Reservations accepted? Yes