Utah contains a variety of environments unlike any other state – from the high mountains of the Uintas to the red rock deserts that cover the southern part of the state. This means that camping here can include days sitting by a lake surrounded by snow capped peaks and also sitting in red sand surrounded by towering sandstone cliffs. My owners have taken me on a lot of their trips to different parts of Utah and it is hard to list off all of the great places, but I will include some of my favorites here.
This list does include many places in the red rock deserts of southern Utah even though those areas are actually not part of the Rocky Mountains, but are part of the Colorado Plateau.
San Rafael Swell – San Rafael Bridge Campground – This is a small 6 site campground that is located by a bridge that goes over the San Rafael River. This campground has picnic tables and is in an open area with views of sandstone cliffs that rise up from the river and several smaller buttes. From here you can take a hike up along the San Rafael River for miles of exploring. Or you can use this as a base area to explore other areas in the San Rafael Swell.
San Rafael Swell – Wedge Overlook – This is a small, primitive campground that is first come first serve, located near a place called the wedge. This spot is similar to the views of the Grand Canyon except smaller in scale. From near the campground the views are amazing. There are no trails down to the river from here, but you can wander along the cliff tops.
Moab area – Sand Flats Recreation Area – This area is located just to the east and a little above the town of Moab. The world famous slick rock biking trail is here. Camping is done at designated campsites on a first come first serve basis here. The views are great and many areas are near slick rock that can be explored. A downside is that many four wheelers drive their vehicles around here so it can be a bit loud.
Moab area – Fisher Towers – A small 5 site camping area that is only good for camper vans or tents. This is on a first come first serve basis. The views here are breathtaking and there is a great 2.2 mile one way trail that wanders by the crazy, drip castle formations of the Fisher Towers.
Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument – Spencer Flat Road (Road number 103) – This is simply a graded dirt road that leaves the UT-12 between the towns of Boulder and Escalante and heads south. You can do dispersed camping at several locations along here. These areas offer great views over the canyons of the Escalante. This location is also near nice hiking areas including: Lower Calf Creek Falls and the Hole in the Rock Road and the Burr Trail.
High Uintas – Christmas Meadows – This is one of my favorite areas in the Uintas. There is a small (11 sites), usually not too crowded campground here. The campground sits just above the Stillwater Fork of the Bear River and has great views of the valley above. There is some fishing for weary trout in the river here and a trail that leads all the way up the valley to several lakes starts from here.
High Uintas – Butterfly Lake – A wonderful, high altitude campground. This campground, about 20 sites, is a first come first serve area. This campground is on a small, beautiful lake that is shaped liked a butterfly. This is a nice place to come up and do some fishing, especially if you can time it for right after it is stocked. Nearby on the Mirror Lake Highway are numerous hiking trails.
High Uintas – Mill Hollow Campground – This is a beautiful, small campground located next to Mill Holllow Reservoir. The reservoir has nice fishing or boating with a non-motorized boat. The campground is located in a forest of Lodgepole Pine and Aspen.