With hundreds of campgrounds scattered throughout the state, tent camping in Utah is hard to beat. Utah hosts some of the world’s most extraordinary landscapes that make for some of the most extraordinary backdrops to camp. From sweeping deserts, breathtaking rock formations, forested mountains, and snowcapped peaks, you can set up camp in National Parks, State Parks, private campgrounds, dispersed areas, and more. Continue reading for twenty of the most beautiful, scenic, and relaxing places to go tent camping in Utah.
1. Devil’s Garden Campground (Arches National Park)
Devil’s Garden Campground is located deep within Arches National Park in southeastern Utah. At an elevation of approximately 5200 ft, this campground boasts unbeatable views. In addition to the natural arches, fins, and spires, desert flora enhances the area’s beauty, including yucca, prickly pear, and juniper pine. With 51 campsites, you will need to book early as these fill up quickly.
2. Watchman Campground (Zion National Park)
Located in Zion National Park, the Watchman Campground hosts 176 year-round campsites, which doesn’t necessarily make your camping experience private. But with just 1/4 mile from the entrance of Zion, the tradeoff is amazing views and shuttle access to the rest of the park. The classic 2-mile roundtrip Watchman Trail hike is right outside your back door.
3. Goblin Valley State Park
Goblin Valley State Park is known as one of the best Utah campgrounds for those that prefer a slightly more luxurious form of camping or glamping if you will. The camping area and state park get their name from the thousands of hoodoos scattered throughout. These mushroom-shaped rock pinnacles are locally known as “goblins.” Located within the San Rafael Desert, this park is an excellent option for Utah camping.
4. Sunset Campground (Bryce Canyon National Park)
There are two campgrounds to choose from for camping in Bryce Canyon National Park. Situated at an elevation of about 8,000 feet, the popular Sunset Campground has three loops with 100 campsites and is located 1.5 miles from the park’s Visitor Center. Sunset is a busy Utah campground located near Sunset Point, home to some of the best vistas in Bryce Canyon.
5. Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park
Three thousand acres of rust-colored dunes meet stark blue skies at Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park. The park is also known for its red rock cliffs, juniper and pinion trees, and plentiful off-road vehicle opportunities. Camping here is the best way to explore the state park’s unique geologic features. The 22-site campground is also a prime jumping-off point for further exploration of nearby Bryce Canyon National Park and Grand Canyon National Park.
6. Antelope Island State Park
Antelope Island State Park offers an unparalleled Utah camping experience. Located in the Great Salt Lake, the island is known for its starkly scenic beauty and abundance of wildlife, including pronghorn, bighorn sheep, bison, and waterfowl. Three primitive campgrounds are available, with 52 campsites in total. The isolation of the area makes for almost unmatched stargazing.
7. Natural Bridges National Monument
Few areas in Utah are more spectacular than Natural Bridges National Monument. The area is home to three natural bridges, including the 13th largest in the world. Another top attraction is the spectacularly well-preserved Puebloan ruins, abandoned more than 700 years ago. The campground itself is small and primitive yet boasts some of the darkest and clearest night skies in the United States, according to the International Dark-Sky Association.
8. Gooseneck State Park
Camping in Utah just doesn’t get much more scenic or remote than Gooseneck State Park. The campground sits high above the entrenched San Juan River, which winds its way through the carved-out desert to Lake Powell. Stunning views of a windy portion of the river, known as the gooseneck, are close at hand. Only eight first-come, first-served campsites are available.
9. Bullfrog Basin Campground
Bullfrog Basin Campground is one of the best places for lakeside camping in Utah. The campground is located roughly a half-mile from Lake Powell in Glen Canyon National Recreation Area. The lake is a major vacation destination that draws in more than 2 million visitors for fishing, swimming, and boating each year. It’s important to note that very little shade is available and temperatures routinely exceed 100 degrees.
10. Snow Canyon State Park
Peace is prevalent while camping in southern Utah’s Snow Canyon State Park. Ancient lava flows and red sandstone surround the desert campground. Miles of hiking, mountain biking, and horseback trails are close at hand. Venture slightly further to access breathtaking sand dunes. The camping facilities at Snow Canyon is modern with flush toilets, hot showers, and electric hookups for RV campers.
11. Upper Onion Creek Campground
Upper Onion Creek Campground is the ideal Utah camping location for large groups. Two large group sites are available that are perfect for reunions, weddings, and other group camping activities. The views from both group sites, as well as individual campsites, are striking with the Colorado River Canyon and its red rock formations in the distance. Drive just 40 minutes to the bustling town of Moab.
12. Bear Lake State Park
A list of the best places for camping in Utah isn’t complete without a prominent mention of Bear Lake State Park. Three campgrounds line the lake’s sandy shores offering easy access to the brilliant blue waters of one of Utah’s deepest lakes. A few of the lake’s most popular activities include swimming, boating, and fishing. The campgrounds range from a small 6-site primitive one to a 136-site one complete with 46 full hookups.
13. Squaw Flat Campground (Canyonlands National Park)
Bouldering fans rejoice – you’ve found the perfect location for camping in Utah at Squaw Flat Campground. Nestled between a towering rock formation is the remote, 26-site campground. Plentiful bouldering and climbing locations are scattered nearby. Miles of hiking trails are also close at hand. Use Squaw Flat Campground as a jumping-off point for exploring the Needles District in Canyonlands National Park.
14. Fruita Campground (Capitol Reef National Park)
As the only developed campground in Utah’s Capitol Reef National Park and surrounded by miles of desert, Fruita Campground is a lush oasis. Historic orchards combined with the nearby Fremont River give the campground a verdant, green atmosphere. It’s an incredible Utah campground to see for the first time.
15. Lava Point Campground (Zion National Park)
Visitors to Zion National Park that prefer a remote Utah camping experience over a social one should consider Lava Point Campground.
Located an hour and a half commute from the entrance to Zion, Lava Point Campground is notable for its overall remoteness and stark beauty. Few campgrounds in Utah are better for stargazing. Only six primitive campsites are available here. Vehicles over 19 feet in length are not allowed in the campground.
16. Spruces Campground
Located in picturesque Big Cottonwood Canyon is the equally scenic, Spruces Campground. The campground is notable both for its high elevation (7,500 feet above sea level) and its proximity to Salt Lake City. Visitors can enjoy the plentiful hiking, biking, and fishing opportunities before making the easy drive into the big city. The large campground boasts all the amenities you could ask for and more.
17. Dead Horse Point State Park
It’s pretty tricky to find a better place to go camping in Utah if dramatic views are at the top of your list. Dead Horse Point State Park is located 2,000 feet above the Colorado River. The popular yet quiet campground also gives visitors easy access to miles of high desert hiking and mountain biking trails.
18. Wasatch Mountain State Park
Not everyone prefers camping in Utah to be a rustic experience. Wasatch Mountain State Park is perfect for those that want closer access to shopping, dining, golfing, and more. The state park is in the Heber Valley. In addition to the beautiful outdoor scenery, the valley is also home to the Historic Tate Barn and Huber Grove. The campground has plenty of tent sites along with RV sites with full hookups.
19. Calf Creek Campground
Located within the magnificent Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, Calf Creek Campground is another popular campsite in Utah.
Only 13 first-come, first-served campsites are available, so arrive early. The campground fills particularly quickly during the summer. Despite its popularity, the campground is quiet and peaceful thanks to its small size. The biggest highlight of camping here is easy access to nearby Calf Creek.
20. Twelve Mile Flat Campground
The wildflower meadow that is Twelve Mile Flat Campground is undoubtedly another one of the best places to go camping in Utah
The area immediately surrounding the field is filled with spruce and pines. Opportunities for hiking, bicycling, and riding ATVs are numerous. A short drive up the plateau from the campground are jaw-dropping views of the nearby mountains, glacial cirques, and lakes. Twelve Mile Flat is even a great place to visit for winter camping in Utah thanks to the world-class snowmobiling trails.