Camping in Utah is an absolute delight no matter the time of year, but in the fall, it rivals the very best. The alpine ambiance of the Beehive State is breathtaking. Forget the summer heat, capitalize on the ideal weather by pitching a tent under the stars when the seasons change. Here are five perfect camping spots in the state!
Fall is arguably the prettiest and most pleasant season in Southern Utah. In the summer, temperatures soar and campgrounds are crowded. In the fall, families are in school and work schedules take precedence. So, if you can afford to take some time off for a camping trip, fall camping in Southern Utah is a lovely and less typical experience. Goblin Valley State Park is a nice location for a quaint, spontaneous (or not so spontaneous) trip. Its 25 campsites are divided into 10 walk-in tent pads, one group site (able to accommodate up to 35 people), and 14 RV spaces. The campground also features showers, flush toilets, and a communal water and dump station that are all free. Not located directly inside the park, the campground is nevertheless directly adjacent to it, and features plenty of its own interesting rock formations. If you want a fancier camping experience, two yurts at the campsite are also available for rent.
In the summer, it’s difficult to catch a spot at Tanner Flats Campground without a reservation. In the fall, it is a little easier, though the campground’s stunning foliage does attract a considerable amount of campers. Bright reds, yellows, and oranges punctuate the surrounding area in Cottonwood Canyon come fall. If you come in the early fall/late summer, you may catch some of the summer’s last wildflowers. One of Tanner Flats Campground’s major draws is its proximity to civilization. A mere six miles from Sandy (just south of Salt Lake City), it doesn’t require as much of a trek to camp here, meaning you probably won’t have to take any time off work or school, all the while managing to enjoy some hiking and the crisp air characteristic of fall camping.
Located south of Hanksville, which is near Goblin Valley State Park, McMillan Springs Campground is located in the Henry Mountains, which run north and south between Canyonlands, and Capitol Reef National Parks. With only 15 spots, the campground is smaller than most, though it still has all of camping’s relatively modern conveniences such as outhouse toilets and water. The campsite was recently updated with new picnic tables, barbecue grills, and fire rings. Given that the Henry Mountains were the last mountain range to be added to the map of 48 states in 1872, it is unusual for the range to see many visitors. In other words, if you decide to camp here, don’t expect to see large crowds. That is, until more people learn of the area’s beauty. At 8,400 feet in elevation, the campsite offers some astonishing views as well as fall foliage.
Featuring a lovely reservoir famous for its fishing, Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area is also heavily wooded, meaning it’s a prime spot for fall camping. Often considered one of the nicest U.S. Forest Service campgrounds, Mustang Ridge Campground is located just next to Flaming Gorge. Situated in a dense pinyon pine and juniper forest, it gives you all the fall feels while maintaining a short distance from the reservoir, where you can go boating or even swimming if you’re there early enough in the fall. Just as expected, the campsite offers all the best camping amenities, such as showers, flush toilets, an amphitheater, grills, etc. You can think of this as the summer vacation you never had, only in fall.
Open until mid-October, the Granite Flat Campground is located less than a mile from Tibble Fork Reservoir and near American Fork Canyon. Granite Flat Campground is an excellent place to fish for rainbow, brook, and brown trout, so anglers will love it here! This campground also features baseball fields, campfire rings, firewood and drinking water. If it’s still warm enough, get out on the water for a day of canoeing or kayaking.