Escape From the City This Weekend. There’s Still Great Camping in Southern Utah

Let’s think about this for a minute.

In about four hours you can be in any of Utah’s five incredible national parks from your home near Salt Lake. About three hours from Provo. How about Bryce Canyon? Check the weather. It’s cold at night but you’re prepared for that. Hoodoos beckon. The time is right. The season is perfect.

Shorter days mean longer campfires.

Camping in Zion N.P.

The canyon rim is right there. You can be there in no time. You have an uncompromising work ethic. That’s business in Utah. You’ve earned this. Half day at work, at Bryce by late afternoon. Car packed night before. The week before. Arrangements made for the dog. Kids? Wait until the weekend. Bring the kids. They’ll love this. Delight them with mythology. Checklist: tent, sleeping bags, firewood, layers, stove, cooler, water, food, gear, toothbrush. Never forget the toothbrush. Fuel up. Everyone packed? Gone.

Here you are!

What were you waiting for? Is it your imagination or are the stars brighter here? Yes, the stars are brighter here. It’s not cool, it’s crisp. Your sleeping bags were too warm for summer camping anyway. Put that zipper to good use. Cinch up the hood. You will not be cold. Snuggle in close.

In the morning, get the fire going. You’re often up before sunrise at home. Here, you’re up for the sunrise. You’ve never felt more refreshed. Everyone is up now. Start the day.

General Camping Information

Reservations at National Parks?

Although is not operational for reservations, there are many developed and commercial campgrounds open within and near the national parks with lots of availability. Existing reservations will be honored while other camping in parks is first come, first serve.

Is Dispersed Camping Available?

Theoretically, there is dispersed camping on most national forest land using their existing guidelines. Some BLM camping may be available following appropriate use and fee schedules but as with national forests, there will be no staff available in case of emergency and facilities like restrooms and visitor centers are already closed for the season.

Camping and Reservations at State Parks?

There continues to be great camping at Utah’s state parks, but reservations can be taken and are strongly recommended.

Latest Information as of 10/16/13

Please check with the appropriate regional tourism offices for the latest information or follow the individual links below.

Information by Park


Go to for information on Thompson Springs and Moab-area camping.

  • Commercial campgrounds are open
  • Sand Flats Recreation Area is also open


Go to for a list of Bryce Canyon-area camping.

  • All commercial camping sites are currently open in gateway towns such as Antimony, Boulder, Cannonville, Escalante, Hatch, Red Canyon, Panguitch, Panguitch Lake, and Tropic.


Go to for a list of area camping opportunities.

  • Commercial campgrounds open throughout gateway communities such as Monticello, Mexican Hat, Monument Valley, Blanding, Bluff, Lake Powell, Abajo Mountains and La Sal.


Go to for more information.

  • All commercial camping areas in Bicknell, Caineville, Fremont, Hanksville, Loa and Torrey are open.


Go to or visit the National Park Service page for recommendations.