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Capitol Reef National Park   |  Byron Harward

Capitol Reef National Park Camping

Capitol Reef's amazing bluffs, winding canyons and stony domes were formed by a geological event that created The Waterpocket Fold, the park’s showcase feature. It’s a 100-mile-long step of layered rock, 60 miles of which lay in the boundaries of Capitol Reef's dazzling desert ecosystem. Camping in the park harkens to an ancient time when the American Southwest was formed by the raw power of the elements. 

Capitol Reef National Park Stargazing

Capitol Reef Campgrounds

Capitol Reef is a certified International Dark Sky Park.

Hickman Bridge Trail in Capitol Reef National Park

Photo: Andrew Burr

Backcountry and Other Camping 

Backcountry camping is allowed in Capitol Reef. A free permit must be acquired at the visitor center for all overnight backcountry visitors. The National Park Service has several recommended backpacking routes that visit slot canyons, hidden creeks and high mesas. 

There are also established campgrounds in nearby Dixie and Fishlake national forests and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. And dispersed camping is allowed on Bureau of Land Management (BLM) land east of the park, contact Henry Mountains Field Station for more information. 

RV Camping and Glamping

RVs are allowed at the Fruita Campground, and there are several RV parks located outside of the park perimeter as well. 

If you prefer something more luxurious, Capitol Reef Resort in Torrey offers lush and unique glamping options just seven miles outside the park. Stay in a gorgeous cabin, cozy teepee or Conestoga wagon. 

Camping Responsibly

Forever Mighty

While venturing beyond the more predictable, and sometimes crowded, public campgrounds to camp in the backcountry can be a thrilling adventure — remember to travel responsibly, a shared ethic we call "Forever Mighty."

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Leave No Trace

No matter what Utah activities you take on, remember to follow the seven principles of Leave No Trace:

  • Plan ahead and prepare.
  • Travel and camp on durable surfaces.
  • Dispose of waste properly.
  • Leave what you find.
  • Minimize campfire impacts (be careful with fire).
  • Respect wildlife.
  • Be considerate of other visitors.

When To Visit, Pet Policies & Other Things To Know

  • The high season for Capitol Reef is March through September, though the fall shoulder season can still be fairly busy.
  • Many areas of Capitol Reef, including the primitive campgrounds, lack water sources. Bring plenty for all your needs and be sure to purify any water you use in the backcountry.
  • Leashed pets are allowed on 6-foot leashes in developed areas of the park but not in the backcountry. For more detailed pet regulations, visit the National Park Service website
  • Utah’s National Parks see millions of travelers each year. As you plan your next trip to Capitol Reef, consider ways to support its basecamp communities and keep the park Forever Mighty.
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