Red Fleet State Park
Named after three soaring buttresses that resemble sea-going vessels on its north side, Red Fleet State Park was established in 1988. This reservoir is surrounded by beautiful sandstone cliffs and has often been called “Little Lake Powell.” Both cozy and scenic, it’s located just a few miles north of Vernal, UT. It’s a perfect base for exploring the surrounding area and offers stellar camping, hiking, swimming, fishing, and biking, truly making it a destination in itself.
What Makes It Great
The campground is located on the western shores and gives a panoramic view of the reservoir. The 31 sites can accommodate both RVs and tents, though only a handful offer standard water and electric hookups. Starting mid-May, Red Fleet begins accepting reservations, which are a good idea, especially for weekends. They even have two sites that come with in-situ, large teepees — make your reservation for these well in advance. Each campsite contains a fire ring, barbecue grill, and covered picnic table. There is potable water available close to each campsite and the clean and convenient restrooms have flush toilets. The boat launch is paved and they offer courtesy docks and a swimming platform near a sandy beach.
Located in the heart of Dinosaur Land, Red Fleet is home to numerous dinosaur tracks of its own. Almost 200 million years old, these tracks were discovered near its eastern shores and have become an attraction all their own. The excellent Red Fleet Dinosaur Trackway trail (see article below) is located on the north side of the park and its easy accessibility draws in many visitors. Heading north on U.S. Highway 191 from the park’s main entrance travel about one mile before making a right hand turn at the Dinosaur Trackway sign. Follow this road for 2.5 miles to the trailhead. The trail is a 1.5 mile course through a forest of junipers that travels over uneven surfaces of dirt and stone. It is passable for those with any small amount of fitness and ability, and is great for families with children of all ages — though hike with care over slanted slickrock and rocky outcroppings. Once you reach the water’s edge, search through the slabs of red rock for up to forty footprints ranging from three to seventeen inches in length. You could also take a shortcut and boat across the reservoir to the tracksite, but at the expense of missing a terrific hike.
Paleontologists have surmised that three-toed, tridactyl, dinosaurs that were bipedal, walking on two legs, left these prints. This area also makes a perfect place for swimming and a picnic. A short paddle across the reservoir from the western shore of the campground is an alternate approach that’s a lot of fun.
If you brought your mountain bike, the north side of Red Fleet holds a handful of short and fun single-track trails that range from intermediate to expert level riding. Check out the Jass-Chrome Molly and Three Amigos for a couple of moderate six-mile rides through the sage and junipers. For a brutal sandstone climb of 800 feet in 2.5 miles check out the Handsome Cabin Boy trail. If you are more in for the descents, check out the one-mile expert downhill course of Jumps and Ladders, A.K.A Dinotrax. This fun course holds a series of man-made obstacles along a fast and technical desert trail. Add Red Fleet State Park to your list of must-ride spots in the region!
What You’ll Remember
Red Fleet State Park is a tidy, well-maintained campground and day-use area suitable for use in any season. Camping families, hikers, mountain bikers, boaters and anglers will all find a scenic landscape for their activity. Perched on the southern slopes of the Uinta Mountains, set within sculpted sandstone waves, the calm, clear and green water of Red Fleet State Park and its surroundings offer a destination all on their own.
GPS Coordinates, Parking, and Regulations
Located along US Hwy 191, about 13 miles north of the town of Vernal
8750 N. Highway 191
Open 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. in the summer and 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. during the winter. There is a $7/day charge for adults to use the park and a $4 fee for Utah seniors. Camping rates vary depending on the type of set-up you are looking for, such as RV, tent, or teepee. Generally, dry camping is about $15 while hookup fees run $25. See additional fees and information.
Have exact cash on-hand in case the "Iron Ranger" unmanned fee collection station is on duty when you arrive. The park does have firewood and ice for sale at the entrance booth. (Or simply allow excess funds to go toward park improvements.)
Dogs are permitted on-leash throughout the park except on the developed beach near the boat ramp.
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Red Fleet State Park
8750 N. Highway 191