Utah Camping: Color Country
Color Country is, well, full of color! It’s a vast and varied place, where rainbow hues tend to be commonplace, and campers come to share in the glory.
Located in southwestern Utah, Color Country snuggles up to Arizona and Nevada to the south and west, respectively. Color Country encompasses a mix of five distinct counties — Beaver, Iron, Washington, Garfield, and Kane — for a total of 17,370 square miles. The place is composed of a wonderful world of national parks, national monuments, national recreation areas, state parks, national forests, and other public lands. Fortunately, sixty-three public campgrounds provide a place to camp while exploring its realms.
The region stretches across two distinct geologic areas: the Great Basin and Colorado Plateau. Here you’ll find tall mountains, shimmering lakes, sandstone cliffs, lofty plateaus, and deep, often narrow canyons. With this sort of geology, travelers can expect to wind up and down many a roadway. Sure, there are lots of straight and fairly level roads, but you’ll find just as many — or perhaps even more — with 15-mile-per-hour turns and signs prompting drivers to use low gears instead of their brakes. No doubt there may even come a time when you are poking up a 14 percent grade or two.
Zion National Park is probably the most visited place in this area, and while it’s definitely worth a visit, it isn’t the only place worthy of your time. Bryce Canyon is one of Utah’s finest national parks. Here you’ll find a fairyland of fun, a potpourri offering a remarkable display of fascinating orange, red, and pink hoodoos, and a whole lot more.
In addition to the national parks, campers have access (though in summer only) to the likes of Cedar Breaks National Monument; year-round (though it’s often cold in winter) you can enjoy the great expanse of one of Utah’s most beautiful national monuments, Grand Staircase–Escalante. Visitors to this big (1.8 million acres), awesome place can see time in the making as they marvel at “stairsteps” leading from one geologic formation to the next.