Best Free Camping in Utah

Free Camping in Utah

By Sara Sheehy

Utah is a land of extremes. From the achingly beautiful red-rock desert of the south to the powder-filled slopes of the Wasatch Range, Utah has a little something for everyone. Utah also has over 35 million acres of public land, much of which is managed for camping and other uses by the Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management (BLM), and other entities.

If you’re looking for a place to enjoy free, dispersed camping areas, Utah might just be the right place for you. Here’s where to find some of the best free camping in Utah.

See a map of all free camping in Utah.

Free Camping Near Salt Lake City

Salt Lake City is not only Utah’s biggest metropolis but also one of the largest cities in the mountain west. Sprawling from north to south and hemmed in by the Great Salt Lake and the Wasatch Range, this city’s free camping options are best suited to RVers looking for a night’s rest while passing through.

Walmarts in Syracuse, Saratoga Springs, and Springville allow overnight parking, as does Cabelas in Farmington. Flight Park State Recreation Area is another Campendium community favorite.

Free Camping Near Park City and the Wasatch Range

Utah may tout itself as having “the greatest snow on earth,” but that snow wouldn’t be too useful without the gorgeous mountains it gets trapped on. These mountains are beloved by skiers in the winter and adventure-loving campers in the summer.

Check out Salamander Flat or Heber Mountain for beautiful boondocking and tent camping on national forest lands. Mud Creek Road BLM dispersed camping near Strawberry Reservoir is another option near the Wasatch.

Free Camping Near Utah’s “Big Five” National Parks

Have you heard of Utah’s “Mighty Five” national parks? If not, it’s time to get this epic road trip on your bucket list. The Mighty Five parks—Arches, Canyonlands, Capitol Reef, Bryce, and Zion—are all located in southern Utah, and full of the kind of red-rock landscapes that will have your wanderlust dreams firing on all cylinders. There is no free camping inside the parks, but nearby BLM and Forest Service land provide excellent options.

Let’s move from east to west, starting at otherworldly Arches National Park. Those who need to stay in cell phone range will gravitate toward the popular Willow Springs Trail along the original entrance road to Arches. This spot gets overcrowded fast, so those with a high-clearance rig who prefer a quieter experience might check out Lower Gemini Bridges.

Canyonlands National Park is a short drive from Arches. Make your home base at Lone Mesa to explore the Island in the Sky region, or Lockhart Road to check out the lesser-visited, and stunningly beautiful, Needles District.

Next up is Capitol Reef, a gem of a park that often gets overlooked by its flashier neighbors. This spot is absolutely worth a visit if you like soaring cliffs and hikes through the canyons. Settle into Pleasant Creek Dispersed to be just a stone’s throw from the park itself.

It may be hard to catch your breath on the 9,000-foot elevation of Bryce Canyon National Park’s rim, but you won’t mind once you see the wildly beautiful hoodoos. Cabin Hollow is the preferred free camping near Bryce Canyon for many in the Campendium community.

Last but certainly not least is Zion National Park, one of the most-visited national parks in the country. Park-goers (and mountain bikers) love the free camping at Hurricane Cliffs, where the beginner-friendly JEM trail runs right through the sites.

Some of the best camping in Utah is free! From BLM land to the outskirts of Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, you can find a place to stay for a night, a week, or more. Find it all here on Campendium.

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Recent Utah Free Campsite Reviews

Holden, UT

Young Field WMA

Sep 19, 2021

"Easy access and very peaceful"

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While normally I would only stay in a location like this for 1-2 nights as I was driving through, we needed a place to stay while waiting on parts for our RV and tow car. We actually returned to this spot a few times over the course of a week and a half because we were getting work done on the rig at the Freightliner shop in Salina a half hour...
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Tree Plant
10 reviews
Sep 19, 2021

"Nice option for quick overnight"

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Easy access to/from highway, but far away enough so that the road noise is minimal (though, in the distance, someone had a generator running all night). We arrived after dark and had no problem navigating the area and finding a nice site. Very convenient for a quick overnight, and decent cell signal.

Kevin Baumert
1 review
Sep 19, 2021

"Beautiful landscape"

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The road in is dirt but decently maintained and hardly any washboard. Not a ton of individual sites here but I saw a group of 5 huge RVs camping in one large area near the geyser. The geyser was erupting when I got there and was going for a while where I felt like it wasn’t so special to have “caught” the experience. But it actually did stop and...
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Yvonne P
7 reviews
Sep 18, 2021

"A bit windy and dusty but quiet."

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Very close to Zion. We went to 3 different BLM sites and were unable to locate anything to camp on. Smithsonian Butte Dispersed Camping, Gooseberry Mesa, and North Creek Dispersed Camping. North Creek Dispersed Camping was crowded and zero cell. We have high speed wifi via Intsi-connect. 5G cell coverage. The wind can and dose blow hard at...
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Tim Reyes
1 review
Sep 16, 2021

"What a great place!"

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We loved our time boondocking in the Valley of the gods. You can come in from the west or east. The road on either end is fine but gets real rough in the middle. If you’re towing a trailer look for sites toward the ends. I wouldn’t recommend towing a trailer through the middle portion.

Jeff
1 review