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Free Camping Near Salt Lake City

Where You Can Camp:

UTAH: Best FREE Camping Near Salt Lake City

Unless stated otherwise , its legal to sleep in your vehicle within ANY federally designated lands. These include:

  • National Forests
  • Bureau of Land Management
  • Wildlife Management Areas
  • Some County Parks & City Parks Check signs
  • Some trailheads Check signs
  • Closer to civilization: Parking lots and truck stops

Look for the brown and yellow signs announcing your entrance to public land and youll know youre in the right place. Be aware of wildfires during the heat months in the California and surrounding areas when planning your trip since camping would then be off limits.

Horseshoe Knolls Dispersed Camping

Horseshoe Knolls, situated towards the east of the roadway and on the opposite side of Horseshoe Springs, is a popular dispersed camping and recreation site. In the spring and fall, this is everyones favorite site for primitive camping, track riding, and simply enjoying.

The region is fairly sandy, and plenty of juniper trees provide shade.

Several OHV paths snake through the woods and into sandy washes, providing pleasure for riders of all ages. There are no established facilities, no running water, and no charges. Target shooting is prohibited at this location.

There are no services or hookups. Horseshoe Knolls is simply a section of BLM land where several reasonably level plots have been removed. Some sites are most likely require 4WD-only.

It seems to offer a lot of fun for OHVs. If youre car camping, you will not have to be anxious regarding running out of space. There are no reservations required simply find a parking spot that fits your vehicle.

The Popular Free Camping Spots In Utah

  • Amanda Williams

For those looking for dispersed camping opportunities in Utah, you will be glad to know that there is no shortage of excellent campgrounds in the Beehive State. The terrain ranges from rugged mountains to high-altitude lakes in the north and dry deserts in the south. After all, Utah is home to 5 national parks, and only California and Alaska have more.

If you want to enjoy Utahs beautiful landscape without breaking the bank, dispersed camping is for you. Keep in mind that everything is very primitive, so do not expect any amenities such as showers, toilets, communal areas, and electricity hookups among others.

You must bring everything you will need for the trip.

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Rest Areas + Truck Stops

When driving between destinations, rest areas and truck stops are the most ideal form of free camping because of their ease and simplicity. Rest areas usually lie on long stretches of highway between cities. Rest areas are definitely not a place to pull off at 6pm and chill before hitting the hay however, if youre trying to get for A to B and need somewhere to sleep in your Vans or RV, its perfect.

Since these are just parking lots, this is not suitable for tent camping. Rest areas are usually very quiet places to sleep besides the sound of semi-truck engines running and they give you access to restroom facilities which can be nice.

The difference between rest areas and truck stops is that rest areas are right along the highway and are usually public, while truck stops are a part of large gas stations. Both are usually very well marked on highways so theyre no problem to find. If you know youll be driving on a highway to your destination, you can count on the fact that there will be a rest stop along the way for you to free camp at.

Best for: A place to sleep on long drivesTents: No

Where Can You Camp For Free In Utah

13 Best Camping Spots Near Salt Lake City, Utah in 2020

Utah also has over 35 million acres of public land, much of which is managed by the Forest Service or Bureau of Land Management , and other entities.

If youre searching for a place for dispersed camping, here are some of the best free camping areas in the Beehive State.

  • Public lands under Bureau of Land Management or U.S. Forest Service. Around 63% of Utahs lands are public, providing campers with endless dispersed camping opportunities. They can be anywhere from the Monument Valley in the desert to the boundaries of the 5 big national parks.
  • Outside of the 5 National Parks. Arches, Canyonlands, Capitol Reef, Bryce Canyon, and Zion National Park make up the 5 national parks in Utah. There is no free camping inside the national park boundaries, but you can always camp outside or nearby and spend the day inside.
  • Outside of Salt Lake City. The Walmart stores at Saratoga Springs, and Springville, and Syracuse permit overnight parking, which is popular among RVers.
  • National forest. There are 5 national forests in Utah that span from the central north to south. Among them, the Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest is the most popular with its spectacular mountain vistas.

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The Dyrts Guide To Free Camping Near Salt Lake City

This article about free camping near Salt Lake City is brought to you by Midland. Their radios and long distance walkie talkies will keep you connected as you explore dispersed camping in Utah.

Utah is one of the U.S. states with the largest amount of public land. Around 65% of Utahs land is public and the Bureau of Land Management manages roughly 42% of land in the state, making for plenty of free camping opportunities.

Dispersed camping is an excellent option if you want to camp for free. It means camping on federal lands right outside a designated campground managed by the Bureau of Land Management or the U.S. Forest Service. The areas are usually quiet, isolated, and surrounded by pristine nature.

You can do dispersed camping with an RV, but you wont have electrical, water, or sewer hookups. Also, you can only access many dispersed camping areas near Salt Lake City from hiking trails. If you are looking for free camping near Salt Lake City, check out these great dispersed camping spots.

Incredible Free Campsites In Utah

Utah is home to thousands of campgrounds dispersed all over the state. With nearly 75% of the land being public, campers have an unlimited option when it comes to free campsites in Utah! Yes, free!

Sure, Utahs State Parks and National Parks have their own beautiful campsites but if you truly want to live life elevated and experience what Utah has to offer then these dispersed campsites are guaranteed to take your adventure to the next level.

No more reservations, lucky lottery drawings, or squeezing your tent in between a mass of loud campers . With this article on the best free campsites in Utah, you will be armed with the coordinates to avoid camping chaos.

These coordinates are a simple navigational tool to help you locate a generalized area that allows dispersed camping. Simply plug it into your GPS or smartphone and go!

If youre not sure how to find the best free camping in the USA, I suggest checking out this guide to free camping in the USA which lists some of the best apps and tips for finding epic campsites that are completely cost-free.

In this article, I will outline the 5 best campsites in Utah. that just happen to be totally free! These campsites are typically unknown, lying just on the outskirts of the most popular tourist destinations like the Mighty 5 and the best part is they are 100% free!

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Jug Hollow Dispersed Camping

Our final pick for the best dispersed camping in Utah is also one of the most spectacular. Located in the Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area, Jug Hollow offers dispersed campsites on a beautiful peninsula jutting out into the water. Forest Road 619 leads out to the tip of the peninsula and has several pullouts along its length that make for great campsites.

Boating, fishing, and hiking are all on offer at Flaming Gorge, making this a great dispersed camping option for those looking for a variety of outdoor recreation opportunities. Of course, all this does make the area a popular camping destination, so be sure to arrive early to secure your campsite.

Southwest of the Jug Hollow youll also find tons of camping opportunities in Ashley National Forest, so dont despair if there are no sites available.

Looking to find more dispersed campsites? Check out The Dyrt PRO to get campsite reviews, offline maps, and the best map layers for finding public dispersed camping!

Our Top Camping App The Dyrt PRO

Castleton Towers Climbers Campsite

Ep. 198: RV Boondocking Near Salt Lake City | Utah camping travel

Castleton Tower is an imposing red rock tower located roughly 20 miles away from Moab.

Famous for its rock climbing, its a popular destination for rock climbing in Utah. A free campsite is located nearby. Although called a climbers campsite, its open to everyone, including RV campers. Theres only a handful of proper campsites but theres plenty of places to park a car to sleep if youre just looking for somewhere to lay down your head for the night. Make sure to hike the trail to the base of the tower and bring your camera. The views are phenomenal.

Learn more about Castleton Towers Climbers Campsite.

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Reasons Why Campervans Are Perfect For Free Camping:

If youve never tried out van life before, you may have concerns about how to find places campespecially during the busy summer months when many public and private campsites have been booked since January. The beauty of traveling by camper van is that finding camping can actually be pretty easy . With a campervan, you can:

  • Fit into most standard tent sites. These are significantly cheaper than RV sites and there are often more of them available. You always have the option to splurge for a utility site with an electric hook up or a larger RV site with all the bells and whistles, but you dont have to. While you should be fine in most cases, always double-check with the folks who run each individual campground to be sure. You can find out the length of each campervan model if required.
  • Easily navigate dirt roads. Scoping out the perfect campsite is easier in a campervan because you can drive down small, windy roads that RVs cant access. No stress! Just be aware that this is at your own riskinsurance only covers you on state- and county- maintained roads.
  • Find FREE dispersed camping almost anywhere you go! Dispersed camping is one of Americas best-kept secrets. There are a few important guidelines to follow, but once you get the hang of it youll find that not only is it free, but its also fun and easier than you might expect. Youll never look back!
  • Going to Canada?

    Best Free Camping Apps

    The app shown in this photo, The Dyrt, shows BLM land in orange, U.S. Forest Service land in purple, and National Park land in green. It also has icons for campsites, and you can filter by price, amenities, ratings, etc. You can click on each icon to see a quick preview of the site , and you can click again to get a very detailed breakdown of what to expect.

    Alright, now that you know what types of free campsites exist, lets talk about the easiest way to find em

    Camping Apps!

    There are a handful of apps out there that are community-sourced maps of free camping, meaning you can see where other people have camped for free.

    Some of these apps will include photos and reviews as well so you know what to expect .

    They are super helpful, especially when youre first getting started with the whole vanlife thang. And even now, we still use them all the time because we arent fans of spending hours trying to search for places to park. Wed rather have a destination in mind.

    These apps are specific to the USA. Each country that is campervan/RV-friendly has its own network of apps and websites. In our experience, we havent found a great resource that is useful worldwide . The apps and websites mentioned in this article are geared towards the USA.

    Were going to go through the best apps for finding free campsites and well explain what makes each unique.

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    Pony Express Rv Resort & Campground

    Image Source:…

    The Pony Express RV Resort is located next to the Jordan River State Recreation Area and only a few minutes away from Salt Lake City Intertiol Airport. Its location just north of Salt Lake City makes it an opportune RV park to stay at while exploring the city and the Great Salt Lake area. ture lovers can take daytrips into the surrounding mountains and enjoy the urban amenities nearby when they get back.

    Considerations Before Camping In Utah

    Nearly free camping in the Unita Mountains east of Salt Lake City ...

    Dispersed camping is defined as camping outside of a designated campground . This means that there is limited to no camping facilities available .

    Dispersed camping is offered to campers through the Bureau of Land Management and Forest Service Lands. These are undeveloped federal lands that are available for public use. When considering a dispersed campsite it is important to remember a few things.

    1) A 14 day stay limit is imposed on all public lands. This means you can stay in a particular area for 14 days, after that time is up, you must move 25 miles to your next destination.

    2) Dispersed campgrounds do not have facilities. There are no bathrooms, wash rooms / showers, and often limited cell service.

    3) Always pack enough water, food, and emergency belongings.

    4) Always use the Leave No Trace Rule. Pack out what you pack in even your waste!

    With those camping rules in mind dont let dispersed camping in Utah intimidate you! It is one of the easiest and most enjoyable ways to experience all of what Utah has to offer.

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    Top 10 Campgrounds And Rv Parkssalt Lake City Utah

    Whether youre interested in touring the natural wonders of the Great Salt Lake or passing through to another region of the country, youll find plenty of local campgrounds that will serve your needs. Salt Lake City is known for its picturesque mountain vistas, fascinating museums, and thriving local music scene. Its often called the Genealogy Capitol of the World thanks to the Family History Library. Visitors also enjoy outdoor activities like boating on the Great Salt Lake or hiking on one of the many trails in the vicinity.

    In addition, staying at a campground in Salt Lake City, Utah is ideal for those who are touring the top RV destinations in the Beehive State. Read on to learn more about the top RV parks in the Salt Lake City, Utah, area.

    Salt Lake City Tent Camping

    Image from The Dyrt camper Derek E.

    To camp for free in this area, youll have to hike up Millcreek Canyon. The hike has an average difficulty level and the trail is quite popular with runners, so youll likely meet other people on the path. In this area, youll be able to enjoy quiet and peaceful camping in the middle of a beautiful canyon. Millcreek Canyon dispersed camping is one of the free camping options close to Salt Lake City.

    I would recommend setting up at Mt. Aire, and then camping to the summit for sunset or sunrise, both are beautiful. CK M.

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    How To Find Dispersed Camping In Utah

    In general, with a little knowledge of where to look, experience navigating forest service roads, reading USFS maps, and camping in remote locations, it should be relatively straightforward to find dispersed camping in Utah. We like to use a combination of online apps/websites and USFS/BLM maps to find dispersed campsites. Our favorite resources for Utah dispersed camping are below:

    • Our go to resource for finding free camping in the US. Simply enter your desired location and filter through the results.
    • The Dyrt An app that lets you filter for free and dispersed campsites.
    • Campendium A website and app that allows you to see user reviews for campsites and campgrounds across the country.

    Check out our Dispersed Camping App guide here.

    While these apps and websites are a good starting place for finding dispersed campsites in Utah, we always cross reference the information with public agencies maps and resources. Weve provided contact information for all of the National Forests and BLM offices in Utah in this post, and they will provide the most up to date information on where dispersed camping is permitted.

    Looking to find more dispersed campsites? Check out The Dyrt PRO to get campsite reviews, offline maps, and the best map layers for finding public dispersed camping!

    Our Top Camping App The Dyrt PRO

    Weir Creek Tent Camping

    The Best Free Camping in Utah
    • Cell Service: none

    • Elevation: 2,700 ft

    If youre a tent camper, youll love this free Idaho hot springs camping area!

    But if you camp from a vehicle like us, keep scrolling – no overnight parking is allowed at this location. Unless you want to take a quick dip in the hot springs like we did!

    Weir Creek Hot Springs and these tent camping sites are located just off the north side of Idahos scenic Highway 12.

    Theres a bathroom at the parking area, although we didnt find it to be very well maintained. Of course, bathrooms are the only amenity youll find here, as this is free camping in the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forest.

    Start down the trailhead and youll soon see some sites off to your right, right along Weir Creek. There were several choices with ample space to set up a tent or hang a couple of hammocks. And if you come here to camp, youll definitely want to hike the short half-mile trail to visit the hot springs.

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