5 Incredible Free Campsites in Utah (Near National Parks & Attractions!) - Eternal Arrival (2023)

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, Utah’s 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 (where it’s hard to socially distance). 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 you’re 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!

Whether you’re seeking a true wilderness adventure, trying to stick to a budget, or just trying to find a place of solitude, these beautiful Utah campsites are out there and waiting for you!

Table of Contents

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Considerations Before Camping in Utah

Dispersed camping is defined as camping outside of a designated campground (also called wild camping). This means that there is limited to no camping facilities available (read: no bathrooms).

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… don’t 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.

The Best Free Campsites in Utah (Near Main Attractions & National Parks)

Best Free Camping Near Zion

Utah Campsite #1:N 37°15.221′, W 112°46.077′

5 Incredible Free Campsites in Utah (Near National Parks & Attractions!) - Eternal Arrival (1)
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Zion is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Utah, and for a good reason. Zion boasts some of the world’s most breathtaking hikes like Angels Landing and The Narrows.

But if you’re looking for a place to rest your weary feet after your adventures, most tourists are out of luck with only two local campgrounds to choose from which are often extremely full.

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However, 16 miles outside Zion National Park is a large area that caters to campers. If you’re going East on Highway 9 out of Zion, you’ll find a small turn off to the right just after Mile Marker 51. An old gravel road will lead you to a ring of campsites with spectacular views!

Fire pits, free firewood and a 360-degree view of the surrounding Zion area await you at this magnificent free campsite in Utah. And if you’re lucky, this mostly unknown campsite will be all yours.

Best Free Camping Near Moab

Utah Campsite #2: N 38°28’7.26″, W 109°22’8.88″

5 Incredible Free Campsites in Utah (Near National Parks & Attractions!) - Eternal Arrival (2)

Moab is the gateway to Utah’s legendary red rocks formations that make up Arches National Park, Canyonlands, and Dead Horse Point State Park.

Millions of visitors flock to Moab each year to catch a glimpse of its otherworldly sights. Permits and local campgrounds fill up quickly but nestled 5 miles outside the city of Moab lies a campers dream!

Manti La Sal Road is the mecca of dispersed camping in Moab. This long winding road will take you up and above the hustle and busy-ness of Moab. You will be welcomed with expansive sites of the desert on your left and massive mountains surrounding you on your right.

There are hundreds of established yet free campsites tucked away on this well-traveled road, yet you’re still just outside the city to make those emergency grocery and libation runs!

Best Free Camping Near Kanab

Utah Campsite #3: N 37°3.200′, W 112°15.581′

5 Incredible Free Campsites in Utah (Near National Parks & Attractions!) - Eternal Arrival (3)

Kanab is home to some of the most slot canyons in the world. Miles of winding slot trails, amazing wave rock formations, and the beginnings of the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument can all be found in the heart of Kanab.

But also lying in the heart of Kanab are some of the most alluring, quiet campsites in the world — and some of the best free campsites in Utah!

Spanning from Lake Powell to Hurricane and beyond, Highway 89 is home to hundreds of dispersed Utah campsites that are totally free for campers to enjoy.

If you’re looking to hike the Peekaboo Slots, or grabbing that infamous Instagram picture at The Wave (note: good luck with that permit!), Seamen’s Canyon Road off Highway 89 is the perfect middle ground for your southern Utah adventure.

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Located 32 miles west of The Peekaboo Slot Canyon trailhead, Seamen’s Canyon Road offers multiple pullouts underneath the cliffs of Grand Staircase-Escalante.

Best Free Camping Near Salt Lake City

Utah Campsite #4: N 40°36.506′, W 111°7.505′

5 Incredible Free Campsites in Utah (Near National Parks & Attractions!) - Eternal Arrival (4)

Salt Lake City is the heartbeat of Utah. A colorful, vibrant city that boasts luxury resorts and five-star restaurants… but nestled just outside this stunning, bustling city is a campers paradise!

Miles of trails and millions of acres of dispersed camping await those who want a more primitive adventure camping in Utah but close to the convenience of the capital.

Less than an hour south of Salt Lake, high above Utah Lake, sits a ring of established free Utah campgrounds with breathtaking views. Tent campers and big rigs alike will enjoy this quiet Utah campsite with lakeside views and the city of Provo in the distance.

Located just off Highway 68, West of Provo, this free Utah campsite makes a great location for those wanting a small dose of the big city without the hustle and bustle.

Best Free Camping Near Bryce Canyon National Park

Campsite #5: N 37°40.205′, W 112°12.226′

5 Incredible Free Campsites in Utah (Near National Parks & Attractions!) - Eternal Arrival (5)

The Alice-in-Wonderland-esque landscape of Bryce Canyon is one of the most underrated parks in Utah, often overshadowed by Arches and Zion.

A picturesque park set among an arid desert landscape, this place resembles something off of Mars. Most visitors will spend the day hiking Bryce Canyons’ Queens Garden and Navajo Loop then retreat back to their hotel rooms for the night.

But if you’re looking for a truly unforgettable adventure, find yourself a quiet and free campsite on the land that surrounds Bryce Canyon and enjoy a night under Utah’s beautiful stars!

Bryce Canyon is surrounded by free public land that is part of the Dixie National Forest. Just to the west of Bryce Canyon National Park lies a plethora of free dispersed campsites.

Heading west on Highway 12 from Bryce Canyon, there is a turn off on E Fork Road. Follow E Fork Road down to Forest Road 088 and make a left. From here, you’ll begin to see pull-outs full of fire rings and free Utah campsites hidden among the pine trees.

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This is the perfect spot if you want to spend your day hiking the hoodoos, then rest at night under a blanket of peaceful stars!

Utah is made to be explored! Whether you are hiking, climbing or white water rafting, you are guaranteed to find a free Utah campsite that’s perfect for your next adventure! So get out there, start exploring, and live life elevated!

Keep in mind that while you’re visiting Utah’s public lands, you are a guest and need to abide by the rules in order to keep free dispersed camping in Utah open, available, and enjoyable for all.

For more information on the Bureau of Land Management, Forest Service Lands, and the Leave No Trace principles, I’ve provided some additional reading resources linked above. Keep in mind that during certain time periods, some restrictions on dispersed camping may apply, so do your research before planning a trip.

Happy and responsible camping!

Pin This Guide to Dispersed Camping in Utah & Free Utah Camp Sites!

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5 Incredible Free Campsites in Utah (Near National Parks & Attractions!) - Eternal Arrival (9)

Sabra Nickels

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Sabra is an adventure-hungry outdoor enthusiast originally from Dallas, Texas. She has been to 33 states, 3 countries, and has traveled America while living out of the back of her truck. Besides writing, Sabra can be found powerlifting, running her online personal training business, and enjoying time with friends and family.

FAQs

Where can you park an RV for free in Utah? ›

Boondocking Sites in Utah
  • State Route 150, Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest. ...
  • Willow Springs Road Dispersed Camping. ...
  • Skull Valley Offroad Camping Area. ...
  • Smithsonian Butte National Back Country Byway. ...
  • Hole-in-the-Rock Road Dispersed Camping. ...
  • Free Camping in Utah.
7 May 2021

Can you camp for free on BLM land Utah? ›

Most BLM campgrounds require a fee to use a campground. These fees help maintain the facilities. Selecting a campsite is usually on a first come first serve basis. However, some campgrounds take reservations which can be made at recreation.gov.

Can you just camp anywhere in Utah? ›

Much of the public land in Utah is open to tent camping, even if there are no developed campgrounds nearby. Check with the agency managing the land if you have questions. Here are tips to help you have an enjoyable tent camping experience: Make reservations or arrive early.

Can I sleep in my car in Zion National Park? ›

Overnight accommodations in Zion Canyon are typically full from March to November. Camping or sleeping in pullouts or parking lots is prohibited.

How much does it cost to camp at Utah State Parks? ›

Camping fee: RV established sites are $35.00 per night and includes water, electrical hookups, and limited internet access. A shared dump station is available for use. We offer Beach Camping as Tent ONLY Primitive sites for $20 per night. These sites are walking access only and comes with a fire pit.

Can I sleep in my RV at a rest stop in Utah? ›

Rest areas are provided to the traveling public for this purpose. All rest areas are posted for no overnight camping. However, extended stays are permitted and are monitored by the on-site staff and the Highway Patrol. *A list of RV dump sites in Utah can be found using the links below.

Can I sleep anywhere in my motorhome? ›

As far as most motorhome and campervan experts can say, there is currently no specific legislation or law to prevent you from sleeping in a vehicle at the roadside.

How much is RV storage in Utah? ›

On average, RV storage costs about $130 per month. This rate is dependent on different factors such as security, indoor or outdoor parking, and access to the facilities. What is the cheapest RV storage in Salt Lake City, Utah? Some of the cheapest RV storage prices are in the $40-$50 range.

Can you free camp in Moab? ›

There's a lot to love about Moab, but one of the best things is the abundance of public land––and that means free camping! There are plenty of dirt roads through the desert where you can just pull over and set up camp, no fees or permits required!

How much is a BLM land in Utah? ›

From spectacular red-rock canyons and roaring rivers to high mountain peaks and expansive salt flats across 22.8 million acres in Utah, BLM public lands are unparalleled in scenic beauty.

Can you camp at Zion for free? ›

As you know almost all Federally owned land is free to camp on and the land in Utah is no different. As the most visited attraction in Utah, Zion National Park gets about 4.5 million visitors each year and lucky for the RV living crowd, boondocking near Zion National Park is plentiful.

Can you camp in your car in Utah? ›

Yes. Overnight parking is allowed at Utah Rest Areas, just not overnight camping.

Can you camp anywhere in a national forest Utah? ›

Dispersed camping is the term used for camping anywhere in the National Forest outside of a designated campground. Dispersed camping means no toilets, no treated water, and no fire grates are provided. Camping in dispersed areas on the Forest is allowed for fourteen (14) days in any thirty (30) day consecutive period.

What does Boondocking mean when camping? ›

Boondocking in an RV is when you camp without hookups to electricity, water, or sewage. You can boondock in many different ways, like staying overnight in a business parking lot or camping on public lands.

What is the best month to visit Zion National Park? ›

The best months to visit Zion National Park are March, April, October, or November. The weather is more mild, but all park facilities are open and crowds are fewer.

Is it better to stay in Zion or outside? ›

There are only a few main roads that travel to the most popular hikes and viewpoints. I recommend staying inside of the park if you want to be within minutes of the most popular hikes and viewpoints — you'll be able to catch the free Zion Canyon Shuttle directly from here.

What time does Zion parking lot fill up? ›

Parking is usually full by 8-9 am. The best way to avoid delays entering Zion is to park in Springdale and ride the town shuttle to the park.

How much is a senior Utah State Park pass? ›

Senior Day Use: $10 Seniors (65 yrs old). Annual Pass: $100. Senior Annual Pass: $50. Walk In Fee: $5 per person.

Do veterans get into Utah state parks for free? ›

Utah State Parks also offers our “Veterans With Disabilities Honor Pass” which allows qualified veterans free day-use access.

How much is a campsite at Zion? ›

There are 117 total sites (114 regular, 3 wheelchair) and each site has a fire ring and a picnic table. Individual campsites are $20 per night and group sites are $50. There are toilets, potable water sources, waste dumps for RVs and access to the waters of the Virgin River.

Where can I sleep in my car legally in Utah? ›

You can sleep in your car in Utah as long as you are in a campsite on disbursed camping on BLM/Forest Service land. For the most part, overnight temps should be pretty comfortable unless there's an usual extreme hot spell or cold spell.

Can you run a generator at a rest stop? ›

Yes, you can run a generator at a rest area in all 50 states.

Can you live in a van in Utah? ›

With more than 35 million acres of public lands, dirt roads galore, and plenty of room to spread out, there's no place like Utah for van lifers.

Can you sleep in an RV while someone else is driving? ›

If you can sleep while sitting up in an RV passenger seat, then you're free to sleep! Just make sure you're properly buckled in for your safety. Conversely, sleeping in an RV bed while someone is driving is not allowed. Even if you live in a state where all passengers aren't required to wear a seatbelt, it isn't safe.

Can you sleep in your car while camping? ›

Can I Sleep in My Car at a Campground? Many campgrounds, like KOAs, will welcome guests who choose to sleep in their car at a campsite. It's always good idea to call ahead so that you ensure you're reserving the right type of site for you car camping adventure.

Can you sleep in the bed of a moving RV? ›

Passenger safety is key while riding in a motorhome. While taking a nap isn't prohibited, it is illegal and unsafe to occupy an RV bed while the vehicle is moving. An injury or worse could happen if the vehicle were to be in an accident.

How much does a Boondock cost? ›

Values
Suggested List PriceAverage Retail
Base Price$16,724$13,600
Options (Add)
Total Price$16,724$13,600
2 more rows

Is the storage of an RV tax deductible? ›

This means that you'll want to take advantage of any tax deductions that you can, and the savings can go toward your RV's associated expenses, like RV storage. Just remember: You'll only want to itemize if your total deductions are more than the standard deductions.

How much does it cost to rent a storage unit in Utah? ›

The overall average price of a self-storage unit booked in Salt Lake City, Utah over the past 180 days is $117.59.

When should I avoid Moab? ›

If possible, avoid visiting Moab during the summer months. Not only will you need to come with a lot of patience to make your way through the crowds, but you'll also be dealing with scorching temperatures that can reach over 100°F.

Where can I fill my camper with water in Moab? ›

  • Farm & City. 850 S. Main St. ...
  • Maverick. 985 S Highway 191. Dump: Free. ...
  • Moab KOA. 3225 S Hwy 191. Dump: $15.00. ...
  • Moab Rim Campark. 1900 S Hwy 191. Dump/Water: $10. ...
  • OK RV Campground. 3310 Spanish Valley Dr (behind Old Spanish Trail Arena) Dump/Water: $5.00. ...
  • Shell. 2420 Spanish Trail Rd. ...
  • Sun Outdoors Moab Downtown. 555 S Main St.

What is the entrance fee to Moab? ›

Entrance Fees:

Individuals: $5 (Valid for 7 Days) Includes walk-ins, bicyclists, and motorcycles. Vehicle: $10 (Valid for 7 Days) Covers all occupants of the vehicle. Local Passport: $25 (Valid for 365 Days) Can be used at Canyonlands, Natural Bridges, and Hovenweep.

Who owns most of the land in Utah? ›

Over 70% of Utah is public land owned by the federal or state government. This land is renowned for its natural beauty. There are many competing uses for these millions of acres, ranging from solar arrays, wind farms, and gas wells to habitat, grazing, watersheds, and recreation.

Can you drive on BLM land in Utah? ›

For example, on lands managed by the BLM's Vernal Field Office, you can drive 300 feet off of a main road for dispersed camping. Managed lands in other areas have different rules. Here's a few rules/best practices that are universal and should be applied in addition to each field office's individual rules.

Can you shoot on BLM land in Utah? ›

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) in Utah offers approximately 22.8 million acres for recreational shooting. There are some areas, however, that are closed to recreational shooting. It is your responsibility to know the locations, rules, and regulations that apply to any activity on BLM lands.

How much does it cost for one vehicle to enter Zion? ›

$35.00 Non-commercial vehicles with a vehicle capacity of 15 or less. $20.00 per person Non-commercial vehicles with a capacity of 16 or greater. Fees will not exceed the commercial fee for the same-sized vehicle.

Can you do Zion in 2 days? ›

We think 2 days in Zion National Park is a perfect baseline. With 2 days, you'll be able to fit in one of the longer hikes in Zion (like Angels Landing), the scenic drive between the East Entrance and Zion – Mt. Carmel tunnel, and some of the shorter hikes in the canyon.

Can you get into Zion without a reservation? ›

You do not need a permit or reservation to visit most areas in Zion Canyon. You do not need a permit or reservation to ride a park shuttle. You do not need a permit or reservation to enter the park. You do need to pay the park fee.

Can you bring your phone to camp? ›

Many camps do not allow cell phones/emails because the goal is to have an electronic-free environment and to move youth away from the constant stimuli of technology. A child may avoid getting to know his bunk mates or may rely on her parents too much by using these electronics.

How long can you stay at a rest stop in Utah? ›

Utah allows you to sleep at rest stops, and they don't even have an upper limit of how long you can stay there (within reason). If you are an RV user that is exploring the roads of Utah, then you will find that Utah is pretty much one of the most welcoming states in the country.

Is it illegal to sleep in car in Utah? ›

Utah. There is no Utah state law that forbids sleeping in your car, although you can get arrested for sleeping in your vehicle while intoxicated.

What does BLM mean for Boondocking? ›

BLM stands for Bureau of Land Management. BLM is responsible for millions of acres of public land, most of it in the western states, and it is perfect for both full-amenity RV camping and boondocking. BLM lands are incredibly diverse, including livestock grazing, timber harvesting, and energy resources.

Do I need a permit to camp on BLM land in Utah? ›

There are three small developed campgrounds located on the Monument. Campsites are first-come, first-serve with no advance reservations. A free over-night permit is required for dispersed camping outside developed campgrounds. Permits are available at all Monument visitor centers.

Can you camp in Utah for free? ›

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!

Can you live in an RV without hookups? ›

Some people call it “boondocking.” Others call it “Dry RV camping.” They mean the same thing, and there's many different ways to do it. From easy living with solar power, to roughing it with only your RV batteries for power, let's look at how RVers go camping without hookups.

How many days can you dry camp in an RV? ›

Many “professional” dry campers are able to last 10-14 days without refilling water or needing to dump their tanks. This may be longer than you ever plan to dry camp, but with practice, most could easily last three or four nights. Dry camping may seem overwhelming and difficult if you have never tried it before.

Can I sleep in my camper at a truckstop? ›

Truck stops can be found in nearly every state across the country. National brand truck stops are not just a place for truck drivers to take a break; they also welcome RV travelers. You can usually spend the night free of charge at many of them.

Can you camp on public land in Utah? ›

Camping is allowed on most trust lands throughout the state for up to 15 consecutive days. Certain areas are subject to shorter 7 day limits and some areas are closed to camping. Click here for a statewide map showing camping restrictions and limits.

Are Utah state parks free? ›

Day Use: $15 per vehicle. Senior Day Use: $10 Seniors (65 yrs old). Annual Pass: $100.

Can you camp anywhere on BLM land Utah? ›

Dispersed (or primitive camping) can take place on most public lands, including BLM lands, as long as it does not conflict with other authorized uses or in areas posted "closed to camping," or in some way adversely affects wildlife species or natural resources.

Where can I camp on BLM land in Utah? ›

Campgrounds are found along or adjacent to Highways 128 , 313 and 279 , on the Kane Creek Road , at Ken's Lake , in the Canyon Rims Recreation Area , and in the Sand Flats Recreation Area .

Can you Boondock in Mark Twain National Forest? ›

The Best Dispersed Camping in Mark Twain National Forest

The Dyrt provides you with a diverse selection of places to camp, from dispersed backcountry camping to boondocking, and everything in-between.

Do I need an SUV for Utah national parks? ›

None of the roads leading to the major parts of the parks require an SUV. My recollection of Zion and Bryce is that all the roads are paved.

Do you need reservations for Utah State Parks? ›

Reservations are always recommended (especially for weekend stays), and may be made by calling (800) 322-3770 or visiting www.stateparks.utah.gov.

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