Utah Camping Reservation Tips for July 4th and Summer 2022

A popular campsite locator app lists over 1,300 sites in Utah. But when the 4th of July weekend was entered as the reservation date, the number of available places disappeared faster than a popsicle on a summer day. In fact, there were none. Nothing. Zipper. Zero.

Turns out it was just a temporary glitch in the app. But for any potential campers who didn’t make a reservation in January, the feeling is the same. Finding a campsite any weekend this summer, let alone a holiday weekend, seems impossible.

Good news: it’s not.

Even though 8.5 million people experienced camping for the first time in 2021, according to a June 1 report by free camping locator app The Dyrt (done in conjunction with two independent polling companies). And even the same report found that campers found it three times harder to book a site than in 2019 it can be done. Honest.

However, the penance will probably have to be paid for due to lack of planning. This will likely come in the form of no running water, electricity, toilets or – for those who don’t want to live without these luxuries – high costs. But if the goal is to spend the night in the great outdoors, it’s not out of reach, even this weekend.

“Be open to all kinds of different campsites and then you’ll have more options,” said Sarah Smith, founder of The Dyrt, a free campsite locator app. “Which I think is a really fun way to camp.”

Here are some options to consider:

Do a last minute check

The misfortune of others can lead to your luck. You never know when an injury or an emergency or the revelation of someone who doesn’t really like to commune with nature will cause them to cancel their reservation at the last minute. For this reason, it’s worth checking recreation.gov, the reservation site for all federally-run campgrounds (and some state-run campgrounds) to see what’s available. If you don’t have time to keep checking out that lakeside spot with great fishing, you can pay a little to have the Campnab app do it for you.

Other apps worth checking out include hipcamp.com and thedyrt.com, both of which offer established campsites but also deals with private landowners who want to rent space on their property.

Go in a group or glamp

Is it mandatory that camping involves setting up a tent in the dark and sleeping on a slope or on lumpy rocks? If the answer is no, and you also don’t think a basic tenet of camping is that it should be cheap, then the world is your yurt.

Although they can cost as much as a hotel room, several campgrounds still have glamping sites available. This is often a yurt, cabin, or freestanding trailer with beds, mats, and maybe your own hot shower.

The downside is that they can cost three to five times more than a place in a traditional campsite, and sometimes even more than a hotel room. The same goes for group sites. Several campgrounds around the state (try Tanner Flat or Strawberry Bay) still have reservations available for their most spacious sites, which may suit you and all of your neighbors, but also cost upwards of $100 per night. .

Be an early riser

Just for procrastinators like you, most federally run campgrounds have multiple first-come, first-served sites reserved. These can be high risk and high reward. If you can catch one, great. But if you want to keep looking for, say, something closer to the water or further away from the toilet, you risk being left out in the cold. That’s if you even get the luxury of choice. These sites fill up early and often, so it’s best to go mid-week (which is actually a great way to find camping areas anytime this summer) or at least several hours before departure if you want a chance to claim your right.

A few Utah campgrounds offering first-come, first-served sites to consider include: Anderson Cove Campground near Ogden, Gooseberry Campground in Fish Lakes National Forest, Currant Campground Creek south of Heber City and Hades Campground, located 55 miles east of Park City. .

Create your own adventure

One of the best kept camping secrets is scattered camping. On most lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management or the United States Forest Service, people are allowed to pitch tents or park their RVs. This means you can choose how far from a neighbor or the highway you want to be (although the courteous camper will look for a place that has already been used as a site). Plus, it’s free.

“If you have time and you have adventurous streaks, go out and explore a bit more and see what you can (find),” said Smith, who noted that the paid version of The Dyrt has land overlays. federal and often scattered popular site pins and reviews. “I mean, especially in a state like Utah where there’s so much public land.”

A few caveats, though, courtesy of Loyal Clark, spokesperson for the Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest.

First, advises Clark, check campfire restrictions at Utahfireinfo.gov. If fires are allowed, make sure they are completely extinguished before you leave. To do this, pour water over the ashes and stir, pour and stir until they are cool to the touch. Also, don’t try to burn trash, like cans, plastic, or Styrofoam – wrap it up. And leave sticks in the ashes.

Second, camp at least 20 meters from rivers, streams and wetlands. Bring portable toilets or learn how and where to bury your business. This type of outing will also require you to draw or filter any water you will need.

Once you’re settled, unfold this camping chair and sit down to listen to the sounds of nature. Watch a hummingbird pass by. It should be impossible for them to support their bodies in the air with these little wings.

But, just like finding a camping spot on a holiday weekend, that is not the case.

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