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  • Basecamp Outdoor Gear Team

Where to camp in and around Capitol Reef National Park

Planning a camping trip to Capitol Reef National Park? First and foremost, decide where you want to go. This park is HUGE! But there's only one main part that you can visit in a regular passenger car. To see the rest of the park, you'll need a high-clearance vehicle. Check out our post about visiting Capitol Reef to learn more. Then, refer to the below list for our favorite places to camp in and near Capitol Reef National Park. Remember to reserve your camping gear with us.

Note: Fill up on water, groceries, and gas prior to embarking on any dirt roads in the Southwest! At Basecamp Outdoor Gear, we rent 7-gallon water jugs and coolers so you don't run out of water and you can keep your food fresh longer.

road, grass, wooden shed, red cliffs
Driving toward Fruita Campground in Capitol Reef National Park

Camping within Capitol Reef National Park boundaries

According to national park rules and regulations, you can only stay in established campgrounds within the national park boundaries. There's only one campground in the main part of Capitol Reef National Park, and two more campgrounds off dirt roads in the north and south.


Fruita Campground

Fruita Campground is the only campground in the main part of the park, near the visitor center. It's beautiful and spacious, in the shade of cottonwood trees and orchards nearby! The campground has flush toilets and running water, but no showers. You must reserve your spot in advance during the majority of the year. If you're planning a trip last-minute, check the online system a few times a day, up to 24 hours in advance, as other travelers may cancel their trip.

Our thoughts about this campground: This is a great place to stay if you're driving a regular passenger car or if you plan to hike the Frying Pan trail.

Reservations: Required March-October. Book here


Cathedral Valley Campground

This is the only official place to camp in all of Cathedral Valley, the northern part of the park. Campsites are free and have picnic tables, fire rings, and vault toilets, but no running water and no cell phone reception. This campground is usually pretty empty because you can only get here with a high clearance vehicle, sometimes even 4WD! Check road conditions, get maps from the visitor center, and download area information to offline use before heading out this way.

Our thoughts about this campground: It's the only place to stay if you drive into Cathedral Valley. It's beautiful and well-maintained, clean and quiet.

Reservations: First-come first-served


Cedar Mesa Campground

For those driving the Notom Rd along the Waterpocket Fold, Cedar Mesa Campground is the only official place to overnight. It's usually pretty empty because this part of the park is very remote, and you can only get here with a high clearance vehicle! Campsites are free and have picnic tables, fire rings, and vault toilets, but no running water and no cell phone reception.

Our thoughts about this campground: It's your only option if you want to stay along Notom Rd. It's beautiful and well-maintained, clean and quiet.

Reservations: First-come first-served

desert valley sounded by cliffs and mountains in the background
Cathedral Valley - Capitol Reef National Park

Oragnized campgrounds outside of Capitol Reef National Park

There are a few options for organized campgrounds outside the park, only a handful of which are worth a mention here because their price to value ratio is outstanding.


RV Parks and Campgrounds in Torrey, UT

Thousand Lakes and Wonderland are very nice private campgrounds in the town of Torrey, UT. They have all the amenities you can think of and more! But they are closed in the winter, usually between November-April.

Our thoughts about these campgrounds: If you need RV connection, these are the places to go. If you're in a tent, choose a different site outside of town, but come here for showers and to fill up on water.

Reservations: Recommended.


Calf Creek Campground

Small and very popular beautiful campground along the creek and the trailhead to Lower Calf Creek Falls. This campground is great year-round, but watch out for flash flood potential! Sites are small and parking spaces narrow, so this is ideal for tent camping. There's potable water and toilets in the main trailhead parking lot. No cell phone reception. Bring exact change in cash to pay the campground and day use fees.

Our thoughts about this campground: LOVE IT! You can't beat the setting for this campground. Convenient location, soothing sounds from the creek, true desert oasis.

Reservations: First-come first-served. Check nightly rate here.


Goblin Valley State Park

Utah state parks maintain amazing campgrounds, and the one at Goblin Valley is no exception. Hot showers and flush toilets, spacious sites, picnic tables, and a disc golf course! This campground is open year-round. I think it's ideal in winter, but even in summer each campsite has a sunshade under which you can hide during the heat of the day.

Our thoughts about this campground: This is great, especially if you're traveling with family or a group of friends who like disc golf.

Reservations: Recommended. Book here

sunrise over a valley of red boulders
Goblin Valley State Park, Utah

Dispersed camping near Capitol Reef National Park

Although it is technically dispersed camping, the following sites are the trailhead parking lots for some bucket list hikes in the Southwest. High clearance vehicle recommended!


Little Wild Horse Canyon

This is a very nice private campground in the town of Torrey, UT. If you need RV connection, this is the place to go. If you're in a tent, choose a different site, but come here for showers and to fill up on water.


Horseshoe Canyon

This is a very nice private campground in the town of Torrey, UT. If you need RV connection, this is the place to go. If you're in a tent, choose a different site, but come here for showers and to fill up on water.


Other campgrounds worth a mention near Capitol Reef National Park

The following campgrounds are in high elevation and get lots of snow in winter. If you want to feel some cool air in summertime, you'll enjoy any of these campgrounds. Note that they get surprisingly busy for such remote locations.


Boulder Mountain Campgrounds

There are a handful of campgrounds along Scenic Byway 12 at Boulder Mountain. They open only in summer. Oak Creek is quietest and more suitable for tent camping. Singletree is the largest and best for RV camping.

Reservations: Recommended for Singletree. The rest are first-come first-served.


Fish Lake Campgrounds

There are a handful of campgrounds along Scenic Byway 25 at Fishlake. They open only in summer.

Reservations: Recommended. Book here


Henry Mountains Campgrounds

The Henry Mountains, just south of Hanksville, UT, are very remote and often overlooked, yet they are very prominent in the topography around Capitol Reef. The three campgrounds here are open year-round but they are in high-elevation, so better in summer. They are popular with locals in fall during hunting season.

Our thoughts about this campground: If you like places that are very much off the beaten path, the Henry Mountains are for you.

Reservations: First-come first-served


Summary of all campgrounds in and around Capitol Reef National Park

Here's a map of all the campgrounds mentioned above. Remember to rent 7-gallon water jugs so you don't run out of water if you embark on any of the dirt roads. Make sure you have a full tank of gas and extra food and emergency supplies.

If you need more information regarding any of the campgrounds mentioned above please don’t hesitate to contact us!

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