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Camping around St. George

Southern Utah is known for its amazing natural wonders. Whether you’re headed this way for Zion National Park, Snow Canyon State Park, Gooseberry Mesa or Moe’s Valley, you’re probably pretty stoked on getting out this way to enjoy those wonders. And if you are like a lot of folks, you would prefer to spend your time enjoying nature outside instead of in a hotel. Camping in Washington County is both limited and widely available. Pay sites that offer advanced reservations tend to book out months in advanced and walk up sites have about the same odds as a Las Vegas slot machine for getting one. On the flip side, the BLM manages a ton of land within the county and allows primitive, dispersed camping in most areas. What we have tried to provide here is a guide that covers everything from the 5 star resorts to the dirtbag camp out by Moe’s.

I camp, but I still like amenities

Snow Canyon State Park

  • Within the park, there is a small campground with 27 sites.
  • Amenities include flush toilets and showers.
  • Partial hook ups are available at some of the sites.
  • Group sites are available.
  • Sites can and should be reserved in advance here.

Quail Creek State Park

  • There are 22 sites around the reservoir within the park.
  • Amenities include flush toilets and outside showers.
  • Only standard sites available.
  • Sites can be reserved in advance here.

Sand Hollow State Park

  • There are 69 sites within the park.
  • Amenities include flush toilets and showers (West Side campground only).
  • Partial and full hook up sites available in addition to standard sites.
  • Group sites available.
  • Sites can be reserved in advance here.

Zion National Park

  • Lava Point Campground
  • Lava point has 6 tent sites that are walk up sites, first come first serve.
  • Watchman Campground
  • Watchman has 176 regular sites, 6 group sites, 2 wheel chair accessible sites.
  • Reservations can and should be made in advance here.

Zion Canyon Campground

  • Private campground with 200 sites.
  • Full amenities available.
  • Advanced reservations can be made here.

Zion River Resort

  • If you are willing to camp, but still want 5 star accomodations, this is your spot.
  • Full amenities available.
  • Advanced reservations can be made here.

Gooseberry Yurts

  • Two yurts available.
  • Vault toilet.
  • Best view of just about any spot in the county.
  • Reservations can be made here.

Red Cliffs Recreation Area

  • BLM campground tucked in the Red Cliffs Recreation Area.
  • 10 campsites are available on a first come, first serve basis.
  • This is an awesome campground, but it sells out most nights.

Gunlock State Park

  • 5 primitive sites available.
  • First come, first serve.
  • Vault toilets.
  • No potable water

Baker Reservoir

  • About 25 miles north of St. George, there is small reservoir.
  • There are both tent and RV sites.
  • Sites are first come, first serve.
  • Drinking water is available.

I don’t want to have to pay, but I’m not a hobo

As mentioned above, the pay sites listed tend to sell out fast in all but the complete off season. Luckily, there are a lot of areas that allow for dispersed camping. Dispersed camping is basically pulling up on public lands and camping where someone else already did. For those of you who grew up in Utah, this is normal. For those of you from elsewhere, trust us, this is completely normal and legal. If you venture off paved roads, you will see a lot of pull outs with fire rings and you can tell people have camped there. As long as these are not marked with No Camping signs or on private lands, you are good to go. Below are a bunch of common places that dispersed campsites are available and are public lands.

Gooseberry Mesa

  • Probably the most popular mountain bike trail for the area, it happens to be surrounded by mostly public lands.
  • There are quite a few dispersed locations, but we have seen the mesa get full.
  • Please respect the land and only camp where a site has already been established.
  • Practice Leave No Trace.
  • There are two vault toilets. 1 at the White Trailhead and 1 at the turn off to the White Trailhead.

Little Creek Mesa

  • Little Creek is similar to Gooseberry, lots of sites.
  • Little Creek is an Area of Critical Environmental Concern and has thousands of culturally important indeginous sites. Make sure to only camp where others have.
  • There are no amenities on the mesa.
  • Practice Leave No Trace.

Wire Mesa

  • Wire is a new trail built this past year.
  • Like the other two mesas, there are a bunch of dispersed sites around the area that can be used.
  • There are no amenities on the mesa.
  • Practice Leaven No Trace.

Oak Grove

  • In the warmer months, Oak Grove campground is accessible. It is gated when there is snow.
  • There is water, but it should be filtered or boiled.
  • There are a couple of toilets.
  • Sites are first come, first serve and designated.

If it’s free, I’m good to go

These are dispersed campsites as well, but are a bit more off the beaten path. You are more likely to be completely alone and at the same time surrounded by people that might make you uncomfortable at times. If you aren’t up for randomness, we recommend you stick to any of the above sites.

Turkey Farm Road

  • This is dispersed. You will see weird people, big trucks and plenty of dirt bikes.
  • At about 12 miles from downtown St. George, you enter Forest Service Land, once you see that sign, you can camp in any pull out you can find.
  • Water is not available.
  • To get there, head North on Cottonwood Springs Drive from Red Hills Parkway.

Moe’s Valley

  • Moe’s Valley is a bouldering area just on the outskirts of St. George.
  • It is a typical dirtbag campsite.
  • There are a couple of rock-marked sites designated by the climbers with fire pits.
  • You will most likely encounter climbers and mountain bikers around this area.
  • There is a bunch of State land adjacent to the climbing area that people throw out in for a night.

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