Utah

Mountain Getaway: Best Camping Near Park City, Utah

by Mac Misseldine

Thanks to its prime location between two national forests, Park City offers stellar camping sites in any direction.

The first three rules of real estate are location, location, location — and Park City has that in spades. 

There’s Wasatch National Forest to the west, and Uinta National Forest to the east. Head south and you’ll find the picturesque Heber Valley. Look to the north and you’ll discover a variety of lakes beckoning to anybody with a boat, kayak, or paddle board. 

Simply put, adventure abounds in every direction.

Park City is the perfect basecamp for adventure when you’ve got a cabin, but sometimes it’s nice to leave modern conveniences behind and spend the night in a tent. There’s no better way to reconnect with nature than when you’re sleeping under the stars, away from the noise and light pollution of the city.

Unless you’ve got a camper with a comfy bed. That might nudge tents aside for the winner.

Either way, whether you’re a tent guy, RV family, or car camper, finding a great campground near Park City is pretty easy.

With five state parks within driving distance (more if you count the ones near Salt Lake City and Provo) and countless Forest Service campgrounds scattered across the Wasatch and Uinta Mountains, there are hundreds of campsites at your fingertips.

Of course, with so many options choosing a campground may be a little overwhelming for some people. Don’t worry — we’ve got you covered. Here’s a list of the best campgrounds near Park City, starting with the alluring Wasatch Mountain State Park.

Wasatch Mountain State Park

wasatch mountain state park

Why you should camp here: A magnificent mountain retreat with modern amenities and year-round outdoor activities.

  • Reservations accepted: Yes
  • Best seasons: Year-round
  • Campsite type: Tent, RV, car camping
  • RV hookups: Full

Wasatch Mountain State Park is a 23,000-acre nature preserve that’s less than 30 minutes from Park City. The mountainous retreat is a year-round destination for outdoor enthusiasts, offering hiking, mountain biking, and off-roading during the warm months, and cross-country skiing and snowmobiling during the winter.

There are four designated campgrounds at Wasatch Mountain State Park with 122 campsites, modern restrooms, hot showers, and utility hookups. The park also offers a collection of cabin rentals, which you’ll find far more comfortable than a tent if you visit over the winter.

The Cottonwood Loop and Mahogany Loop Campgrounds both offer full hookups for RVs, while the Oak Hollow Loop Campground comes with water and electricity. For primitive camping, head to the Little Deer Creek Campground.

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Mirror Lake Campground

mirror lake utah
Photo: Shaan Hurley

Why you should camp here: Sleep on the shores of tranquil Mirror Lake, high in the Uinta Mountains at the base of Bald Mountain.

  • Reservation accepted: Yes
  • Best seasons: Summer
  • Campsite type: Tent, RV, car camping
  • RV hookups: No

You’ll find the Mirror Lake Campground just off the Mirror Lake Scenic Byway, nestled between its namesake lake and the towering 11,943-foot Bald Mountain. Spectacular views abound in every direction, though that shouldn’t come as a surprise when you’re camping at 10,400 feet in the High Uintas.

Summer is the best time to visit Mirror Lake, when you’ll find ample shade under the white fir forest and wildflowers dotting the landscape. Bring your kayak, canoe, or SUP and enjoy a day on the glassy lake, then pull out your fishing rod to catch some rainbow trout for dinner.

The Mirror Lake Campground has access to a full network of backcountry trails, perfect for hiking, mountain biking, and horseback riding. Follow the Highline Trail to visit Bonnie Lake, Scudder Lake, and Naturalist Basin, or take the Fehr Lake Trail to its namesake lake. If you’re feeling really adventurous, take the Bald Mountain Trail to the rocky summit for unbelievable panoramic views.

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Jordanelle State Park

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Why you should camp here: The best place to spend a day on the water with a pair of waterskis strapped to your feet.

  • Reservation accepted: Yes
  • Best seasons: Year-round
  • Campsite type: Tent, RV, car camping, hike-in
  • RV hookups: Water and electricity

When you’re ready to escape the summer heat, grab your swimsuit and head to Jordanelle State Park. Centered around the idyllic Jordanelle Reservoir, this is the go-to campground for locals who own a boat or jet skis (though it’s certainly not the only option). If you don’t own one of these enviable toys, don’t worry — you can rent boats, jet skis, kayaks, and paddle boards at the Jordanelle Marina.

For most visitors, the Hailstone Recreation Area is the place to set up camp at Jordanelle State Park. This well-developed area features 103 RV campsites with partial hookups, four loops for tent camping at the McHenry Campground, and hike-in campsites at the Keetley Campground. There are a few cabins available for rent, and you can reserve one of 40 cabanas by the lake for a shaded picnic.

You’ll find six more hike-in backcountry campsites in the Rock Cliff Recreation Area of the park, and a handful of campsites at the secluded Ross Creek Campground across the lake.

Reservations are available from Memorial Day to Labor Day, but walk-ins are available year-round. Camping over the winter is perfectly acceptable in RVs, though tents aren’t allowed once there’s snow on the ground.

Pets are welcome at Jordanelle State Park, but you’ll find it’s one of the stricter state parks when it comes to dog-friendly areas. Pets are not allowed on the beach below the cabanas, near the cabins, or past the parking lot at Rock Cliff. Dogs are welcome on most of the trails, though they’ll need to stay on a leash.

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Smith & Morehouse Campground

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Why you should camp here: Camp on the edge of the Uinta Mountain Range at 7,800 feet near the picturesque Smith & Morehouse Reservoir.

  • Reservations accepted: Yes
  • Best seasons: Spring, Summer
  • Campsite type: Tent, RV, car camping
  • RV hookups: No

The Smith & Morehouse Campground sits on the western edge of the Uinta Mountain Range. Take a peek at the amazing photos of Smith & Morehouse Reservoir surrounded by the forested Uinta peaks and you’ll quickly see why this is such a popular campground.

Motorized boats are permitted on the reservoir, but the wake-less speed restriction makes it an ideal destination for kayaks, canoes, and paddle boards. The reservoir is also a great spot for fishing, as its stocked with rainbow trout in addition to the other native fish species.

The Smith & Morehouse Campground has 34 campsites that can fit up to eight campers. Campfire rings and picnic tables are provided, and the campgrounds offer drinking water and vault toilets. RVs are permitted, but there are no hookups for electric, gas, or water.

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Rockport State Park

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Why you should camp here: A picturesque reservoir at the foot of the Uinta Range with fresh mountain air that you can only find at 6,000 feet.

  • Reservations accepted: Yes
  • Best seasons: Year-round
  • Campsite type: Tent, RV, car camping, boat-in
  • RV hookups: Full

Rockport State Park lies at the doorstep of the Uinta Mountain Range. Clocking in at an elevation of 6,000 feet, you can expect grand views while you’re boating or fishing here over the summer.

Most people come for the water sports, but the most interesting attraction at Rockport is the 3D archery range. The range features an assortment of lifelike targets including deer, warthogs, and even a few zombies.

The park is surprisingly popular over the winter, too. You’ll find excellent ice fishing, snowshoeing, and snowmobiling trails encompassing the reservoir, and the RV hookups mean you don’t have to shiver in a tent.

Rockport State Park has over 100 established campsites spread across seven campgrounds. You’ll find full RV-hookups, established tent sites, primitive campsites, and boat-in campgrounds, with all but the latter available year-round.

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Soapstone Campground

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Why you should camp here: Great fly fishing on the Lower Provo River and easy access to OHV trails in Soapstone Basin.  

  • Reservations accepted: Yes
  • Best seasons: Summer, Fall
  • Campsite type: Tent, RV, car camping
  • RV hookups: No

Another fantastic campground along the Mirror Lake Scenic Byway, the Soapstone Campground features a diverse forest of pine, fir, and aspen that looks magnificent in the fall. The campground sits beside the Lower Provo River, a popular fly fishing destination for trout.

The Soapstone Campground provides access to a network of trails for hiking, mountain biking, and horseback riding, but it’s the off-road trails that really shine here. If you have an OHV, head over to Soapstone Basin for an electrifying day of off-roading on endless trails with beautiful scenery.

Soapstone provides vault toilets for your convenience, but there’s no drinking water at the campground (though the river provides ample water if you plan ahead and bring a filter). The campsites come with picnic tables and campfire rings, and there’s firewood available for purchase. 

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Echo State Park

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Why you should camp here: An under-the-radar alternative to Jordanelle and Rockport Reservoirs with brand new facilities.

  • Reservations accepted: Yes (pending completion)
  • Best seasons: Year-round
  • Campsite type: Tent, RV, car camping
  • RV hookups: Full (pending completion)

Utah’s newest state park, Echo State Park features picturesque cliff views and a large reservoir that’s perfect for kayaks and paddle boards. Boats and jet skis will eventually be allowed on the lake once the boat ramp is completed, but for now it’s reserved for non-motorized watercraft.

The Dry Hollow Campground is still under construction, and once it’s finished there’ll be 20 established campsites with full hookups for RVs and restroom facilities. Until then, primitive camping is permitted with no reservations required.

The Echo Reservoir is stocked with rainbow and brown trout, walleye, and smallmouth bass. Prime fishing season is May — June, but the lake’s thick, stable ice makes it a prime ice fishing location over the winter.

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Trial Lake Campground

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Why you should camp here: A stunning mountain landscape with alpine lakes, rocky peaks, and miles of trails to explore.

  • Reservations accepted: Yes
  • Best seasons: Summer
  • Campsite type: Tent, RV, car camping
  • RV hookups: No

The Trial Lake Campground sits on the shores of its namesake lake at 9,500 feet in the Uinta Mountains. Incredible views abound in every direction, and you’ll find a wonderful display of wildflowers over the summer.

Motorized boats aren’t permitted at Trial Lake, making it the perfect destination for kayaks and paddle boards. When you’re not on the water, strap on your boots (or grab your bike) and hit the trails to explore nearby Crystal Lake and Bald Mountain.

There’s no drinking water at the Trial Lake Campground, but there are vault toilets, picnic tables, and campfire rings.

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Fred Hayes State Park

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Why you should camp here: Formerly known as Starvation State Park, this hidden gem is a boater’s paradise with hidden beaches, secluded coves, and world-class fishing.

  • Reservations accepted: Yes
  • Best seasons: Spring, summer, fall
  • Campsite type: Tent, RV, car camping
  • RV hookups: Full

It’s a little over an hour and a half from Park City to Fred Hayes State Park, but anyone who’s been here will tell you that it’s worth the drive. Centered around the electrifying blue waters of the Starvation Reservoir, the 3,500-acre park has a number of rocky coves and secret beaches where you can escape the crowds and reconnect with nature in peace and quiet.

Boating, waterskiing, kayaking, and paddle boarding are popular at Starvation Reservoir, but it’s the fishing that keeps many campers coming back. The reservoir is known for excellent walleye fishing, and it’s not uncommon to reel in a 10-pounder.

There’s plenty to do off the water, too. Fred Hayes State Park has a 3D archery range, multiple slack lines, and a collection of gnarly trails for OHVs and dirt bikes.

When you’re ready to pitch your tent, Fred Hayes State Park has two established campgrounds with full RV hookups and four primitive campgrounds of tents. There are a handful of cabins for rent, and folks with a boat are welcome to camp on the lake.

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More Utah Campgrounds

For more recommendations on where to pitch your tent or park your RV in northern Utah, check out our article on the best campgrounds near Salt Lake City.

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