Look no further for some of the best camping in Capitol Reef National Park, plus tips to enjoy your stay from The Dyrt Ranger team the Switchback Kids.

Most Popular Campgrounds in Capitol Reef National Park

Located in the heart of red rock country, Utah’s Capitol Reef National Park is a hidden treasure filled with cliffs, canyons, domes, and bridges. The park’s centerpiece is Waterpocket field, a 100-mile-long monocline (a wrinkle on the earth) that blocked explorers’ westward migration as a reef blocks a ship’s passage. Other than the shady orchards of Fruita (a Mormon settlement dating back to the 1870s), that grow at the park’s heart, camping in Capitol Reef is mostly dispersed. While these three campsites are the most popular, camping in Capitol Reef is a truly unique experience.

1. Fruita Campground, UT

Photo from The Dyrt user Will M.

Surrounded by unique historic orchards, the Fruita Campground feels like a desert oasis. This semi-shaded, grassy campsite is located in the Fruita Historic District and is the only developed campground in the park. It is on a first come, first served basis and features restrooms, a utility sink, and drinking fountain. You’ll also find petroglyphs, stunning geography, and everything from easy to strenuous hikes.

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2. Capitol Reef National Park Dispersed Camping, UT

Photo from The Dyrt user SwitchbackKids.

Since the only developed campground in the park is non-reservable and can fill up fast, your best bet is to take advantage of the BLM (Bureau of Land Management) camping options. This “campground” is located about a mile outside of the national park and is perfect for accessing everything Capitol Reef has to offer. The benefits of camping in BLM land is that it’s free and that you can set up camp as far away from people as you like! Free camping like this is usually hard to find, but Capitol Reefs BLM camping options are plentiful, just stop by the visitor center and ask.

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3. Cathedral Valley, UT

Photo from The Dyrt user Trevin C.

The Cathedral Valley District of Capitol Reef National Park is open all year and is one of the most secluded places to set up camp. Although it’s a hard drive to get to (4×4 with high clearance is recommended), the exquisite views of sculptured monoliths are worth it. With fire pits and a drop toilet, this campground channels a rustic vibe. But, is the perfect setup for the avid stargazer and backcountry enthusiast.

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Explore Capitol Reef

Capitol Reef National Park boasts fantastic hiking trails, rugged 4WD roads, and 1000-year-old Fremont petroglyph panels. With historic fruit picking and a plethora of dispersed camping opportunities, adventure is easy to find at this awe-inspiring national park.

The Dyrt’s Ranger duo the Switchback Kids, who spent a year visiting all 59 National Parks, have put together this incredible video to document their firsthand experience in Capitol Reef with the hopes of improving the visit of others.

Switchback Kids Ranger Tip: Capitol Reef is home to the only NPS-maintained historic fruit orchard. You can purchase and carry out your own seasonal fruit and nuts in bulk, but you can also pick and eat fruit for free in the orchards. And don’t leave without trying the fruit pies homemade inside the park.

And, in case you still (somehow) need convincing to fit this park in your summer itinerary, we present Capitol Reef National Park:

Win gear for camping Capitol Reef

When you review campsites across the US on The Dyrt, you get the chance to win outdoor gear. In Utah, you have the chance to win a $100 gift card from Green Goo and a $150 gift card from Primus. Check out the contest leaderboard, review your camping experience, earn points for your review, and you could win prizes!

Mark Silvester

Mark Silvester

Mark is new to the game but makes up for it with a passion for the outdoors and a funny accent. When he is not explaining the difference between Australia and the United States, you can find Mark in the mountains, at a show or on his skateboard.