Katie Stevens, Sustainable Utah Blog Writing Intern
Summer is finally upon us and I know we’re all itching to pack up our gear and go somewhere new. Camping is an excellent way to enjoy summer weather and get a break from the fast-paced life in the city. Here are three of my favorite camping spots perfect for summer break. As always, be sure to follow the seven principles of Leave No Trace and have fun!
Devils Kitchen – The Needles District
Devils Kitchen is, and always will be, one of my favorite camping spots. Located in the Needles District in Canyonlands National Park, this 4-spot campground offers scenic views and plenty of hiking trails right from camp. A few of the camp spots even come with their own cave, perfect for starting a day of exploring. As for hikes, a must-do is the Joint Trail, a slot canyon located in Chesler Park you can hike to straight from camp.
In order to get to Devils Kitchen, you may choose to backpack in or four-wheel-drive on Elephant Hill road, one of the most technical four-wheeling roads in the state. If you decide to drive over Elephant Hill, be sure to have an experienced four-wheel driver who is also prepared to scratch up their car a bit.
Pack in a lot of water, as your last opportunity to get some will be in the visitor center. Be sure to get a permit in advance, which can also be picked up at the visitor center.
Amethyst Lake is a beautiful 13-mile round trip hike in the Uintas. You will begin your hike in Christmas Meadows, eventually turning left at the junction where you will begin your ascent to the lake. You will gain elevation very quickly, so be sure to take advantage of breaks to take in the views. Before making the final climb to the lake, there are meadows perfect for setting up camp. Amethyst Lake is the perfect destination if you love scenic views, mountain lakes, fishing, or even cliff jumping. You may even be lucky enough to see some mountain goats.
Remember to be bear-aware when exploring this area and secure your food appropriately. Be prepared for any weather and enjoy!
Boulder Mountain is a perfect summer destination due to its beautiful hiking and biking trails and close proximity to Capitol Reef National Park and Escalante. Boulder Mountain has a few campgrounds to choose from, my favorite being Pleasant Creek on Boulder Top. Once you’re unpacked and settled in, I highly suggest hopping on your mountain bike and riding the Tantalus Flats trail. Tantalus Flats begins at the turnoff for Lower Bounds Reservoir at the Rosebud Trailhead. I love this trail because it starts off on Boulder Mountain and ends in Capitol Reef National Park. With that said, you will need to have a shuttle at the end of the ride, unless you are planning to bike back up the mountain.