Capitol Reef National Park Camping Guide

You’ll find Capitol Reef National Park camping options available for all budgets!

Use this Capitol Reef National Park guide that lists all the ways you can camp at or near the park.  

Capitol Reef National Park camping guide

There is no park lodge at Capitol Reef, but there is one developed campground and RV park along with some primitive camping sites. 

Here’s everything you need to know about camping at Capitol Reef National Park.

Check out our Utah National Park road trip itinerary to plan your vacation to see all 5 Utah National Parks!

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Capitol Reef National Park Packing List

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A Photo Tour of Capitol Reef National Park

Take a visual tour through Capitol Reef National Park to see the stunning landscape and wildlife you’ll find in the park!

Things to Know Before Visiting Capitol Reef

Capitol Reef is located in south-central Utah between Arches and Canyonlands National Parks and Bryce Canyon and Zion National Parks where you’ll find stunning landscapes with cliffs, canyons, domes, and bridges. 

Capitol Reef National Park is open 24 hours a day, every day of the year, even on holidays! Be sure to check the Capitol Reef website for the most updated information for the visitor center hours and closures when you plan to visit.

A Capitol Reef entrance fee is charged only for the main scenic drive in the park. The self-pay entrance station is located just south of the campground. There is no entrance fee for anyone with the US National Parks pass.

BUDGET TRAVEL TIP: If you’ll also be visiting Bryce Canyon National Park, or other Utah parks, we recommend getting the US National Park pass. (Did you know when you buy the National Parks Pass from REI, they donate 10% to the National Park Foundation?)

When you visit Capitol Reef National Park it will feel uncrowded compared to the other 4 Utah National Parks which is really nice!

Capitol Reef National Park in the winter
Capitol Reef sign with snow in the winter

Best Time to Visit Capitol Reef National Park

Determining the best time to visit Capitol Reef National Park depends on what you want to see and do, and the type of weather you prefer.

Most of the year you’ll enjoy fun outdoor things to do in Capitol Reef National Park like scenic drives, hiking, and biking. During the winter, the activities might be a bit more limited due to the cold and snow! If you’re prepared with the right winter clothing and traction devices for hiking, it’s a wonderful time of year to visit!

We’ve put together helpful resources so you know what the Capitol Reef National Park weather is like during all four seasons:

Can You See Capitol Reef in One Day?

Here are the things we recommend to see Capitol Reef National Park in one day:

  • Sunrise at Panorama Point (+Goosenecks Overlook)
  • Hickman Bridge morning hike
  • Visitor Center
  • Gifford House at Fruita- pies or cinnamon roll
  • Capitol Reef Scenic Drive past the Fruita campground + 2 spur road and hikes
  • Sunset along the scenic drive
  • Stargazing 

Gypsy Guide is a fun and affordable way for visiting Capitol Reef National Park. It’s just like having a tour guide along for the ride. You’ll hear stories, local tips & directions based on your location.

More Things to do at Capitol Reef:

Map of Capitol Reef Points of Interest

Use this Google map of the Capitol Reef photograph spots we love to navigate through the park.

Capitol Reef map of photo spots and points of interest

Capitol Reef National Park Camping Guidelines

Here are a few things to keep in mind when you want to camp at Capitol Reef National Park.

Campfires at Capitol Reef

Fires are only permitted in designated fire rings in campgrounds. Always check with campground staff to ensure the fires are allowed during your visit, especially in the summer and fall:

  • Certain weather conditions create ideal wildfire conditions and burn bans or fire restrictions may be instituted while you are at Capitol Reef.
  • Firewood should not be transported between campsites to prevent the spread of disease and the introduction of non-native species.
  • Never leave hot embers unattended.

Wildlife at Capitol Reef

When camping at Capitol Reef, the snakes, black bears and mountain lions in the area generally stay away from congested areas like campgrounds.

Bears can be attracted to food or other fragranced items at campsites like soap and toothpaste. Keep a clean campsite to help keep these animals wild.

Small pets or children should not be left unattended while at Capitol Reef.

Pets at Capitol Reef

Capitol Reef does not allow dogs and other pets on hiking trails or in the backcountry. There are no kennels in Capitol Reef and pets cannot be left unattended at campgrounds.

According to the NPS, leashed pets are ONLY allowed in Capitol Reef’s developed areas such as:

  • on the trail from the visitor center to the Fruita Campground
  • on the Fremont River Trail from the campground to the south end of Hattie’s Field (where there is a gate)
  • in unfenced and/or unlocked orchards
  • in the Chesnut and Doc Inglesby picnic areas
  • in campgrounds
  • within 50 feet of centerline of roads (paved and dirt) open to public vehicle travel
  • parking areas open to public vehicle travel

Pets are allowed on hiking trails on public land near Capitol Reef. A few pet-friendly hiking options near Capitol Reef are:

  • FishLake National Forest
  • Dixie National Forest
  • Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument
  • Some Utah State Parks

Eph Hanks Tower at Capitol Reef at Sunset
Eph Hanks at sunset in Capitol Reef National Park

Capitol Reef National Park Camping Guide

Be sure to check the Capitol Reef website for the latest information about the campgrounds, primitive camping and backpacking at the park.

How Much Does it Cost to Camp in Capitol Reef?

There is a fee to camp at the one developed campground at Capitol Reef. Always check the NPS website for the most current rates at the park.

fruita campground at capitol reef national park
Fruita Campground at Capitol Reef

Capitol Reef Fruita Campground & RV Park

The Fruita Campground is adjacent to the Fremont River and surrounded by historic structures and orchards. It’s open year-round, and is the only developed campground in the park.

It’s a developed campground with 71 sites, and each site has a picnic table and firepit and/or above ground grill, but no individual water, sewage, or electrical hookups.

There is an RV dump and potable water fill station. Restrooms have running water and flush toilets, but no showers. Accessible sites are located next to the restrooms.

Campsites are reservable from March 1 – October 31, and can be made 6 months ahead of time. Visit www.recreation.gov to make a reservation. From November 1 – February 28, all campsites are first come, first served.

  • Number of Sites: 71 sites
  • Reservations: available 6 months in advance on recreation.gov (first come first serve from Nov-Feb)
  • RVs: yes, dry campsites are available for RVs up to 52 feet (dump & water fill available)
  • Season: open year-round; reservations required from Mar-Oct
  • GPS Coordinates Location: 38.282603, -111.247106

Group Campsite at Fruita

The Group Campsite at Fruita is open from mid-April to mid-October (exact dates are determined on an annual basis).

  • Maximum occupancy is 40 people.
  • Children of all ages count towards the maximum number of people allowed.
  • Recreational vehicles are permitted, provided the total number of vehicles does not exceed ten (10).
  • A truck and trailer count as two (2) vehicles.
  • All vehicles must fit in the group campsite parking area with enough room remaining to allow emergency vehicles and park staff to drive in and out.
  • Minimal parking is available elsewhere for vehicles associated with the group campsite.
  • Parking on the grass is prohibited.
  • Vehicles over 27 feet long will not have room to turn around.
  • Generator hours are from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
  • Additional information and regulations
  • Visit www.recreation.gov to reserve the group campsite. Individual campsites may also be reserved through this same website.
Cathedral Valley campground at capitol reef national park
Cathedral Valley primitive campground at Capitol Reef

Primitive Campgrounds in Capitol Reef

There are two Primitive Campgrounds in Cathedral Valley and Cedar Mesa. Both are accessed by dirt roads along the Capitol Reef Scenic Drive and require high clearance vehicles.

Cathedral Valley Campground

The Cathedral Valley Campground is located about 36 miles from the visitor center in Fruita. To access this campground you’ll travel along the Capitol Reef Scenic Drive and will need a high clearance four-wheel drive vehicle.

This primitive, no-fee campground has six sites, each with a picnic table and fire grate. There is a pit toilet, but no water available.

It’s open year-round, but bad weather will make the road inaccessible. Check road conditions with the Capitol Reef Visitor Center (or call the information line) prior to planning an overnight stay.

  • Number of Sites: 6 sites
  • Fees: free
  • Reservations: no, sites are available on a first-come-first-serve basis
  • RVs: no, unless a shorter 4×4 high clearance rig
  • Season: open year-round
  • GPS Coordinates Location: 38.474351, -111.366933

Cedar Mesa Campground

The Cedar Mesa Campground is located about 23 miles south of Utah State Highway 24. 

To access this campground you’ll navigate along the Notom-Bullfrog Road. Most of the time two-wheel drive vehicles are ok, but sometimes the road requires high clearance.

It’s a primitive, no-fee campground with five sites that have a picnic table and fire grate. There is also a pit toilet, but no water is available.

The campground is open year-round, but check with the Capitol Reef Visitor Center for road conditions prior to planning an overnight stay.

  • Number of Sites: 5 sites
  • Fees: free
  • Reservations: no, sites are available on a first-come-first-serve basis
  • RVs: no, unless a shorter 4×4 high clearance rig
  • Season: open year-round
  • GPS Coordinates Location: 38.007213, -111.084436
vehicle camping - van camping
Van camping at Capitol Reef

Camping with a Vehicle at Capitol Reef

  • Vehicle or van camping is restricted to designated sites within Cedar Mesa Campground or Cathedral Campground.
  • Fires are permitted at established campgrounds but must be contained within designated receptacles in each site. Wood gathering is prohibited within the park. Wood may be purchased at the Gifford House or at local stores during the summer season.
  • Read and follow posted guidelines in the campgrounds.
  • Pets must be leashed at all times.

Backcountry Camping at Capitol Reef

A backcountry permit is required for camping outside of established campgrounds. The permit is free and can be obtained in person at the visitor center during normal business hours.

Backcountry Camping are available at these various backpacking routes:

  • Pleasant Creek
  • Spring Canyon
  • Lower Muley Twist Canyon
  • Upper Muley Twist Canyon
  • Burro, Cottonwood and Sheets Gulch
  • Halls Creek Narrows

Please take the time to learn all the backcountry regulations so you Leave No Trace.

Here are a few of the important things to keep in mind when doing primitive camping at Capitol Reef:

  • Purify all water before drinking.
  • Don’t pollute water sources with soap, food scraps, sunscreen, lotion, etc. Do not swim or bathe in potholes or tanks.
  • Bury human waste 6 inches deep in soil and at least 300 feet away from any water sources, and out of washes.
  • Pets are not permitted on trails or in the backcountry and may not be left unattended.
  • Gathering firewood and building fires is prohibited; use fuel burning stoves in the backcountry.
  • Camp at least 1/2 mile from roads and trailheads. Camp out of sight and sound of the trail and other campers. Camp 300 feet away from any water source, archaeological/historic sites, and trail junctions.
RV in southern Utah
RV near Capitol Reef National Park

RV Parks Near Capitol Reef National Park

The small town of Torrey has several RV parks with more amenities than Fruita Campground in Capitol Reef National Park.

Torrey is located less than 15 minutes from the Capitol Reef Visitor Center and has solid cellular service. It is a great option for those looking for a more traditional RV park with hookups and amenities near Capitol Reef.

Wonderland RV Park (formerly Capitol Reef RV Park)

  • Location: 44 South Hwy 12 Torrey UT 84775 (GPS Coordinates 38.298241, -111.402510)
  • Wonderland RV Park is located 3 miles from Capitol Reef National Park. It offers multiple types of campsites ranging from tents to full hookup RV sites. The largest and most expensive sites are 70 feet in length.
  • Standard rates include reservations for 2 adults with additional fees charged for more guests.
  • Amenities include on-site showers, picnic tables, pet area, laundry facilities, lawn games and full hook-up sites.
  • Reservations are recommended during the busy season and can be booked online.

Thousand Lakes RV Park

  • Location: 1110 UT-24, Torrey, UT 84775 (GPS Coordinates 38.300718, -111.444824)
  • Thousand Lakes RV Park is located 12.2 miles from the Capitol Reef National Park Visitor Center. It is open from April 1st to October 25th.
  • Thousand Lakes offers more amenities than most RV parks including an on-site BBQ restaurant, gift shop and hair salon. Thousand Lake RV Park facilities include a pool, laundry, playground, basketball court and satellite hook-up within minutes of Capitol Reef National Park.
  • Rates include 2 adults and surcharges apply for additional guests. Weekly rates are available.
  • Reservations are recommended and can be booked online.

Sand Creek RV Park

  • Location: 540 W. UT-24 Torrey, Utah 84775  (GPS Coordinates: 38.299224, -111.433065)
  • Sand Creek RV Park is a small, private campground located in Torrey Utah near Capitol Reef National Park.
  • They offer rental cabins, a rental vintage RV, self-service pull-through full hookup RV sites and tent sites. There are 15 full hookup RV campsites and 6 shaded tent sites.
  • Amenities include a bathhouse, community room, picnic pavilion, and free Wi-Fi.
  • Reservations are available online.
tent camping near capitol reef national park
Tent camping near Capitol Reef

Camping Near Capitol Reef National Park

If you prefer a bit more space and a more natural environment, you’ll find BLM (Bureau of Land Management) campgrounds in nearby Dixie National Forest.

Pleasant Creek Campground

  • Location: Fish Lake National Forest (GPS coordinates: 38.102001, -111.336979 )
  • Pleasant Creek is a small campground located 28 miles southeast of Capitol Reef via Highway 12 in the Fish Lake National Forest. It is managed by the National Forest Service and operated by a third-party contractor. Information is available at the Wildcat Visitor Center
  • The campground sits at 8,800 feet elevation and benefits from cooler temperatures than Torrey and Capitol Reef RV parks.
  • Pleasant Creek campground is open from May until the first frost or October 15th.
  • It has 19 sites and can accommodate RVs up to 25′ long.
  • Campground amenities at Pleasant Creek include pit toilets and running water. Water is shut off at first frost so may not be available later in the season.

Oak Creek Campground

  • Location: Fishlake National Forest, Forest Rd 412, Oak City, UT 84649 (GPS Coordinates: 39.3474, -112.2670)
  • Oak Creek Campground is located 30 miles from Capitol Reef in the Fishlake National Forest. It is located at 8,800 feet elevation so expect cooler temperatures than Capitol Reef and Torrey.
  • There are 30 individual campsites and 4 group campsites at Oak Creek that can accommodate small RVs and tents. RVs longer than 25′ are not recommended.
  • Each campsite at Oak Creek has a picnic table, fire ring and gravel pad. Oak Creek also has a playfield and amphitheater. Garbage service is not provided so campers need to pack out their trash.
  • Drinking water and flush toilets are available during warm months. Pit toilets are available after the first frost.
  • Individual sites are available on a first-come-first-served basis.
  • The four group campsites are reservable on recreation.gov. Groups larger than 75 require a free permit which can be obtained from the Fillmore Ranger District Office.

Single Tree Campground

  • Location: Dixie National Forest, Forest Rd 4218, Utah 84701 (GPS Coordinates: 38.161626, -111.334507)
  • Single Tree Campground is located 22 miles from Capitol Reef National Park Visitor Center. At 8,200 feet elevation in the Fishlake National Forest, this is a great location to escape the heat in Torrey and Capitol Reef. The campground closes in winter and reopens in May.
  • Singletree Campground is located among aspens and ponderosa pines. It is a great place for fall leave viewing in Utah when the aspens turn a golden yellow.
  • There are 33 individual campsites and two group campsites available by advance reservation. Sites are available for larger RVs.
  • Group campsites at Singletree can accommodate up to 60 people. Groups exceeding 60 people are subject to a per person surcharge.
  • Amenities at Singletree Campground include fire rings, picnic tables, flush toilets, drinking water and an RV dump station. Firewood and Wi-Fi are available for purchase on-site.
  • Reservations must be made up to 4 days in advance on recreation.gov or by calling 1.877.444.6777.

Sunglow Campground

  • Location: FR143, Bicknell, UT 84715 (GPS Coordinates: 38.342363, -111.518774)
  • Sunglow Campground is a smaller option near Capitol Reef with only 9 campsites. It is located at 7,200 feet elevation and can accommodate RVs.
  • Amenities include accessible bathrooms, drinking water, flush toilets, dumpster, picnic tables and fire rings.
  • Sunglow Campground is located 19 miles from the Capitol Reef Visitor Center. However, traffic congestion in Torrey can make this a 30+ minute drive.
  • Group sites and some individual campsites are available to reserve on recreation.gov.

Capitol Reef Free Dispersed Camping

Capitol Reef sits between Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument, Fishlake National Forest and the Dixie National Forest.

We recommend you scout dispersed camping sites for road conditions before driving your vehicle into an unknown location. Never arrive at new dispersed camping areas after dark to prevent getting stuck or lost.

A few of the most popular dispersed camping areas near Capitol Reef are:

Photo Credit: Capitol Reef Resort Covered Wagons

Glamping Near Capitol Reef

If you want a more glamorous camping experience, there are multiple glamping locations near Capitol Reef.

Capitol Reef Resort offers full-service cabins, covered wagons and teepees on the resort grounds. They’re located in Torrey right near the Capitol Reef entrance. 

Wonderland RV Park has standard rental cabins and wagons.

Sand Creek RV Park offers a few rental cabins and a vintage RV.

A resort near Capitol Reef National Park

Hotels Near Capitol Reef

When looking for hotels near Capitol Reef National Park, you’ll find all types of accommodations: motels, cabins, luxury resorts and vacation rentals!

Take a look at our top 5 picks of hotels you’ll find near Capitol Reef:

Capitol Reef Resort – this is where we stay! You’ll find luxury lodging and fun glamping options: guestrooms, luxury cabins, teepees and Conestoga covered wagons! The resort is open year round.

Broken Spur Inn & Steakhouse – enjoy an up-close view of the unique landscape from every room, or Conestoga wagon, at this location. Enjoy a free hot breakfast as well as the convenient steakhouse on site! This inn is open March to November.

Austin’s Chuckwagon Motel – rooms, family suites and cabins with a deli and store right on the property which is so convenient! This motel is open March to November.

Red Sands Hotel and Spa – guest amenities include a full service spa, yoga room, workout room, laundry, game room, stargazing deck, 24 hour coffee and fruit, fire pit, indoor pool and hot tub. Plus with the onsite restaurant and bar, everything you need is in one location! This hotel is open year round.

The Noor Hotel – rooms with stunning views so close to Capitol Reef! You’ll find standard rooms, suites, and even designated pet rooms! There’s an on site convenience store and Mexican restaurant that’s open for lunch and dinner. This hotel is open year round.

SHOP AMAZON: Capitol Reef Travel Guides and Maps:

capitol reef guides and map

Things to Do Near Capitol Reef

Plan a Capitol Reef Vacation

Take jaw-dropping photos at Capitol Reef

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