Seeking Short Overnights in Utah

GramaNana

Member
Joined
Apr 15, 2021
Messages
20
Hi - newbie overnight backpacker query. I'd like to start doing some short 1 or 2 overnights as training for my longer [9+ night] trek I'm planning for end of August. I'd like to start with something simple - as soon as this coming weekend May 7-9 [2021] - to test carrying & using the gear we already own [it's not ultralight, but hopeful we can prevent taking out a second mortgage by splitting the weight]. Then, we hope to do at least two weekends a month of overnights from now on. I'd love any/all suggestions for trails in my surrounding area that you have used and enjoyed that would work for our purpose. Would particularly appreciate any details you could share about the trail, water sources, where you camped, etc. Also, any rules I need to be aware of regarding private land or where I can/can't pitch a tent? We know building a campfire is a big nope for LNT, so we only plan to use our little stove. I live in Northern Utah/Davis County - but, totally open to driving a few hrs. in any direction.
Assuming May is too chilly for the north, so I'm interested in hearing about SoUt options. Happy to add any trail to my list. Just let me know how early you think we could go on any particular route. As always, much thanks in advance!
 

Jackson

I like to go outside.
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Joined
May 31, 2015
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Spring Canyon in Capitol Reef makes for a nice overnighter. Also hiking along the San Rafael River starting from the Swinging Bridge Campground is good too (the river water does not taste great though).

Once it gets warmer, you can get up in the Wasatch and do closer stuff like the lower mountains above Pleasant Grove and American Fork and Slate and Slide Canyon. There's probably good stuff up in the lower mountains by you as well, but I'm not too familiar with it.
 

Ugly

Life really is better Here
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Apr 20, 2013
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Snow along the Wasatch is melting fast. In many areas that face south you have a good shot at not even muddy campsites. If you don't mind camping on snow, then options are better now than they are once the snow melts. Since it is spring there are areas to easily setup where you would not be able to come later in spring or summer. So do not disregard the Wasatch or nearby entirely for overnighters.
The main LNT principles apply with the addition for some canyons that you do not camp within 1/2 mile of the main road. With snowmelt, there is about as much water as ever, or for overnight your water needs may not be too much anyways. Without bugs around its a good time to just throw out on a tarp and enjoy the stars too.

You can also camp places right now where normally a dirt road access would give you loud, mechanized neighbors as more of the snow clears. Thinking of places you can hike into in the Uintas from along the main roads for example. You can hike up a snow covered dirt road and camp innumerable places.
There are too many to list and all depends on preference.
Usually in spring microspikes make good companions, but higher country as it slushes out does well with snowshoes.

Otherwise the desert really is great.
 

GramaNana

Member
Joined
Apr 15, 2021
Messages
20
There are some nice loops that can be done on Cedar Mesa and in Grand Gulch. Permits are required but there's plenty of availability: https://www.recreation.gov/permits/273374
Thanks for the tip. I was worried that permits may be difficult to come by.
Spring Canyon in Capitol Reef makes for a nice overnighter. Also hiking along the San Rafael River starting from the Swinging Bridge Campground is good too (the river water does not taste great though).

Once it gets warmer, you can get up in the Wasatch and do closer stuff like the lower mountains above Pleasant Grove and American Fork and Slate and Slide Canyon. There's probably good stuff up in the lower mountains by you as well, but I'm not too familiar with it.
Thanks for the tips on all the locations. I'm embarrassed to admit I've never been to Capitol Reef.
 

GramaNana

Member
Joined
Apr 15, 2021
Messages
20
Snow along the Wasatch is melting fast. In many areas that face south you have a good shot at not even muddy campsites. If you don't mind camping on snow, then options are better now than they are once the snow melts. Since it is spring there are areas to easily setup where you would not be able to come later in spring or summer. So do not disregard the Wasatch or nearby entirely for overnighters.
The main LNT principles apply with the addition for some canyons that you do not camp within 1/2 mile of the main road. With snowmelt, there is about as much water as ever, or for overnight your water needs may not be too much anyways. Without bugs around its a good time to just throw out on a tarp and enjoy the stars too.

You can also camp places right now where normally a dirt road access would give you loud, mechanized neighbors as more of the snow clears. Thinking of places you can hike into in the Uintas from along the main roads for example. You can hike up a snow covered dirt road and camp innumerable places.
There are too many to list and all depends on preference.
Usually in spring microspikes make good companions, but higher country as it slushes out does well with snowshoes.

Otherwise the desert really is great.
You've given many great points to ponder here. I hadn't really considered the benefits to snow as a water source and a deterrent to bugs. :) I will be taking a second look at northern trails!
 
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