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  • Writer's pictureMcKenna Rieger

Weekend Trips from Salt Lake City, UT

Read below about some of my favorite weekend camping destinations!

I consider myself a weekend warrior (working a full-time job) and short, two-day camping trips are all I could fit in. I've found some of the coolest destinations that are perfect for weekend getaways!

*Please note that all state parks require an admission fee per vehicle for Utah residents and non-residents.

**To learn how to camp for free, check out my post on BLM Camping!

Flaming Gorge Reservoir

The Flaming Gorge NRA is located in the northeast corner of Utah and the southwest corner of Wyoming. It is South of I-80, between Green River and Rock Springs, Wyoming and extends into the Uintah Mountains towards Vernal, Utah. The reservoir provides varied recreational activities such as powerboating, waterskiing, camping, parasailing, rafting, swimming and fishing from boats or shore. The lake is famous for its trophy trout fishing (up to 40 pounds/18kg), and for the beautiful red rock mountains rising around it.

Flaming Gorge Reservior is 4 hours from Salt Lake City, UT.

Goblin Valley State Park, UT

Goblin Valley State Park presents a fun and unique experience for those who wish to explore on foot. The Valley of Goblins, our most well-known attraction, spans nearly three square miles and is a free-roaming area that can be explored at your leisure. Nearby this state park is Little Wild Horse slot canyon, I highly recommend! Little Wild Horse is a classic slot canyon located in south-central Utah, near Goblin Valley, that is very family/beginner friendly.

Goblin Valley is 3 hours and 45 mins from Salt Lake City, UT.

*Please note that there are no trails or markings of any kind in this area. Experience in desert backcountry navigation is required, and it is advisable to both study aerial photography of the area and to bring along a handheld GPS unit. Hiking to the Third Valley or Goblin Square will be an all-day excursion.

Bear Lake/Laketown, UT

Bear Lake, often called "Caribbean Of the Rockies", is a natural freshwater lake on the Idaho–Utah border in the Western United States. About 109 square miles in size, it is split about equally between the two states; its Utah portion comprises the second-largest natural freshwater lake in Utah, after Utah Lake. Visitors can play at the various beaches, fish, boat, and camp (at registered campsites or BLM).

Bear Lake is roughly 2 hours north of Salt Lake City, UT.

Kanarra Falls, UT (or Kanarraville Falls)

This is a water hike that requires a bit of sure-footedness as you will be hiking through and next to the stream bed all the way up the canyon. It is recommended that you do not hike alone, and hiking poles are suggested. To hike past the 1st falls you will will need to scale a 20-foot aluminum ladder. The ladder may be icy, wet, and slippery. A little farther up the trail you will need to scale/climb a large boulder on the right side of the canyon with no ladder or handholds to continue on. However, the challenge will be worth it to see and experience the natural waterslide and pool. Finally, you will reach a narrowing slot canyon that will take you to the 2nd and final falls.

*Please note this hike does require a pre-purchased permit.

Kanarraville, UT is 4 hours south of Salt Lake City, UT - near St. George, UT.

Kodachrome State Park/Red Canyon, UT

Kodachrome Basin is a state park of Utah, United States. It is situated 5,800 feet above sea level, 12 miles south of Utah Route 12, and 20 miles southeast of Bryce Canyon National Park. The scenery is splashy here, dominated by 67 monolithic stone spires called sedimentary pipes. They accentuate multi-hued sandstone layers revealing 180 million years of geologic time. The color and beauty found here prompted a 1948 National Geographic Society expedition to name the area Kodachrome after the popular color film.

Kodachrome State Park is 4 hours and 45 mins from Salt Lake City, UT.

Snow Canyon State Park in St. George, UT

Snow Canyon State Park is a state park in Utah, located in the Red Cliffs Desert Reserve. The park features a canyon carved from the red and white Navajo sandstone of the Red Mountains, as well as the extinct Santa Clara Volcano, lava tubes, lava flows, and sand dunes.

Snow Canyon State Park is 4 hours and 45 mins from Salt Lake City, UT.

Escalante, UT

Between Capitol Reef and Bryce Canyon national parks and perched on the edge of Grand Staircase–Escalante National Monument, the town of Escalante offers access to some of the most beautiful parts of Southern Utah. A handful of cafes and diners, along with a number of cozy inns and motels, serve the visitors who come through or use the town as a base camp for extended exploration.

Escalante, UT is 5 hours south of Salt Lake City, UT.

Valley of Fire State Park, NV

A geologic wonderland, world-renowned Valley of Fire has 2, 000 year old petroglyphs carved into massive red sandstone formations in the Mohave Desert. The state park derives its name from red sandstone formations, the Aztec Sandstone, which formed from shifting sand dunes 150 million years ago.

Valley of Fire State Park is roughly 5 hours and 45 mins from Salt Lake City, UT.

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