fruita schoolhouse at capitol reef

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The epic sandstone domes, deep canyons and red rock cliffs naturally occur in Southern Utah and you will not want to miss Capitol Reef. Thankfully there are numerous Capitol Reef RV Parks plus budget camping options near the National Park.

How much does it cost to camp in Capitol Reef?

Camping is available for all budgets in Capitol Reef.

Campsites at Capitol Reef National Park range from free primitive sites at Cathedral Valley and Cedar Mesa to full-service RV parks with resort-style campsites in the nearby town of Torrey.

Campgrounds and RV Parks inside Capitol Reef National Park

There are three campgrounds including one RV park within Capitol Reef National Park.

Fruita is developed and can accommodate RVs. Cathedral Valley and Cedar Mesa are primitive campgrounds located at higher elevations. Capitol Reef does not have cellular service in the park including all campgrounds.

Fruita Campground & RV Park at Capitol Reef National Park

Fruita Campground and RV Park is located in the heart of Capitol Reef National Park, one mile south of the Visitor Center. The grassy sites are partially shaded by trees.

Advance reservations are required at Fruita Campground during peak season from March to October.

There is no cellular service anywhere in Capitol Reef so either print or screenshot your reservations before arriving.

Number of Sites: 71 sites
Fees: $25 per night (50% discount with Access or Senior Pass)
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

View from the fruita campground and rv park amphitheater at capitol reef
Views from Fruita Campground Amphitheater

Cathedral Valley Campground at Capitol Reef

Cathedral Valley campground is primitive with no running water at 7,000 feet elevation. Pit toilets, picnic tables and fire pits are the only developed amenities.

High clearance 4×4 vehicles are recommended to access Cathedral Valley. Wintery or wet weather may make Cathedral Valley Loop Road impassible.

Check at the visitor center or call for current road conditions. Call 435-425-3791 to check current road conditions. Press #1 for information, and then #4 for road conditions.

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 at Capitol Reef

Cedar Mesa Campground is primitive with no running water at 5,500 feet elevation. Amenities include pit toilets, picnic tables and fire pits.

Passenger vehicles can access the Cedar Mesa campground during most of the year.

Check at the visitor center or call for current road conditions. Call 435-425-3791 to check current road conditions. Press #1 for information, and then #4 for road conditions.

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

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.

Rates start at $48 for RV sites without sewer and $28 for tent sites. 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.

wonderland rv park
Photo Credit: Wonderland RV Park

Thousand Lakes RV Park near Capitol Reef National 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.

RV park site rates at Thousand Lakes start at $45.50 per night for a back-in site with water and electricity. Full hookup sites are available for $49.50. Rates include 2 adults and surcharges apply for additional guests. Weekly rates are available.

10% discounts are available for seniors, military and travel club members such as AAA, ADAC, and ANWB.

Reservations are recommended and can be booked online.

thousand lakes rv park near capitol reef
Photo credit: Thousand Lakes

Sand Creek RV Park near Capitol Reef National 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.

Tent sites start at $20 and RV sites start at $48 per night.

Amenities include a bathhouse, community room, picnic pavilion, and free Wi-Fi.

Reservations are available online.

sand creek rv park near capitol reef
Photo Credit: Sand Creek

Yonder Escalante

Location: 2020 West UT-12 Escalante, UT 84726 ( GPS Coordinates: 37.776065, -111.632835)

Yonder Escalante is located the farthest from Capitol Reef National Park of the other RV park options but it’s unique enough to consider the drive.

Yonder Escalante is a luxury RV resort located on the grounds of a former drive-in movie theater between Bryce Canyon and Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument. It is located 75 miles and 1.5 hours drive from Capitol Reef.

The location includes accommodations for all types of campers including cars, tents, and RVs. In addition to 67 pull thru full hookup RV sites, they offer rental airstream trailers and cabins.

Yonder Escalante is one of the most expensive RV parks near Capitol Reef. Campsites start around $100 per night and larger options can accommodate RVs up to 41 feet.

yonder escalante rv park is a bit further from capitol reef than other options but it's a unique option
Photo credit: Yonder Escalante

Amenities at Yonder Escalante include a general store, showers, bathrooms, pool, hot tub, and laundry facilities.

Breakfast is available for purchase at the on-site food truck until 11 am daily.

The onsite drive-in theater at Yonder Escalante offers nightly movie showings with concessions. Moviegoers can bring their own chairs or watch the show from inside a vintage car.

Reservations can be booked for all accommodation options at Yonder Escalante online.

campers at Yonder Escalante RV park can enjoy a drive in movie from a vintage car
Photo Credit: Yonder Escalante

Road to the Sun Ranch

Location: Highway 12 in Grover, Utah (exact location provided at the time of booking)

Road to the Sun Ranch is a private alternative to RV parks in and around Capitol Reef National Park. The ranch offers one RV site with water, electric and sewer connections from April 1 until October 28. They can accommodate self-contained trailers up to 28 feet long and RVs up to 35′.

It is located in Grover Utah, only 15 miles from Capitol Reef. Since it is at 7,100 feet elevation on highway 12, campers will have cooler temperatures than staying at other Capitol Reef RV parks.

The full hookup site is available for $55 per night and included 2 vehicles and 6 guests. Bookings are available on HipCamp.

The owner, Zach, is responsive to camper’s requests and has earned great online reviews.

Mobile service is limited at Road to the Sun Ranch but free wi-fi is provided to guests.

going to the sun rv park near capitol reef
Photo Credit: Zack, Road to the Sun Ranch

Capitol Reef RV Park and Campground

Location: 200 North 350 East, Teasdale, UT 84773

Capitol Reef RV park and campground in Teasdale, Utah is not the same as Capitol Reef Resort in Torrey. The newly built Capitol Reef RV park and campground is located in Teasdale.

The RV park is located 14 miles from the Capitol Reef Visitor Center. The opening is planned for summer 2022.

Public Campgrounds near Capitol Reef

Federally run campgrounds such as those run by the Bureau of Land Management or National Forest Service are a great money-saving option. They are more natural with rustic bathhouses if any, wooded well-spaced campsites and do not always have hookups.

We have found several federal campgrounds which are a great alternative to RV parks near Capitol Reef.

Unfortunately, none are located in the town of Torrey so expect to drive a little further to get to the park.

All of these federally run campgrounds near Capitol Reef have 14 days stay limits.

Access Pass holders are entitled to 50% discount on camping at federally run campgrounds.

Check out America the Beautiful National Park Pass: Is it Worth it and Will it Save You Money to see if you qualify for a free or discounted Access Pass.

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. Sites are $12 per night with an additional vehicle surcharge of $6 per night.

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 for $16 per night. Surcharge for an additional vehicle is $8 per night.

The four group campsites are reservable on recreation.gov for $40 to $60 per night. 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.

Individual campsites are $20 per night with a $7.50 surcharge for additional vehicles. Multiple family sites are $40 per night.

Group campsites at Singletree can accommodate up to 60 people They are $80 per night. Groups exceeding 60 people are subject to a $0.50 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.

Aspens surrounding our coach in Fishlake NF

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.

Individual sites at Sunglow campground are $16 per night with a $6 additional vehicle surcharge. Group campsites are $40 per night.

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 have camped on public land for free in all three locations. If you are willing to drive and are equipped to camp without amenities, you can save big on an RV park near Capitol Reef.

For a list of what supplies you need to camp for free and how to find campsites, check out Save Money on a Roadtrip: 13 Simple Ways to Still Have Fun on a Budget.

Always 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:

sunset at beas lewis flats dispersed camping near capitol reef
Sunset at Beas Lewis Flats dispersed camping

Alternatives to RV Parks at Capitol Reef National Park

If don’t plan to camp at an RV park in Capitol Reef, we’ve got you covered as well. There are a few glamping choices and several hotels available in Torrey.

Glamping

Glamping, or glamorous camping, is offered at multiple locations including a few RV parks near Capitol Reef National Park.

The most luxurious option is the Capitol Reef Resort. They offer full-service cabins, wagons and teepees on the resort grounds which are located in Torrey near Capitol Reef. Rates vary by season and 2022 summer rates start at $250 per night.

Secondly, a more affordable glamping option in Capitol Reef is Wonderland RV Park. It is located in Torrey and is less than 15 minutes from the Capitol Reef Visitor Center. They offer more standard rental cabins and wagons starting at $50 per night.

Thirdly, Sand Creek RV Park has a few rental cabins and a vintage RV. The small RV park is located in Torrey just a short drive to Capitol Reef. Their cabins start at $60 per night.

Finally, Yonder Escalante offers vintage Airstreams and cabins for rent starting at around $200 per night. Yonder is located in Escalante, which is 75 miles from Capitol Reef.

wagons at capitol reef resort
Photo Credit: Capitol Reef Resort

Hotel options near Capitol Reef

Capitol Reef is located near the town of Torrey Utah. The drive from Torrey to Capitol Reef is less than 15 minutes. Within Torrey, there are several hotel options including:

Booking.com

Is Capitol Reef worth the trip?

Capitol Reef is our favorite of the Utah Mighty 5 National Parks. Therefore, I believe Capitol Reef is completely worth the trip. It is less crowded and more remote than its sister parks Bryce, Zion and Arches.

Plus, there is a gift shop at Capitol Reef, Gifford House, that sells fresh pies made from the fruit grown in the park’s own orchards.

gifford house pie at capitol reef

Best time to camp at Capitol Reef

Located in the desert climate of South Central Utah, Capitol Reef receives less than 8″ of rain per year. Flash flooding is possible and hiking in canyons during inclement weather is dangerous.

The Capitol Reef area experiences all four seasons with scorching, hot summers and freezing, snowy winters.

The best time to visit and camp at Capitol Reef is spring or autumn when temperatures are mildest.

In Winter (November to February) daytime temperatures hover around a comfortable 50 degrees but nighttime temperatures dip into the teens. Camping at Capitol Reef in winter requires quality warm weather gear and a love of winter weather. Up to a foot of snowfall is possible in winter at Capitol Reef.

Daytime highs in summer at Capitol Reef regularly exceed 100 degrees. Summer nights are cool and comfortable with low humidity.

fruita valley at capitol reef is the location of the only RV park

Reservations and Permits

Other Utah National Parks, such as Zion and Arches, require timed-entry ticket reservations but as of 2022, Capitol Reef hasn’t joined that trend.

Reservations at Capitol Reef

Campground reservations are recommended for RV parks at Capitol Reef National Park during peak season.

Are reservations required at Capitol Reef?

Timed entry tickets or reservations are not needed for park entry at Capitol Reef.

Admission fees are required to enter the park. As of 2022, admission fees at Capitol Reef are $20 per vehicle which covers park admission for 7 consecutive days.

America the Beautiful National Park pass holders receive free admission to Capitol Reef and thousands of other National Park sites. Be sure to check out America the Beautiful National Park Pass: Is it Worth it and Will it Save You Money if you don’t already have a national park pass. You may even qualify for a free or discounted national park pass and we share how to get yours.

Capitol Reef Permits

Permits are required for some activities in Capitol Reef such as:

  • Special use permits are required for non-public benefitting activities in National Parks such as filming, weddings or professional photoshoots.
  • All scientific research within the Capitol Reef park must be pre-approved and permitted by the NPS. Applications are managed online by National Park Research and Reporting Permit System.
  • Canyoneering at Capitol Reef requires a free permit. Permits can be obtained in person at the Visitor Center or online.
  • Bouldering or rock climbing requires a free permit at Capitol Reef. Permits can be obtained in person at the Visitor Center or online.
  • Backcountry camping in Capitol Reef requires a free permit. The backcountry camping permit must be obtained in person at the Capitol Reef Park Visitor Center. Email requests for backcountry camping permits in the National Park are not accepted.

Know Before You Go: Camping Logistics at Capitol Reef

Before you leave home to camp at Capitol Reef there are a few logistics to consider.

Fires

Fires are only permitted in designated fire rings in campgrounds. Always check with campground staff to ensure the fires are allowed during your visit.

  • 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

Many interesting wildlife species call South Central Utah home. If camping at Capitol Reef, a few notable species are snakes, black bears, and mountain lions.

Mountain lions, snakes and black bears generally stay away from congested areas like campgrounds.

However, bears can be attracted to food or other fragranced items (soap, toothpaste, etc) left at campsites. Keep a clean campsite to help keep these animals wild.

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

Pets

As with most national parks, 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 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
  • most Utah State Parks

Where to Shop

Torrey is the closest town to Capitol Reef and it is only about 15 minutes from the Visitor Center. However, grocery shopping options are very limited in Torrey if you are camping at Capitol Reef.

The Chuckwagon General Store has a bakery and deli but standard grocery items are fairly limited and priced higher than I was willing to pay.

Family Dollar offers affordable packaged food but doesn’t carry many healthy options.

If you are camping at Capitol Reef, I recommend buying veggies, hot dogs, smores or whatever else you need before arriving.

If you don’t find a big box store en route to stock up or just need a restock while camping at Capitol Reef. Royal Town Foods in Loa, Utah is the closest grocery supermarket to Capitol Reef. Royal Town Foods is a small-town grocery and is located 27 miles and 40 minutes drive from the Capitol Reef Visitor Center.

Can you camp anywhere in Capitol Reef?

Camping is not allowed throughout Capitol Reef National park however there are several options.

The only developed campground in Capitol Reef National Park is the Fruita campground.

There are also two primitive campgrounds, Cathedral Valley and Cedar Mesa. They are both located at higher elevations and may be difficult to access during winter weather.

Backcountry camping or hike-in backpacking camping is also allowed in Capitol Reef with a free permit. Permits must be obtained in person at the visitors’ center.

Please follow the leave no trace principles when camping off-grid. If you pack it in, then pack it out. Do not disturb vegetation or the habitat.

How much time do you need at Capitol Reef?

A half-day at Capitol Reef will provide enough time to complete the scenic drive, check out the visitor center, eat a pie at the Gifford House and possibly fit in a short hike. However, I recommend spending a full day at Capitol Reef if possible. Be warned, it doesn’t matter how much time you spend at Capitol Reef, you’ll probably leave wanting more time.

Capitol Reef National Park’s most popular attractions are concentrated in the Fruita Valley. This means visitors will have shorter drive times than other more spread out National Parks.

Gypsy Guide is an affordable way to experience Capitol Reef. If Capitol Reef is part of a Utah road trip, the Utah Mighty 5 bundle saves money over buying individual tours.

It’s just like having a tour guide along for the ride.  You’ll hear stories, local tips & directions play automatically, all based on your location.  Best of all they don’t need cell signal, they work offline with GPS.

Off the Beaten Path at Capitol Reef

Capitol Reef is larger than Zion and Bryce combined however the majority of the park is only accessible by 4×4. Getting off the beaten path is entirely possible at Capitol Reef. Very few park visitors leave the Fruita Valley area.

The Waterpocket and Cathedral Valley are scenic remote drives through different areas of the massive Capitol Reef park.

If you want to get off the beaten path at Capitol Reef, the Waterpocket and Cathedral Valley regions will require a lot more driving than the main section of the park and the 7.8-mile Scenic Drive.

Cathedral Valley at Capitol Reef is a 57.6-mile loop that requires a high clearance vehicle and takes 6-8 hours to explore. Check at the visitor center for road conditions. Cathedral Valley is a remote area and visitors should be prepared for emergencies.

The South Waterpock district in Capitol Reef is a 124-mile loop drive that requires 4-6 hours to complete. Most passenger vehicles can access this route during good weather conditions. Check with a park ranger for current conditions before attempting. The Waterpocket district at Capitol Reef is very remote and visitors should be prepared for emergencies.

Is Capitol Reef National Park worth visiting?

Capitol Reef is my favorite Utah National Park and it is absolutely worth visiting. It is much less crowded than Zion, Bryce and Arches and just as picturesque. Capitol Reef is a bit off the main tourist path through Utah and gets fewer visitors than its sister parks.

After spending a few days exploring Capitol Reef, I felt like I had discovered a true hidden gem. When people ask about my favorite parks, I seem to always remember my afternoon nap in my hammock by the river in Capitol Reef after a beautiful morning hike in Cohab Canyon.

Can you see Capitol Reef in a day?

Exploring Capitol Reef in one day is very common and doesn’t require a super long day.

Highlights of one day at Capitol Reef are:

  • Visitor Center
  • Gifford House at Fruita- pies or cinnamon roll
  • Drive the 7.8-mile Scenic Drive through Fruita
  • Capitol Gorge Road and walk to the Pioneer Registry
  • Drive Highway 24 ( Goosenecks Overlook, Panorama Point, petroglyphs and hike Hickman Bridge)
  • Sunset at Sunset Point along Highway 24
  • Stargazing is breathtaking in this dark sky-certified park



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Check out One Perfect Day at Capitol Reef: Don’t Miss Highlights included in a Detailed Itinerary with Optional Hikes for a complete timed itinerary to Capitol Reef.

Summary Capitol Reef RV Parks

In summary, RV parks and camping near Capitol Reef National Park are a great way to save money on vacation lodging. Plus RV travel is great because you can have the comforts of home in an epic destination.

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