Filed under: One-Tank Trips
One Tank Trip for Utah Camping
This One Tank Trip seen in the Woodall’s 2010 North American Campground Directory.
One thing that’s absolutely undeniable about America is that our nation has the widest range of topography and geological diversity to be found anywhere on the planet. One state that’s a shining example of this mixture is Utah; a state situated more than 4,000 feet above sea level, so you get majestic buttes, dramatic plunges into deep canyons, and stately forests. You’ll also experience the full spectrum of color when you come to Utah, from red rocky peaks to the deep green of the forests, the yellow and gold of falling leaves, the purple sky in the morning, turning to orange and gold, then finally to the richest blue – only to repeat the process in reverse at the end of the day. This land is truly a masterpiece from nature’s paintbrush.
An excellent place to experience this wonderwork first hand is the fast-growing city of St. George. You’ll be dazzled by the rich, red hues of the surrounding desert, and a visit to nearby Zion Canyon will dazzle you as its walls stretch between 2,000 and 3,000 feet overhead. For a truly awe-inspiring view, take the Canyon Overlook Trail to the highest elevation spot in the park; if this view of the red cliffs doesn’t take your breath away, check your pulse. The surrounding area is a fine place for Utah camping, as you’ll undoubtedly want a few days to explore this unique spot on the map.
When it’s time to move on, head northeast on the I-15 for 9 miles, then due east for 10 miles on the UT-9, which brings you to your next one tank trip stop, the town of Hurricane. This is another of those increasingly rare cities where the slow pace and friendly atmosphere reminds us of times gone by and makes a great place to get out of the RV, stretch our legs and enjoy the crisp, clean air.
Continuing east on the UT-9 for a little less than 50 miles takes you to the junction for the northbound US-89, which you’ll take for the remaining 2 miles into Mount Carmel. This is a quaint little town that – unfortunately – is frequently driven past by tourists on their way to the more famous destinations like Moab. There are some fascinating caves and canyons to see here, and back in town you can get a slice of homemade strawberry-rhubarb pie, which has been a town tradition since the 40s. For the fan of Native American jewelry, this is where you’ll come to find unique, handmade creations from the Hopi, Navajo, and Zuni tribes. Stick around a while and enjoy this southwestern oasis; it definitely deserves your attention.
From Mount Carmel, drive further north on the US-89 for 20 miles, then head west on the UT-14 for 23 miles before taking the northbound UT-148 for 6 miles to the city limits of Cedar Breaks. Prepare yourself for the awesome majesty of the Cedar Breaks National Monument; with a span of three miles and a depth of over 2000 feet, this is yet another of Utah’s many must-see natural wonders.
Back on the road, retrace your route back to the UT-14, which you’ll take west for 18 miles to Cedar City, home of the Dixie National Forest. Stretching across two million acres, this is the biggest forest in all of Utah and as such, it’s a textbook example of Utah’s incredible scenic diversity. You’ll enjoy several days here, camping, hiking, and exploring the vastness of the terrain, or maybe just relaxing out by the creek. If you want to get lost in nature while Utah camping, this is the place to do it. Cedar City is also the proud host of the annual Shakespeare Festival, which provides twice-daily performances of a variety of the Bard’s famous plays. The festival runs from the end of June to mid-October, so if you’re looking to brush up on your Shakespeare – or would rather just kick back and watch people having a great time – grab a picnic lunch and drift into a “Mid-Summer Night’s Dream.”
The return trip to St. George completing this one tank trip is an easy southbound cruise for 48 miles down the I-15, but that’s providing you can tear yourself away from the rich tapestry of colorful beauty you’ve found here. Not an easy task.
Planning a Utah camping trip? Don’t miss this other great route on one tank of fuel:
For a complete list of one tank trip camping routes, go to Woodalls.com.