Camping in Capitol Reef National Park

I am one of those people who likes to have a trip booked, reserved, and planned out weeks in advance. Playing things by ear away from home makes me nervous. Especially when it comes to having a place to stay at night. I want to know at the end of the night, I will have a guaranteed place to sleep. So when a national park says their only campground is first come, first served, I enter stress mode. And it was especially bad on our trip to Capitol Reef National Park, as I knew we wouldn’t be arriving at the park till the late afternoon.

We pulled into Fruita Campground between 3-4 p.m., and were greeted with a sign stating my worst fears: “Campground Full.” Crap. We had driven all the way from Vegas, were exhausted, and now had to search the surrounding areas for alternate lodging. Not fun. Luckily we were able to find a place to stay on short notice, but it wasn’t exactly close to the park.

The next day, we woke up early and tried again, this time arriving at Fruita Campground right after check-out time. Success!! We secured a campsite for the next few nights.

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But by the afternoon, it was full again. The Capitol Reef website cautions visitors that the campground usually fills up early during the spring and fall seasons, but we were there during the summer, and it still filled up early. So definitely time your arrival right! Get there as soon as people are checking out, so you can swoop in and get their spot. The campgrounds outside of the park are just too far of a drive away to be convenient.

Another important thing to note, is that there are no places within the park to get gas or buy supplies, and Utah has strict laws regarding firewood (absolutely no wood can be brought in from out of state), so you’ll need to pick some up before entering the park.

Nor far from the park entrance there is a little town with a general store, and this is where we would come to stock up on goods.

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And now for random campsite photos! We like to turn meal prep into a group activity… cause even things like shucking corn can be fun when done with awesome people!

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We also like to do foil packet cooking as often as possible, cause let’s face it- washing dishes while camping kinda sucks.

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BBQ chicken and corn, all cooked in foil! No dishes required.

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Fruita campground is a very pleasant, peaceful campground, surrounded by orchards. So if you do decide to stay in/near Capitol Reef, I highly recommend trying to get a spot here. Though, you may never want to leave the campground.

For additional information on staying in Fruita Campground, click here.

Author: Natalie Bates

LA-based freelance writer | Blogger | Craft beer drinker | Rock 'n roll girlfriend | Adventurer | Lover of tattoos, red lipstick, and popcorn | World traveler | Compassionate human | Photography enthusiast | Eco warrior | Celtic babe ❤️

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