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Leave the stress of civilization behind and head to the campground

Jeff Dempsey
The Park Record

This article appears in The Park Record’s July Adventure Guide, which can be viewed in full in our e-edition or at parkrecord.com/special-sections/adventure-guide/.


There are few more picturesque and peaceful places to go camping than in and around Summit County, but if you’re not sure where to begin or how to get start- ed, fear not! We’ve got you covered. From equipment to safety to a few ideas of where to go, we’ll have you connecting with nature in no time flat.

Safety tips

Most importantly, before you head to the great outdoors you need to ensure your safety. Here are a few things to keep in mind:

Share your itinerary! This one is especially important if you’re going alone, but even if you’re with a partner or a group, make sure someone staying behind knows where you are going and when you expect to be back.

Practice at home. This might feel a little silly, but it beats trying to make heads or tails of your new tent in the pitch black of the forest. Plus you’ll look cool and confident in front of your buddies.

Know where you’re going. This is particularly important now that we’re in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, because that camping spot you have in mind might not be available or even open, and you don’t want to find yourself driving around looking for a replacement. Camping is supposed to be relaxing! Don’t make it stressful.

Check the weather. Simple, right? Know what to expect from Mother Nature and be sure you have what you need. You don’t want to be the only one in the group without a poncho during a rainstorm.

Extinguish fires properly. We can’t stress this one enough! If you’re camping someplace that allows campfires, make sure it’s completely extinguished before you leave it! Allow time to let the fire burn down to ash, then pour water over it and around it until it stops hissing. Stir with a shovel to root out any still-burning embers, and keep pouring water until it’s cold to the touch.

Be sure you’re decked out correctly

A critical part of having a successful camping trip is ensuring you have the gear you need. There are a million and one checklists just a Google search away, but here are a few tips anyway:

Make a checklist. Wait, did we just say this? Yes we did. Make a checklist, and use it! There’s no excuse for forgetting anything at home. This is exactly why man invented the pencil and paper — so he wouldn’t forget his sleeping pad.

Research your campsite’s amenities. Many campsites feature common areas you can use while you’re there, like bathrooms, or running water, picnic seating, etc. Know what you need to bring and what you don’t. Remember, though, there may be closures due to COVID-19, so confirm what’s available before you go.

Leave a clean campsite. This isn’t a gear or preparation tip, but it’s super important nonetheless. Everything you brought camping with you needs to leave with you. All your gear and all your garbage.

Most importantly, where to go

You’ve got your gear ready, your safety plan in place, you can pitch a tent with the best of them, so the only question left is … where do you go? Here are a few great spots to consider.

Jordanelle State Park
319 Ut, Heber City
435-649-9540
The Jordanelle is a good choice if you have an RV or you want to stay close to Park City and dip your toe in the camping life. Rest assured: There is no shortage of fun activities at the reservoir.

Wasatch National Forest Yellow Pine Campground
Kamas
435-783-4338
There are dozens of amazing campsites in the Wasatch National Forest, and it’s hard to go wrong with any of them. Yellow Pine, though, makes for a great introduction to the area. If you like hiking, this one’s for you.

Balsam Campground
Hobble Creek Canyon, Springville
801-798-3571
Similarly, if you want to head south to camp in the Uinta National Forest, you have no shortage of choices. Balsam boasts of some great fishing as well as beautiful hikes, and it’s hard to beat that.

For more information and a larger list of area campgrounds, visit the Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest’s website at http://www.fs.usda.gov/uwcnf. Happy camping!


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