Camping in American Fork Canyon
American Fork Canyon is one of the most wild and natural places along the Wasatch front. As such, it’s an amazing place to camp and very popular during the warmer months especially. Plenty of campgrounds can be found along the Alpine Loop Rd (the road running through American Fork Canyon), both close to the mouth of the canyon and deep in the woods.
If you’re thinking of going camping, you won’t find a better place than American Fork Canyon! But make sure you have a camp spot reserved, if possible, because you probably won’t find one on busy weekends! American Fork Canyon can get crowded during weekends and summers. Here’s everything you need to know about camping in American Fork Canyon as well as a list of campgrounds and camping spots.
Be prepared to pay an entrance fee to access American Fork Canyon via the entrance near Alpine, UT. For a 1-3 day pass, the cost is $6. A 7-day pass is $12, and an annual pass costs $45. The fees collected go towards maintaining and enhancing the recreational opportunities provided in American Fork Canyon. If you aren’t planning on using any of the recreational facilities and are only driving through, you are not required to pay an entrance fee. The passes are also valid at the Mirror Lake Highway Recreational Corridor.
As a reminder, these campgrounds are located in the wilderness. Campers often see wildlife such as deer, bears, and even moose. This wildlife can be dangerous if not given the proper distance and respect.
Because American Fork Canyon’s elevation is much higher, nightime temperatures are significantly lower than they are in the valley. Though it may be warm during the day, pack a sweater or other warm clothing just in case the temperatures drop more than you’re expecting. Also, American Fork Canyon weather can be unpredictable; storms can come through unexpectedly and cause unexpected wind, rain, and sometimes even snow.
There are plenty of established campgrounds in American Fork Canyon with available water and bathrooms, each site having a firepit and a picnic table. However, if you’re looking for something more wild or if you can’t find an available camping spot, consider dispersed camping. This is the term used to describe camping in an unimproved area without water, bathrooms, or fire pits. If you do choose to camp this way, make sure you follow the specific rules associated with dispersed camping. Please note that dispersed camping is not allowed in the lower half of American Fork Canyon, but the rest of the canyon is free game.
This is one of the first campgrounds you’ll come across after entering the canyon. There are roughly 36 campsites, 9 of which make up group camping spots. RVs are welcome, but no water, sewer, or electrical hookups are available at the campsite. A one-night rental costs $26 per site. There are no garbage cans or water sources available at this campground, so bring all the water you’ll need during your stay and enough garbage bags to pack everything out.
This campground is a minimally improved dispersed campground, meaning there are no restrooms, water, or other amenities, but campsites have been cleared for tents and vehicles. Camping here doesn’t cost any money, as it is classified as dispersed camping. Be sure to pack out all the garbage you’ll make while you camp. There are several great hiking trails in the area, some of which lead to the summit of Mt. Timpanogos.
This 27-site campground boasts incredible wooded camping areas and beautiful views. It’s a popular spot for hikers, as several popular trails begin in the area. It gets its name from the fact that the trails in the area lead to the summit of Mount Timpanogos. One of the most popular is the Aspen Grove Trail, which is a 16.8 mile trip. Campsites at Mt. Timpanogos Campground have picnic tables and fire pits. Flushing toilets and drinkable water are available at the campsite during peak season (summer). There are also RV sites available, but no utilities. With the exception of a bit of time at the beginning of the season, the campground requires a reservation and does not operate as first come, first served.
This campground is one of the larger and more popular in American Fork Canyon, given that it is a relatively short drive from the metropolitan areas along the Wasatch Front. It’s also located just one mile away from Tibble Fork Reservoir, a popular place for fishing, canoeing/kayaking, and even swimming, in the warmer months. This campground also has a few more amenities compared to others in the canyon. There’s a grassy baseball field and a horseshoe pit, in addition to vault toilets, seasonal water, picnic tables, and firepits. Reservations are required during most of the open season. This is a pack-it-out campground, so make sure to bring enough garbage bags for the duration of your stay.
This campground is another more primitive campground. There are running toilets, available water, firepits, or picnic tables, but the beautiful natural setting more than makes up for it. You’ll need a 4WD vehicle to access this campground, as it is up an unmaintained dirt road. Despite its remote location, it is still quite popular. Because it is free and operates as a first come, first served location, make sure you get to the campground early Friday, if you’re planning on camping over the weekend. Otherwise you’ll likely find the campground full. This campground isn’t a great option for those looking for RV camping, unless you’re got a rugged, smaller RV or camper.
Not ready to commit to the full camping experience? You don’t have to spend the night to have a fun time in American Fork Canyon. Located close to the mouth of American Fork Canyon are several different picnic areas, which offer picnic tables and camp grills, but don’t allow overnight camping.There are, however, toilets and oftentimes water available. They’re the perfect place for an afternoon in the mountains! Here’s a list of picnic areas in American Fork Canyon.
Residents of Holbrook Towns love being close to American Fork Canyon and many take advantage of the campgrounds and picnic areas to enjoy warm summer evenings in the mountains. If you’re looking for a place to live in the area, consider staying in one of our luxurious townhomes, not far from American Fork Canyon. Call today to learn more!