Ashley National Forest stretches across more than 1.3 million acres in northern Utah and southern Wyoming. It's home to breathtaking regions, including the remote High Uintas Wilderness and the Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area. There's an adventure for every style—take a wild backcountry hike to Utah's highest peak, or paddle past red-rock cliffs a few steps from your modern campsite. On any given day, you can fish, ride horses, or play in the water; winter brings world-class skiing, snowmobiling, and skijoring. With more than 1,000 miles of trails to explore, it's a breeze to access Ashley National Forest's spectacular peaks, cliffs, and lakes.
Camping in Ashley National Forest
RV camping is the perfect way to immerse yourself in the wilderness at Ashley National Forest, all while maintaining the comforts you need. With a variety of Forest Service campgrounds and private parks on offer, it's easy to find one that matches your style. If you don't have an RV, renting one is a convenient alternative. With RVshare, you can rent from local owners or choose a motorhome near your location for a road trip to the forest.
East Park Campground
The 21 campsites at this campground are located on the shore of the East Park Reservoir, so you can fish for rainbow trout and then immediately cook it for dinner. There are also several trailheads adjacent to the campground. East Park Campground has three vault toilets and drinking water but no electric hook-ups. Trash must be ported out. The fee is $12 per night. The campground is open from June through September.
Antelope Flat Campground
The Antelope Flat Campground has several family sites available that you can reserve. These come with a cabana, picnic table, campfire ring, and grill. There are also single unit sites. Flush toilets and drinking water are provided, and a dump station is available for a fee. A boat ramp is located on-site. The nearby lake is a popular place for boating, water skiing, jet skiing, canoeing, kayaking, and swimming as well as for fishing. Rates are $18 for a single-unit campsite and up to $120 per night for a family site. The campground is open from May through September.
Paradise Park Campground
There are 15 campsites at the Paradise Park Campground on the shores of Paradise Park Lake. You can fish for rainbow trout here and hike a jeep trail that takes you past a number of lovely little lakes. There are also trails open nearby for horseback riding and mountain biking. There are three vault toilets available, and water is seasonally available in a nearby cabin. Rates are $5 a night. The campground is open from late May through September.
Activities in Ashley National Forest
Whether you're after solitude and silence or a relaxed family adventure, Ashley National Forest has plenty to keep you busy. Explore the stunning wilderness on more than 1,000 miles of trails; many are open to hiking, biking, and horseback riding. Many of the trails take you through wildlife habitats, offering chances to see birds, mountain goats, and more.
Identifying Flora and Fauna
The Ashley National Forest offers visitors countless opportunities to view the scenic array of flora and fauna that inhabit the forest of the Uinta Mountains. Here, visitors to the park may see elk, moose, mule deer, coyotes, black bears, beavers, marten, river otters, mountain goats, bighorn and pronghorn sheep, cougars, pikas, and marmots.
Wildflowers are most numerous from late May through early July. Wild poppies can be found on mountain slopes in the park and thimbleberries in meadows. Other flowers you may see include lupines, fireweed, heartleaf arnica, and Utah’s state flower, the sago lily. If you are lucky, you may come across the white bog orchid in high mountain meadows. While the flowers are not particularly attractive, the scent is lovely, combining hints of orange, clove, and vanilla.
Bird watchers can delight in spotting many types of raptor species, including falcons and eagles as well as ptarmigan and the greater sage grouse, a species that is currently under conservation at the park.
The Ashley National Forest has many fishing opportunities. There is fly fishing in the Duchesne or Green River and in many of the smaller tributaries. The Flaming Gorge Reservoir is also a popular fishing spot. At 91 miles long, it has 350 miles of shoreline. The Wyoming portion is wider and may offer better fishing spots. World record trout have been caught in the cold waters of the reservoir. Common species include many types of trout, including the tiger trout, rainbow trout, brown trout, and lake trout. There are also kokanee salmon, smallmouth bass, channel catfish, and burbot available in these waters.
The Flaming Gorge Reservoir is also popular for water sports enthusiasts. Whether you enjoy swimming, canoeing, kayaking, boating, water skiing, or jet skiing – you can enjoy your favorite form of recreation here.
If you enjoy geocaching, the Iron Springs Group Camp is one of the best places in the park for this hobby. Many visitors to this area will work on finding caches together. Both the camaraderie and the dramatic red rocks scenery make this a fun experience.
The Ashley National Forest is also one of the best places for stargazing as there is very little light pollution within the immense area of the forest.
How to get to Ashley National Forest
Address: 355 North Vernal Avenue, Vernal, UT, 84078
Fee: Entry fee $0
The Ashley National Forest provides a truly majestic wildlife experience. There are miles of hiking trails, a variety of dramatic terrain, and many fishing sites. The Flaming Gorge Reservoir offers a great place where the whole family can have fun. This is a perfect place to try RV camping.
Frequently Asked Questions About Ashley National Forest
Is Ashley National Forest open all year round?
Yes, Ashley National Forest is open year-round. In summer, the forest is a great spot for hiking, fishing, and ATV riding. In winter, you can cross-country ski, snowmobile, or snowshoe in the forest.
Is there a fee to get into Ashley National Forest?
No, there is no fee to get into Ashley National Forest. However, there may be fees charged for using certain day-use areas, for using boat launches, and for other recreational activities in the forest.
Does Ashley National Forest offer free camping sites?
Yes, Ashley National Forest offers free camping sites. Dispersed camping is allowed in the forest and does not cost. There are no amenities with dispersed camping - campers must bring everything with them, and pack everything out when they leave.
Is there a limit to how long you can camp in Ashley National Forest?
Yes, there is a limit to how long you can camp in Ashley National Forest. There is a 16-day limit, and after that campers must move at least 5 road miles to a new campsite.
Can you kayak, canoe, or raft in Ashley National Forest?
Yes, you can kayak and canoe in Ashley National Forest. Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area has a reservoir that's popular for paddlers, so many people bring kayaks and canoes to use there. There are also places to whitewater raft in the forest, and several companies lead rafting trips.