Emery County, Utah

Camp at the Little Grand Canyon

Originally added by Derrick Lytle

Scenic. Very few people. Jaw dropping canyon views. Free camping and entrance.

The Wedge and The Little Grand Canyon are located in Eastern Utah and despite their amazing beauty are relatively unknown and overlooked partly due to their close proximity to national parks like Arches and Canyonlands.

With it's massive size, The San Rafael Swell, where The Little Grand Canyon is located, is easily accessible from I-70, Orangeville, Huntington, Castledale, and the numerous other small towns located around it's perimeter. The easiest way to find this area is to drive to Castledale, Utah. When arriving to the small town look for brown BLM signs that say "San Rafael Swell Recreation Area". Follow these signs in to The Swell. To get to Little Grand Canyon follow the signs for "The Wedge Overlook". The area is very well marked despite it not being popular and it even appears in Google Maps if you search for "The Wedge", although cell service can be spotty in the area.

The Wedge features a pit toilet, free camping, picnic areas, and stunning views of the San Rafael River at the bottom of the canyon. There's numerous off-road trails, hiking trails, hunting areas, impressive geologic formations, and Indian art so definitely spend time checking this area out. It's worth more than just a drive up and take a picture type stop.

Camping is first come first serve but I have never seen it the camp sites fill up. When camping you will be treated with dark skies which are great for astro photography and quiet nights making this camping area a great get away from the noise and mayhem in Moab. 

- There is absolutely no camping on the rim side of the canyon. 
- The only campsites are the #1-#10 numbered and signed spots. There are many, many pull offs meant for day use but these are not campsites.

About 30 minutes away is the popular Joe's Valley bouldering area located outside the town of Orangeville which also is home to the popular Food Ranch grocery store which offers food and drinks to climbers and explorers. If you're looking for wi-fi and a place to charge your batteries this is it. There is an eating area upstairs in the store with everything you need.

The Little Grand Canyon is one of Utah's secret places that rivals the state's national parks in its beauty and history. Check this place out but be careful, there's bad cell service, roads can be rough, summer is brutally hot and winter is miserably cold.

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Dog Friendly
Easy Parking
Family Friendly
Picnic Area


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Overall rating: 

hidden gem

discovered this website (and campsite) through a Google search of "camping areas two hours from Salt Lake"--my husband and i were amazed such beauty was so close! while the weekend we chose (4/27) was INCREDIBLY windy--the peace and quiet and views were amazing. and while it is noted in this post that campsites are easy to come by--that wasn't true for us when we rolled in at 10:30 p.m. on a Friday night. BUT there is LOTS of camping if you are willing to go down the side "roads". and while Verizon seemed to work well in most spots, it's a good idea to print out turn-by-turn directions as many of the roads are not marked with street signs. and be sure to Google: "The Wedge Overlook". if you just Google "The Wedge" it takes you to a field near campsites 1 - 7. where you want to be is campsites 8 - 10 as those are in "Little Grand Canyon/The Wedge Overlook." there are some pit toilets to be found but NO water.

Solitude and beauty a short drive from SLC

I've lived in Utah for years and driven between Price and Green River many times wondering what lies in the upper San Rafael Swell. Now I know. It's an incredible placing with very few visitors. Allow yourself time to explore the Eastern side of the rim.

Perfect Adventure Spot

We camped here for a couple of nights and were blown away by the scenery. Free camping is a plus, and we actually had decent Verizon & T-Mobile cell service. Don't forget to bring your bike and take on the 21 mile Rim Trail!

Leave No Trace

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on.

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