Camp at the Little Grand Canyon

Emery County, Utah

4.6/5
based on 9 reviews

Description

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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Features

Chillin
Camping
Photography
Backpacking
Hiking
Bathrooms
Dog Friendly
Easy Parking
Family Friendly
Groups
Picnic Area
River
Scenic
Wildlife

Reviews

Followed the directions on this page and was able to easily find the campsites. Sweet views and plenty of spaces to camp along the canyon. Pit toilet. Not too crowded, got there late in the day and was able to find a spot easily.

I definitely give this five stars for off the beaten path and being able to camp right on the rim with amazing sunrises and sunsets. As a runner, I love the rim trail but I did go at the end of April and was surprised how hot it was! I hope to go back to do the entire 22 mile loop. It is a fairly quick drive from Park City and SLC for one day-one night overnight. Because of the solitude it calls for repeat visits. Yes, I give this FIVE stars!!!

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.

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.

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!

First off, this place is amazing! A little out of the way but worth it. Castle Dale is two words. That's helpful when doing internet searches and using apps and maps. The other thing is that this place is called The Wedge, not Little Grand Canyon. You can get lost if you don't use the correct names and spellings. I did the first time I went here.

4/23/16-4/24/16 Headed out to The Little Grand Canyon to escape the forecasted rain in Salt Lake City. We had never heard of this area until we saw it on theoutbound.com. As rock enthusiasts and a professional geotech, we enjoyed the awesome views and amazing formations. We camped by the San Rafael Bridge, but headed up to the Wedge to watch sunset. Next time we will camp up top to experience the sunrise views as well. Hiked up a canyon (name?) and enjoyed more beautiful views and exploring for petroglyphs and pictographs on the canyon walls. Met a few people who have been coming to the area for years. We are excited to come back and try out some of their tips and recommendations. Campsites were occupied, but the area wasn't overly crowded. One of the friendliest camping communities we have come across in Utah.

This use to be a place to find solitude. not anymore. BLM has added so many limitations you can't hardly do anything anymore. you are better off finding somewhere else to go see. the canyon isn't even that great. I mean, what is another crack in the earth?

Its beautiful! Avoid Easter weekend.

Leave No Trace

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

Nearby

Camp at The Wedge (East Side)

Photographing Dutchman's Arch

Canyoneering the San Rafael Swell

Hike Lower Black Box Canyon

Visit the Petroglyphs in Black Dragon Wash

Bouldering in Joe's Valley, UT