Camp off the Smithsonian Butte Backcountry Byway

Details

Distance

9.5 miles

Elevation Gain

800 ft

Route Type

Point-to-Point

Added by Josiah Roe

Enjoy free camping & boondocking with epic views of Eagle Crags and Mt. Kinesava just 30 minutes from Zion National Park; you may just hear a pack of coyotes at night.

Smithsonian Butte Backcountry Byway is gorgeous 9.5 mile road that runs between Rockville near the entrance to Zion National Park and Apple Valley UT, and affords excellent places to camp & boondock *as long* as it is .5 miles from the road itself (and there are numerous turn offs).

To get there take Utah Highway 9 and a left (if you're coming from the east) or a right (if you're coming from the west) on Bridge Road and then stay right after a quarter mile onto country road 205 S. Stay left after about a mile at the split onto Smithsonian Butte Road. Alternatively, if coming from the South take Main Street due north from highway 59 until it becomes the Byway.

Note: if coming from the north a 4WD vehicle may be necessary. This is not the case if coming from the south, though you may have difficultly making it down the Byway into Zion.

The first obvious campsite is on your left, often called "Rockville Campsite", with numerous others interspersed on the route to the top of the Butte.

After about a mile the road begins a steep ascent without campsites to the top of the Butte and after a strong rain requires a 4WD vehicle to make the top.

Note: be sure to pack up your tent each morning as the BLM only allows for contained, overnight stays 500' from county road 205 S. 

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Reviews

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An unforgettable place

Found a great spot right on the edge of the cliff over looking the canyon! Not a lot of people. Super quite... probably one of the best places I have ever slept in my life!

Beautiful

awesome place with lots of views. camping must take place 1/2 mile from the road so all the early spots are off limits, but when you get to the top of the butte a few side roads lead to plenty of cool camping spots. 4x4 is recommended, and the road has signs that label it as "impassible when wet"

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5.0/5

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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