BIG COTTONWOOD CANYON, Utah — Campers planning to enjoy Utah’s backcountry over the holiday weekend might have to make new plans.
Hundreds of high altitude campsites usually booked solid over Memorial Day remain closed because of heavy winter snow.
At Spruce Campground up Big Cottonwood Canyon, several feet of snow covers empty campsites.
“Just compared to last year, we have a lot more snow on the ground in the sites people would normally expect to be open,” US Forest Service’s Colton Rogers said.
While most Utah State Park campsites are good to go this holiday weekend, dozens of US Forest Service campgrounds are not.
“We have had to cancel reservations and issue refunds for that, but people have been patient,” Rogers said.
If it’s not snow, it’s rain causing problems.
“Yeah, pretty bummed out,” Cory Peterson said.
Petersen and his young family made big plans to get to travel from Riverton to Bear Lake. One peek at the forecast ruined everything.
“It’s probably not going to be fun to stay cooped up inside all weekend, especially because our two kids — won’t they want to be outside?" Petersen said.
For those who need to be outside, many canyon roads to get to popular trails are also closed.
While the cooler weather is slowing the snowmelt, but just not fast enough for the kickoff to summer.
“We just have to wait for it to melt out,” Rogers said.
Below is a list of Forest Service campgrounds that may be open for the Memorial Day weekend, courtesy of US Forest Service:
Ashley National Forest (435) 789-1181 www.fs.usda.gov/ashley A cool and wet spring has delayed the opening of many high altitude roads and campgrounds across the Ashley National Forest.
Vernal Ranger District (435) 789-1181: Only Whiterocks Campground will be open this Memorial Day weekend. The Taylor Mountain Road to Kaler Hollow and Iron Springs to Colton Guard Station and Bassett Springs through the range study areas are open for dispersed camping. The roads up to Hacking Lake, Oaks Park Reservoir, and above East Park Reservoir are impassable due to snow and will remain closed. Please call the Ranger District for more info and updates on road conditions.
Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area (435) 784-3445: All campgrounds are open with fees except Spirit Lake. Spirit Lake is closed due to snow drifts. Visitors using the Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area will have to pay a use fee in designated areas. Day passes are $5, seven-day passes are $15 and annual passes are $35. Passes are available in Manila, Utah and in Mountain View, Rock Springs and Green River, Wyoming and local businesses in and around the Flaming Gorge area.
Duchesne/Roosevelt Ranger Districts (435) 738-2482: Avintaquin Campground, Yellow Pine Campground will remain closed. Elkhorn Loop Road, Blind Stream Road and the Avintaquin-Timber Canyon Road are still closed due to snow drifts. Many campgrounds will not have water available, plan on supplying your own water over Memorial Day Weekend. Please call the Ranger District for more info on roads and campgrounds.
Dixie National Forest (435) 865-3700: www.fs.usda.gov/dixie Heavy winter snow will keep some campgrounds and roads closed well past Memorial Day. Forest visitors can call the Ranger Districts for specific road conditions.
Pine Valley Ranger District (435) 688-3246: All sites are open. For the most current information about campgrounds call the St. George Interagency Office at: (435) 688-324. Office hours are Monday through Friday 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Cedar City Ranger District (435) 865-3200/3700: For current recreation information contact the Cedar City Ranger District.
Powell Ranger District (435) 676-9300: Red Canyon is currently open with full amenities. Coyote Hollow Equestrian is currently open for dry camping (water will be turned on at a later date, but is not potable-horse use only.) Kings Creek campground will be open with water on May 22nd. Please call the District office or Red Canyon Visitor Center for current information The District office is open Monday through Friday, from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Red Canyon Visitor Center is open seven days a week from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Escalante Ranger District (435)-826-5400: Pine Lake campground is open with water. Posey Lake is open and water will be on by Memorial Day. Blue Spruce and Barker Recreation Area are open with fees; however, water may not be on by Memorial Day. Please call the Escalante Ranger District or the Visitors Center for the most recent information. The Visitors Center is open seven days a week, from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Visitors Center (435)-826- 5499. The District office is open Monday through Friday.
Fishlake National Forest (435) 896-9233: www.fs.usda.gov/fishlake
Beaver Ranger District (435) 438-2436: Little Cottonwood, Mahogany Cove, Tushar Lakeside and Little Reservoir campgrounds will be open with water and fees as will Ponderosa picnic area. City Creek campground will be open with no water or fees. Kent’s Lake, LeBaron and Anderson Meadow campgrounds will not be open.
Fillmore Ranger District (435) 743-5721: Maple Grove and Adelaide campgrounds will be open with water and fees. Oak Creek campground will be open and the water system may be operational, plan accordingly, use fees apply. Chalk Creek picnic areas (Copley’s Shingle Mill, Buckskin Charlie, and Pistol Rock), and Maple Hollow picnic area are open and water is not available. Streams are running high this spring so please be careful around the water. Some roads and trails at higher elevations are closed due to snow and wet muddy conditions. Contact the Fillmore Ranger District for the most current information.
Fremont River Ranger District (435) 836-2800: All campgrounds are open with fees, except Elkhorn Campground. Please call the Fremont River Ranger District Office for the most current and up to date information.
Richfield Ranger District (435) 896-9233: Gooseberry campground will be open, and should have water available. Gooseberry-Seven Mile road #640 may be closed due to snow, please call the Ranger district for more info.
Manti-LaSal National Forest (435) 637-2817 www.fs.usda.gov/mantilasal
Moab-Monticello District: Roads open – La Sal Loop Road, Sand Flats, Two-Mile Area, Harts Draw, Causeway, South Elks, Bears Ears, South and North Cottonwood, North Long Point, Elk Ridge and the UPS/Kokopelli trail. Campgrounds open – Mason Draw, Buckeye, Devils Canyon, Nizhoni, Dalton Springs, and Buckboard (all open with no water). Dark Canyon Wilderness trailheads open -- Woodenshoe trailhead, Peavine trailhead, Horse Pasture trailhead, Notch trailhead, Trail Canyon trailhead. Most roads are still muddy in sections.
Ferron-Price District: Roads open -- SR-31 Huntington Canyon, SR-29 Straight Canyon, Ferron Canyon east of Stevens Creek and South Side road to Wrigley Reservoir, Horn Mountain, Nuck Woodward to the south trailhead Rock Canyon trail, Hole trail, Black Dragon trail, and Lord’s trail. All campgrounds in Huntington Canyon, except Chute group site; Water is on at Old Folks Flat campground and Stuart Guard Station Interpretive Center. Joes Valley campground and group site as well as Orange Olsen rental cabins are open with water.
Sanpete District: Roads open up to mid-elevations – Ephraim Canyon, Manti Canyon, Six-Mile, Pleasant Creek, Spring City, Twelve Mile; open to the summit – Fairview Canyon, Maple Canyon, and Wales Canyon. Campgrounds open - Chicken Creek, Maple Canyon, Spring City picnic area, and Twin Lake. Lake Fork and Smith Fork roads are closed for the season. Trails remain closed due to snow.
Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest (801) 999-2103 www.fs.usda.gov/uwcnf
Pleasant Grove Ranger District (801) 785-3563: Little Mill campground is open with water and fees. Granite Flat campground will not be for Memorial Day weekend due to a rock slide. Grey Cliffs, Sawmill, Echo, Road House, Martin, and Mile Rock picnic areas are open. The Squaw Peak Road is open to the Orem overlook, the gate going up to Hope campground will remain closed due to wet and muddy conditions. The Alpine Scenic Loop (USR 92) will not be open for the holiday weekend. Silver Lake Flat road is closed. The North Fork road is closed at the bridge 1⁄2 mile up from Tibble Fork. NO TRAILERS will be allowed as there is limited turn around space. Trails in American Fork Canyon are closed to bicycles, motorized vehicles and livestock until they are dry enough to prevent resource damage. A recreation pass is required for the American Fork Canyon-Alpine Scenic Loop area and is available at Forest Service offices or at the entrance stations to the Scenic Loop. The special use fee is $6.00 for a one three-day pass per vehicle, $12.00 for a 7 day pass and $45.00 for the annual pass.
Spanish Fork Ranger District (801) 798-3571: Maple Lake, Maple Bench, Balsam, Diamond, Whiting Cherry, Bear Canyon, Cottonwood, Ponderosa, Unicorn, and Sawmill Hollow campgrounds are open. Santaquin Canyon is closed between Trumbolt Day Use area and Tinney Flat campground due to an avalanche. Trumbolt Day Use area will be open for use, but Tinney Flat campground will be closed until further notice. Higher elevation roads and trails are currently closed and will be open as snow and trail conditions permit. The Nebo Loop Scenic Byway will only be open on the south side to Devil’s Kitchen and on the north side to the ski parking lot.
Logan Ranger District (435) 755-3620: Lewis M. Turner, Box Elder, Bridger, Spring Hollow, Guinavah- Malibu, Preston Valley, Lodge Camp, Wood, Smithfield, Pioneer, Friendship and Spring campgrounds are open. Tony Grove, Red Banks, and Sunrise campgrounds are closed due to snow. Low elevation roads and trails are open (High Creek, Smithfield, Green Canyon, and Left Hand Fork). Mid elevation roads (2nd gate in High Creek, 2nd gate in Green Canyon, Cowley/Herd, 1st gate in Temple Fork and Forestry Camp) are scheduled to open on June 1. Upper elevation roads (Marie Springs, 2ndgate in Temple Fork, Twin Creeks, and Dip Hollow) are closed, and scheduled to open on June 15th.
Ogden Ranger District (801) 625-5306: All campgrounds and day use sites around Pineview and South Fork Canyon are open with water and fees. Monte Cristo campground and Utah Highway 39 will not be open for Memorial Day weekend. Roads and trails are muddy and at higher elevations snow packed. Please TREAD LIGHTLY and avoid traveling on roads when muddy.
Salt Lake Ranger District (801) 466-6411: All campgrounds in Big and Little Cottonwood Canyons will be closed for Memorial Day weekend. Dogwood, Ledgemere, Birches and Storm Mountain picnic areas in Big Cottonwood Canyon are open. All picnic areas below the snow gate in Millcreek Canyon are open. Remember Big and Little Cottonwood Canyons are Salt Lake City Municipal Watersheds and dogs are not allowed in these canyons. Any picnic area or campground that is gated or posted closed is not legal to use. Mueller Park and Fernwood picnic areas in Davis County are open. Farmington Canyon and Ward Canyon roads are closed until further notice due to snow and wet muddy conditions. The upper portion of South Willow Canyon road and Upper and Lower Narrows and Loop campgrounds are closed due to snow and wet muddy conditions. The lower portion of South Willow Canyon and Cottonwood, Intake, Boy Scout, and the Median Flat picnic area are open.
Heber-Kamas Ranger District (435) 654-0470 or (435) 783-4338: Smith-Morehouse, Ledgefork,
Shady Dell, Soapstone, Lower Provo, Yellow Pine, Aspen Grove, Soldier Creek and Strawberry Bay campgrounds are open. Boaters are urged to use caution and be aware of floating debris and submerged land structures in all lakes and reservoirs. The Strawberry Visitor Center will open on June 15, 2019. Wolf Creek Pass (Utah State Route 35) is open. The Mirror Lake Highway (Utah State Route 150) will not be open for the Memorial Day weekend. The Whiskey Springs picnic area is closed due to flooding. All roads and trails above 8,000 feet are muddy and or snow-packed. Plants and vegetation can be damaged permanently in the spring by pulling trailers and trucks into wet and muddy areas to camp. Please TREAD LIGHTLY and avoid muddy roads to keep them from becoming permanently damaged and rutted. Visitors parked or camping along the Mirror Lake Scenic Byway must display a fee pass. Three day passes are $6.00, seven day passes are $12.00, and annual passes are $45.00. Passes can be purchased at the Kamas Work Center, Evanston Ranger District, and local businesses in Kamas, Chevron service station, Food Town grocery store, and Samak Smoke House. Passes may also be purchased at the Bear River Lodge.
Evanston/Mountain View Ranger Districts (307) 789-3194 or (307) 782-6555: East Fork, Bear River and Stillwater campgrounds will be open for the Memorial Day weekend. The Bear River Ranger Station will be open Friday, May 24, 2019, Thursday through Monday from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The Mirror Lake highway is open only to Bear View campground, approximately 7 miles south of the forest boundary. Whitney Reservoir is inaccessible and the North Slope road is only open approximately 4 miles then is snow bound. Higher elevation roads and trails are closed due to snow. Visitors parked or camping along the Mirror Lake Scenic Byway must display a fee pass. 1-3 Day passes are $6.00, 7-day passes are $12.00 and annual passes are $45.00. Passes can be purchased at Forest Service Offices in Kamas, Utah; Evanston, Wyoming; and local businesses in Kamas, Chevron service station, Food Town grocery store, and Samak Smoke House. Passes may also be purchased at the Bear River Lodge.
The information can also be found here: