Posted on February 08 2021
As a nomad, working full time while suffering from severe kayak addiction, my life can feel like a constant quest for the perfect storm of waterside camping and a solid Verizon signal. Most campsites meeting this criteria are enjoyed, but when they are free. Score!
The best of the best? For me, Flaming Gorge’s Jug Hallow was my best discovery of 2020. Recommended!
Name: Jug Hallow Dispersed Camping
Location: Ashley National Forest, North East Utah along the Green River
Note: The entire peninsula is noted as Antelope Flats on many maps with Jug Hallow as the road. Do not mix the dispersed camping peninsula area up with the smaller Antelope Flats Campground ($20 per night) to the Sout
Site type(s): Boondocking - Tents, vans, RVs, it’s all good. This is dispersed/dry camping with NO hookups, no pit toilets, no picnic tables or other indulgences. There are stone firing rings scattered about.
If your are in a larger rig I recommend searching ahead should you want to camp further out on the peninsula (past the map’s blue line). Make sure current road conditions and/or turnarounds are adequate for your needs.
Human nature causes most of us to want to score that furthest coveted campsite way out on the tip of the peninsula, but it is really not necessary. There is waterside access everywhere, plus plenty of beautiful views.
Best features: The sunsets in the gorge are jaw dropping. Nonetheless, water rules the day. I found my area (1/2 way out the peninsula on the North side) was clear enough for snorkeling along the tall cliffs across the waterway from camp and perfect for paddling everywhere. Kayak/canoe out to other areas for a variety of hiking. In August swimming was cool, but worth getting use to. I swam daily. Water, water, water!
Open up the RV curtains or unzip the tent door quietly in the morning and watch for grazing antelope. Also, keep an eye on the water for an occasional peak at an otter peeking back.
Worst features: The four mile long gravel Jug Hallow Road heading out onto the peninsula straight (most of the way), but has washboards. It is slow going. Try to arrive with all the supplies your rig needs for the entire stay. If you do venture out the small town of Dutch John is close by, offering a large convenience store with adjacent RV park. Propane and tank dumping is available.
Grand Adventure: Ep 75 Flaming Gorge - this is the video that first turned me on to Flaming Gorge.
Secrets of the Gorge for more campsites and fishing info.
Boodockers Bible: Finding Free Camping at Flaming Gorge
Traveling with kids? Keep it interesting. Consider teaching them to make this Homemade Crayfish Trap, and put it out at night. In the morning you can always let your catch go free.
Additional info: Reading other reviews of the area I have seen people mention issues with generators, high winds at night and ‘no space’. Given the size of the area it’s hard to imagine running out of space. I camped here for several weeks in August 2020 and had no issues with generators at night. Winds came up two or three afternoons and blew through the night. Still, I noticed that even campers who mentioned these issues gave Jug Hallow 4-5 star ratings. It’s just that good.
That said, there are several other boondoking sites around the gorge if your don't mind being without cellular service. Check out the links above for more options.
Nearby Attractions: The water is the attraction!!
A final tip: When you climb out of the gorge heading towards Vernal, UT on 191 (Dinosaur county) you drive up so high that you will find yourself in forests thick with pine and aspen. Along the roadside you will spot scatterings of boondockers tucked into the tree line, hunters, backcountry base camps, weekend warriors… any nature lover with a pulse will want to stop. Just assume you will too. Get started here:
What’s up with the bandana store?
That’s a fair question. I am a RETIRED guidebook author/ travel columnist. While I still enjoying sharing my discoveries with fellow travelers who appreciate camping and nature, I am no longer ‘all in’ to full-time travel writing. Thus, I use this empty blog space, which came free with my shop website, to share information with other nomads. I hope you find my travel tips helpful. If you do, please consider taking the time to share a link to a product you like or to my website (https://bandanablankets.com/) on social media. Good trade?
This little store pays for my nomadic ways, which I pull off on an extreme shoestring budget. Your help in keeping me on the road is truly appreciated.
Happy camping everyone!
Nola Lee Kelsey