The Manti-LaSal National Forest is located in central and
southeastern Utah (1,238,425 acres) and southwestern Colorado
(27,105 acres). There are fourteen developed campgrounds (all in
Utah) that meet the selection criteria.
The Southwest, with all its mystery and adventure, begins in the Manti-LaSal National Forest. The Forest is composed of three mountain ranges (Manti, LaSal, and Abajo), numerous canyons, and rolling plateaus rising up from desert lands. From the desert floor, the mountains appear as islands of green where a variety of recreation opportunities and camping locations can be found in unparalleled scenic beauty and cool summer temperatures.
The Manti Mountain, rising 11,000-feet above sea level, is actually part of the Wasatch Plateau. Like the other mountains in the Manti-LaSal National Forest, the Manti Mountain is a separate and individually formed "block" mountain. Unlike the other ranges with their gentle foothills, the Manti Mountain is bound on the east by a towering 1,000 to 2,000-foot escarpment and shear slopes on the west. In between are broad rolling ridges and lake studded valleys.
Access to the Joe's Valley campground in the heart of the Manti Mountain is via State Route 29. This route follows Straight Canyon through a towering escarpment (a shear vertical cliff formed by movement along a fault). After the drive down the dark Straight Canyon, the first view of Joes Valley (no apostrophe) is breathtaking. Joes Valley Reservoir, holding the area's irrigation water, dominates the view and appears as a crystal blue oasis in the Valley's mid-section.
To the north of Joes Valley is Gooseberry Reservoir and Gooseberry Reservoir campground, which offer a dramatic contrast. The campground and reservoir are located in a shallow bowl shaped mountain meadow near the intersection of Skyline Drive and Huntington Canyon Scenic Byway (State Route 31). The sagebrush covered valley gives way to Aspen and spruce at the valley's edge and is a natural setting for wildlife viewing and picture taking.
On the east side of Manti Mountain, adjacent to State Route 31, is a renovated 1930-era Ranger's residence. Now a visitor center, the Stuart Guard Station accommodated a ranger and his family in pre-World War II days. Visitors are invited to step inside the house to see and feel what life was like in those early days. Outside is a garage containing a display of memorabilia and photographs of the local Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) and their contributions in the area.
Across the Sanpete Valley, in the Manti-LaSal administered unit of the Uinta National Forest, is a magnificent example of a conglomerate formation. Conglomerate is a rock formation composed of rounded, water-worn fragments of older rock held together by a much finer, sandy cement-like material. Nestled in the middle of this world class rock climbing area is the Maple Canyoncampground. Although ideally located as a base camp for rock climbing, this rustic campground is far too attractive to be overlooked by anyone. The abundance of maple trees, which gives the canyon its name, make this a particularly attractive campground to visit in the autumn.
Near Moab, Utah, in the LaSal Mountains, with peaks reaching near 13,000-feet, visitors find some of the Forest's most incredible hiking trails. Warner campground is an excellent base camp from which to hike the surrounding trails and explore the LaSal Mountains. Located in the shadow of Haystack Mtn., Warner campground, with its mature Aspen trees, is another particularly attractive campground in autumn.
Abajo Mountains are rich in history and scenic beauty. Here, the Manti-LaSal National Forest is closely associated with the wonders found around Monticello, Utah, such as Edge of the Cedars State Park, the Needles District of the Canyonlands National Park, and Newspaper Rock. Convenient to Monticello are Dalton
Springs and Buckboard campgrounds. Neither campground offers convenient opportunities for fishing or hiking but the beauty and tranquil setting make either an excellent choice for family outings.
About midway between Monticello and Blanding, Utah is Devils Canyon and Devil's Canyon campground. Here, history and the area's natural beauty can be found on the self-guided interpretive trail, "The Forest and Man," found in the campground. The canyon was given its name by the early European settlers because of the challenge this gorge posed to their movement. Today, the canyon provides a scenic background to the campground. Just off U.S. Highway 191, Devil's Canyon campground's location, easy off and on access, well-designed sites, and abundant shade, make it a favorite with campers for overnight or longer stays.
Pictographs, petroglyphs, cliff dwellings, arrowheads, pottery and other artifacts can be found throughout the Manti-LaSal National Forest. Such wonders are considered very special and are well-protected, but some sites can be visited. A small "moki" ruin is featured at the end of the "The Forest and Man" interpretive trail out of Devil's Canyon campground. A trail
near Nizhoni campground leads to a 700-year old grain storehouse ruin constructed by the "Ancient Ones."
The cool green peaks of Manti-LaSal National Forest provide a pleasant change to the heat of the surrounding semi-desert lands. While not as well-known as the area's many National Parks and National Monuments, such as Arches, Canyonlands, and Natural Bridges, the Forest does offer many interesting sights and recreation opportunities without the crowds and its many camping locations are great for car, tent, recreational vehicle (RV) and motorhome campers . From quiet evenings in front of a camp fire to taking a 4X4 vehicle down a rugged trail and so much more, much awaits visitors to the Manti-LaSal National Forest.
599 West Price River Dr.
Price, Utah 84501
RANGER DISTRICT ADDRESSES
115 West Canyon Rd.
Ferron, Utah 84523
599 West Price River Dr.
Price, Utah 84501
Moab-Monticello - Moab Office
2290 S. Resource Blvd.
PO Box 386
Moab, Utah 84532
Moab-Monticello - Monticello Office
496 E. Central
Monticello, Utah 84535
540 North Main St.
Ephraim, Utah 84627