Ashley National Forest, Utah

Photo by Matthew Dillon

Where in the West Should I Go? • 52 Places to Visit in 2022

The massive Ashley National Forest in northeastern Utah is a diverse landscape stretching across nearly 1.4 million acres (most of it is in Utah, but there’s a small portion in Wyoming as well). 

Elevations range from 6,000 feet to 13,527 feet at Kings Peak, the tallest peak in the state of Utah and a highlight of the region along with the adjacent Gilbert Peak. Climbers report that the latter is the peak you’ll want to ascend if you’re seeking solitude.

Elsewhere in the forest, you’ll find great camping opportunities, like at Stateline Campground, which is located on the Stateline Reservoir. Bridger Lake, Marsh Lake, China Meadows and Tail Head campgrounds are four other nearby options.  

The famous Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area rubs up against the forest. The NFS manages the section of the Green River below Flaming Gorge Dam, which is a pretty amazing place to start a boat trip.

You can either start at the Spillway Boat Launch near the dam or a bit further east at the Little Hole Boat Launch. A couple of historic buildings along the route include the Dr. John Parsons Cabin Complex and the John Jarvie Historic Ranch. For some major action, don’t miss Red Creek Rapid.

For a bit of education, head out to the Ute Fire Tower Interpretive Site, an active fire tower staffed by rangers on Fridays and Saturdays from June-September. Built in 1937, it’s on the National Register of Historic Places.