Camping at Big Flat in the Tushar Mountains
Campsites at established campgrounds in Utah can be hard to come by as they tend to fill up fast, especially on the weekends. But luckily there is plenty of land in our state where you can find primitive camping in Utah’s mountains where most people never think to go. Big Flat in Fishlake National Forest is one such place.
Located in the Tushar Mountains above Beaver, Utah, Big Flat is a beautiful spot to set down stakes or park an RV. There are several campgrounds in the area with amenities like bathrooms, fire rings and picnic tables, but the dispersed camping at Big Flat is the way to go as the solitude and wide-open views of Mount Holly, Mount Belknap, and Delano Peak provide the backdrop.
Once camp is set up you can relax and enjoy the view. Have a barbecue, or partake in one of many recreational opportunities Big Flat has to offer. You can mountain bike on the jeep roads or the Skyline Trail and Kimberly Road. There is excellent hiking up nearby peaks like Mount Holly. The kids can go fishing at Puffer Lake. Herds of antelope and deer graze in the meadows for excellent wildlife viewing. Or you can set up activities in camp like a game of horseshoes or target practice.
Camping at Big Flat has its quirks as it’s considered as “dispersed camping.” Dispersed camping is technically means there aren’t any extras and rules should be followed when spending the night.
First, find a spot that isn’t near any official campgrounds and is at least 100 feet away from a stream. Second, pick a spot where it is obvious campers have been before. This will minimize the impact on the forest. Third, try to camp behind trees and not in the middle of meadows where you will ruin the wild setting for others. Finally, dispersed camping means going to the bathroom in the woods. Always bury human waste at least 6 inches deep and pack out toilet paper. Luckily, Big Flat has two outhouses that can be easily reached by car, ATV or bike.
To get to Big Flat, take I-15 to Beaver. Exit here and go into town until you come to S.R. 153. Drive east into the mountains. The road will take you past the Eagle Point Ski Area. Soon the paved road becomes dirt. Continue up the road, past Puffer Lake and Big John Flat. As the road continues to gain elevation, the landscape opens up into a huge meadow with smaller side-roads that branch off from the main road. This is Big Flat. Drive down one of these small roads and pick your spot among the stands of pine trees.
If you’re looking for a weekend place to camp that’s off the beaten path with sweeping vistas of Central Utah’s high country, then give Big Flat a try.