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Camping: Nebo Loop

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The Nebo Loop is one of Utah's most scenic byways.The Nebo Loop is one of Utah’s most scenic byways. The road winds along the Eastern side of the majestic Mt. Nebo. Mt. Nebo tops out at 11,928 feet making it the highest peak in the Wasatch range. The road runs between the towns of Payson and Nephi, covering about 43 miles between them.

Beautiful Autumn colors provide a feast for the eyes.Springtime mountain flowers and autumn colors make this road a feast for the eyes throughout the spring, summer and fall. The road begins at about 4400 feet and climbs to almost 9300 feet. The Nebo loop is not plowed in the winter months, it opens mid-spring and closes with the first snowfall.

To get to the Nebo Loop take I-15 to exit 250, this exit leads into the small town of Payson. There are several restaurants and stores in Payson, this might not be a bad time to eat or pick up a picnic lunch. Follow the signs through Payson to the Loop. The road follows along Peteetneet Creek as it climbs upward.

There are many places to camp or picnic along the road. The first place you will encounter is the Payson Canyon Park, this area is popular with locals and features plenty of picnic tables and grills.

As the road continues to climb, the next recreation area you encounter will be the Maple Lake CampgroundMaple Lake campground. The turn off to Maple Lake is signed and quite obvious; drive up the road that ends at Maple Lake. The campground is nestled in a grove of Aspen trees and in the fall a carpet of colorful leaves makes the campground seem almost enchanted. The sites are all first come first served, each site is $8.00 per night.

Big East ReservoirIf you continue along the loop the next campground reached will be the Payson Lakes Campground. This campground has several group areas and three individual site loops. The campground is situated next to Big East Reservoir which provides fishing opportunities and a scenic trail along the shoreline. McClellan Lake is located near the group campsites, Box Lake is McClellan Lake located between the two camping areas. Rainbow and Brook Trout are stocked in all of these lakes. Powerbait, marshmallows and nightcrawlers are the usual bait of choice. All the campsites are nicely shaded, well spaced, featuring fire rings and picnic tables. The single sites are all $11.00 each.

The Blackhawk Campground is the next campground along the loop. This E-loop provides bars for tying up horses.campground is a bit more organized than the preceding ones. There are five loops, many of the sites are available for reservation. Although the sites all have picnic tables, fire pits, and nearby bathrooms, there isn’t as much shade as the two preceding campgrounds. The E-loop is a popular horse camping area, most all campsites have bars to tie up horses at night.

After the Blackhawk campground the road continues on climbing past several
fantastic overlook points. Many hiking trails crisscross the area, be sure and get out Devil's Kitchen is a miniature version of Bryce Canyon.of your car and put your feet to the dirt. The Devil’s Kitchen is a short stroll down a paved trail, at the end of which is a view of features eerily similar to Bryce Canyon. Red rock has been eroded into hoodoos and small pillars just like it’s Southern cousin, albeit on quite a bit smaller scale.

Towards the Southern end of the loop the Salt Creek Canyon road branches off to the right, this road leads up to three very nice campgrounds. The Ponderosa Campground is the first one along the road, this campground has 22 very nice sites. The campground is situated in a stand of Ponderosa Pines; plenty of shade is provided by these large trees. Sites 2, 3, 6, 14, 15, 18, and 19 are all located on the Ponderosa Campgroundbanks of Salt Creek. At night you’ll be able to be lulled to sleep by the sounds of a babbling brook. Bathrooms are located near all sites and picnic tables and fire rings are standard at every site. Each single site is $11.00 per night, no horses are allowed in the campground. The sites in this campground can be reserved and during the peak season reservations are highly recommended.

Cottonwood CampgroundThe Cottonwood campground is up next, this is a rather primitive campground. There are 16 sites, each well shaded by the large cottonwood trees around, hence the name. There is only one restroom for the entire campground, but, near as I can tell the sites are all free.

Bear Canyon Campground provides natural camping chairs cut from logs.The Bear Canyon Campground is located at the end of road, there are three group areas and several walk-in campsites. The walk-in campsites appear to be free as well, although they lie along a rather well traveled hiking trail. The first walk-in campsite is rather unique in that there are logs cut to provide natural camping chairs.

The road continues on past the Salt Creek Canyon road to end up on highway 132, make a right (Westerly) on this road and it will take you into Nephi and an entrance onto I-15.

If you have never driven, hiked, or camped on the Nebo Loop, I’d highly recommend it. Payson is only about 40 minutes from the Salt Lake City valley, it doesn’t take that long to reach one of the treasures of the state.


Payson Lakes



Bear Canyon



cover   Utah Atlas and Gazetteer
by DeLorme (Editor)

Book Description
Rely on the Utah Atlas & Gazetteer for the utmost in trip planning and 
backcountry access. Contains topographic maps with unbeatable 
detail, plus gazetteer information on great places to go and things to do. 
Scale equals 1:250,000 or 1"=4 miles. Contour Interval is 300'. Each 
page covers 37 miles... Read more

Utah's National Parks: Hiking, Camping, and Vacationing in Utah's Canyon Country: Zion, Bryce, Capitol Reef, Arches, Canyonlands

Utah Camping: The Complete Guide to more than 400 Campgrounds (Foghorn Outdoors)

Camping Utah (Camping)

Utah Camping Guide : The essential handbook for ...

Backcountry Adventures: Utah: The Ultimate Guide to the Utah Backcountry for Anyone With a Sport Utility Vehicle

Backcountry Moab - Where The Tours Don't Go

Exploring Canyonlands and Arches National Parks 

Hiking and Exploring Utah's San Rafael Swell

Utah Underground: Guide to Real Fun

Travel Smart: Utah

Hidden Salt Lake City and Beyond: Including Park City, Deer Valley, Alta and Snowbird

Get the 2005 Trailer Life Directory for 50% off the cover! 


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