Encompassing 1,963 acres, Utah’s Red Fleet State Park lies at an elevation of 5,500 feet. Located a few miles from Vernal, this park is surrounded by beautiful views of the Uinta Mountains on its southern side. Its unique geological formation and ancient dinosaur tracks situated along the sandstones draws RVers and campers from far. It is believed approximately 200 million years ago dinosaurs could routinely walk on the eastern shores of the reservoir in search of water from the nearby sparsely distributed playas. Today, footprints of up to 17 inches can be seen making the park a popular spot for natural history fans.
Red Fleet State Park derives its name from red outcrop formations that inhabit the park and the three huge Navajo sandstones that bears the replica of marine vessels as they prepare to get in the water. For aquatic enthusiasts, there is a 750-acre Red Fleet Reservoir that offers a range of activities like boating, fishing, and swimming. Guests can also enjoy hiking, photography, and biking.
After driving to the park in your campervan, you may want to grab a copy of trail maps from the park office to get an idea on where to search for the well-preserved but faint fossil footprints. Established in 1988, the park is fondly referred to as "Little Lake Powel" because of red slick formations that surround the reservoir similar to real the Lake Powel. Being a desert landscape, the park is humid and dry in summer while in winter most of the park experience snow and ice. Though the park opens all year round, it is busiest during the weekends and holidays.
Located off Highway 191, just 13 miles north of Vernal, Red Fleet State Park is easily accessible. With good signage and smooth roads, all types of vehicles can quickly get to the park. Gravel parking lots are located near the park’s offices and picnic areas. There is no driving restriction for RVs and motorhomes. Some facilities close temporarily during winter. The park’s trails can be explored by hiking or biking and lead visitors to all points of interest including to the infamous dinosaur tracks.
Located on the western shores of the reservoir, Red Fleet State Park boasts a pet-friendly campground with 31 campsites for trailers, RVs, and tents. Five of the sites offer full hookups, which can be reserved online in advance. For added convenience, there are two large teepee spots and a few more sites equipped with water and electricity. Sites can fit a vehicle up to 35 feet long.
The campground is open all year round with some campsites accepting reservations from May to mid-September. Amenities offered in the park include a fire ring, barbecue grill, picnic table, potable water, flush toilets, bathrooms, firewood, and a dump station. There are no showers within the campground. Campers are allowed a maximum stay of 14 days.
In case you need groceries, supplies, or fuel the nearest town is Vernal approximately 30 minutes away.
Rabbit, deer, and coyotes are some of the wildlife you will spot during your RV camping stay. As you hike through the park’s sandstone you will discover there is beautiful desert vegetation including the juniper, cacti, and sagebrush. Once you set up your camper at your campsite remember to carry binoculars and a birding guide as you traverse the park. There are birds lining the reservoir shores and resting in the desert shrubs. Hawks, bluebirds, and vultures are native to the park. During the evening nocturnal birds such as owls maybe spotted.
The Red Fleet Reservoir is continually fed by Big Bush Creek, thus ensuring water level is always adequate for water recreation. Boats and other watercraft can be rented from the park from May to September. A boat ramp is available. This surreal experience offers boaters an up-close encounter with aquatic animals. You'll also get an up close look at the picturesque red slick formation covering the reservoir edges.
If you only have a few days in Utah then you should make a point of spending a few hours in Red Fleet State Park to experience the stunning scenery. Day users can make themselves comfortable at one of the 32 covered picnic tables.
Hiking the Dinosaur Trackway Trail is the most popular activity. As you leave your motorhome make sure you have plenty of water to keep you hydrated through the entire one and half mile trail. Dotted with desert plants constituting of mostly of Jupiter, the trail passes through rugged and rocky terrain. The trail is rated moderate and is doable for beginner hikers and kids. Along the trail, you will see dozens of dinosaur footprints. The footprints may be hard to spot in the sun so plan to get there early in the morning or late evening when the sun is down. For mountain bikers, there are short single-track trails in the northern side of the park suitable for all skills level.
Anglers love Red Fleet Reservoir due to its high fish population. The reservoir is stocked with various species of trout including brown trout, cutthroat trout, rainbow trout, and tiger trout. Largemouth bass, bluegill, and yellow perch are also prominent species. After successfully getting enough catches for the day you take them for cleaning at the on-site fish cleaning station. Ice fishing is permitted in the winter too.
There is no better place to cool off during Utah summer than in Red Fleet Reservoir swimming beach. If you packed your swimming suits in your motorhome, you will no doubt enjoy the sunny afternoons.