Simpson Springs Campground
Guide

Introduction

Simpson Springs Campground is a fascinating Bureau of Land Management property, located right next to what was the Simpson Springs Station for the Pony Express Trail. But the area has a history predating the Pony Express activity; native Americans used this site as it is the location of a natural spring that provided a rare water supply in the desert area. The site is located on a bajada, and the Simpson Mountains rise on the southeast side, providing a magnificent view.

Simpson Springs Campground is a remote site located in Utah at over 5100 feet in elevation. The BLM managed campground provides 20 first-come, first-served camping sites, with picnic tables, fire pits, vault toilets, and a potable water supply. The campground is open year-round.

Recreational activities at the site include hiking, stargazing, and wildlife watching. OHV use and equestrian activities are available in the area. Although OHV use at the BLM size is limited, and livestock are not permitted at the campground, there are facilities nearby for equestrians. Nature lovers enjoy the unique history of the site and the natural desert landscape, as well as the peace and quiet at this secluded recreation site and campground.

While exploring the area in an RV, check out additional interesting wilderness sites in the area which include, Fishlake National Forest to the south, Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest to the northeast, and Great Salt Lake State Park to the north.

RV Rentals in Simpson Springs Campground

Transportation

Driving

Extreme climate conditions occur in the Simpson Springs Area that visitors should be aware of. Temperatures are commonly well above 90 F in the summer and below freezing in the winter. As this is a very remote location, with few services and amenities, ensure your vehicle is well maintained and stocked prior to your trip. Contact the BLM Salt Lake Field Office for information on road conditions and weather forecasts.

Although the Simpson Springs Campground is located only about 13 miles south of Dugway and the Dugway Proving Grounds, access to this US military base is tightly restricted and the public cannot access supplies here. The nearest service station is in Vernon, 25 miles away, and the service station here has limited hours. If the gas station here is closed the next nearest fuel is available at Stockton, 50 miles away.

To reach the Simpson Springs Campground from Faust use State Route 36, then head west on the Pony Express Road and continue for 25 miles to the campground. This is a well-maintained gravel road and is generally accessible for tow vehicles and RVs. However, it can be dusty in dry weather and rutted in wet weather.

Alternatively, you can take Interstate 80 to Exit 77, then head south on State Route 196 to Dugway. From Dugway continue south 10 miles on a dirt road, until you reach the gravel-surfaced Pony Express Road, then turn west and proceed 10 miles to the campground.

Parking

Public Transportation

Campgrounds and parking in Simpson Springs Campground

Campsites in Simpson Springs Campground

First-come first-served

Simpson Springs Campground

The Bureau of Land Management’s Simpson Springs Campground provides 20 sites for RVs, vans, trailers, and tent camping. This is a primitive camping site, with no hookups, and limited services. There are vault toilets, picnic tables, post-mounted barbeques, fire pits, and a potable water supply. The campground is open all year round; however, the water supply only operates between March and November.

Sites are available on a first-come, first-serve basis, for a nominal fee. There is no firewood available on-site, so you will need to bring your own. The campground is open, with only partial shade, and may be very hot in the summer months. Transition seasons are the most popular time to visit the camping area. Pets are permitted but must remain leashed, and sites and facilities are ADA accessible. The maximum stay is 14 days, and sites accommodate a maximum of two vehicles and eight people per site.

This campground is very secluded and quiet and is not usually full, so visitors can generally count on finding a site and enjoying the natural area. The area can be “buggy”, so be sure to bring insect repellent, and toilet paper, in case facilities have not recently been restocked. Enjoy stargazing, sunsets, and the occasional glimpse of wild mustangs that utilize the nearby spring-fed water hole while staying at the campground here.

Seasonal activities in Simpson Springs Campground

In-Season

Pony Express Simpson Springs Station

For those interested in the history of the region, this site is a significant point on the Pony Express National Historic Trail. The Pony Express was in operation between 1860 and 1861, when riders risked life and limb delivering mail on the 1800 mile mail run.

Camp at the BLM campground located adjacent to what was the Simpson Springs Station for Pony Express Riders, where a reliable water source was provided by the natural spring located here. The current building located at the station was erected in 1975 and is a replica of the original building that served the Pony Express riders passing through the area.

Stargazing

This remote area provides spectacular wilderness, on a level site with the mountains and hills rising to the south, and further to the west. With little light noise from nearby human settlements, this area provides excellent dark skies for stargazing activities.

Set up camp and wait for nightfall to observe the vibrant stars visible in the region. Shooting stars are a special treat. Have a portable telescope and a star chart to do some serious stargazing and identify constellations.

Wild Horse Watching

The campground slopes downwards on the north side to a spring-fed water hole, providing a reliable water supply that attracts local desert wildlife. Wait patiently, and you may get to observe the band of wild horses that frequents the area visiting their neighborhood water supply. The campground is considered to be a prime site for viewing wild mustangs! Have a camera ready to “capture” these magnificent animals, a truly unique opportunity for those looking to experience a slice of the “old west”.

Hiking

Enjoy the beautiful desert wilderness and views from the elevated ground in the mountain range nearby while hiking in the area. Hikers should be aware that summer temperatures are extremely hot, and winter temperatures are below freezing. Hiking in the spring and fall is recommended to avoid these temperature extremes.

Take plenty of water, wear sturdy hiking boots to negotiate rough terrain, and be aware when hiking in the region as there could be unexploded devices in the wilderness areas as a result of the nearby military base activity. Do not disturb metal objects you encounter in the area.

Off-Season

Horseback Riding

Horses are not permitted in the designated BLM Simpson Springs Campground. However, there is a horse corral to accommodate equestrian camping ¼ mile down the road. Horseback riding through the desert area, and along the base of the mountains, provides a spectacularly scenic ride for visitors with their four-legged friends. There are no horse rentals available at the site.

Equestrians should use caution in the area, as a band of wild mustangs resides in the area, and domestic horses can become alarmed when encountering their wild cousins! Venture out in the spring or fall to avoid sub-freezing and scorching temperatures that are characteristic of the region.

Dugway Geode Beds

Just under 30 miles to the southwest, visitors to Simpson Springs can take a short trip to the Dugway Geode Beds for some geological discovery.

Several million years ago, local volcanic activity deposited Rhyolite, an extrusive igneous rock. Gasses trapped in the rock, and erosion from water has created unique geological formations at the site. Spherical shaped geodes and crystal-lined cavities and depressions resulted. Rockhounders in the region will find clear, purple, and rose quartz in abundance!