Glamping in Utah: Luxury Under the Stars

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You might like the idea of turning in under a sky of incredible stars and waking up to an incredible vista all to yourself, but perhaps not the part about pitching the tent and tossing and turning on an air mattress.  Enter, glamping in Utah.

While the term ‘glamping’ is relatively new, the concept is not. Centuries ago, Turkish Ottomans would set up extravagant tents—appointed with silk fabrics, expensive rugs, and furnishings—as mobile palaces for their sultan.

While some glamping resorts in Utah are more on the camping side of the continuum, others definitely lean towards the sultan’s glamour. Many glamping resorts have hotel-level amenities, like tents with washrooms, rainfall shower heads, king-sized beds, air conditioning and WIFI (if you even decide to use it).

COVID is still very much a part of our lives and just about everyone is itching to get away and do something different.  But travel is still far from what it used to be, and road trips or short flights, separated lodging and time spent outdoors has never made more sense.  Glamping is just about the best way to get your fix of luxury, adventure and nature.  So, jump on the bandwagon, or Conestoga wagon, and see just how comfortable camping has become.

Conestoga Ranch Resort

Open May-September

Voted as one of the 10 best glamping resorts in the U.S., this 18-acre resort sits on Bear Lake  – deemed the “Hawaii of Northern Utah”, two hours north of Salt Lake City. Guests can stay in luxurious grand tents (with bathroom, private campfire patio, and dining table), more cozy and simple family tents or 4-6 person prairie-style wagons, modelled after the horse-drawn wagons built by the Lancaster County Mennonites in the early 1700s that were used to carry farm produce.

This resort is fairly large and can accommodate up to a hundred guests at a time.  This is one of the more elaborate resorts, with a general store, restaurant (which also provides take out and picnic options), game tent, laundry and bathhouse.  Yoga classes and massages are available as well as complimentary cruiser bikes, cooking classes and wine seminars.  Conestoga Ranch is a family-friendly location that also lends itself to a perfect venue for special events such as family reunions, weddings and retreats.

Under Canvas

Locations in Utah include Bryce Canyon, Moab, Zion, and Lake Powell-Grand .

Open March-November, depending on the location.

Recognized by Condé Nast Traveler, this resort glamping experience is top notch and was called the “Hilton or Hyatt of the glamping world”[1]. The resort has 10 properties across the States, with 4 in Utah alone.  Not surprising as Utah offers a number of ideal glamping locations.  You can find Under Canvas in Bryce Canyon, Lake Powell-Grand Staircase, Moab, and Zion. While each resort has its own character, they all give you the chance to experience wild landscapes under the starry skies in upscale private tents.  The tents vary in luxe levels; some have optional en suite bathrooms, king sized beds and wood burning stoves.

There are multiple dining options: you can eat healthy food in a café-style setting, grill food from the resort at your own site, or have picnics packed up for you. Communal nightly s’mores by a campfire lit by staff and lots of activities and outings are available.

The resorts are all in spectacular settings.  The one in Moab, for instance is just moments away from the entrance to Arches National Park. One of the newest locations, Lake Powell-Grand Staircase is perched on a Canyon Rim Plateau, with incredible vistas right outside your tent. During the day you can hike towering mesas, rent kayaks and wind through rivers below the majestic red rock or unwind in a red-rock oasis.

A positive feature of the Under Canvas resorts is they aim to minimize impact on the environment.  The camps operate on solar power and have lots of sustainability initiatives like waste minimization, green partnerships and water conservation efforts.

Zion Backcountry Glamping

Mid May-October

If some of the glamping resorts seem a bit light on the camping element, you might prefer backcountry glamping.

This remote resort’s goal was to build comfortable, beautiful structures that provide solitude and exposure to nature. Each site provides the ultimate experience for those willing to go off the grid (there is no cell reception), off the main road, & into the backcountry. Where the tourist crowds disappear & the rugged, raw beauty appears.

Zion Backcountry Glamping has a yurt and sheep camps (upgraded for comfort, these traditional sites originally housed shepherds who moved from pasture to pasture for optimal sheep grazing). All lodging has wood burning stoves and solar lighting.  Guests are responsible for bringing their own food and water with them.

While some glamping experiences will even have large screen TVs in the tents, this one is all about being unplugged.  Going without email and social media is liberating, and the days spent exploring the red rock trails, with peaceful evenings around a campfire might just be the antidote you need to hit refresh on your life.

Utah’s infrastructure provides easy access to incredible natural settings, so you can find yourself in your glamping destination just a few hours after arriving at the airport.  There are some amazing places to stay, and whether you wake up from a night under the stars in a teepee, Conestoga wagon, sheep camp wagon, yurt or safari tent, we guarantee you will be raving about the most luxe and restorative camping of your life.

The only question is, which resort will you choose?