When the wind howls and the snow is thick on the ground, campers everywhere start suffering from cabin fever. Sure, you could spend the night shivering in a snow cave…or you could just give up and wait for warmer weather to return. Or, as hundreds of people discover each year, you can sleep in warmth and comfort at one of Utah’s year-round camping yurts.
These simple, round structures made of wood or canvas were created by the nomads of Mongolia as a form of shelter that could keep out the steppes’ bone-chilling winds. In recent years, they’ve become a popular alternative to tent or RV camping at campgrounds and hike-in sites around the U.S. Now, whether you’d like to go cross country for an isolated getaway or would rather park your car and walk a few steps to shelter, Utah’s yurts offer accessible, affordable winter lodging.
For a true wilderness adventure, strap on your snowshoes or cross-country skis and head down a trail to a backcountry yurt. Away from the crowds, you can enjoy the silent majesty of the winter landscape.
Supplies for yurt camping differ from those needed for tent camping or backpacking. Most yurts include wood stoves, bunk beds and basic kitchen facilities. Many also keep a supply of firewood on hand (though you’ll usually have to split it yourself). Though backcountry yurts lack running water, it’s simple to melt clean snow for drinking and cooking. Essential equipment includes a warm sleeping bag, plastic bags for packing out garbage and comfortable soft shoes for wearing inside the building. If you’re skiing or snowshoeing to your destination, an avalanche safety kit is another must-have.
For an overnight stay or a week-long trip, yurts offer a perfect base camp for exploring on skis or snowshoes. Without the hassle of setting up camp and struggling to stay warm, you’ll have more time to enjoy your surroundings. Grab a buddy (or a few—most yurts sleep up to six) and get ready for a winter camping adventure.
If You Go
State and regional parks, including East Canyon and Rockport State Parks, offer close-in yurts within developed campground areas. These yurts are easy to access throughout the year and are ideal for families or less experienced campers. Reserve your spot at stateparks.utah.gov.
Ski-in yurts require reservations and are often booked months in advance. Get a rundown of backcountry yurts and contact information for each at yurtsofutah.com