Camping is my favorite summer time activity! I really do love being out in nature, the smell of a campfire, roasting marshmallows and falling asleep under the stars! We recently went camping near Spanish Fork, UT - in the Diamond Fork Canyon.
We stayed at Diamond Fork Campground in loop B and I must admit it was so beautifully scenic! Loop B isn't as shady as loop A, but if you stay in sites 31-38 there are plenty of cottonwoods and willows that provide ample shade!
We booked a double site because we were camping with family (4 adults and 3 kids) and we had lots of space! You can make reservations through recreation.gov, about 1/2 the sites are reservable and 1/2 are first come first serve. Single sites are $21 a night and Doubles are $42. If you book online there is a $10 reservation fee, I don't mind paying the fee because I like the convenience of a guaranteed site! The campground runs along the Diamond Fork stream. Its close enough to the campsites to easily fish without going far but not so close that you worry your kids will fall in!
I'm not a parent that is against technology and devices but I admit I love leaving behind video games, smart phones and TV's! I feel getting out in nature helps my whole family reset. It really spurs our inquisitive minds and imaginations! We really enjoyed Diamond Fork campground because there was so much to do outside! Not once were my kids complaining of being bored or asking what they could do! The campground is close to hiking trails, waterfalls, river fishing and canyons!
Less than a mile from the campground is the Red Ledges Picnic Area that feature red rock formations and the Diamond Fork Arch! It has been referred to as a mini Moab!
Diamond Fork Canyon has many mysteries and legends surrounding the Ute Indians, Spanish mines and hidden treasure! One of those mysteries is the Sun Face carving! Exploring past the broken bench and to the right you can make your way uphill into the bushes. The trail leads to what you might think is a dead end except that some kind soul has secured a length of climbing rope.
In order to find the mysterious Sun Face you will have to climb the rope onto the ledge. On the ledge to the left and hiding behind bushes is a small clearing. from there you can walk right up to the carving!
Legend has it, back in the 1800's a cowboy was working in Diamond Fork Canyon and stumbled upon the Red Ledges area. He decided to try and get a better view of the river and canyon so he climbed the red rocks. Finding a ledge that looked safe to view the canyon from he climbed it. Once on the ledge the cowboy noticed something behind the small waterfall (water still sometimes trickles down), the Sun Face carving! The cowboy thought he might be on sacred Ute Indian ground so he hurried down the ledge and out of the canyon! He didn't share his knowledge of the carving until he was in his late eighties! Over the many years there has been much speculation as to who carved it and what it means! The most common theory is that it was carved by Spaniards who had mines in the area, some believe its a map to hidden treasure! I wouldn't recommend attempting this with toddlers though, it's more suited for older kids! My 10 year old easily climbed up to the ledge with me!
If you do have little ones, don't despair, directly under the Diamond Fork Arch is a perfect play area! Lots of sand and shade for small ones to play in. My two year old could probably spend all afternoon there!
There is no Fee required to visit Red Ledges, it is day use only, has a parking lot, bathrooms and picnic tables. So even if you aren't camping, this is a great spot for a day trip!
There is still plenty of time in the year to go camping and like I said you could even just make a day of it! If you are looking for a place to escape to and have a grand adventure with your family Diamond Fork Canyon does not disappoint!
From I-15, take exit 258 and turn east toward Spanish Fork Canyon. Continue up Spanish Fork Canyon for about 9 miles to Forest Road 029/Diamond Fork Canyon. Turn left into Diamond Fork Canyon and travel 6 miles northeast to campground.
Fees: Diamond Campground $21 for single site, $42 for Double
Red Ledges Picnic Area: Free