Small Town America and a Really Nice Campground Just up the road…

Duchesne, Utah. A town of fewer than 2000 people, situated about 2 hours from Salt Lake City, and sandwiched in between Heber City and Vernal, Utah. Elevation works in its favor at about 5500 ft. The climate in June is perfect with daytime highs near 80 and nights in the upper 40’s. And just up the road… Lakeside RV Campground.

A typical Lakeside Campsite – not on the water, but nice nonetheless!

Lakeside was my “home base” for about a week as I explored the town, rode my bike on its quiet streets, read my summer books near the Strawberry River which winds through the south-side of town, and ate at Cowans Cafe – the one legitimate diner/restaurant in town.

Another view of my site at Lakeside
The view from my campsite at Lakeside

The town and campground are both low-key – something I’ve grown to appreciate in my travels. The campground’s sites are well spaced with trees and green grass – not all that common in this region as most campgrounds are little more than a gravel lot. Most sites are full hookup and long enough for 40+ ft. trailers.

Lakeside RV Campground – some green grass, some trees, some space

What caught my attention and had me here for a full week was the proximity to Starvation Reservoir – it has lake frontage to it, with a boat ramp and boat dock. So… if you know me, I was in the reservoir kayaking – as often as possible!

Kayaking on Starvation Reservoir near sunset
I love spending time on the water!

Their rates? Reasonable for the area, and even better (under $20/night) with Passport America – and they don’t limit the number of non-holiday nights that you can stay using the discount. Oh, and the managers/hosts are nice folks – new to the campground operating biz, but as this park is really just 1 year old (new owners) and they’re very new to managing a campground, they did a fine job and responded well to the needs of what is clearly an older – but – picturesque campground.

Spectacular Scenery – Starvation Reservoir
The boat ramp and road leading to Lakeside RV Campground
The boat dock near the boat ramp

If you’ve been following my journey, you know I typically look for waterfront sites. Lakeside does not have this. But – with access to the waterfront via a short road down the hill, you still have a really nice place – that (for now at least) isn’t too crowded as they just converted from a membership campground to a campground open to all.

Duchesne, Utah

Quintessential small town America! It’s a town where most folks clearly know each other and the merchants are on a first name basis with all of their local customers. The speed limit drops to 30 as U.S. Highway 40 becomes Main Street. This one commercial street in town is lined with a few places to eat (I recommend Cowans Cafe.) There are three gas stations (the Sinclair has the best diesel prices in town and the Shell, which offers Smiths Grocery discounts, does not have diesel), a hardware store, a grocery store and a salon. And yes, if you insist on fast food, there is a Burger King!

By the way – “Als Foodtown” – the ONE grocery store in Duchesne is one of the WORST grocery stores I’ve ever been in. They lend a new meaning to “fresh” meat – where most of the meat is nearly or totally out of date. Many other products (Tyson Chicken Strips for example) were nearly A MONTH out of date, and the prices are nothing to crow about either. There are two really good grocery stores about 28 miles to the east in the (much larger) town of Roosevelt – plan on a trip there to get your perishables!

Downtown Duschene
Cowans Cafe – note the iconic sign

To transport perishables in the summer heat, one of the better purchases I’ve ever made is this Coleman Cooler. It runs on your vehicles 12v port, and even has an optional 110v adapter in case you ever have trouble with your RV fridge.

The park next to the Strawberry River in Duschene
Strawberry River
Strawberry River and adjacent park area in Duschene

The town sits in a basin, the flat land is perfect for bicycling the quiet streets. You can relax by the Strawberry River or enjoy the walking path along it. There is even a visitor center for the region and a Ranger Station for Ashley National Forest – and it was actually manned by a real ranger!

The small park area adjacent to the Strawberry River is also home to their fairgrounds. There is a large arena there which appears to host community events from time to time.

Nearing Sunset on the Water – a parting view

Need RV Accessories?

From experience – these are the accessories or “must haves” as I travel “down the road”…

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4 thoughts on “Small Town America and a Really Nice Campground Just up the road…”

  1. Very nice and gorgeous area. Thank you! I’m a camper host in Ohio for my first long term camp experience. Sadly we have had sooooooo much rain the sites are flooded and the lake is very high. It appears drier there. Enjoy!

    • It better be drier here! This is an arid region; Ohio is much wetter (not normally as wet as this year – but – having lived in NJ, rain, snow and humidity are all common in Ohio.) There actually WAS more low elevation snow (about 4500 ft) in eastern Idaho last week! Today is warm and dry, but colder is coming – with possible lows in the 30’s over the weekend.


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