Is overnight parking permitted at Utah Rest Areas? Can you sleep in your car at a Utah Rest Area? How many hours can you stay at a Utah Rest Area? Is camping permitted at Utah Rest Areas?
Utah Rest Area Rules
The State of Utah has adopted no rules into its Administrative Rules or Statutes with respect to public use of rest areas. The only rules are that which are posted on site at each rest area.
The Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT) states on its website for rest areas that…
“Rest areas, welcome centers and view areas are important elements of the state’s route network. These facilities play an important role in relation to highway safety, primarily combating driver fatigue.
Utah encourages drowsy drivers to take a break. Rest areas are provided to the traveling public for this purpose. All rest areas are posted for no overnight camping. However, extended stays are permitted and are monitored by the on-site staff and the Highway Patrol.”
That being said, the only rules we can assume from this are…
- Rest areas are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and thus are available for use overnight.
- Rest areas are intended to combat driver fatigue, and thus resting and sleeping is permitted as long as it is being done for the purpose of combating driving fatigue.
- There are no limits on how long one can stay at a rest area, only that “extended stays are permitted”, however on-site staff and highway patrol will be monitoring you.
- No overnight camping is permitted, which we interpret to mean that rest areas are not intended for recreational use, thus grilling food, setting up outdoor patio furniture, rolling out slides on your RV, watching television outdoors, are not permitted.
Is Overnight Parking Allowed at Utah Rest Areas?
Yes. Overnight parking is allowed at Utah Rest Areas, just not overnight camping.
To differentiate parking from camping, on-site staff or highway patrol will look for signs that you’re using a rest area for recreational purposes. This might mean putting out your patio furniture, rolling out your awning, setting up barbecue or grilling equipment, watching television outside, setting up dog fences outside, lowering the ramp door of your toy hauler, etc.
Can You Sleep at a Utah Rest Area?
Yes. the UDOT states on its website that rest areas are intended to “combat driver fatigue”. This would include sleeping in your car, or whatever else you have to do get back on the road safely. While UDOT has prohibited “overnight camping”, there is a difference between camping and sleeping. Camping is recreational, while sleeping is intended to combat driver fatigue.
Is Camping Permitted at Utah Rest Areas?
No. Any kind of recreational use of rest areas are prohibited. As long as your purpose for being at a rest area is to rest well enough to get back on the road safely, you’re fine. But if on-site staff or highway patrol see signs that you’re there to enjoy yourself and the facilities, you’re going to run into trouble.
Where Can I Get a List of All Utah Rest Areas?
FreeRoam has a map of all rest areas in Utah… https://freeroam.app/places/overnight/rest-area