One of our favorite campgrounds, and most convenient, when traveling on I 15 north of Las Vegas is the Virgin River Canyon Campground. This BLM campground is just off of the highway but gives you the feeling of being in the wilderness. It is perfect for an overnight stay, or for longer if you have the time.
On one of our visits in the Spring, we did the 0.2 mile Virgin River Gorge Nature Trail. We hiked from the campground which adds another 0.2 miles. The trail starts at the top of the hill where the campground loop roads split.
We also hiked about 0.5 miles southwest along the river and enjoyed spectacular views of the Gorge. Fishing is possible here at the river and if you are lucky you can get a glimpse of Bighorn Sheep, who live on the rocky crags above the gorge.
About the Area
The Virgin River Canyon or Gorge was carved a by the Virgin River and is between the two mountain ranges. This part of the country was undisturbed and almost impenetrable until the construction of Interstate 15 in 1975. I 15 now runs right along the valley floor, curving through the canyon over a succession of high bridges and steep hills. The river runs below the highway and despite the proximity of I-15, the gorge is still quite spectacular and worth exploring on foot. The river is nearly dry in the summer but runs beautifully during the Spring melts.
The Virgin River divides the Paiute and Beaver Dam Wilderness areas. A short walk will bring you to the river and a little bit of fishing. There are hikes into each of the wilderness areas. There is a trail map located in the campground for these hikes. Recommended hikes are the Black Rock Mountain hike, Sullivan’s Canyon hike, and Mountain Sheep Canyon hike.
Virgin River Canyon Campground
The campground is open all year and has 75 developed sites (many pull-throughs), tables, charcoal grills, water, flush toilets, two handicapped-accessible sites and paved roads. Three group sites are available by reservation. It also has a day use areas with 33 sites offering picnic tables, charcoal grills, shade shelters and restrooms.
How to get there
The Recreation Area is located off of Interstate 15 about 20 miles southwest of St. George Utah and about 20 miles northeast of Mesquite, Nevada. It is 100 miles northeast of Las Vegas, Nevada. Once you cross into the small corner of Arizona, take the Cedar Pockets exit, located halfway through the Virgin River Gorge. Follow the signs to the campground.