Affleck Park

By Tony Pizza, Sports Editor

If you’re looking for a nearby camping trip that’s a little closer to nature, Affleck Park campground is the Motel 6 version of Tanner’s Flat.

Accessible either through Emigration Canyon or Parley’s Way, this campsite is fewer than 20 minutes outside of town. You can get to the site by taking exit 134 on Parley’s Way and then heading north for six miles toward Little Dell Reservoir. If you go up Emigration, follow it until you get to Highway 65 and continue north as well.

The area has some significant Utah history to it. The Donner-Reed party was the first to use the trail that bisects the park back in 1846, with the Mormon pioneers using it until the 1860s. The area is surrounded by beautiful aspen trees and is right at the base of Little Mountain. The leaves on the aspens have already begun to turn, making the scenery of the area even more appealing this time of year.

The park itself is nothing to get excited about. It’s serene and simple. A tiny upper loop keeps six or seven campsites together, and then a bottom rim connects another half dozen or so sites. There are only two toilet facilities8212;one for the upper rim, one for the lower8212;and neither have running water. About the only luxury besides an enclosed toilet is that both are also furnished with ample toilet paper. Other than that, it’s just you and nature.

Affleck Park is also a watershed area, which means domestic animals are prohibited. Someone forgot to tell the near-starving black and white cat that stalks the upper rim. He will eat your food, even if it means tearing a hole in your bag to get the sustenance he requires. Voluntarily or involuntarily feed him, and you’ll have a friend for your entire stay.

Finding a flat spot for your tent can be a bit tricky, but most sites have a section that has been obviously used before. All sites have a fire ring and a table, and some even have a place to grill. Hammock camping is also fairly easy to do here because of the abundance of trees. Firewood is scarce, however, so bring your own along with plenty of water.

You’ll likely see or hear wildlife, including elk and deer. You will also see your fair share of mountain bikers as the area is flush with cool little trails and open road. Beware of the binge drinkers and drum circlers who frequent the area at night. The park never closes and sound travels a long way, but consider it an invitation to make new friends.

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