7 tips for visiting Starvation State Park

Posted By Allison on Jul 31, 2014

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Hey there!

When I told my children we were going to visit Starvation State Park, they were not sure they liked the idea. They were completely confused when I told them we’d have a picnic at Starvation. Even I was not sure what to expect at this reservoir with a strange name near Duchesne (doo-SHAYN), Utah.

We were all pleasantly surprised.

If you’re from Utah and your family enjoys boating, fishing and camping, then Starvation State Park may be a secret you’d prefer I not share. For everyone else, here are seven tips for planning a trip to Starvation State Park.

7 tips for visiting Starvation State Park near Duchesne, Utah | tipsforfamilytrips.com | boating | fishing | Dinosaurland | summer vacation | family reunion

1. It’s an easy weekend getaway

Starvation State Park is located just two hours southeast of Salt Lake City on Highway 40. For those of us who live near Salt Lake, that’s an easy weekend getaway – or even a day trip. The park is about 90 minutes west of Dinosaur National Monument and a good jumping off point for a side trip into the beautiful and rugged Uinta Mountains to the north.

2. Turquoise Water

The first thing I noticed about Starvation Reservoir was its beautiful blue-green water. Ranger Pili took us for a tour in the State Park boat, and the water looks just as lovely up close as it does from the highway. The reservoir is a popular destination for boating and fishing, and is stocked with fish every season. Boats, personal watercraft and other water toys are available for rent at the park, if you don’t have your own.

Several of the campgrounds and the day use area are on sandy beaches that slope gently into the water. Even though my family isn’t into boating or fishing, we’d have a great time swimming, splashing and paddling around in our kayaks.

7 reasons to visit Starvation State Park via TipsforFamilyTrips.com

3. Cabins

If I can have nature out my front door without having to pack a tent, I’m in. Starvation State Park rents three cabins at the Mountain View Campground, each large enough for a family of six. Each cabin has a set of queen-size bunkbeds and a pull-out couch. Bring your own bedding and pillows. The cabins do not have kitchen facilities or private bathrooms. A fire pit and water spigot are located outside.

Cabins have electricity with lights inside and on the porch. A mini refrigerator and microwave are included, along with a table and chairs for four. Heating and air conditioning units have been installed, making the cabins a nice off-season option.

To reserve a cabin or campsite at any of the campgrounds at Starvation State Park, visit www.reserveamerica.com. Bring your own firewood, unless fire restrictions are in place.

4. Grass

Having just returned from a camping trip where everything came home dusty and dirty, I’m perhaps more excited than necessary about the green lawns at Starvation State Park. I’m talking about soft, green, well-maintained grass at the day use area and Mountain View Campground. On those lawns, you’ll find gazebos, picnic tables, soccer fields, volleyball courts and camp sites. Given the choice between a carpet of grass and a patch of dirt, I know where I’d rather pitch my tent or enjoy my picnic.

For campers who don’t mind a little dirt, Starvation State Park also has several primitive campgrounds with beaches and good fishing spots. Ranger Pili recommends the Juniper Point campground for those who want to escape the crowds on the busiest summer weekends. The Knight Hollow campground has access to ATV trails.

A large group campsite is available in the Mountain View campground, which is a developed campground with modern bathrooms, showers and grass. The group site, cabins and other popular camp sites may be reserved up to four months in advance at www.reserveamerica.com. If you want a summer weekend date, book in the spring. Weekdays are generally not as crowded.

7 reasons to visit Starvation State Park via TipsforFamilyTrips.com

View of Day Use area and beach from the reservoir.

5. Clean Bathrooms

Ranger Pili assured me that clean bathrooms make happy campers, so the park staff works hard to keep the bathrooms and showers in good condition.

6. New Archery Course

We had the chance to try Starvation State Park’s new 3-D archery course, which opened in June 2014. It was the first time most of my family had tried archery and it was fascinating to watch my kids take on a new challenge. My 7-year-old son and my husband especially enjoyed this activity. Whether you are an experienced archer or a first-timer, all are welcome to use the course. You can borrow equipment from the park if you don’t have your own.

7 reasons to visit Starvation State Park via TipsforFamilyTrips.com

7. Junior Ranger Program

Most Utah State Parks sponsor Junior Ranger programs, similar to the National Park Service Junior Ranger Program. Starvation State Park’s Junior Ranger program teaches kids about water safety and nature. Ask for a packet at the fee station. If kids also complete Junior Ranger programs at two other Uintah Basin state parks – Red Fleet, Steinaker, and the Field House Museum – they can earn the tri-state patch.

We had a great day at Starvation State Park and we hope to return again. It would make a fun family reunion destination or multi-family getaway.

Good to Know

Where: On Highway 40, near Duchesne, Utah.

When: Open year-round, but is most popular during warm weather months. Expect ice and snow in the winter.

How much:

  • Day Use: $7 per vehicle. Cash only!
  • Camping and RV sites: $12-28
  • Cabins: $60 per night

How long: a few hours to a few days

Amenities: Modern bathrooms, showers, cabins, tent and RV camp sites, boat launch, picnic facilities, day use facilities, RV dump station, fish cleaning station, fire pits.


Disclosure: Duchesne Chamber of Commerce and Starvation State Park hosted us at Starvation State Park so that we could experience the park and review it for other families. All opinions are my own.

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Hi there! I am the founder of Tips for Family Trips. I am a married mom of two children, ages 10 and 12, living near Salt Lake City, Utah. We took our first child on a two-week road trip when she was four weeks old and we have been traveling as a family ever since. We love to get out of the house to see and do fun things, both far away and in our own neighborhood.


  1. This looks like a weekend getaway my family would really enjoy! Thanks for introducing us!:)

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  2. The primate campsites are really tough to get to in an RV, and they’re trashy.

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  3. One thing to note- the daily fee is cash only- they don’t have a credit card machine 🙂

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  4. Allison
    Thanks for the great article. We are headed over to check out Vernal Utah and surrounding area. What do you suggest? What will temp be like at end of April?

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    • Thank you! The weather may still be a little cool at that time, but there are lots of fun things to do. Dinosaur National Monument is a MUST. So is the Utah Field House of Natural History. I really like petroglyphs, so the short hike to McConkie Petroglyphs was really cool. Depending on the ages of your kids, Vernal has a GREAT public playground at Ashley Valley Community Park. It’s one of the biggest I’ve ever seen. I have articles dedicated to Dinosaur National Monument, Utah Field House and McConkie Petroglyphs on this site. Have a great trip!

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