Ivie’s Creek, northwest of Salina, UT, on Hwy 50 has it all. There’s a lovely old mountain checkered with firs, Ponderosa pines, and aspens to the west, near enough to provide early sunsets. There is a broad plain down in the valley along with Scipio Lake to the northeast. Nights are dark enough to please every amateur astronomer and most pros. The spring-fed creek is clear enough for a beer ad, cold enough to take your breath away, and shallow enough that non-swimmers can safely wade in it. Its music rivals The Vienna Philharmonic’s (surely you didn’t think I was going to boost Berlin; a generation later they still haven’t recovered from losing von Karajan). Free potable water is available just up the paved road at the Forest Service’s Maple Grove Campground. WiFi connections are very poor and slow, but cell phone service is functional, at least outdoors at some times of day. If worse comes to worser, you can always drive into Salina, park on the street in the shade of the bank’s big trees, and get your Facebook fix on.
To get there take Hwy 50 north from either Salina or the interstate highway exit to Hwy 50 just a few miles before Salina (if you’re coming from the direction of Richfield). A paved but unnumbered road intersects Hwy 50 at mile marker 146 and comes with both a turning lane and a brown road sign “Maple Grove Campground”. The asphalt entrance road is 3 or 4 miles long, but stay on it.When you spot a sign off the little road with no name announcing “Fish Lake National Forest” you should begin looking for old campsites. The first will be on your left, but skip it: it has no creek access. The next is on your right, and if it’s occupied it may be tough to get out without noticing somebody cleaning his rifle. You best walk that dirt road to the right. If it’s clear, it’s a very nice site. If occupied, move on to the next one on the right, no more than 300 yards up the road. This is a larger site, without shade which won’t matter on a lot of days, and it is where we camped by those symphonic waters. If you still aren’t impressed, drive a third of a mile up the road to the Maple Grove Campground, built in 1939 by the CCC. Find the water spigots. Then pick your favorite site and set it up.
Did I mention that the campsites before you enter Maple Grove are free? Since a six-pack is ten bucks in Utah, that means they come with free beer! (You just have to buy it in town.)