Is Kamas Safe? Crime Rates & Safety Report

Updated On July 8, 2024
Kamas, United States
Safety Index:
79
* Based on Research & Crime Data

Kamas, Utah, a remote town in Summit County, lies at the doorstep of the Uinta Mountains, roughly 16 miles east of Park City.

Known as the “Gateway to the Uintas,” Kamas offers a serene escape with its tranquil atmosphere and stunning natural surroundings.

If you’re scratching your head at how to pronounce Uinta, it’s “you-IN-tuh,” rhyming with “You into remote destinations?”

Uinta is an Indigenous Ute word that means “pine forest,” and you get that and more in this stunning region backed up by 2.2 million acres of forest.

To the west, the Wasatch Mountains box in this quaint town, giving mountain town vibes through four seasons of fun.

This is also a region filled with folklore; legend has it there’s a secret gold mind somewhere in that vast wilderness.

If the thought of such a large, remote area is intimidating, you can enjoy the scenery here by taking the Mirror Lake Scenic Byway through 54 miles of breathtaking natural settings.

While Park City might be the place to see and be seen, Kamas is the place to lose yourself and find serenity in a more isolated location.

Warnings & Dangers in Kamas

Overall Risk

OVERALL RISK: LOW

There's a low risk for crime in Kamas, but the wilderness risks are there if you aren't prepared and educated. We'll hopefully get you up to speed by the end of the article.

Transport & Taxis Risk

TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK: LOW

No public transportation goes to, from, or around Kamas. Finding a taxi would be challenging, even if you can get a mobile phone signal. A rental car with AWD or 4WD is really your only option.

Pickpockets Risk

PICKPOCKETS RISK: LOW

With just one purse snatching in the entire county over the past five years, the risk is low. I would definitely resist the urge to put your purse or wallet in the car, as those theft rates are much higher.

Natural Disasters Risk

NATURAL DISASTERS RISK: MEDIUM

Kamas faces a medium natural disaster risk, primarily from wildfires, due to its dry climate and surrounding forests. Additionally, the region is susceptible to flooding from snowmelt and heavy rains. Earthquake risk, while lower, is still present due to the state's tectonic activity. With an average of eight feet of snow, snowstorms and blizzards should be expected in winter and early spring.

Mugging Risk

MUGGING RISK: LOW

This is a low risk, with just three robberies reported throughout the entire county in 2023. Basic safety steps, like not walking around at night alone, are still necessary.

Terrorism Risk

TERRORISM RISK: LOW

This is a low risk as the area is just so remote that there's nothing that would lure a terrorist organization. Nearby Park City could be a potential target, but that's also going to come with a lot of security.

Scams Risk

SCAMS RISK: LOW

Check local law enforcement social media sites for the latest scams. Several scams reported in Summit County include fraudsters posing as law enforcement. It's important to know that no law enforcement agency in the country will call and demand money or threaten arrest. As one sheriff said, "We don't bargain. We will arrest you if there's a warrant." The risk is low, but keep it that way by staying informed.

Women Travelers Risk

WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK: LOW

As a woman, I always cringe a little on this topic because I don't want to indicate whatsoever that there's a higher risk for women in the wilderness than for men, but it really does matter how much experience you have in remote areas. If you're an outdoorsy woman who loves "roughing it," you'll have a low risk provided you follow the survival and safety guidance that EVERYONE should follow.

Tap Water Risk

TAP WATER RISK: LOW

The U.S. has strict standards for tap water per the Safe Water Drinking Act. Communities are required to provide a Water Quality Report (Consumer Confidence Report) once a year by July 1. The latest water quality report from Kamas shows full compliance and no violations - but that does not include water sources in the wilderness.

Safest Places to Visit in Kamas

I chuckled a bit when I saw that “Kamas and the entire valley are characterized by its relative isolation.”

While that statement sounds like there isn’t a lot to do here, the activities are in the eye of the beholder.

First, it’s important to know that Kamas is more of a rest stop or basecamp for an adventure in the wilderness or a scenic drive.

The downtown area has plenty of food, services, and stores to help you prepare for a forest trip or eat a hearty meal after one.

Restaurants include diners, pizza parlors, taco stands, and hamburger joints.

When in Utah, be sure to try one of the soda shops.

(If you don’t know what a soda shop is, look for #sodashop on your favorite social media platform.

Essentially, it’s a choice of soda, flavors, fruit, and cream, allowing you to create your perfect soda concoction.)

Just north of town is High Star Ranch, a place where you can do horseback riding, mountain biking, snowshoeing, or shopping at the outfitters’ store.

Jordanelle State Park is just six miles from the center of town, with the Rock Cliff Recreation Area being the closest.

The park is on the banks of the Jordanelle Reservoir.

Boat, jet ski, and kayak rentals are available on-site.

Kamas gets a lot of visitors due to its location at the start of the Mirror Lake Scenic Byway and a popular entrance to the national forest.

Keep in mind this is an out-and-back scenic drive that ends at the Wyoming state line.

Mirror Lake is 32 miles from Kamas.

The byway is closed to vehicles in winter due to the tremendous amount of snowfall.

Expect closures to last from late fall to mid-May.

During that time, snowmobiling, skiing, and fat biking are generally allowed.

The scenery on the byway is particularly stunning during fall when the leaves change colors.

Places to Avoid in Kamas

Kamas is a very small town without dangerous or bad parts.

The main thing to avoid is going onto private property.

If you aren’t sure if a remote area is private or not, err on the side of leaving.

You have 2.2 million acres of protected national forest to explore.

We’ll talk about crime rates a little later on, but it’s worth mentioning that a high-profile crime in Kamas has made headlines nationwide.

It centers around Kouri Richins, a widow who wrote a popular children’s book about how to deal with grief after her husband died suddenly in 2022.

A little more than a year later, Richins was charged with murder.

Court documents allege she gave him a lethal dose of fentanyl in a drink she prepared for him.

I bring this up because, in a town of 2,000 people, a headline-grabbing story like this shatters the solitude and peace people pay a pretty penny to enjoy.

Avoid bringing up this story while you’re there.

Safety Tips for Traveling to Kamas

  1. Summit County Sheriff’s Office provides law enforcement here, as there is no longer a police department. Follow them on Facebook @summitcountysheriff. The phone number is (435) 615-3600, and the email is summitsheriffpio@summitcounty.org if you have specific safety questions.
  2. Sign up for CodeRED emergency notifications through your mobile device. You will get storm alerts, road closures, and other public safety information.
  3. Do not expect mobile devices to work outside of Kamas as you take the scenic drive or go into the wilderness. Bring a NOAA weather radio with you (and bring extra batteries).
  4. Summit County Search and Rescue is the group that will come save you in the event you are lost, hurt, or stuck in the wilderness. This group provides rescues for free, but you will still have to pay for whatever healthcare costs you accrue once they get you to safety. To help support their work, you can buy a COSAR card for $3 to show support for their efforts.
  5. Winter visitors will need to know the traction control laws, which will require you to have a vehicle with certain types of tires or tire traction chains. Since this area gets an average of eight feet of snow, you can’t risk not being prepared when a storm hits.
  6. Speeding is a huge problem on the mountain roads near Kamas. One in particular has a 35-mile-per-hour speed limit, and drivers have been caught going as fast as 97 miles per hour. Roads could start being gated off to limit access to these more remote roads, which people use to get off the busy highway. You should stick to the speed limit to protect any people who could be walking on the side of the road or wild animals that might jump out.
  7. Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest is 2.2 million acres, and you’ll need to digest some important details before you just show up and start exploring. The forest has different ranger districts, and the one near Kamas is the Heber-Kamas Ranger District.  You can call (435) 654-0470 or(435)783-4338 to get more information or visit the office in Kamas on East Center Street.
  8. Driving the scenic byway through the national forest is free, but if you plan to stop at any of the trailheads along the way, you must pay a recreation fee. You can buy a pass for one, three, or seven days at the Kamas Foodtown grocery store. More information is available on the “Mirror Lake Highway Recreation Corridor” section of the Forest Service website.
  9. If you are prone to altitude sickness, you need to take it slow for the first day or two. Kamas sits around 6,700 feet, and the highway drive adds another 5,300 feet in elevation. At 12,000 feet, even just sitting in a car, you can easily feel short of breath. The only way to alleviate altitude sickness is to go to a lower elevation.
  10. This area has black bears, moose, mountain lions, and rattlesnakes. Each one of those has a particular set of avoidance and confrontation guidelines to help you stay safe. Please learn them all, as you never know when you might end up in a dangerous situation with just seconds to spare. That education means learning how to avoid bringing food that animals can sniff out and how to hang food at a campsite.

So... How Safe Is Kamas Really?

We don’t have exact crime data for Kamas because the Summit County Sheriff’s Office covers a large area, and just 5% of the population lives in Kamas.

Crime data is reported as a whole, not by each town, when one entity oversees several towns and cities.

Furthermore, Kamas is more remote than some of the busier towns of Summit County (like Park City), so it wouldn’t be comparing apples to apples if I assumed all cities had the same crime rate.

However, it’s worth noting that the countywide violent crime rates are half the national and state averages, with strangers only being involved in 6% of violent crimes over the past five years.

Even theft rates are less than half the national average.

It is worth noting that 37% of all thefts are related to car break-ins.

That risk can be eliminated by locking your car, rolling up the windows, and removing all personal items.

So now that we have common sense covered, we need to talk about wilderness, weather, and wildlife safety.

This is about as remote of a mountain town as you can get in this corner of Utah while still having plumbing and power.

You’ll need survival and self-rescue skills.

Kamas isn’t an alternative to Park City; it’s the polar opposite in many ways.

If that’s what you’re looking for, you will love your time in Kamas and enjoy the safe environment.

If you don’t have the foggiest idea of what you should do if you are face-to-face with a moose in a snowstorm, this might not be the safest place for you.

How Does Kamas Compare?

CitySafety Index
Kamas79
Atlanta58
St. Louis58
Los Angeles56
Oakland57
New Orleans57
Baltimore56
Rio de Janeiro (Brazil)43
Sofia (Bulgaria)73
Siem Reap (Cambodia)63
Phnom Penh (Cambodia)61
Niagara Falls (Canada)87
Calgary (Canada)82

Useful Information

Visas

Visas

All international visitors need either a visa defining the purpose of the trip (tourist, work, school, etc.) or a visa waiver. Start the process using the Visa Wizard module on the U.S. State Department website. You’ll quickly find out which one you need. Also, keep in mind that your passport must be valid for at least six months after your trip, or you’ll need to apply for a new one.

Currency

Currency

Only the U.S. Dollar (USD) is accepted in the United States. No currency exchange options are available at the Salt Lake City airport, but you might want to get that taken care of at home since customers get the lowest fees at their banks. For those using credit cards, check to see if there’s a foreign transaction fee before you start racking up charges.

Weather

Weather

The higher elevation means the area gets colder winters and milder summers. Even the warmest summer day can get into the 40s at night, so plan to bring long sleeves and a jacket (or coat, depending on if you think the mid-40s F are cold.) Winters will be snowy, so bring waterproof and insulated layers.

Airports

Airports

Kamas is about an hour from Salt Lake City International Airport, which is really the only option you have. It's a large airport with plenty of flights, so it's a solid choice.

Travel Insurance

Travel Insurance

Considering the distance from Salt Lake City and the potential for weather to impact the trip in one way or another, I would recommend comprehensive travel insurance. If you plan to do more extreme outdoor options, look into travel adventure insurance.

Click here to get an offer for travel insurance

Kamas Weather Averages (Temperatures)

Jan -5° C
Feb -2° C
Mar 2° C
Apr 6° C
May 11° C
Jun 15° C
Jul 20° C
Aug 19° C
Sep 14° C
Oct 8° C
Nov 1° C
Dec -4° C
Choose Temperature Unit

Average High/Low Temperature

Temperature / MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
High
°C
2591419253029241683
Low
°C
-11-9-5-225994-1-6-10
High
°F
364148576677868475614637
Low
°F
121623283641484839302114

Utah - Safety by City

CitySafety Index
Bicknell81
Brigham City82
Bryce Canyon City82
Cedar City86
Green River83
Hurricane83
Kamas79
Kanab79
Layton81
Lehi74
Moab84
Ogden72
Orem82
Panguitch78
Park City78
Provo94
Salt Lake City55
Sandy93
St. George94
Vernal83
West Jordan94
West Valley City65

Where to Next?

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