Camping : Southern Utah
I have stayed in the Moab area on several occasions, primarily at BLM-run campgrounds like Jaycee Park (Highway 279) and Goose Island and Hal Canyon (Highway 128). The only real difference between the cheaper and more expensive campgrounds seems to be the quality of the toilet. Otherwise they all had fire pits and tables.
I have purposely avoided the campgrounds along Kane Creek, and the Sand Flats Recreation Area based on the recommendations of camp hosts, and my own research. The main issues are the large crowds at Sand Flats and trouble they have had with users of Kane Creek campsites.
- Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Campgrounds
- National Park, State Park, & Forest Service Campgrounds
The busiest times of year are in the spring, and fall. I was there most recently in October 2010, and was lucky enough to hit the area during the middle of the week, and after several rainy days which cleared the area out almost completely. But I suspect that you wouldn’t have much trouble getting a campground, it all comes down to how far you have drive to get back to your tent each night. That may be a big enough hassle in itself, if your campground isn’t very close to what you want to see.
Suggested Moab-Area Road Trips:
Blanding to Monument Valley
National Park Campgrounds
Natural Bridges NM – There National Monument offers one of the nicer campgrounds in the area. And the park itself is well worth the visit if you have the time to hike into the canyon and see the natural bridges from below, rather than the road way.
Comb Wash – This primitive campground is on the road from Blanding to Natural Bridges.
Sand Island – This campground is located just outside of Bluff.
Goosenecks of the San Juan - The campground is much to speak of (fire pits and vault toilets), but the park itself is a must see if you are in the area.
Glen Canyon Dam
My main experience in this area is at the Wahweep Marina Campground, and the Lees’ Ferry Campground southwest of Page. The Wahweep campground is owned by the National Monument, but is privately managed. Overall it seemed well maintained, with very nice facilities. The main thing I suggest is if your going to bring a tent, bring stakes. There was a lot of wind the night I stayed there, that would have made it nearly impossible to pitch a tent without them.
The Lee’s Ferry campground is a bit of a drive if your main goal is visiting Lake Powell, but if you’re wanting to see everything the Page area has to offer, venturing into the Marble Canyon/Vermilion Cliffs area is well worth the drive. From brief experience here, if you are planning to pitch a tent, bring stakes. The campground is on a bluff above the Colorado River and strong wind gusts can occur.
The Lone Rock Campground north of Glen Canyon and Wahweep is another campground to consider. I have not stayed there however so I can provide much detail.
Zion National Park – Snow Canyon
National Park Campgrounds
Zions – There are three campgrounds within the park, South and Watchman in the southern portion of the park, and Lava Point in the North. I have not used any of these in years, primarily because it was a lot easier just to find a spot outside the park to camp.
There are four state parks in the area, two by Snow Canyon (Snow Canyon and Gunlock) and two closer to Zions (Quail Creek and Sand Hollow). Of the two in the Snow Canyon area, Gunlock is probably going to be the easier to get into.
If you are coming to Zions from the east, and are in the Kanab area, you may also want to consider staying at Coral Pink Sand Dunes.
There are two campgrounds I am aware of, but, have never stayed at them – Baker Dam north of Snow Canyon, and Red Cliffs which is off I-15 near La Verkin.
Forest Service Campgrounds
There are quite a few Forest Service campgrounds in the Pine Valley area of the Dixie National Forest. They are bit out of the way, but might as well consider them if they fit into your travel plans.