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4runnerguy

Glenwood Springs, CO

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Posted: 10/10/17 02:28pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

We spend a lot of time in Moab. I first visited there in the 60’s and have been going back ever since. I probably camped in the area over 300 days in just the last 10 years. So I thought maybe I’d put together a thread sharing some of the insights we’ve gained in that time. I’m sure this will be long, but hopefully there’s information in here that will help those planning a trip to this gem of an area.

Moab is one of the more popular topics that gets posted on RV.net. In the future, when someone posts a question about Moab, feel free to link back to this page.

Resources

Below are some websites with good information beyond what I’m offering here. The BLM website used to have lots of good information but in the last year it has been totally revamped so there is now minimal information on BLM lands. I’ve tried to cover some of that information here.

Arches NP NPS website with the latest info, including closures and links to reservation system

Canyonlands NP NPS website with lot of information

Dead Horse Point SPUtah state park website with links to reservations

Manti - La Sal NF NFS website with info and links on campgrounds and hiking trails in the La Sal Mountains

Discover Moab An informative and very well done website for all things Moab. Activities, accommodations, attractions. Check out the brochure section for more ideas of things to do.

American Southwest Page down for links to sections on the National Parks, the NF, Dead Horse Point, and specific places like Fisher Towers and Potash Road.


Ken & Allison
2 Camping Cats (1 diabetic)
1996 4Runner, TRD Supercharger, Edelbrock headers
2007 Fleetwood Arcadia, Honda EU2000i
4 mountain bikes, 1 canoe, 4 tents, 8 sleeping bags, 2 backpacks
(You get the idea!)


4runnerguy

Glenwood Springs, CO

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When to go

Naturally for many, when to go is determined by when they can go, taking into consideration school and/or work schedules.

Spring is of course the popular time of the year to go. You’ll find lots of people especially around school breaks. We always avoid the week before Easter as that is when the Jeep Safari takes place. So busy it’s a chore just to get groceries or gasoline. You’ve been warned! Late in April is a very popular car show. On Saturday night, people line both sides of Main Street to watch a collection of rat rods, vintage classics, and 50’s street machines drive up and down the street for hours. People bring lawn chairs and even picnics. Pretty interesting but brings a lot of people to town.

Summer can get quite hot (ok, maybe not hot by AZ standards), so plan your outdoor activities in the coolers parts of the day like morning and evening. Some hikes, like Grandstaff Canyon and Fiery Furnace are down between the fins to there’s some shade in the hotter parts of the day. Or take the LaSal Loop Road and enjoy the cooler temps around the LaSal Mountains. Take a raft trip. The pool in Moab has an outdoor section where one can cool off during the day. In the afternoon, hike up Mill Creek to the waterfall, staying left at the junction. Brave souls will jump from the cliff into the pond, but just wading or sitting in the water is a great place to cool off in the summer. Warning: parking can be tough as this is a popular getaway.

Fall is somewhat less busy than Spring but still popular. We avoid the week of the Utah Education Associate convention in mid-October that takes place in SLC as virtually all the school districts in the state are off for that Thursday and Friday. Many parents take their kids out of school for the whole week. Not quite as bad as Jeep Safari week in the Spring, but pretty crowded.

Winter would seem like the ideal time to visit and it can be. But sometimes temperature inversions set in and Moab will be 10 or 20 degrees colder than we are here in Glenwood Springs. One can often find warmer temps by going up to Island in the Sky in Canyonlands, but down by the river it can be very cold.

4runnerguy

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Posted: 10/10/17 02:29pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Getting there

There’s really only three ways in, from the north, the south, or the northeast. Two routes seem to get a lot of questions here on RV.net. How is UT 128 along the river and what about getting from Salt Lake City or Provo to Moab?

From the north, US 191 connects with I-70, providing access from CO to the east and Utah and points west in the other direction. In the afternoon, especially on Friday and Saturday, lines going into Moab on US 191 can back up nearly to the turnoff for Arches. At worst, it’s taken me an hour to get into town from the back of the line. A traffic jam in the middle of the deserts of Utah!

For connecting to the Salt Lake City or Provo areas, the route utilizing US 191, US 6, US 89 is fine for all types of RV’s. This route is quite busy and many semi’s use this route daily. There are dedicated passing lanes along this route but much is just a two lane road, so we drive with our lights on at all hours.

US 191 to the south is one way to get to places like Durango, and Mesa Verde via US 491 or on down to the Grand Canyon. UT 191 does intersect UT 46/CO 90 which is a route that skirts the southern end of the La Sal Mountains and goes to Telluride and Ouray. Good two lane road, but there is a section dropping down into the Dolores River Valley that has several 20 MPH hairpin curves, so watch your speed.

Another route into Moab from the NE is via UT 128 along the Colorado River. This highway parallels the Colorado River for over 30 miles. A gorgeous drive on a two lane road that can get narrow in places. Important to stay in ones lane going around corners and over some of the rises. Coming from CO, this is a shorter route distance-wise, but we’ve found it to take about the same time as the I-70 to US 191 route. Before the road gets into the canyon, it has undulations in some places that made the cats heave, so we’ve avoided for some time.

Once you get past Grandstaff Campground (about the last three miles of the road), you may encounter a lot of bicyclists on the road heading west. There is a popular mountain bike trail that dumps onto the road there and while there is a dedicated bike lane along much of this stretch, there are still portions where the cyclists are on the road. Be especially aware in the evenings in the fall, as some of them haven’t appreciated how long the Whole Enchilada mountain bike trail can take and how early it can get dark.

Some RV drivers will find it makes more sense to take the US 191 route and drive the river road as a day trip out of Moab. From our experience camping along the river, big rigs are far more rare than those who come in on US 191.

4runnerguy

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Posted: 10/10/17 02:29pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

What to do

Moab is a busy place for a reason. The variety of activities is amazing. People travel from all over the world to visit the national parks, but plenty of people also come to mountain bike, hike, 4x4, ride ATV’s, raft, climb – the list goes on.
What you decide to do is dependent on your interest and how much time you have. A drive through of Arches NP will take you half a day. If you want to hike some of the trails, you can easily spend several days to hit the highlights.

Hiking

Arches NP is a great park to hike in. Some of the hikes are really just short walks from the car to a view point. Others can take the better part of a day. Among the longer ones, we like going to Devil’s Garden, hiking out to Double O arch and returning via the Primitive Loop. Many do the hike out to Delicate Arch in the evening to catch the sunset. Bring a flashlight or headlamp for the return trip. The short hikes around the Windows section can all be done from one parking spot. Easier that way anyway, as parking can be at a premium. Get a spot – hang on to it. The hike to Broken Arch and Sand Dune Arch is a great way to spend a couple of hours if you’re camped at the Devil’s Garden CG.

Canyonlands NP isn’t so blessed with good hikes. Mesa Arch and Grandview Point are two of our favorite out there. Neck Springs is interesting if you have a little more time. Trails that go down to the White Rim like Gooseberry or Murphy Hogback are ones that should only be attempted by stronger hikers as there is significant elevation loss down to the rim which one must hike back up at the end of the day. Lots of water is a must on those hikes.

For hiking ideas on all the BLM lands, check out Discover Moab hiking information where they have descriptions and some nice maps. One good thing about BLM trails is that dogs are allowed in most places. They also list a few trails that are good to do on hot days. Grandstaff, Hunter Canyon, and Hidden Valley all have reasonable amounts of shade for those hot afternoons. Fisher Tower Trail is an interesting hike because of the pathway. Hot in the sun however. I just hiked this trail again this fall and forgot how amazing it is. There may not be any arches, but this trail is on par with most NPS trails in Utah for the experience. This isn't a trail to stroll on, as there are some places where I had to use a hand to balance. Dogs are OK for the first 1.5 miles. Then there's a six rung ladder to negotiate. If you can carry your dog down a ladder, then no problem. I met a couple with a German Shepherd that they had carried down the ladder, but they were half my age. Don't think I could have done it. But if you like to explore, this is a trail not to be missed! Brochure On really hot days, consider a hike in the La Sal Mountains. Hiking among the aspens will make the heat of Moab seem a world away.

* This post was edited 10/30/17 01:08pm by 4runnerguy *

4runnerguy

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What to do continued

Scenic Drives

I won’t include the roads through Arches NP and Island in the Sky /Canyonlands NP as I figure you’ll drive those roads if you are visiting those parks.

I’ve already mentioned UT 128 up the Colorado River as far as Dewey Bridge. A turnoff from this road takes you south through Castle Valley and up to the La Sal Mountains. The La Sal Loop Road will eventually drop you back onto US 191 south of Moab. This loop can take the better part of a day if you stop to explore, have a picnic and take pictures.

Driving downstream on UT 279 on the north side of the river is a nice way to spend an evening. You’ll pass Wall Street about five miles along this road where you may see lots of climbers heading up the rocks right beside the road. Just beyond there is a nice panel of petroglyphs. Definitely worth getting out of your vehicle to view. Watch for traffic. Further along you’ll pass Corona Arch and then Jughandle Arch. There are more petroglyphs above the Jughandle Arch parking lot. (For more information on rock art in the Moab area, check out this brochure) One may also drive this road by coming down off the Island in the Sky via Shafer Trail or Long Canyon roads (see below)

Even if you don’t camp down there, if you’re in Moab for more than a few days, a trip down to the Needles District of Canyonlands NP is a nice little jaunt. Stop at Newspaper Rock State Historical Monument on UT 211, the road into the Needles. Lots of rock art on this panel. There’s an outhouse there if you need one before you get to Canyonlands.

4x4 Roads

We really don’t do much four wheeling as we use our mountain bikes to get around. We’ve been on some of the4x4 roads and a good many of them require modified (non-stock) equipment. If you rent a jeep for a day of exploration, the rental companies will have suggestions on where to go (and where you’re not allowed to go with their equipment).

One of the better listings of 4x4 trails in the area is by Red Rock 4-Wheelers. Check out their website for descriptions, maps, and photos.

If you do Elephant Hill down in the Needles District of Canyonlands NP, do the short hike to the Joint Trail. It is cool in there even in the summer, so a place to picnic if you so choose. The hike out to the Confluence Overlook is also nice. We’ve seen it when the Green River was running red and the Colorado River was running green! [emoticon]

There are some trails they don’t list. Maybe they’re too easy for them to even consider. [emoticon] In Canyonlands, the White Rim Trail can be done in a day. Drop in at Shafer Trail and head clockwise around the Island in the Sky. You can see parts of this trail when you are at some of the viewpoints on the Island. Murphy Hogback is the biggest challenge, but most four wheel drive vehicles with decent clearance can make this trip. A smaller vehicle like a Subaru Outback might be challenged by Murphy Hogback however. Many smaller sport UTES aren’t really 4x4 but rather all-wheel drive. I’d be a little cautious about taking one of them. I doubt I’d take our RAV4 on the White Rim.

Another, easier option is to drop down Shafer Trail and take a left on Potash Road about five miles down. This will take you back to Moab via UT 279 on the north side of the Colorado River. You’ll go past the evaporation ponds at Potash and past the place where the closing scene of “Thelma and Louise” was filmed (no, it wasn’t the Grand Canyon!). I did this route in a brand new 1981 Honda Accord (the small versions back then) and my girlfriend at the time only had to get out and push once!

One can also drop down off the Island on Long Canyon Road which takes off from UT 313 just before Dead Horse Point SP. This also joins UT 279 but upstream from Potash, so it’s a much quicker way back to Moab. Generally traversable in a high clearance 2WD vehicle, but rains and spring runoff can leave large rocks in the road in the bottom of the canyon.

4runnerguy

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Posted: 10/10/17 02:31pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

What to do continued

Mountain Biking

What can I say? This is why we spend so much time in Moab. We love the trails there. We meet people from all over the world who have gone to Moab to mountain bike in the same way people go to Aspen or Vail to ski. Hundreds of miles of singletrack have been put in during the last 10 years.

The Discover Moab Mountain Biking Page has trail descriptions and lots of great maps. Use those maps in combination with my descriptions below. I think they also have an app for your phone, but we use Trailforks.com and MTBproject.com apps. I will discuss our favorites in some of the mountain biking areas they list. Remember, we now refer to our mountain biking adventures as the “Geriatric Tour” so those who are younger and with more daring might find some of our suggestions a little tame. For that reason, I’m not going to talk about the Whole Enchilada, Amasa Back, Slickrock, Porcupine Rim, etc., as they are now above our pay grade. Besides, if you’re that good, you know how to find information anyway.

[image]

For lots of good information, photos and descriptions, check out Utah Mountain Biking.

Klonzo

One of our favorites areas to ride when we first get to Moab. The dirt road out there can be busy with all the boondockers along the way and the road can be rutted after a rain, but most vehicles can make the trip. If you take kids or newcomers to the sport, park up the upper lot and take Midway south to the trails around Carousel. I’ve seen kids 3 or 4 years old out there riding.

We like the trails north of the road better. We’ll take Borderline up, do a loop on Wahoo, the go back up to Gravitron (Allison walks a couple of places here), then back on Vertigo with various loops on Cross Canyon, Secret Passage then over to Dunestone and Boondocks before going back to the car. Or we’ll take Zoltar over to Redhot. I’ll sometimes take Roller Coaster but Allison will bail onto Midway over to the really easy trails around Carousel. Top Spin is best counterclockwise from The Edge.

Bar M/Brand Trails

These trails are located about 8 miles north of Moab right off US 191. There are pit toilets, a bike tool pedestal, and a parking lot big enough to turn around the largest rig. We often ride here on our way out of town as we already have the trailer packed and hooked up.

For a reasonable easy yet fun loop, we ride EZ to Rusty Spur to Sidewinder. Some great flowy downhill on Sidewinder until we bail on the next to last exit to the paved trail, where we ride back up to Lazy and back to the parking lot. Or we’ll add a Bar B loop. North 40 is slightly more technical and fun counterclockwise.

Klondike Bluffs

In the old days (you remember, the last century) one would ride the jeep trail up to the Klondike Bluffs trailhead, park, and hike the last bit to the bluffs. Now there are miles of singletrack and we never go to the bluffs anymore.

It’s still a good climb, whether it’s up Baby Steps (we like south with the singletracks) or Mega Steps. UFO south to north and down Little Salty is a fun loop. Dinoflow is a nice route in either direction., although Jurassic is easier. Up Mega Steps and down Alaska/Nome/Homer gets you pretty far away from most riders. Great views off the ridge line on Mega Steps and Alaska. Often where we have lunch.

If you have new riders, drive to the Klondike North trailhead about 23 miles north of town. Jasper, Midline, and Agate are all very easy, wide trails where kids of all ages can get a feel of what mountain biking is about. Very little shade there, so very hot in the summer. Also a good parking area to access the northern trails of Klondike Bluffs. There are a couple of pit toilets out there, something not available at the main parking area to the south.

Horsethief

Near the Horsethief BLM CG, they have put in a number of different trails, so if you camp there, you can ride right from your campsite. Right adjacent to the CG are a couple of kid friendly trails, Rowdy and Wrangler. Rodeo is a longer (8+mile) loop new in 2017 that gets one away from the crowds. Some technical areas, but overall pretty ridable.

A variety of loops can be put together using the short trails on the other side of the highway. Mustang, Whirlwind, etc. can be combined with 7 Up and Getaway for hours of fun.

Navajo Rocks

These trails lie on both sides of UT 313 and have gotten more popular every year. Park at the lot at MP 15.5 and ride out either Ramblin’ or Big Mesa . The eastern loop rides better clockwise, the western one counter clockwise, so we use Middle Earth as a connector and ride a figure 8.

Intrepid trails at Dead Horse Point SP

Another set of fun trails where one can ride right from the campsite. Raven Roll and Intrepid are very beginner friendly. The loop out Pyramid to Big Chief and back on Raven Roll means some fun flowy downhill on return. Or continue across the highway on Crossroads and do loops with Whiptail, Twisted Tree, and Prickly Pair.

Loop Rides

Looking for a little longer ride? Here are some loops we do. Some take the better part of a day for us older folk.

For a loop through part of Arched, park somewhere in or near the entrance to Arches. Ride up the paved trail to the Brand Trails. Take Lazy or EZ to North 40 and follow that to the dirt road where you can catch Bar M singletrack along the canyon rim. Follow the signs for Zephyr to the Klonzo area, where you’ll catch Midway over to the Willow Springs Road. This jeep trail goes into Arches and meets the paved road near Balanced Rock (this is the original road into Arches as when Edward Abbey worked there in the 50’s). From Balanced Rock, turn right on the paved road and head back to your vehicle.

To do the Mag 7 trails when I’m alone and don’t shuttle, I’ll park in the Brand Trails parking lot and head north on the paved bike path. At UT 313, head up toward Canyonlands for 4.1 miles. On the outside of the second big switchback, look for some subtle cairns heading out across the slickrock. This is the start of the 7 Up trail. Ride that up for 9+ miles to the start of Bull Run and take the Mag 7 route down. At Goldbar, work your way back to the Gemini Bridges road and begin the long slog up and over the divide until you’re back to the highway and back to the vehicle.

I like to combine the Navajo Rocks and Horsethief trail system into a big loop. Park at the middle Navajo Rocks parking lot and ride across the road to Middle Earth. At Coney Island, take a left and go ¼ mile to a trail dropping to the right which will take you to 7 Up. Ride 7 Up to the Horsethief trail system and pick your favorite route up to the highway. Cross the road and catch Chisholm back to Big Lonely and Big Mesa and back to the car. You can include a loop of Rodeo if you need more miles.

* This post was edited 04/15/19 10:21am by 4runnerguy *

4runnerguy

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Posted: 10/10/17 02:32pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

What to do continued

Other Activities

The Moab area just has so many things to do I can’t list them all. Nor have we done many of them.

As one can imagine, water sports on the Colorado River are popular. Upstream from the bridge, the water is generally pretty smooth so power boats take passengers up stream to view the canyon from the river. Raft companies do “easy” trips on the Fisher Tower section of the river. More hard core rafters run Westwater and Cataract Canyons.

Besides the climbers one can see at Wall Street along UT 279, you may also see them elsewhere, as along the Kane Springs road around Amasa Back. Across from Big Bend CG up UT 128 is an area specifically designated for bouldering, a good place to start for those just beginning the whole climbing adventure.

The airport has scenic flights and skydiving. [emoticon] There’s also a company with Hot Air Balloon rides.

4runnerguy

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Posted: 10/10/17 02:33pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Camping

We’ve never stayed at a private CG in this area, so you’ll have to do a search here or RVparkreviews.com to find info on those. There are lots of options and they tend to be full during popular times of year, so plan ahead.

In and near the national parks

The Devils Garden CG at Arches is one of the most scenic anywhere. BUT, it takes reservations that fill quickly. We haven’t actually stayed here in several years as we can’t plan our lives that far in advance. But if you can get by without hookups, it’s definitely worth a try. It is an hour trip each way into town to get gas and supplies, so stock up before driving in. Once in the CG, one can leave the rig parked and hike on a variety of trails in the area. Kids love this CG as in places it is just one big sandbox for the younger ones and there are lots of rocks to climb on for the older ones. Deer frequent the CG certain times of the year. Campfire programs in the warmer months of the year. Water and flush toilets in the CG but no dump station.

The Kayenta CG at Dead Horse Point SP is another very popular CG. Reservations are a must. One should haul their own water up there as what is available is trucked in. Flush Toilets and a dump station near the CG entrance. Probably 45 minutes into town so plan accordingly before heading up. This is a good base camp to explore the Island in the Sky portion of Canyonlands NP. There are some pretty nice easy and intermediate bike trails here, one reason we try to stay there once in a while. The CG was expanded in early 2018 and now has 44 RV/tent sites and 11 walk-in tent only site. We noted some of the pull through sites are over 100' long (even though they show a max length of 55'! The remainder are back-in sites and all seem to be at least 50' to 60' long. All are more level than those in the older part of the CG (sites 1-21). All sites have cabanas, picnic tables, fire rings and the RV sites have 20, 30, and 50 amp services. Two sets of flush toilets.

There are also nine yurts one can rent in the park. Convenient if you have others travelling with you who don't want to camp but want to stay nearby. There is 15 amp electric service in the yurts, plus heat and a/c IIRC.

The Willow Springs CG in the Island of the Sky district of Canyonlands NP is another option up there. But with no water and pit toilets, it’s not nearly as nice as Dead Horse Point. The wind can get to be a problem and there’s lots of sand and dust to blow around. There are a few larger spaces, but most of the parking pads are 30’ or less. No reservations.

Another camping option in Canyonlands is the Squaw Flat CG in the Needles District. The turnoff is 40 miles south of Moab and then it’s another 35+ miles to the CG. This is not a CG to use if you’re wanting to explore in the Moab vicinity. There are hiking trails and 4x4 roads to get into the backcountry of the Needles. This is remote. They have water and flush toilets, a great improvement from when we first started going there. Reservations are taken for a little over half the sites. Just outside the park boundary is the Needles Outpost, which has camping spots, a small store, and gasoline. (Closed November 1 through March 1) If you venture out to the Needles and the CG is full, there are a few options back up the road. The turnoff for Creek Pasture BLM CG is about seven miles from the visitors center and the turnoff for Sugarbowl BLM CG is about nine miles. Pit toilets and no water at either, but most of the dispersed camping locations were closed by the BLM a number of years ago.

BLM sites along UT 128

Here is a link to a map showing where most of these CG's are.

The BLM has a number of CG’s in the Moab area. Many are familiar with those along the Colorado River on UT 128. Some are RV friendly, some not. Even those with RV sites have limited numbers. No water at any of these CG’s. Pit toilets. Quite popular. Being in the canyon, some sites have nice shade in the a.m. or p.m. One length limitation on some of the CG’s isn’t necessarily the size of the sites, but how tight the turnaround is at the end. Seen more than a few big rigs have some real issues because they didn’t think the length limit applied to them. I’d say that if your rig is approaching 40’ in length, On the first campground (Goose Island) is a real possibility. Yes, there are a few campsites further up the road, but you’ll have to decide if it’s worth driving UT 128 just to check out those sites.

One thing to note. Camping is only allowed in the designated CG’s. Several times we’ve witnessed the sheriff ousting people who had camped in some of the parking areas along the road. Just a warning. Not much fun getting a knock on the door in the middle of the night.

Goose Island is about 1.5 miles up from US 191. Fills really early and stays full. Nice cottonwood trees. Probably the most big rig friendly of the CG’s on UT 128. Obviously very convenient to town.

Three miles up is Granstaff CG. Nice CG but 24’ length limit. For many of the sites, there is room to park a TV next to your trailer. One of those with a tight turn around at the end, probably the main reason for the 24’ length restriction. Busy CG as it’s where the Porcupine Rim mountain bike trail comes down to the highway. Easy access to Granstaff trail across the road.

Drinks Canyon CG is about six miles up the road. There are three sections to the CG along the road. The first and last are loops so one shouldn’t get stuck because of length. However, this CG is suitable for tents, truck campers, and short PUP’s. Small sites and a tight turn around on the middle entrance. I understand that the BLM is in the process of replacing them, but the pit toilets at Drinks Canyon don’t have roofs! Kind of cool at night to look up at the stars, but we’ve also camped there when it was raining. Makes one get right to the business at hand!

A half mile further is Hal Canyon. Generally short sites. A couple might take a 30’ trailer, but those pads are a 90 degree entry off a narrow road, so some real jockeying is required.

Seven miles up is Oak Grove CG which has a sign specifically saying no trailers. Short sites and the turnaround at the end is also the parking area for a couple of the campsites.

Big Bend CG, 7.5 miles up, has some sites that are big rig friendly. A few have decent sized trees for privacy. Don’t take the last spur upstream (farthest to the right as you enter) as there isn’t a turnaround at the end. I think there’s a sign warning of that. Across the street there is an overflow camping area. The one place one can camp outside of the CG’s along the river. Still costs and one has to walk across the road to use the outhouses.

Upper Big Bend is a small CG ½ mile further up the road. Small turnarounds in both directions from the entrance, so maybe best limited to PUP’s and TC’s.

After Upper Big Bend, it’s 13 miles to the Onion Creek CG’s. Big rig friendly. Pretty far from town. Lower Onion Creek is down by the river and there’s a boat launch, so used by river runners at times. Upper Onion Creek is off the road 7 miles. Open with big views all around. There are some horse corrals there for those looking for that option.

Also in the area is the turnoff for Fisher Towers CG. Very short sites. Tent or TC only. Convenient access for the Fisher Tower Trail. Brochure

A mile further along UT 128 is Hittle Bottom CG. I’d prefer it over either of the Onion Creek options. A couple of sites even have some cottonwoods for shade.

Up another six miles or so is Dewey Bridge. Both Dewey Bridge and Hittle Bottom are popular launch sites for rafts. Dewey Bridge is 30 miles or so from town, probably a 45+ minute drive. Popular with people coming from Colorado as it’s the first campsite they get to. I first stayed here in ’69. Dirt road and the original Dewey Bridge was still in place. We were the only ones for miles and not another car went by all night. My how things have changed.

* This post was last edited 04/15/19 10:18am by 4runnerguy *   View edit history

4runnerguy

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Camping Continued

BLM CG’s west of US 191

Downstream from the highway there are BLM CG’s on both sides of the river. Again, like all the BLM CG’s, no water or dump station at any of them.

On the north side, the first one is Jaycee Park, a small CG with walk in campsites heavily used by rock climbers who frequent the canyon walls along this part of the road. Nicely treed.

Beyond that is Williams Bottom. One can drive through this CG so turning around at the end of the road isn’t an issue. But most of the sites are pretty small. Maybe a 25’ trailer might fit in some. Nicely treed. Again a popular spot with the climbing crowd.

Finally, about 20 miles from town is the Gold Bar CG. Really just a huge parking lot when very large RV’s can fit. There really aren’t individual sites here. There are a few scattered picnic tables near the river, plus a couple of covered pavilions with a number of tables under them. Often the area between the parking lot and the river will have dozens of tents clustered. I believe most of these are for rafters who can put in or take out there. Very open place with no privacy but plenty of room for big rigs.

On the south side of the river, the first CG is Kings Bottom. The majority of the campsites here are walk in sites the BLM put in a couple of years ago. Really nice tent sites back in the woods but a bit of a walk from the parking lot. The few RV sites will hold up to a 24’ trailer. All of the tamarisk were removed in the last few years and the trees they planted won’t provide much shade until long after I’m gone.

At Moonflower CG, all of the individual sites have been removed. There might be one group site still remaining.

A few miles further, the road turns to graded gravel to the next two campgrounds. Hunter Canyon is about 8 miles from town and has a couple of sites that will hold maybe a small PUP or TC. I’ve heard they may remove this CG in the future as it is where two canyons come together and there’s significant flash flood danger.

Ten miles from town is the Ledges CG. IIRC there are five different CG’s loops up there with more than 100 sites. This area has been put in by the BLM in the last couple of years. Some sites are pretty large, over 50’ long. Little shade. But good place to base out of if you want to use your ATV on trails like Chicken Corners, Kane Creek, Hurrah Pass.

Also west of US 191 is Horsethief CG, about 12 miles off US 191 up UT 313, the road to Dead Horse Point and Island in the Sky. Because it’s higher up, it’s cooler in the summer. Nice spacing between sites. Used to be easy to find a spot, but now it’s known so it also fills. Easy access to a variety of mountain bike trails. Can be windy at times.

Even further north is Courthouse Rock BLM CG, essentially a big gravel parking lot off the Mill Canyon Road, 16 miles north of Moab. Big rigs with toads or their trailers with ATV’s frequent this spot.

Although not a BLM CG, there is a privately run area at the Gemini Bridges turnoff across from the Brand Trails/Bar M entrance. It’s called Seven Mile and they charge the same as the BLM CG’s. There are porta potties there now. For a while, there were just side-by-side pull throughs, but the owner has now opened up some loops on the other side of the railroad tracks with individual sites. No tables, however. Very convenient if you want to jeep or ATV up the Gemini Bridges Road and beyond.

South and east of Moab

Immediately east of Moab is the Sand Flats Recreation Area run by Grand County. Of the 120 campsites, 30 will handle rigs up to 40’. Popular with the mountain bike crowd who want to ride Slickrock Trail. There are also several 4x4 trails from there, including Fins & Things and Hell’s Revenge. Quite close to town so convenient to run in for gas, supplies or the occasional night out.

Eight miles or so south of town is Ken’s Lake BLM CG. They’ve redone the interior roads in the last few years so it’s a lot easier to get around. Big sites for big rigs. Out in the open with no shade.

During the hot months, if you have a smaller consider Warner Lake NFS CG up in the LaSal Mountains. Reservations are accepted and they give a 25’ site length. Some are certainly longer than that, but I doubt any exceed 30’ by very much. The Whole Enchilada Mountain Bike Trail runs past the CG, so during the morning there’s lots of traffic on that trail. Pretty quiet after that. A short hike from the CG leads to great views to the west. Amazing place to watch the sunset over the red rocks country. The access road off of the LaSal Loop Road can be steep and loose in places.

4runnerguy

Glenwood Springs, CO

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Posted: 10/10/17 02:34pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Camping Continued

Boondocking

Of course there’s no boondocking in either of the national parks.

The BLM has had to close many of the boondocking locations due to overuse. The arid landscape just can’t recover from so much use. That’s one reason they’ve spent so much money adding new campgrounds. Below is a link to a map showing where dispersed camping is allowed and where it is prohibited. And yes, they do patrol!

[image]

For a bigger map: Camping Restrictions Map

Using this map and Google Earth, you can scout out some places to check out yourself. Areas north of UT 313 and east of US 191 have some areas open to boondocking. Try heading in on the Blue Hills Road.

I’ve also seen a few places to boondock off the Klondike Bluffs trail access road. There is no camping along the last part of the access road to the bike trail parking (there is a sign saying where it’s prohibited). Be warned, when wet that road can be virtually impassable because of the mud. I still have dried mud on the underside of the 4Runner than just won’t wash off. A lot of the land in there is state owned so not subject to BLM closure. Can be windy, and with all the traffic heading to the mountain bike trails, lots of dust.

Heading further north, look for the signs for North Klondike Trails. Boondocking is allowed in most places out there and there are even a couple of pit toilets.

One popular place to boondock is the first few miles of the Willow Springs Road. All of this land is also state land. It is very popular and very crowded on busy weekends. If the wind is blowing, camping too close to the road means lots of dust, as this is a pretty busy road. There are spurs, especially off to the north, where one can get a bit further from the road and the dust. I’ve heard that the state is considering imposing limits and fees on camping here. We noticed this spring that some pulloffs have now been blocked off. As of this fall, there are now several porta potties that have been brought in. More changes are surely on the way.

There’s precious little boondocking on the LaSal Loop Road through the NF. Every time you think you’ve found a spot, it turns out to be private property. You’ll have better luck on the Geyser Pass Road, which is gravel.

* This post was edited 04/15/19 09:46am by 4runnerguy *

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