Camping Moab Utah
Camp Utah: I’m talking with Judy today. She is the Lead Visitor Information Assistant for the Moab Field Office Bureau of Land Management. So, we were chatting just a little bit ago, Judy, and you were telling me how insanely large that area of land is. Could you give me a little bit more maybe information about the history of that area?
Judy: Well, this area has 1.8 million acres in our field office, and it’s classic red rock canyon country. The Colorado River runs right through our area and it’s just very spectacular red rock canyon country that everybody wants to visit.
CU: Absolutely. Absolutely. So, there are 26 campgrounds in that area that you manage, and it’s sort of broken out into a couple different areas. But I think it would be more helpful for our listeners to focus on some of the more common questions that people have when they want to go camping Moab. So, let’s start with: how much des it cost to camp in Moab?
CU: Okay. Now, I have heard that you can camp for free in some situations. Is there any free camping on BLM land in Moab?
Judy: There is, and a lot of people are aware of what’s called disperse camping on BLM lands, which is kind of traditional way to camp. In our area, however, it’s a very, very high use area for visitation, so it’s very restricted here as far as where that type of camping is allowed, but we do have it. But what I would recommend people do is just look at our website and there’s a section in there that will talk about that type of camping. And the best way to get to our website is just to do a Google search and put in ‘BLM Moab’. And then the first hit that comes up will be our website, and then just go into the recreation area and what you’ll go into is the camping area, and then read the section that’s called Where Else Can I Camp and that will explain how to do disperse camping and where it’s permitted in our area.
CU: All right, perfect. And we’ll also certainly have a big, impossible to miss link at the bottom of this article that will link bank to that site. If it’s really gorgeous out and I’m going to come out there and camp, I might be interested in camping near the river in Moab. Where would you suggest that I go to do that?
Judy: Well, the most popular area for camping along the river is along Highway 128, which is locally called the River Road. And we have quite a few campgrounds up along there, including a few of the campgrounds that’ll be the closest to Moab, which is important for a lot of people. So, Highway 128. And probably the one that’s most popular, or the two that would be more popular would be Goose Island and Big Bend.
CU: Perfect. Now, there are also some very beautiful National Parks out there. Canyon Lands National Park and Arches National Park. If I wanted to camp near Canyon Lands National Park, what would you suggest?
Judy: Well, if you want to camp near the northern part of Canyon Lands, which is called Island in the Sky, it’s the most visited part of the Park; then you’d want to be up along Highway 313. And our biggest campground up along that road, which is called Horsethief Campground. If you were going to visit the Needles District, which is the southern section of Canyon Lands, and wanted to camp in the BLM Campground, then you’d want to go to the Canyon Rooms Recreation Area and probably the Wind Whistle Campground.
CU: Is there an interested story behind the name of Horsethief Campground?
Judy: Well, there’s a lot of outlaw history here, so that’s where that comes from.
CU: Nice. And I’m assuming it’s not too many shady characters anymore though hanging out. Fairly safe to camp probably.
Judy: Yes. Oh yes.
CU: What if I wanted to camp near Arches National Park in Moab? Where would you direct me then?
Judy: Well, again, back to the Highway 128 and the River Road. The closest campground to Arches will be that Goose Island Campground that I mentioned a few minutes ago.
CU: All right, perfect. Now, what are the most popular activities in that entire area?
CU: What’s your favorite thing to do out there, Judy?
Judy: By far, hiking.
CU: And last question for you: if you were going to spend the weekend, personally camping out there somewhere, where would you go?
Judy: I would go to the Hatch Point Campground, which is located in the Canyon Rooms Recreation Area. It’s probably one of our furthest out campgrounds. It doesn’t get a whole lot of use, and so you generally would have that area to yourself. And it’s just a really spectacular area that’s really close to viewpoints looking over the Needles District of Canyon Lands. Just very spectacular and very remote, and get a lot of solitude in that area, so it’s kind of neat.
CU: Perfect. Thank you for that tip and thank you for all of the other highly relevant inside information on camping out there, Judy. I appreciate that you took some time out of your day to chat with us about Moab Field Office Bureau of Land Management and camping in that area.
Judy: You’re welcome.