Camping in Moab, Utah


Before I get to my (rather long) post, I’m going to put some of the camping highlights right here at the top.

  • Where we camped: Willow Springs Road.
  • Type of campgound: Dispersed with designated spots.
  • What we liked about the area: It was free, and that’s always a plus. It was close to mountain bike trails, though we didn’t check any out this trip. And it was pretty close to Arches and downtown Moab.
  • What we didn’t like: Lots of cactus, super busy dirt road, not the most scenic area.
  • Ammenities: None

Okay, on with the post!

Moab is one of my favorite places to hike in the spring, and we go often. We’ve even tried to camp there several times. Keyword: tried. I’m not going to get into all the details, but something disastrous happens every time we plan a trip there. Needless to say, we haven’t attempted one for about seven years now.

But we finally made it the weekend before last! I’m not going to sugar-coat it–it was close. Our camper arrangement didn’t work at the last minute, and we were scrambling to figure out what we were going to stay in. We ended up taking our pickup camper again, even though it’s not officially ready to camp yet. With the kids and two dogs, it was tight. But it’s better than a tent. I had to remind myself that over and over:

“Sure, it has no cabinets, but it’s better than a tent.”

“Sure, we had to pull a big ugly tarp over the top when it looked like it might rain, but it’s better than a tent.”

“Sure, we don’t have a stove for making coffee, but it’s better than a tent…”

And it was. It really was. We stayed warm enough, and Gunther had his safe and cozy bed on the floor. You may remember from previous posts that our big, floppy St. Bernard is terrified of sleeping in the dark, and he will announce his displeasure by barking all night long. Keeping him outside is not an option.

As for finding a spot, it was exactly as I feared–we almost didn’t. Even though we left Fruita early on Friday morning, just about everything was taken when we reached Moab at about eleven. We only found one available spot in the campgrounds off the river, and since we were camping with family, we needed two.

We ended up down Willow Springs Road, and we blessedly found two spots right across from each other. We were very, very fortunate. It’s a busy area with nearby bike trails, and there were tons of people looking for spots. If you want to camp Moab this time of year, either make reservations (where available) or plan to get there at dawn.

Once there, the camping was fun, and the weather was great except for one storm that blew through Saturday night.

It was the first time any of our group had camped in cactus, and that was an experience. Our cousins have a Golden Retriever, and the poor guy kept ending up with needles in his feet. Our two pups each got a needle stuck in their noses. Thankfully, the kids stayed clear, so we weren’t pulling spines from them. If we’d had a crawling baby or toddler, the spot would have been a nightmare. 

While we were there, we checked out Moab Giants, hiked to Corona Arch, visited the wildlife sanctuary by the river, found Native American rock art, and ate too many cookies.  It was an awesome trip, and I already want to go back.

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