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The Ultimate Guide to Camping in Canyonlands National Park

Discovering the Spectacular Scenery, Thrilling Adventures, and Unforgettable Camping Experience

Often overlooked due to its famous neighbor, Arches National Park, Canyonlands National Park is a hidden gem that every RVer should explore. With numerous camping options, an RV trip to Canyonlands is a breeze.

Planning is key to a successful Canyonlands camping adventure. This guide will provide you with all the necessary information for an unforgettable trip.

Best Time to Camp in Canyonlands

Let’s start with identifying the best time to plan your Canyonlands camping trip.

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Winter can be challenging due to low temperatures that could harm an RV’s water system. Additionally, snow and ice can make travel difficult and potentially dangerous.

Summer camping in Canyonlands is a popular choice. However, Utah’s summer heat requires ample water and cooling methods. Note that in-park campgrounds do not offer hookups, so if you need to run your RV air conditioner, consider staying outside the park.

We recommend spring and fall for Canyonlands camping. During these seasons, you’ll experience sunny days and cool nights, perfect for dry camping. If possible, plan your visit in April, May, or October.

Where to Camp in Canyonlands

Now that you know the best times for your Canyonlands camping adventure, let’s explore the best places to camp. The area offers a variety of options, including in-park campgrounds, boondocking, and full-service RV parks.

Here are our top picks:

Island in the Sky Campground

Island in the Sky Campground is a small in-park campground near the visitor center. It offers 12 first-come, first-served campsites at $15 per night. While there are no hookups, you’ll find potable water outside the visitor center and amenities like toilets, picnic tables, and fire rings in the campground.

The Needles Campground

The Needles Campground, another in-park option, offers 26 individual campsites and three group sites. Reservations are accepted from spring through fall, with first-come, first-served availability during the rest of the year. The camping fee is $20 per night, and amenities include toilets, picnic tables, and fire rings.

Gemini Bridges Road Designated Dispersed Campsites

For free camping on government-owned land just a few minutes outside of Canyonlands National Park, consider Gemini Bridges Road Designated Dispersed Campsites. While amenities are non-existent, the location between two national parks and proximity to Moab makes it a fantastic choice for boondocking.

Sun Outdoors Moab Downtown

If you prefer a full-service camping experience, Sun Outdoors Downtown Moab is an excellent choice. Located in the heart of Moab, you can easily access shopping and dining. The campground offers full-hookup sites, a swimming pool, and clean restrooms with showers, ensuring a comfortable stay.

Activities in Canyonlands

Now, let’s explore the activities you can enjoy while camping in Canyonlands National Park. The area is packed with things to do, but here are a few of our favorites:

Visit the Island in the Sky Visitor Center

Begin your Canyonlands adventure at the Island in the Sky Visitor Center. It offers exhibits about the park and a helpful video. Rangers are available to answer questions, and you’ll find restrooms, picnic areas, and a water-fill area. Don’t forget to check out the stunning overlook across the street!

Hike to Mesa Arch

Take a short and easy hike to Mesa Arch. While the hike itself is straightforward, the views through and around Mesa Arch are breathtaking. It’s a great spot for kids to explore and for adults to soak in the beauty.

Explore the Grand View Point Trail

For more stunning views, head to the Grand View Point Trail. This short and easy trail offers some of the best views in the park and plenty of photo opportunities. If you enjoy this trail, consider the White Rim Overlook Trail, which offers similar views and difficulty levels.

Visit Arches National Park

Don’t miss the opportunity to explore Arches National Park, just a few minutes away. Start at the visitor center and then head to the Windows area for easy walks and hikes to see stunning rock formations. The Sandstone Arch trail is also worth a visit!

Discover Dead Horse Point State Park

Don’t overlook Dead Horse Point State Park. While it’s not as well-known as the national parks, it offers equally stunning views and is worth a day of your trip.

Enjoy Moab

Finally, take some time to explore the town of Moab. With excellent dining spots, community events like free concerts and car shows, and an aquatic center for a refreshing dip, there’s plenty to do in Moab after a day of hiking.

Canyonlands camping offers a unique and unforgettable experience. We hope this guide helps you plan your adventure and that you’ll soon discover the magic of this park.

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2 thoughts on “The Ultimate Guide to Camping in Canyonlands National Park”

  1. We visited both Arches and Canyonlands in late June ’23. We spent four nights at Moab Rim RV park in Moab, UT in our 35’ 5ver. We pulled in to our spot and then checked in. The staff were super friendly and helpful. Our site was full hookups with cable included. A small playground was available of which our grandkids utilized frequently . The park was mostly full; the 50A electricity was steady at 115v. It was pretty warm so we got our visits to both parks done early. There were spectacular views to be seen in both parks with little to no walking. One nice thing about Canyonlands was open for entry without reservations whereas Arches remains on a timed entry requiring reservations between 7:00 AM and 4PM.

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  2. We stayed at Wonderland RV Park in Torrey, very close to Canyonlands NP. It’s a small, quiet, privately owned campground with beautiful views and a very accommodating owner.

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