When it came to Utah, Mother Nature sure packed a lot of wonder and awe into 527 square miles. That’s how much land Canyonlands National Park covers. Think stunning, mind-blowing rock formations. Carved-out canyons. Sheer drop-offs. Body-wide footpaths slicing through red rock. Selfies of you in the wilderness that will make your Facebook stay-at-home-friends green with envy. Yeah. That’s you in that canyon rocking it in a sweaty t-shirt and hiking boots, or powering your bike through a maze of boulders.
If you decide to do any Canyonlands National Park Camping in addition to hiking, biking, rafting, or horseback riding, you’re going to want to know exactly where to find the best campgrounds. Fortunately, we’ve done that for you. With more than 7,000 pristine campgrounds in Utah, it can be tough to narrow down your choices. There are three campgrounds inside the national park and many more outside—all of which offer a variety of great camping experiences. If you’re a senior, ask for the senior pass discount (50% off on camping in the park). Here’s where to start inside the park:
The Senior Pass
If you missed getting your senior lifetime pass for access to all national parks ($10 before August 17) you can still buy one for $80. That’s for a lifetime—which may be 1 year or 30 if you’re 62. Consider it an investment in the parks for future generations. Or, buy the $20 annual pass if you’re on a budget, or only planning to camp for another year.
The senior pass includes access to not only National Park Service sites, it’s also good for admission and standard amenities at sites managed by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Reclamation, U.S. Forest Service and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. That’s more than 2,000 sites in total. Whether you are a part-time, full-time, or vacation only RVer or camper, it’s still a good buy.
Canyonlands National Park Camping
There are many ways to camp inside the Canyonlands National Park—RV, popups, tents, and backpacking. There are campgrounds, and the backcountry and along the Colorado River. Wood fires are allowed in the developed campgrounds and along the rivers. They are prohibited elsewhere in the backcountry. Wood may not be gathered in the park except along the river corridors where driftwood and dead-and-down tamarisk may be burned. River trips must use a fire pan and remove all fire debris from the backcountry. Now, here’s where to go:
Backcountry Camping In Canyonlands National Park
If you’re planning to camp under the stars anywhere in the park outside of one of the developed campgrounds, you’re going to need a permit. Click on the link above for the 411 on how to go about getting that. If you prefer to stay close to your vehicle, you have other options that don’t require a permit, but do have a small fee:
Camping Inside Canyonlands National Park
Willow Flat Campground (Island in the Sky)
Island in the Sky is a sheer-walled mesa ( Mesa is the American English term for tableland, an elevated area of land with a flat top and sides that are usually steep cliffs. It takes its name from its characteristic table-top shape ) inside the Canyonlands National Park. The mesa constitutes the northern part of Canyonlands National Park. A scenic drive follows the rim of the mesa, with pullouts at vistas where visitors can admire the amazing views out over the surrounding country. From the rugged canyons that have been carved by the Colorado and Green rivers, to the range of rock formations from the top of the mesa the surrounding country is 1,000 feet down.
Popular with tourists, Island in the Sky is the most accessible district in Canyonlands. It is also close to Moab and to Arches National Park. If your time is limited, or you can’t or don’t want to go far from your car, this area is the best choice for auto touring and short hikes.
The scenic drive provides access to some of the park’s most popular viewpoints, including:
- Grand View Point
- Mesa Arch
- Green River Overlook
- Upheaval Dome
- Nearby, Dead Horse Point Utah State Park also offers incredible overlooks.
You don’t have to figure out what you’re looking at all by yourself either. A Visitor’s Center on the mesa, along the scenic drive, is located just inside the park. It is open daily, 9 am to 4:30 pm, with extended hours during spring and fall.
If you’re camping, the scenic drive also provides access to Willow Flat Campground. The campground offers 12 sites with tables, fire grills, and vault toilets. Firewood and water are not available. Maximum group size is 10 people, with a limit of two vehicles per group. Sites are $10 per night. This campground typically fills up every day from late March through June and again from early September to mid-October. Arrive early if you want to get a site for a weekend stay.
The White Rim Trail circles Island in the Sky. It is a rugged four-wheel drive and mountain bike route that follows shelves under the mesa rim. It extends for about 100 miles. Strong bikers sometimes complete the route in a day but others stay overnight in designated campsites. No potable water is available along the White Rim Road. Permits are needed for overnight stays anywhere in the park.
Phone: (435) 459-0777
The Needles Campground has 30 total sites, 27 individual sites, plus 3 group sites in different locations around The Needles district. Nightly camping fee for an individual site is $20. You can reserve some individual sites in spring and fall. Other times of the year, individual sites are first-come, first-served. Sites fill quickly in spring and fall. You can also reserve group sites for nights between mid-March and mid-November. There are toilets, picnic tables, and fire rings, but no electrical hookups in the campground.
Needles Group Sites
Groups of 11 or more people may reserve campsites at The Needles. There are no group sites at Island in the Sky. You can reserve nights between March 15 and November 15. Group sites are not available in winter. Nightly fees are $3 per person. If you want to backpack, or explore areas away from designated campgrounds, inquire about the possibility of obtaining backcountry camping permits.
Backcountry Reservations information and forms.
- Needles Group site 50 people / 10 vehicles
- Wooden Shoe Group site 25 people / 5 vehicles
- Split top Group site 15 people / 3 vehicles
You can reserve group campsites up to six months in advance. To make a reservation, www.recreation.gov, or call 877-444-6777, 877-833-6777 (TDD), or +1 518-885-3639 (International).
The White Rim Trail Campground
The White Rim Trail Campground is also part of a popular multi-day mountain bike and 4X4 route. Twenty individual campsites are arranged in ten camping areas. Toilets are provided in each area. When there is more than one site at a location, they are generally positioned to be out of earshot and, as much as possible, out of sight of each other. Each campsite will accommodate up to 15 people and 3 vehicles. There is no potable (drinkable) water at the campground, but water is available along the White Rim Road.
Squaw Flat Campground
Located in The Needles District, Squaw Flat Campground is an ideal base camp for day hikes to popular destinations like Chesler Park, Druid Arch, and the Joint Trail. There are 26 sites available on a first-come, first-served basis. Bathrooms, fire grates, picnic tables, tent pads, and water are available year-round.
Group size limit is 10 people and 2 vehicles. Maximum RV length is 28 feet. The fee per site is $15 per night. Squaw Flat typically fills every day from late March through June and again from early September to mid-October.
Camping Outside Canyonlands National Park
Let’s face it. With millions of visitors a year to the park and only so many campsited inside the park, the chances of your scoring a site aren’t great. Or, you may prefer more developed and luxurious camping. Don’t worry. You can stay at any of the equally or better developed campgrounds outside the park.
Canyonlands RV and Resort
555 South Main Street
Moab, UT 84532
Phone: (435) 259-6848
There are three locations of Canyonlands RV and Resort—including a location inside the city of Moab, as well as sites outside the city that are better suited for larger RVs and a quieter atmosphere. The site in town apparently gets pretty noisy so if you like to party that might be the spot for you. Families and those seeking quieter locations should ask about alternatives when they call. The campgrounds offer both Premium & Standard PT FHU 50 AMP sites.
Premium RV sites range from 30 – 45 feet deep, with the option of pull through sites. There is 50 amp, cement pad, and water/sewer/electric/cable available.
A standard PT FHU RV site has 30 AMP and site sizes range from 20 – 30 feet deep, with pull through, 30 amp, cement pad, and water/sewer/electric/cable available.
Water & Electric sites have PT 30AMP and range from 25 – 30 feet deep, are pull through sites, with 30 amp, nature pad, and water/electric/cable available.
Tent sites come in three flavors as well:
All tent sites offer a picnic table and a fire pit with a grill on top. A deluxe tent site includes water and electricity. A backwater tent site is primitive but has water spigots nearby. A front tent site has a water spigot nearby.
- Full Hookups
- Drinking water
- Flush toilets
- Shower Facilities
- Swimming pool
- Laundry Facility
- Free Basic WiFi
- On-Site Propane
Pack Creek Campground
1520 Murphy Ln Trlr 6
Moab, Utah 84532
Phone: (435) 259-2982
Pack Creek Campground has level, graveled, pull-through sites with full hookups – including both 30 and 20 amp GFCI outlets, city water and city sewer (no septic tank!). The maximum RV length they can accommodate is 35-feet, and there are some sites that can accommodate some slide-outs. There is dry camping available for RV’s longer than 35-feet and overflow parking is available for tow rigs.
Electric & Water Sites of varying sizes (from 16 feet to 30 feet with one 40 foot full pull-through) and designated for slide-ins, pop-ups, small RV’s, and self-contained vans that do not require a septic hook-up are also available.
Tent campers, there are clearly designated tent sites for you. Each comes with a parking space, picnic table, and firepit. They are all close to a centrally located bathhouse and laundry room. Most of these sites are located right next to the creek, with creek side space for most to pitch their tents in the shade.
If you’re planning a group get-together, have a church or family group or youth adventure, scouting event, military reunion, wedding or school event, their group site can accommodate up to 200 people and there are a variety of sites to choose from.
Spanish Trail RV Park & Campground
2980 S Highway 191
Moab, Utah 84532
Phone: (435) 259-2411
Enjoy the beauty of the red rock cliffs, stunning views of the La Sal Mountains and picturesque sunsets from this Moab campground, just outside Canyonlands National Park. With only 60 sites they’re large enough to offer a variety of accommodations, including pull-through sites for big rigs, tent, trailer, popup and extra wide sites for the really big rigs with sliders on both sides of their rig. Pull through sites for RVs up to 75-feet long are available as well.
- Handicapped Facilities
- Large Covered Pavilion
- Gift Shop
- Leashed friendly pets welcomed Exercise Park & Pet Walk
- Large Grassy Sites
- Area Tours
- Pull-Thru full hook-up sites
- 30/50 amp hook –up
- Free Wi-Fi
- Free Cable TV
- NEW Pool and Spa
- Clean Showers and Restrooms (Rated 10)
- Laundry Facilities
OK RV Park
3310 Spanish Valley Dr.
Moab, UT 84532-3636
Phone: (435) 259-1400
Don’t worry if you’re traveling without an RV. At OK RV Park you can rent a deluxe RV fully setup and ready for immediate use with full hookups including: Water, Sewer, AC/Heater, Electric. All your linens, blankets, soaps, shampoos are provided and your kitchen comes fully set up as well with pots, dishes, and a coffee maker. You can also rent a basic cabin (A/C and Heater with small fridge and linens and blankets are provided), or even a tent. Tents come with a patio set with a fire pit and a communal Grill. You have the option of two queen-sized beds or one king size bed. Linens and blankets and even towels and soap are provided with the tent rental.
If you’ve always wanted to experience tiny house living, they have tiny houses for rent too. They’re located in the park and have full hookups as well as Wifi & Cable, and a gas grill with a picnic table. The tiny houses have 2 bedrooms and 1 bath, a full kitchen to cook your own meals! All you need is your suitcase and food. Think of them like a large hotel room. Price includes OK RV rental site usage. There’s no extra payment to park there.
If you’ve brought your own RV, car, camper, tent or trailer there’s plenty of room for you.
This campground has more than 50 RV sites with full hookups, tent camping in the grass and with shade and close to the bathrooms.
There are local natural swimming holes at Ken Lake Waterfall is 6.6 miles away and Moab downtown has a wonderful public pool for small fee. You can search “Ken Lake Waterfall Moab” or “Moab public pool” for images and details. MillCreek waterfall and swimming area is 3.4 miles away.
Portal RV Resort
1261 North Highway 191 Moab, Utah 84532
If you drive a big rig and enjoy the ease of pull-through sites, paved roads and paved parking it’s hard to beat Portal RV resort. Most sites have shade, all are level and paved. There are some back in sites as well. The campground is landscaped with generous pads for RVs, picnic tables and car parking. This is definitely a campground that caters to the big luxury rigs. There are also two homes for rent on the property. The Portal vacation homes are fully furnished 4,000 square foot homes with 3 or 4 master suites. There’s a gourmet kitchen with granite counter tops and flat screen TV’s in most rooms.
Portal RV Resort is surrounded by exquisite mountain views, open space The campground is located just minutes from World Renown National Parks, Hiking and Biking Trails, Off-Roading and much more and easy access to one of the world’s most amazing year-around playground. Welcome to the Relaxing and Scenic Portal RV Resort and Campground in Moab, Utah. Portal RV Resort is a full-service luxury RV Resort offering the largest RV sites in Moab. Conveniently located just minutes from down town Moab, Arches National Park, Canyonlands National Park, and the Colorado River. Their location adjacent to the Nature Conservancy’s Matheson Wetlands Preserve is unique in all of Moab.
Kens Lake Campground
As the camps website says, “Bring your motorhome, your tent, your army cot that you inherited from Grandpa, your Airstream or your truck with all your gear in tow. Ken’s Lake doesn’t discriminate–unless you’re planning on being a jerk and messing the place up. If you’re a jerk, please stay home. Moab is full of nice people and nice visitors–so practice Leave No Trace principles, and let’s leave it better than we found it, alright?” Kens has 31 sites for all kinds of campers. No fancy stuff here, but for $15 a night, what do you expect. This is real camping for real people.
- Vault toilets
- Graveled roads
- Trash receptacles
Dead Horse Point State Park
Phone: (435) 259-2614
Dead Horse Point State Park has two campgrounds: the Kayenta Campground and the Wingate Campground. Wingate is a new campground as of 2018.
The Kayenta Campground at Dead Horse Point State Park has 21 campsites (1 is ADA accessible) and offers a peaceful, shaded respite from the surrounding desert. Each site has lighted shade structures, picnic tables, fire rings, and tent pads. All sites are also equipped with RV electrical hookups (20/30/50 AMP). Modern restroom facilities are available, and hiking trails lead directly from the campground to various points of interest within the park including the West Rim Trail, East Rim Trail, or the Visitor Center. If you can’t get into a Canyonlands campground and want to stay at a more affordable state park, this is it.
The Wingate Campground is a new, 2018 campground that sits atop the Island in the Sky Mesa. This campground contains thirty-one (31) campsites, twenty (20) of which have electrical hookups that support RV or tent campers while eleven (11) are hike-in tent only sites. All sites have fire-pits, picnic tables under shade shelters, and access to bathrooms with running water and dish washing sinks. RV sites will accommodate vehicles up to 56′ and there is a dump station at the entrance to the campground. If sites are not reserved, they can be bought first come-first served at the park on the day of arrival. Advanced reservations can not be made from the park. The Wingate Campground also holds four yurts.
13701 N. Highway 191
Moab, UT 84532
Phone: (435) 259-7854
Archview RV Resort & Campground has a variety of unique accommodations such as cabin rentals, high quality tent sites or simply sites where you can enjoy the comfort of your own RV. On-site amenities include a swimming pool, a general store, and complimentary Wi-Fi. The central location meand Archview campers can easily access both Arches and Canyonlands National Parks as well as take advantage of balloon rides and ATV tours that begin on-site.
Their extra large premium RV sites offer a very lengthy pull-thru site with leveled gravel, a 30/50 amp, picnic table, barbeque grill, and complimentary Wi-Fi and cable TV. In a word—luxury.
Premium sites can accommodate RV’s up to 50 feet in length, are pull through, and have connections for 50/30/20 amp plugs, and are water, sewer, and electric available. The standard site can accommodate RV’s up to 35 feet in length, are pull through, have 30/50 amp, and are water, sewer, and electric available. Their primitive tent sites picnic tables and barbeque grills. Tent use only, tent sites do not accommodate RV’s.
- Propane for sale
- Pool and splash pad
- Cottages and cabins for rent
- Laundry room
- ATM on site
- Complimentary WiFi
- Clean bathhouses