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Old 03-26-2014, 07:23 PM   #1
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Utah, "the Grand Circle" trip

Planning a trip to southern Utah, April or May, thinking of camping at Moab and doing day trips out of there. I see there are a number of campgrounds in/around Moab. Anyone with specific experience on this Grand Circle tour and , campground in/around Moab area, we have a TT 31 foot, two slides. Would like hook ups, shade trees, quiet.
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Old 03-26-2014, 08:42 PM   #2
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I live in Moab.
First, April/May are two of the busiest months in Moab and the surrounding areas.
There are quite a few private campgrounds in and around Moab; basically on Hwy 191, the major (only) north/south hwy into and through Moab. Reservations during April/May could be hard, but probably not impossible to get. Plan as early as you can to make reservations. These are probably the ONLY locations where you will find shade trees.

The area is surrounded by almost 25 BLM campgrounds but they have NO services; other than after mid-April, the two campgrounds 30 miles south of Moab have water. They are also on a first come/first serve basis, and best time to grab a site is on Monday afternoon or Tuesday. They will be very busy. Not many of the sites will have any noticeable sized shade trees since this is considered a high-plateau desert.

BLM campgrounds on Hwy 128 (known locally as the river road) that runs along the Colorado River has some nice campgrounds but they are very busy, and not can take a long trailer. North of town, off Hwy 313 - the road to Canyonlands Island in the Sky and Deadhorse Point state park, has a large campground called Horsethief, it can take long trailers in many locations, tends to be a bit quieter, but again, not many large trees. (I won't even mention the campgrounds along Hwy 279 (Potash Road) or Kane Creek. These tend to be small campgrounds or extremely noisy due to ATVs/UTVs and motorbikes.)

There are multiple areas where you can legally disperse camp on BLM and/or lands owned by the Utah Schools (hard to explain but yes, there are trust lands set up for schools). Needless to say, no dispersed camping in National Parks.

North of town, off Willow Springs is an area noted for dispersed camping on the school lands. Also, off Hwy 313 there is a dirt road, Dubinky Well, that has a lot of areas where you can set up and camp for free. Usually a lot quieter up there than on the River road, but can be dusty.

For more privacy, and more shade, you will have to go up into the Lasal Mountains, south of Moab. I am not sure about hookups, but there are two campgrounds off the Lasal Loop road; Oowah Lake, and Warner Lake. They are run by the US Forest service.

Week before Eastern Sunday is known as Jeep Safari week and there are, on average, thousands of Jeeps/FJs/Hummers in town doing off-road trails from scenic dirt to extreme roads that usually end up breaking parts. It is also the start of the busy SAR season for Grand County. Those choppers overhead are either tours. life flights to Grand Junction or SAR.


There are two national parks outside of Moab. Arches, about five miles north of town, has a campground at Devil's garden but it is usually booked at the start of the year. I do believe they have some on a first come/first serve basis, but not positive. And I don't believe there is any hookups, just water.

Canyonlands, Island in the Sky District, about 35 miles northwest of town, has a campground but not sure about hookups and if like Arches, always booked.

There is Deadhorse State Park campground, also about 35 miles northwest of Moab, but there is NO privacy in a Utah state park campground.

To sum it up, not much privacy during these months unless you disperse camp. Not much in the way of shade from trees except in private campgrounds.

However, it is a great place to visit, very scenic, lots to do like the Nat. Parks and hiking trails galore.

List of private campgrounds:
http://discovermoab.com/campgrounds_private.htm

BLM campgrounds (a few missing on this list):
http://discovermoab.com/campgrounds_blm.htm

Dispersed camping areas and restrictions (if any):
http://www.blm.gov/ut/st/en/fo/moab/...an_i_camp.html
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Old 03-28-2014, 03:51 AM   #3
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Thank You, appreciate the info.
After looking at the map may just stay in Blanding and do the day trips from there, or at least a portion of them.
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Old 03-28-2014, 03:55 AM   #4
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Trip Grand Circle

Will have to delay our trip till the 22-23 so maybe some of that crowd will be dispersed?
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Old 03-28-2014, 06:08 AM   #5
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[QUOTE=f5moab;572818]I live in Moab.
First, April/May are two of the busiest months in Moab and the surrounding areas.


First hand, detailed information. Just another example of why this forum is awesome!

Gotta tell you f5moab, I've been to Moab twice and simply love that entire area...I'm jealous!
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Old 03-28-2014, 09:28 AM   #6
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Delaying a few days will help...some. Basically, after the Jeep Safari week, Moab is one busy place.
This is a great website to let you know what will be going on the time you are here.
City of Moab's Official Tourism Website - Get up-to-date vacation planning information from the only official source for the city of Moab.

I have heard the campground in Blanding is pretty good; just from what others have said. I have no personal knowledge of it at all.

However, not to scare you away from Moab, if you have never been to Monument valley, it is not that far south of Blanding. There is a very nice 11 or 13 mile road open to the public (for fee of course) that has some very beautiful photo ops. Also, just south of Bluff is a road to the west, called Valley of the Gods. It's a fun road, usually in pretty good condition. I have actually seen a Mustang GT do it once. And if you do the road, it will connect to a paved road that will lead you back to the main highway. Or, you can go to the west and do the up and down the Moki Dugway.


And a little short road off the highway can take you over to Goosenecks State Park...Free to enter and snap a photo.


Also, it is a great drive from Blanding to Moab. Just north of Monticello you will pass through the Canyon Rims area, then into Lisbon Valley. Some great scenery to see along the way.

Not knocking Arches, it is a fantastic place and has some beautiful arches, some of the most spectacular arches (my opinion at least) are not in Arches NP.
Pritchett Arch south of Moab....


Corona Arch, off Hwy 279, northwest of Moab


Enjoy your stay and have fun. It's a great place....
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Old 03-28-2014, 09:34 AM   #7
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f5moab

you are a wealth of information and if I may hijack this thread for a quesiton.
Have you been in our been around Temple Hill Resort in Manti? We are coming through Utah in July and would like to get some good info for that area if you can. It will be just a stop over

Thanks and sorry for hijacking
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Old 03-28-2014, 09:35 AM   #8
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F5, where is that first picture with the winding road? Monument valley, Valley of the Gods, or Moki Dugway? Thank you!
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Old 03-28-2014, 10:52 AM   #9
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f5moab,

Thanks for all the great info. If you were to pick a time to visit the area (combination of best weather with lightest crowds) when would that be?
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Old 03-28-2014, 06:53 PM   #10
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f5, thank you great info and awesome pictures. We want to see all of the parks and hope to take some great pictures.
That little drive to the Goosenecks, where does it begin?
And no concern my friend you did not scare me off from Moab. I was just studying the map and it seemed like we could do 5 maybe six day trips out from there.
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