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Camping:  Moab Area

People from all over the world come to Moab to enjoy the breathtaking scenery and partake in the endless opportunities to meet nature one on one. From mountain biking to white water rafting, hiking, climbing and camping the options for outdoor recreation and beautiful views are limitless.

Its 9 o’clock here in Salt Lake, we’re packing up the back of the truck and stuffing myself, wife Julie, son Brett, and dog Zeke into what’s left of the space the camping gear doesn’t take up. We head off into the night…

Moab was a sleepy town until the mad craze for uranium in the 50’s. It wasmoab1.jpg (16885 bytes) during this time that most of the roads and trails in the backcountry were made. Most of these were mining exploration roads. People rose and fell in the uranium rush. When driving in from the North, as you come into Moab you will notice a house on the hillside. Now a restaurant called the Sunset Grill, this was once the home of Charlie Steen. Charlie made his fortune by discovering the Mi Vida deposit in the Lisbon Valley. Moab grew from a town of 1200 people to 4600 almost overnight. The uranium craze brought in all kinds of people hoping to cash in.

We reach Spanish Fork and make the turn onto highway 6. This road is two lane for most of its length. Twisty mountain roads on a busy two lane road are very nerve wracking. Our local radio stations fade in and out along the ride, darn I forgot to bring CD’s…

The summertime is the only season to avoid Southern Utah. Spring and Fall are the best time to explore this region. The desert is a beautiful place to see in the springtime, the green vegetation contrasts with the red rock. In the summertime the temperatures can be rather extreme, I still go there but only four wheeling. Hiking, biking, climbing and anything outdoors is rather uncomfortable to do in the summer. If you come here this time of year use the morning and evening time to do your thing.

After making it through the mountains we finally enter and leave Price and Wellington. These are two towns you don’t want to speed through. We begin the long drive to I-70. This section of the drive is rather long and straight. We are all getting anxious to get down to Moab, I increase my speed a bit…

Moab has been the beneficiary of another population growth in the last ten years, this growth has been in tourism. Moab is located in the heart of the Colorado Plateau, there are many recreational activities available here. This is the mountain biking capital of the US, be sure and take a look at the websites featuring this hobby.

I’ve been following a truck driver for the last 20 miles, he starts to pull away from me, I speed up a bit. We reach the signs for I-70, just as I notice the flashing lights in my rear view mirror…

The Colorado river winds it way around the country side surrounding Moab. White water rafting is a very popular diversion around here, there are many outfitters willing to take people out onto the wild Colorado river. I have several friends who enjoy kayaking the Colorado, Lunch Run is the favorite run of my kayaking friends. If you are brave enough sign up with an outfitter and run Cataract Canyon, this is serious white water and not for the faint of heart.

Great, this is just what I need. I was informed that 81 in a 65 was not permitted, I admitted I was wrong and that I knew that the speed limit was 65. The officer graciously reduced the ticket to 74 in a 65. This still will cost me 40 dollars. (Note to myself: Drive the speed limit)

There are many places to gather supplies in town. I prefer to cook a meal over a fire or campstove, but for those who like to have some one else prepare their meal there are some spots here. Eddie McStiff’s offers great pizza and appetizers in a bar type atmosphere. The moab4.jpg (57540 bytes) highlight of this restaurant is the home brewed beers. Eddie McStiff’s beer is marketed statewide. My wife loves the raspberry wheat, she makes me go there every time we visit Moab. There are many other cafés and restaurants along the Main street of Moab. Some of these seem to change on a year to year basis.

The Camping

There are many private campgrounds located in and around Moab, there is a KOA campground located to the South of Moab. The best camping is on BLM land.

Long Canyon is a great place to camp. To get to Long Canyon, take Potash Road out to Jug Handle Arch and turn right. You then enter a somewhat narrow canyon surrounded by red rock cliffs. The road winds through the canyon offering numerous places to camp along its length. Camping is not allowed toward the top of the Canyon as this is a desert big horn sheep watering area. The road up Long Canyon is very interesting, especially when you drive under alongcanyon.jpg (81201 bytes) huge boulder. A huge chunk of stone fell from the cliff top, rather than try and move this colossal piece of rock the county decided to tunnel underneath. This road ends up in Dead Horse State Park. There are camping spots to be found here also.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Camping is no longer permitted in Long Canyon.

Kane Creek is another terrific place to camp. From the McDonalds in town, head right on Kane Creek Road and follow it inward as far as you like. This road eventually leads into Lockhart Basin. Places to camp are available all along the way. One of my favorite spots is about 11 miles out from the pavement. Passenger cars can negotiate this road until the river crossing of Kane Creek. Although those who have no regard for their vehicle could probably go further. My first trip down this road was in the middle of the night. Until we awoke the next morning, we had no idea of the sheer size of the cliffs upon which we were driving the night before. Along this road, there are many inlets into the rock walls in which you can set up camp and feel rather isolated. The evening views are as incredible as the day scenery. The stars seem brighter and the skies clearer in such an isolated place.

Four-Wheeling

Moab is one of the off road capitols of the world. The Easter Jeep Safari brings participants from all over the US. There are many trails guided on this weekend, from the wild and crazy to the tame. Personally I avoid Moab during this time, thousands of people converge on the area, camping sites are near impossible to find. There are many Yahoo’s prowling the town this time of year, The Moab police department probably makes its most arrests during the Easter Jeep Safari.

This is an area where you can have fun with your truck and see some incredible sights. There are trails ranging from scenic cruises to ones where you will probably receive body damage. Poison Spider Mesa and Moab Rim Trail are two of my favorite trails to attempt to destroy my truck on.. These both offer challenging obstacles and great views.

Most all the land around this area is BLM land, this area is criss-crossed with interesting trails. For a day-long diversion take Kane Creek road all the way to Needles. This route will give the occupants everything from boulder crawling out of canyon bottoms to wide open cruises down sandy two tracks.

The Climbing

The area surrounding Moab is a desert climbers dreamland. The climbing around here is done on Sandstone. Varying hardness’s of sandstone defines the different places to climb around here.

My personal favorite place to climb around here is Wall Street. Wall Street is located right next to moab3.jpg (47328 bytes) Potash road. When I say “right next” I mean “right next”, you can belay from your car at this place. The climbing here is unbelievable, everything from 5.8 trad or sport routes to .12’s. Wall Street is about a mile and a half long, climbs grace it’s entire length.


Castle Valley is not too far from Moab. This area is home to Castleton Tower, this is a 400 foot free standing tower. First climbed in 1961 by Layton Kor and Huntley Ingalls this is still today considered a plum in desert climbing. Just a glimpse of this tower is impressive, rising above a talus cone this slender stick of stone is quite a sight.

For the best desert beta be sure and stop by the Moab Climbing Shop. This shop has been around since 1992. The owner Kevin Chase has pioneered many first ascents in the Moab area. I have stopped in there several times and found the employee’s and Kevin to be very helpful. If you are going to Moab and need some gear wait till you get here and buy it from Kevin!

Overall

Moab is a fantastic place to visit, especially if you love the outdoors. Recreational activities abound in this land of Red Rock scenery. There are many hotels in town if you don’t want to rough it, but to truly see the countryside you have to get into it.

Enjoy your time outdoors in Utah!

Nearby Areas:
Arches National Park

Canyonlands National Park
Kane Creek

Resources

Book Siteseeing Tours & Other Adventures Here


Maps

Moab Area UT Trail Map

Moab Area UT Trail Map

More than just a map - National Geographic Trails Illustrated topographic maps are designed to take you into the wilderness and back. Printed on durable tear-resistant waterproof material this map can go anywhere you do! Each map is based on exact reproductions of USGS topographic map information updated customized and enhanced to meet the unique features of each area. Folded and printed on plastic for durability.



Campgrounds

Dead Horse Point Group Area
Dead Horse Point State Park


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