View original topic: Trip Planning - Salt Lake City / Moab Camping ?
markz2004 Fri Jun 01, 2012 8:42 am

Later this month Iím leading a small armada of three Westies down to Moab from Portland. Yea itís going to be hot, but what are you going to do?

Anyway on the trip down and back up, the Salt Lake City area is the target destination for stopping and sleeping for a night. Iíve looked at the campsites in the canyons and found a couple that seem ok. I am most familiar with Little Cottonwood Canyon, and really would like to stealth camp in Alta, but thought any peeps in the SLC area may have some better suggestions.

Any suggestions for SLC camping or Moab would be appreciated. Iíve read through pretty much any thread with ďMoabĒ and Iím pretty happy with our plans as of now. However, any suggestions are always appreciated. Iíll repay the help with a trip report with pictures.


hans j Fri Jun 01, 2012 9:04 am

I'll be doing a trail post for Moab soon, and as far as stealth camping in the canyons, easy. It's technically all (mostly) BLM land and people would either be jealous, not care or think you were backpacking or staying at a cabin.

Let me know if you want another for Moab, I could probably be coerced into going, again... :)

Suspect Device Fri Jun 01, 2012 10:05 am

At the end of the month we're starting from Portland and headed the same direction as well. S. Utah NPs, Four Corners, the South Rim of the Grand Canyon, and probably back up 95 (or maybe 50) through NV. Looking forward to following this post and hope to see you on the road!

Randy in Maine Fri Jun 01, 2012 10:31 am

No camping (even stealth) up Little Cottonwood Canyon as it the drinking water supply for SLC.

Lots of better places that are actually easy off-easy-on and are actually on the way to the 4 corners.

GWTWTLW Fri Jun 01, 2012 10:36 am

We usually try to take the back way through Heber and Duchesne and then dropping down to Price. We've never stopped to camp but we've passed what look like nice campgrounds along 40 and 191.

I've also camped on 92 just past Sundance. There are a couple of decent campgrounds. Not stealth though...

hans j Fri Jun 01, 2012 11:00 am

Randy in Maine wrote: No camping (even stealth) up Little Cottonwood Canyon as it the drinking water supply for SLC.

Lots of better places that are actually easy off-easy-on and are actually on the way to the 4 corners.

Little Cottonwood

Big Cottonwood

Another list of stuff near SLC:

Pretty much no one should bother you if you stay in the resort parking lots. I lived at Brighton Ski Resort for 20 years and cars were left overnight all the time in the summer.

Randy in Maine Fri Jun 01, 2012 11:12 am

Well what do you know. I don't think they were there when I lived there...of course that was 30 years ago.

I will have to check them out the next time I get out there. Thanks for the corrected info.

markz2004 Fri Jun 01, 2012 12:33 pm

hans j wrote: I lived at Brighton Ski Resort for 20 years

Wow, the best I could do was a full season at Alta.

Ideally I'd like to stay at the Albion site, but it doesn't open until after July 4th (too much snow). Thanks for the suggestions in Big Cottonwood Canyon. Seems like somewhere in a canyon is the best chance for a cool evening


hans j Fri Jun 01, 2012 1:08 pm

Well my parents were ski bums so it's where I grew up. Pretty much everything is open right now, we barely managed 300 inches of snow this year. Even Guardsmans Pass opened a few weeks ago :(

Also if it's not on your list yet, check out Goblin Valley, it's close. They rebuilt the campground and now it's pretty nice and might even have showers? We spent a ton of time there when I was a kid.

Or even Mystic Hot springs for a soak before the drive back. They have camping there too.

BillWYellowstone Fri Jun 01, 2012 2:55 pm

Wow, Brighton and Alta, two of my favorites, my wife and I had our honeymoon at Brighton. 40 years ago.

Used to be able to get a 1/2 day pass there with military discount for about $4.00.

Times have changed.

BillWYellowstone Fri Jun 01, 2012 2:57 pm

Oh, and Moab. Lots of nice campsites along the river right near Arches, just north of town. Not free, but cheap.

markz2004 Sun Dec 14, 2014 10:38 pm

Trip Report Time!

Our caravan of three vans left Portland on June 22 and made our way through Boise, Salt Lake (Alta) and to Moab. The goal was to hit Arches, Canyon Lands, Dead Horse and then Goblin Valley. As there was a good group of us making camping reservations fit our needs. We were threading a needle with the date, as one of the campgrounds in Alta was still closed, yet Moab was steadily getting hotter as summer neared. However, it was hot by the time we got to Idaho.

Camping up in Little Cottonwood Canyon is simply great. The upper campground is at about 7,000 feet and is a welcome change from the heat of Salt Lakeís valley. The air is mountain sweet. There are nice little hikes a couple of small lakes. I skied here in 95 for a season and it was very nice coming back seeing the valley in a completely different season. If you are coming through the area, it would be nice to spend two nights a full day up here exploring. After a dayís reprieve, we headed back down to the valley to begin our way south. The canyon is steep at times and there is no shame in sticking it in 2nd gear and taking your time. You could you cook your brakes pretty easily.

Headed to Moab from SLC was a good full day. We had three vans and several kids, so basic logistics caused us to move a bit slower than average. One of our vans was an automatic and we even got to experience a little panic ďno startĒ at a rest stop. It was a tense 30 minutes as we tore the van apart to find the short. Ultimately I think some electrical part cooled enough to allow the circuit to operate correctly. This van would have this happen a couple more times during our week trip.

We arrived in Arches close to sunset. We stayed in the Devilís Garden campground. Itís a fine campground. We chose this one specifically we knew we would arrive later in the day and simply drive out of the park slowly and hike in a couple areas. Two things are quite striking at this point. One is the lack of shade and the other is the heat. At this time of year it was hot. Basically it was 80 at night and 100 in the day. After the first night, we stopped unpacking sleeping bags.

After spending much of the day in arches, we made our way into Moab. We stayed at Cayonlands Campground campground in town. Definitely had some downsides, but the showers were welcomed. Camping in down did have the benefit of allowing us to eat at the brew pub and walk. Fun part was when GWTWTLW was on his way to Portland and met us for a beer. The next morning we did a Ĺ day raft trip, grabbed lunch in town and headed to Dead Horse State Park late in the day making dinner when we arrived.

Dead Horse is really underrated. This part of the trip was more relaxing as we cold park the vans for a couple of days. We got up earlier in the morning and headed for a hike. Pretty much by 11am, we hunkered down in our make shift shade camp. With proper hydration and soaking your shirt the heat was manageable. The next morning we hiked again, hit the visitorís center and made our way to Canyon Lands for the day.

Canyon Lands was interesting. The geography is different in its own way from the other areas. We were only able to spend a day here and we headed back north to Green River State Park. Green River is ok for a stop over, really nothing special here. It had showers and having a camp area with grass was a welcome change.

From Green River we did a day trip to Goblin Valley State Park. Goblin Valley is really interesting landscape. Timing was off and we ended up doing a hike in the heat of the day. It was almost comical with everyoneís wet t-shirt on their head looking like a desert sheik. The campground in Goblin looked newish, but there is no shade. If I remember correctly the yurts at had AC.

These areas are really great to explore. Our van had AC that works great. Even then sometimes, when the van has sat in the sun it takes a long time to get it down to a comfortable level. There is simply no shade in the areas we were.

We continued back north and spent another night in Little Cottonwood Canyon on the way home. Good trip and Iíd highly recommend the area.

IdahoDoug Sun Dec 14, 2014 11:32 pm


Thank you for doing a summer road trip report in December! Some fresh reading of a summer trip was timed perfectly, and great reading.

I'm curious if any of your group used reflective window covers, and if so any thoughts on their effectiveness? I didn't see any and I'm guessing Westy owners probably tend not to have them since you already have curtains built in. But I thought I'd ask.

Nice trip report.


GWTWTLW Mon Dec 15, 2014 10:44 am

It's about [email protected] time! It was only a year and a half ago! :P

Nice report though!

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