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914 mike
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 30, 2009 3:34 pm    Post subject: Utah Camping / BLM Reply with quote

Trying to throw together a last minute trip to southern Utah for spring break. Gonna do Zion, Bryce, Capital Reef, maybe monument valley, etcc...gonna stay away from Moab/Arches area....sounds like its packed with the ATV crowd?
Looks like all the developed camp sites are booked up. Any recomendations on camping would be appreciated. Can you camp on BLM land? Any other camp spot recomendations that dont require a reservation?

Thanks

Mike
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82WestyMan
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 30, 2009 5:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I really recommend the Utah State Campground system, much better facilities than the NPs
Coral Pink Sand Dunes is about 30 miles from the east entrance to Zion but it has a big ATV crowd
Kodachrome Basin is about 25 from Bryce, down the hill and out in the middle of nowhere in a beautiful canyon
Nothing really close to Capital Reef except up the mountain some (BIG hill) but really nice and great views
Nothing I can think of near Monument Valley but its worth the trip. All Indian land but you see why they filmed so many westerns there

I was just out there last spring and if memory serves me correct, all the NPs are 'first come, first serve' so you can get lucky off-season or wait for someone to leave in the morning
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FNGRUVN
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 30, 2009 5:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Where are you driving from? We did pretty much the same tour back in January. Snow might be a factor. Plenty of BLM in Utah, but can you get to it with snow on the ground?

One place we stopped for the night near Capitol Reef was off FR179(North Slope Rd). This is off HWY 12 north of Grover. Awesome views, plenty of firewood, and we had the whole mountain top to ourselves.

Outside of Zion, off 15, we found a spot next to the Virgin River. It had a small sign out front that said camping was allowed. I'm not sure, but it could have been a county park. Zion's campground was terrible.

Bryce Canyon has a nice campground. That was our only option due to the really deep snow in the surrounding area.

If you don't have one already, get a DeLorme map and check out the Forest Routes on National Forest land. A lot of these roads are plowed. You're in for an awesome trip. Bryce Canyon was by far our favorite place. Next time I go to Utah, I'll spend the bulk of the time at Bryce. Have fun you lucky dog.
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Steelhead
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 30, 2009 7:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dark Canyon on the southwest end. explore dirt access roads to rim. hike into the canyon. Immaculate this time of year. Dog friendly too.
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DougR
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 30, 2009 8:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You can camp on BLM land in Utah as long as you don't improve the site at all. Don't go building and fire rings. There are millions of fire rings everywhere already if the site is even remotely desirable. Stop in the local BLM office and they will tell you this same thing. Also, they will tell you where to avoid due to road construction, washouts, etc. Sometimes, they will even tell you about a super cool hike that is nearby.

Good Luck!

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 30, 2009 8:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Kadachrome Basin is indeed a nice place, but camping there is not always a good option. You can camp in the BLM land to the south by following a few of the dirt roads that go south off the road to the Basin. We just found a branch road that petered out and pulled off and made it out home. Saw nobody, heard nothing, perfect. For our purposes Dark was important:

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singler3360
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 30, 2009 8:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Basically, anywhere and everywhere. Bump down the grated double-track to the western, detached section of Canyonlands NP. I think it's called Horseshoe Canyon and it's some of the best pictographs to be seen in the SW. No ATVers allowed. We were also very impressed with the Cedar Mesa/Grand Gulch area near there as well. Just be sure to respect the land, people and property as much as you respect your Westy, LOL. Have a great trip.
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Rhinoculips
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 30, 2009 9:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Northwest of Mexican Hat is Muley Point. A few miles north of Mexican Hat, take Hwy 261 west. Follow to the top of the bluff and turn south on dirt road first chance you can. Follow to the first overlook of San Juan River, then go right tell you get to second overlook. http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&source=s_q&...iwloc=addr

Coordinates taken from Google Earth (i.e. close but most likely not totally accurate)

37°14'7.22"N
109°59'35.62"W

Here you will find a view like this...with Monument Valley in the distance.


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AZWesty
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 30, 2009 11:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Grand Staircase - Escalante is my favorite place(s) in the world. You can camp anywhere you want. Just drive down a dirt road and pull off. Check out the small town of Boulder, UT. Small ranching community but you'll find some good food and some local Vanagons. Head down Hole in the Rock Road & check out various slot canyons. Further west you'll find Cottonwood Canyon Rd. Kodachrome is there, but keep going south and you'll find plenty of camping. Take a map and leave your plans wide open.
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Hal87
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 30, 2009 11:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Draw a line on the Utah map from Dinosaur to St. George and throw darts--ANYWHERE you hit will be beautiful beyond imagining! On the other hand, Bryce is at 9000 feet and Cedar Breaks is at 10,000 feet so they will be DAMN cold until June. The Needles district has, hands down, the best campground in the NPS, and the best "from camp" hiking too! JUST spent a week there and Arches myself (and saw 5 Synchros, 5 2wd Vanagon Westys, 4 Eurovan weekenders, and 1 Euro full camper! Oh and one Diesel Westy doing MAYBE 45 on 550--WITH a tailwind! But I digress....) and I can't recommend it enough. (Be sure to HIKE, not drive, if you have a Synchro, out Peekaboo trail to the arch and pictograph panel--best dayhike EVER!) On the other hand, avoid the Moab area like the plague the week before Easter as it will be COMPLETELY consumed by the Easter Jeep Safari!

As for BLM land, it has been largely camp at will, though those land use policies have been changing. You can read the new plan here http://www.blm.gov/ut/st/en/fo/monticello/planning/Monticello_Resource_Management_Plan.html though it is a big (~200 page) document. The bottom line is the changes are vast, if probably necessary to address increased usage, and much more restrictive. The Comb Ridge/Butler Wash area is one of my absolute faves because of the concentration and quality of Ancestral Puebloan ruins and rock art. Oh and it is BEAUTIFUL country too! As a nice bonus, Bluff is a really cool little town with one GREAT restaurant.

Really, you absolutely cannot go wrong with SE Utah!
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914 mike
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 31, 2009 8:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you, thank you, thank you!
Great info. Sounds like options are wide open for camping.....not to worry about no reservations at the NP campgrounds.

I am bringing my heater.....forgot Bryce was that High up. I love the Cedar Breaks area.....have camped at Navaho Lake throughout my youth.....but its really high up there. Probably not open this time of the year?

Anyways, thanks again for the trip tips......

Mike
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Randy in Maine
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 31, 2009 8:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you get some extra time, the fossil collection at the College of Eastern Utah in Price is well worth the time to visit.

I have always enjoyed a visit to Goblin Valley myself.
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914 mike
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 31, 2009 9:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, since I teach 7th grade earth science, I will have to put that on my list of to-do's! Thanks for the tip....

I have seen several mentions of Gobblin Valley in other threads....I think I may need to check it out just to see what the hype is all about.

I just did a weather check....looks like it will be a cold adventure....especially at night. Anyone have an idea of how much snow will be a factor? Are the roads plowed on a regular basis if'n it does snow?

Mike
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Randy in Maine
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 31, 2009 10:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Link here...

http://stateparks.utah.gov/stateparks/parks/goblin-valley/
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Hal87
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 31, 2009 10:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Goblin Valley is great for kids. There are no trails to speak of, but lots of fun roaming around in the "miniature" hoodoos. Do not get TOO ambitious with places to go and see, or you will wind up seeing nothing at all! Keep in mind that you NEED to get out and hike or you will, well you will still have fun, but you will definitely not get the full experience. A week is not really as much time as it may seem....
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singler3360
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 01, 2009 8:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

We've been venturing down to s. Utah off and on for years now. Thanks to these posts I now realize we've only begun to scratch the surface. So far the only Westy I've seen has been ours. Maybe that will change with this thread, LOL.
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floggingmolly
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PostPosted: Sun May 05, 2013 12:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

To add to this, we found a perfect spot just east of Capitol Reef NP on BLM land. It's Notom-Bullfrog Road about 5 miles east of CRNP. Turn right (south) and head up the hill. There is a restroom right at the turn on the north side of HWY 24 that you turn off of. Come to the top of the hill and make your first right on a dirt road to a fantastic overlook. There was a fire ring already there so we used it. We ended up camping there with another westy couple we met at the gas station at the intersection of HWYs 12 and 24. The Fruita campground at the park was full and the rangers recommended the road we ended up on. Probably more campsites further down the road, but this was close to the bathroom down the hill and had a spectacular view!
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BillWYellowstone
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PostPosted: Sun May 05, 2013 1:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You have probably been and gone by now, but there is dispersed camping right next to Goblin as well, just follow the road out towards Little Horse Canyon. Great hike through a couple slot canyons there as well.
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PostPosted: Sun May 05, 2013 3:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Good to know! Yes, we're well gone from there at this point. I like your avatar though. Had a nice ride thru Monument Valley, stunning!
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