Where can you camp for free near MOAB Utah?

Home » Where can you camp for free near MOAB Utah?

There are several excellent campsites in the Moab, Utah region. There are full-service campgrounds, bare-bones campgrounds on BLM property, campsites inside national and state parks, and, of course, loads of FREE (and legal) camping surrounding Moab.

7 great FREE camping areas near Moab, Utah.

Today we’re giving you 7 great free camping options to choose from on your next visit to Moab! Furthermore, if you’re attempting to figure out precisely what you’ll do on your trip.

Need-To-Know About Free Primitive Camping Near Moab

  • There are no hook-ups, garbage cans, or restrooms in primitive camping. Be prepared to boondock .
  • If camping during summer time, here’s a few tips and products that can help you stay cool in the heat.
  • Respect the land! Pack it in, pack it out!
  • Portable toilets or human waste bags* are necessary while camping for free on BLM land in Moab.
  • Camp in regions that have already been utilized (look for fire rings and obviously cleared areas).
  • Only drive on established roads.
  • No cutting or gathering wood.
  • Keep an eye on the weather before driving down any of these roads; if it rains, you might easily get stranded.
  • While driving a larger vehicle, carefully scout out any potentially dangerous regions before proceeding.
  • Numerous web sites claim that free camping may be found near Potash Road. That is no longer an option and people are routinely asked to leave in the middle of the night.
  • If you have any questions about primitive camping, you may call the BLM office in Moab at 435-259-2100.
Map showing land status from discovermoab.com

Map showing land status from discovermoab.com

Tips and Resources When Boondocking near Moab

  • Maverik Gas Station
    • Only in their southern position are these services offered.
    • 985 US 191
    • GPS Coordinates: 38.558304, -109.543397
    • Potable water is available for free on the north/left side of the building.
    • On the north side of the structure, near the diesel pumps, there is a free dump station.
    • It may rapidly get busy and overcrowded, so go during odd hours.
  • Farm & City Feed & RV Supply
    • 850 S Main Street
    • GPS Coordinates: 38.5599, -109.5469
    • Potable Water – $5.00 fee
    • Dump Station – $5.00 cost (if dumping and filling, they charge just $5.00 total).
    • Propane Fill – must pay for a minimum of 2 gallons
    • Great option if Maverik is a complete cluster
  • Shell Station
    • 2420 Spanish Trail Rd
    • GPS Coordinates: 38.528644, -109.502464
    • Potable Water – Free (bring your own hose)
    • Propane Fill – minimum purchase of $5.00
  • Shower Facilities
    • The Moab Information Center has an excellent up-to-date list of shower locations and fees.
    • Or check out our post on showering with very little water

Free Camping in Moab

1. Manti LaSal National Forest

  • GPS Coordinates: 38.468199, -109.363763 (about where the free camping begins); 38.507608, -109.346539 (these are the coordinates for where we camped – shown below in photo)
  • Cell Service: Yes – Verizon, AT&T, Sprint/T-mobile (Google Fi)
  • Elevation: between 6693’ and 7670’ or so

One of our favorite free camping spots is in the national forest just southeast of Moab. It isn’t super convenient if you’re wanting to come and go from Moab, but if you’re looking to escape the crowds (and find cooler temperatures!), head to this free spot.

Free camping near Moab in the Manti La Sal National Forest.

As soon as you approach the Manti La Sal National Forest on La Sal Loop Road, you’ll see free camping. Several of the early locations were just off the road and seemed promising. Nonetheless, if you have the time and patience, continue driving!

The higher you go, the more spectacular the scenery and the fewer people you’ll see. We drove long enough to find a large open free camping spot back off the main road and we boondocked all weekend, only hearing a few other vehicles drive by.

This route should be straightforward to traverse for any vehicle, however high clearance may be necessary to return to certain campgrounds.

2. Yellow Circle Road

  • GPS Coordinates: 38.428397, -109.420829
  • Cellular service is available through Verizon, AT&T, and Sprint/T-Mobile (Google Fi)
  • Elevation: 5347’

This free camping location is located south of Moab, just east of Highway 191. Go beyond the “no camping for 0.6 miles” sign using your GPS. You’ll see vast cleared spaces with fire rings – select your poison.

Free camping on Yellow Circle Road near Moab, Utah.

The first spots at the beginning of the road are easy to access for any sized rig, and you’ll likely find yourself sharing any large open sites with others (who might pull in late and/or leave early). Despite the presence of other campers, we found this free camping spot to be rather calm.

The road winds up and around, becoming more difficult to maneuver. If you are able to get farther in you may be able to snag a smaller individual site with a little bit of shade.

3. Willow Springs Road

  • GPS Coordinates: 38.696832, -109.6981
  • Yeah, Verizon; patchy AT&T; spotty T-mobile/Sprint (Google Fi)
  • Elevation: 4430’

If you’re seeking for free camping near Arches National Park, this may be the spot. It’s located just north of the national park entrance, and since it’s always recommended to hit up Arches early, camping nearby is the way to go.

Free camping near Moab, Utah on Willow Springs Road.

You should be aware that this region is rather popular. It’s so popular that porta toilets are supplied! It is well-known for its late evenings, socializing, and traffic noise. There are tons of open and flat sites (great views though!), so you can find literally hundreds of spots to park here and any sized rig could call this area home for the night.

If you can come on a day and time when you can explore long enough and far enough down the road to find one of the smaller sites – maybe even one with rocks and little trees for solitude and shade – congratulations!

So don’t be concerned if you arrive late. Keep looking, and although you may not find an individual campsite, you’ll surely be able to find a place to park and sleep for free.

4. Gemini Bridges Road

  • GPS Coordinates: 38.612202, -109.665496
  • Cell Service: No
  • Elevation: 4669’

This free camping location near Moab is not suitable for large vehicles! Access to this region requires 4WD and a high clearance. It is not worth the risk to try to travel to this campground with a 2WD vehicle, van, or compact RV.

Free camping in Moab at the Gemini Bridges Area.

The free camping areas at Gemini Bridges are situated west of Moab on Gemini Bridges Road. If you get the opportunity to visit these locations, you will not be disappointed! You’ll be camping at Bride’s Canyon, overlooking some massive red rock formations.

There are just a few sites – 5 or 6, the views are absolutely breathtaking, and you won’t run into many others while camping. The terrain is largely fine red sand, with a few tiny juniper trees strewn around.

Before you begin, make sure your car is properly fuelled and fitted for this route, and check the weather for any impending rain.

5. Long Canyon Road

  • GPS Coordinates: 38.541042, -109.722856
  • Cell Service: spotty T-mobile/Sprint (Google Fi)
  • Elevation: 6079’

This free camping spot near Moab has two entrances. One requires a high clearance 4×4 vehicle with an experienced driver, and the other is accessible to anyone.

The 4×4 way is to take Potash/279 west out of Moab and head west on Long Canyon Road, and although the vistas and drive would be magnificent, this route isn’t really suggested if you’re simply looking for a free camping location.

Free camping along Long Canyon Road in Moab, Utah.

However, coming in from 313 is easy to do for any vehicle and is the route you’d be on anyway if visiting Canyonland National Park or Dead Horse Point State Park. Thus, if you’re searching for free camping near Canyonlands or Dead Horse Point, these are the places to go!

Turn east (left) onto Long Canyon Road from 313. You’ll see cleared areas with fire rings around 2-3 miles along Long Canyon Road. We arrived late two nights in a row and saw no one else in the neighborhood.

This free camping spot isn’t on our list of favorites, owing to the miniscule grains of fine red sand and the possibility of cactus “attacking” our preschooler at every turn, but it’s close to the national and state parks, the sunsets are spectacular, and it’s FREE!

6. Lone Mesa Area

  • 38.642739, -109.820469 GPS Coordinates (these coordinates take you to the first split in the road)
  • Cell Service: not dependable
  • Elevation: 5279’

This free camping location is located west of Moab on Highway 313. To get to the free campsites, turn off of 313 onto BLM 137 as if you’re going to the Lone Mesa Group Site. After passing the Group Site, the road splits into Secret Spire Safari Rte / BLM 137 and Hey Joe Canyon Safari Rte / BLM 140. Both routes provide free camping.

Free camping in the Lone Mesa Area in Moab, Utah.

Any car should be able to navigate these roads with moderate caution and common sense. The main road is maintained, but some scouting may be required when turning in to certain campsites.

So seek for any cleared space that has clearly been tented in. You’ll discover something if you keep driving! If you took the right fork (onto Hidden Spire Safari Rte / BLM 137), you’ll be heading to the free camping spot known as Dubinky Well Road.

The sunsets and stars are spectacular, and the vistas improve as you go along these roads.

7. Mineral Point / BLM 340

  • GPS Coordinates: 38.590363, -109.840694
  • Cell Service: probably not!
  • Elevation: 5741’

We did not stay here, however the Moab Information Center provided us with this free camping alternative. This is another one located really conveniently to Islands in the Sky section of Canyonlands National Park and Dead Horse Point State Park.

Worth noting – Mineral Road/Horsethief Trail runs parallel to Mineral Point/BLM 340 which goes past Horsethief Campground. The northern road, Mineral Point/BLM 340, is what you’re looking for.

Horsethief Campsite is situated at the intersection of 313 and Mineral Point. To get to the free dispersed camping, drive past Horsethief Campground and you’ll quickly begin to see lots of cleared areas and fire rings intended for free dispersed camping.

Although it’s always wise to check road conditions and upcoming weather predictions, it sounds like this road is maintained well enough for any vehicle to handle.

Related Questions

  • Can you camp at the Moab for free?

    There are several dirt roads around the desert where you may just pull over and camp; no fees or permits are necessary! That’s called dispersed camping, also called boondocking, and it’s easy to do around Moab just as long as you know where to go, and know how to do it right.

  • Can you camp wherever you want in Moab?

    Camping is only permitted within 20 miles of Moab in designated campsites. Primitive camping is available in certain areas outside of Moab (see map & legend below): These rules apply to all primitive areas: Vehicles must remain on the road. Human waste removal is essential (portable toilet or human waste bags)

  • Where can you sleep in your car in Moab?

    Best Free Campsites Near Moab

    1. La Sal Loop.
    2. Gemini Bridges Road.
    3. Castleton Tower Campground.
    4. Yellow Circle Road.
    5. Lone Mesa Area.
  • Where can I camp for free in Arches?

    So here are the top nine free camping spots around Arches National Park, Canyonlands National Park, and Moab, Utah!

    9 Free Moab Camping Spots Near Arches National Park

    1. Potash Road. …
    2. Willow Springs Trail. …
    3. Lower Gemini Bridges. …
    4. Lone Mesa Campground. …
    5. Bartlett Wash. …
    6. Klondike Bluff Road. …
    7. Dalton Well Road.

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