All the Best Camping Near Arches National Park
When Edward Abbey pulled into Arches National Park in 1956, he entered a land of red rock and shrubs that would inspire him to write his bestselling book “Desert Solitaire.” That book, in turn, has inspired generations of adventurers to seek out this otherworldly landscape just outside of the desert town of Moab, Utah.
Arches National Park—a place that is now so popular that if Abbey, a self-professed lover of seclusion, were alive, he would likely balk—is one of the “Mighty Five” Utah national parks. It receives over 1.5 million visitors a year, and many of those visitors roll in with RVs, trailers, or tents packed in their trunks.
Finding the solitude Abbey craved is a tall order these days, but there are a lot of great options for camping in and around Arches National Park. Here are a few of the Campendium community’s favorites.
Camping in Arches National Park
The National Park Service runs one campground within Arches National Park: Devil’s Garden. Devil’s Garden is 18 miles north of the park entrance and has 51 campsites. Expect the campground to be completely full each night during peak season (March through October), making reservations essential if you plan to stay during that period. Camping reservations are released on a rolling six-month basis, meaning if you want to stay on October 15, reservations open on April 15. Outside of peak season, the campground is available on a first-come, first served basis.
Devil’s Garden offers dry camping only (flush toilets and drinking water available), so be sure to arrive prepared. If it sounds a little difficult to stay inside the park, well, it is! But all the five-star reviews on Campendium leave little room for doubt…it’s worth it.
Free Camping Near Arches National Park
If you aren’t the type of person to plan ahead (we feel you!) or you just like the freedom of camping for free, there are definitely options around Arches National Park. But before we jump into those, a little word of caution: you are going to have company.
As Moab has grown in popularity through the years, all different types of people make the trek to check out the area, especially during peak season. Dirtbag climbers, spandex-clad cyclists, full-time RVers, drifters, international tourists, off-road Jeep’ers…Moab attracts them all. Which is all to say that while there is free camping, you’ll likely have neighbors—close neighbors.
Willow Springs Trail, a spot popular for its proximity to Arches National Park (it is actually the original entrance road the to the park), has dozens of sites of varying size and slope. Big rigs should pick the first spot they find, as the road and campsites get rougher and narrower the further you drive. Cell service is variable but workable in most sites. Expect plenty of dust!
It’s important to leave your free campsite even better than you found it. The fragile desert environment sees a crushing amount of use every year. Stay within an existing camp spot, pick up your trash (and other people’s trash, if they were disrespectful enough to leave it behind), and stay on established trails and routes.
Low-Cost Camping Near Arches
Low-cost camping surrounds Arches National Park in the form of Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and State Trust Land campgrounds. These campgrounds will offer limited services (bathrooms, sometimes water), but will also afford you a comfortable place to spend a few days without worrying about finding (or defending!) a free spot.
Route 128 winds along the Colorado River north of Moab and offers a half a dozen campgrounds, like Goose Island and Granstaff, that are a stone’s throw from Arches and the town of Moab. Potash Road, also along the Colorado River, has a similar number of campsites and can be a bit quieter than Route 128.
Full Hookup RV Camping Near Arches
If the heat of the Utah desert has you begging for air conditioning and a reliable shower, the dozen or so full hookup RV campgrounds in and around Moab deliver.
The Moab Valley RV Resort is a favorite on Campendium, both for its proximity to Arches National Park and its family-friendly amenities. The cool community vibes of ACT Campground, south of town, will please those looking to make some friends (a large communal kitchen and outdoor patio encourage mingling). No matter which park you choose, be sure to book ahead during the peak season to guarantee a site.
Arches National Park’s otherworldly landscape draws in visitors from near and far, and opportunities for exploration abound. Whether you stay in a free campsite or nestle in underneath the stars right inside the Park, a trip to Arches is a must-do for any adventure-loving traveler.