The Best Place to Camp in Canyonlands National Park
Canyonlands National Park in Utah is somewhere you go to get out into the wild and experience nature first-hand.
Boasting rugged breathtakingly deep canyons, white cliffs stretching skywards from the winding Colorado River and Green River below, miles of epic dirt roads and rough red desert are what await you when you come camping or hiking in Canyonlands National Park.
It’s a truly awe-inspiring place.
So, where’s the best place to camp when you visit Canyonlands National Park? What are the facilities like? Are the campgrounds there easy to get to? We’ll be answering these questions and many more in this short article.
Developed Campgrounds in Canyonlands National Park
The developed campgrounds offer some limited facilities but bear in mind that you won’t get much when you come to Canyonlands. Here it’s all about the experience. The following two campgrounds won’t require you to get a permit to camp but do read up on regulations before you travel.
Willow Flat Campground
If you’re looking to break away from the chaos and overwhelm of everyday life, you’re looking forward to epic sunrises, sitting back to soak up the night sky and enjoying the peace and quiet, this is the campground for you.
You won’t get any fancy facilities here, nor will you find cell phone reception, but this once-in-a-lifetime experience is very much worth it.
Located in the Island in the Sky district, the campground is situated on sandstone cliffs which tower 1000 feet over the surrounding landscape and offers some truly stunning views of the local area.
The campground is located about 40 minutes’ drive from Moab and very close to the fabulous Mesa Arch, the Green River overlook and a walk to the Grand View Point so it’s great for families, nature-lovers and hikers alike.
But be aware that this campsite is rather small and offers just 12 sites on a first come first served basis so it’s always a very good idea to have a backup plan in mind.
Facilities include vault toilets, fire pits but there isn’t any drinking water. For most months of the year, you can fill up at the visitor center nearby.
Squaw Flat Campground
This quiet family campground is ideal for those who want to enjoy the quiet desert surroundings with a few home comforts such as flushing toilets, showers, picnic tables, fire rings, and a small convenience store. They even have tepees and a ton of camping equipment to hire if you’d prefer not to bring your own.
With 26 individual sites plus three sites for groups, Squaw Flat is just 1 ½ mile from the Canyonlands National Park Visitor’s Center and just over 40 minutes from Highway 191 in the Needle District.
Like the other campgrounds in the national park, most sites are available on a first-come-first-served basis, but some can be reserved at certain times of the year.
Backcountry Campgrounds in Canyonlands National Park
To stay in the backcountry campgrounds in Canyonlands National Park, you’ll need to get a backcountry camping permit before you visit. Costing just $30 and available to book online, it’s good for 14 consecutive nights. Bear in mind there are usually no facilities such as running water or toilets at these campgrounds, so you’ll need to come prepared.
The Labyrinth Campground is situated along the White Rim Road and offers space for just 15 people and three vehicles and not much else.
To get here you need to travel 72 miles from the visitor center and avoid getting lost as you explore the beautiful landscapes of The Maze District.
You won’t be allowed to have a campfire and there isn’t any drinking water available, but you will spend the night under stars in one of the most beautiful places on earth!
Murphy Point Overlook Campground
Imagine having a campground all to yourself in the amazing Utah landscapes. One which feels like you’ve just stumbled upon a very well-kept secret hidden along White Rim Road. One which boasts jaw-dropping views, incredible sunrise and sunsets and everything you ever dreamed of when planning your visit to Canyonlands…
As with the other backcountry campgrounds, there isn’t any drinking water here, nor are there any facilities to speak of. But what you will have is nature, raw and impressive.
Devil’s Kitchen Campground
If you want to experience this incredible tents-only campground, you’re going to need some expert driving skills! You’ll have to brave scary cliffs, huge boulders and some really tight spaces to get to this campground.
Situated at 5295 feet of elevation, you’ll need a backcountry permit to stay here and you’ll have to leave your pet and your RV at home. The facilities are vault toilets and they are pretty clean too.
Gooseberry campground will make you feel like you’re camping on another planet!
Surrounded by those red rock formations that make Canyonlands famous and with several small springs nearby, this is a wonderful location for hiking, climbing and enjoying the great outdoors. Be aware that it’s a long hike to get here if you’re not coming by car.
Maze Overlook Campground
I know we say it every time, but Maze Overlook is absolutely stunning. Peer down over the winding vast canyons as far as the eye can see and feel like you’re the only person in the world when you camp here. There aren’t any facilities nor water here, but when you get a view like this, who needs them?
White Crack Campground
About halfway down the White Rim Road, this campground is very flat and without trees or boulders to provide any shade but a beautiful place to enjoy the peace and quiet and to observe the sunsets, sunrises, and wildlife in the area.
It’s a 1.8-mile detour to get here from the main road but it is absolutely worth it. Again, you’ll need a backcountry permit to camp here.
Airport Tower Campground
You’ll know you’ve arrived at Airport Tower when you come across the stunning rock shaped like an air traffic control tower!
Located in a flat open space that looks out over the arid red landscape, it’s a great place to rest your head whilst exploring the winding White Rim Road. Don’t expect to find toilets or drinking water here, so make sure you come prepared and don’t forget that backcountry camping permit!
Whether you’re looking to enjoy the awe-inspiring beauty of the Canyonlands National Park with a few comforts or you’re keen to get off-grid and out into the wild, you’ll love these campsites dotted across the Canyonlands National Park.
Whichever you choose to visit, make sure you prepare carefully, read up on regulations and most of all, enjoy this other-worldly U.S national park.
Learn more about 13 Best National Parks for Camping and Hiking.