The Ultimate Guide To Camping In Arches National Park

(Last Updated On: 03/07/2020)

When I first planned on going camping in Arches National Park, I found myself clicking around constantly trying to find one central hub for information about camping inside the park, campgrounds outside of the park, and free options in case I wanted to save some money, and I never found one. So as I do, I have compiled a MASSIVE resource for everything you need to know about campgrounds and campsites near Arches National Park.

This guide is for tent campers, van-lifers, RV-dwellers, boondockers, and everyone in between. I’ve also included a handful of sites in these lists for if you’re planning on exploring Canyonlands National Park, Dead Horse Point State Park, or the Manti La-Sal National Forest nearby. Use this camping guide to help you plan a successful camping and hiking trip to Arches National Park and all it’s super awesome next-door neighbors. First I will cover the only campground inside Arches National Park, the Devil’s Garden Campground, and then we’ll slowly venture outside of the park. Let’s go!

This post may contain affiliate links for the products I mentioned, but as always, all opinions are my own. I make a small commission, at no extra cost to you, when you make a purchase or booking through these links. This helps to support this space and keep me blogging, which I am so extremely thankful for.

This post is part of my travel series for Utah’s Mighty Five! Check out my other posts below to help you plan your camping trip to Arches!

 


 

Arches National Park Camping Map

 

 


 

Campgrounds In Arches National Park

 


 

Devil’s Garden Campground

Open Season | Year-round

Total Sites | 51

Price | $25 Tents

Reservations | Yes (March 1 – October 31) / No (November – February)

Toilets | Yes

Showers | No

 

The only campground in Arches National Park is the Devil’s Garden Campground. There are 51 total sites here, and reservations are booked FAR in advance for the high season. If you want to stay here and you’re traveling in the months that they do take reservations, grab those up as soon as you know you’re going!

A lot of people like staying inside the park for obvious reasons, such as convenience, but if you weren’t able to grab a site here, there are many other great spots in Moab, don’t feel like you’re missing out if you don’t stay here. The Devil’s Garden Campground has very basic amenities for the price, but the views are incredible. You have flush and vault toilets available, firewood, fire pits, and water, but no cell service, wifi (not that you’ll need it), laundry, or any type of general store.

This campground is a viable choice for anyone that is spending more than a few days in Arches National Park but isn’t purchasing the America the Beautiful Park Pass. Staying inside the park, granted you brought your own food, will save you money on entrance fees every morning. You really can’t go wrong with this site!

 

photo credit

 


 

Best Campsites Near Arches National Park

Camping In Moab, Utah

 

Slickrock Campground

Open Season | Year-round

Total Sites | 174

Price | $29 Tents

Reservations | Yes

Toilets | Yes

Showers | Yes

Slickrock is the campground that I based myself at for all of my Arches adventures and this is a great spot to stay if you want to be close to the park and have a vast array of amenities. This campground has covered tent sites, showers, toilets, laundry services, a mini-mart, a swimming pool, and even wifi! It’s definitely amenity-rich, and if you can snag this place with some friends, the cost is more than worth its value! It’s located 10 minutes outside of Arches, too! Book your site here! Snagging a spot solely for the pool is also a solid idea if you’re visiting in the summer!

 

Up The Creek Campground

Open Season | Year round

Total Sites | N/A (TENT ONLY)

Price | $25 (1 person) $33 (2 people), etc.

Reservations | Yes

Toilets | Yes

Showers | Yes

Around a 15-minute drive from Arches is the Up The Creek Campground. This campground is exclusive to tent campers, so even if you’re looking to snooze in your car or van, you’ll have to go elsewhere. This is a great spot for a more relaxed trip to Arches and for those that want to dig into the scene in Moab as well. The prices increase as you add people to your party, so keep that in mind, and you’ll need to contact them directly to reserve a site. Utilize the shade here to escape the heat!


 

Pack Creek Campground

Open Season | Year-round

Total Sites | 49

Price | $25 Tents

Reservations | Yes

Toilets | Yes

Showers | Yes

Do you see a shaded tent site in your future? This is exactly the place you’ll want to be for optimal shade and a camping experience outside of central Moab. It’s around a 20-minute drive to Arches, so maybe not the most ideal if you’re on a budget and trying to save gas. The grounds of this campground remind me of a summer camp, but in a good way! You can make fires here and enjoy all the s’mores you’ll ever want with your friends and enjoy a hot shower to top off your night! Reserve your site here!

Moab Valley RV Resort + Campground

Open Season | Year-round

Total Sites | N/A

Price | $44 Tents

Reservations | Yes

Toilets | Yes

Showers | Yes

I’ll be frank about this one… This is a bit steep in price for a tent-only site. I think the number one selling point of this campground is the vast array of amenities and its distance from Arches, which is around an 8-minute drive, but that’s about it. I debated putting it in this guide because of the cost, but I do know that some of you may be interested in having some nicer amenities, so alas, here it is. Personally, I would stay at an alternative site or one of the BLM campgrounds along the Colorado River, but the choice is always up to you and you can reserve your site here!

 


 

Moab Rim Campark

Open Season | Year-round

Total Sites | 51

Price | $30 Tents

Reservations | Yes

Toilets | Yes

Showers | Yes ($5)

A stone’s throw away from the heart of Moab is a very nice campsite, the Moab Rim Campark. This campsite has a gorgeous skyline view of the La Sal Mountains in the distance and comes equipped with wifi, hot showers, toilets, and a 15-minute drive to Arches National Park! There isn’t a place to book an immediate reservation with this campground, so make sure you contact them here to see what is available for the dates you’re looking at. It’s a little more expensive than some other options, but still a fine choice for a good stay!

Moab Koa

Open Season | Year-round

Total Sites | 100+

Price | $42

Reservations | Yes

Toilets | Yes

Showers | No

Home to Moab’s largest pool, you’re getting the ultimate camping experience at Moab KOA. This site is a little bit more on the expensive side for campgrounds near Arches National Park, but this is mostly for campers that love an amenity-rich space to stay at. It’s around a 20-minute drive to Arches National Park so not the closest in proximity, but still good for getting your explore on! You can reserve your site on ReserveAmerica.com or on their site here.

 


 

ACT Campground

Open Season | Year-round

Total Sites | 40+

Price | $28

Reservations | Yes

Toilets | Yes

Showers | Yes

If you’re looking for a lovely, sustainability-focused campground in Moab, the ACT Campground is exactly what you’re looking for! The grounds are kept very clean and include showers, toilets, laundry facilities, and a communal kitchen that reminded me of some of the campsites I loved in Iceland. This is a great place to connect with fellow outdoor lovers with a really nice view off the 191 highway. It’s around 15-minutes away from Arches National Park! You can find their contact information to book your site here!

 


 

 

BLM camping near Arches National Park

(Bureau of Land Management)

BLM camping near Arches National Park is both plentiful and affordable! Pretty much all the campsites are located along the Colorado River, so they’re very close to the park and a great option if you’re traveling on a smaller budget or just want to save some chedda! Not all BLM campgrounds are created equal, but most of these sites don’t have water but have toilets, and that’s about it. These camping spots are also all first-come-first-served, so you’ll need to grab these spots in the morning to ensure you have a spot for the night. 

You can click the campground name for a direct link to the campsites’ BLM website for more information about these sites.

 


Jaycee Park Campground

Price | $20

Toilets | Yes

Water | No

To Arches | 10 minutes

Williams Bottom Campground

Price | $20

Toilets | Yes

Water | No

To Arches | 11 minutes

Gold Bar Campground

Price | $20

Toilets | Yes

Water | No

To Arches | 16 minutes

 

Goose Island Campground

Price | $20

Toilets | Yes

Water | No

To Arches | 10 minutes

Grandstaff Campground

Price | $20

Toilets | Yes

Water | No

To Arches | 13 minutes

Drinks Canyon Campground

Price | $20

Toilets | Yes

Water | No

To Arches | 14 minutes

 

Hal Canyon Campground

Price | $20

Toilets | Yes

Water | No

To Arches | 15 minutes

Oak Grove Campground

Price | $20

Toilets | Yes

Water | No

To Arches | 16 minutes

Big Bend Campground

Price | $20

Toilets | Yes

Water | No

To Arches | 16 minutes

 

Upper Big Bend Campground

Price | $20

Toilets | Yes

Water | No

To Arches | 17 minutes

Lower Onion Creek Campground

Price | $20

Toilets | Yes

Water | No

To Arches | 37 minutes

Upper Onion Creek Campground

Price | $20

Toilets | Yes

Water | No

To Arches | 36 minutes

 

Moonflower Canyon

Price | $20

Toilets | Yes

Water | No

To Arches | 16 minutes

Hittle Bottom Campground

Price | $20

Toilets | Yes

Water | No

To Arches | 37 minutes

King’s Bottom Campground

Price | $20

Toilets | Yes

Water | No

To Arches | 16 minutes

 


 

5 Best Free Camping Spots Near Arches National Park

specific GPS coordinates on the map

 


 

Willow Springs Road

The quintessential place to go for free camping near Arches National Park is off Willow Springs Road. There will be plenty of other campers here, so make sure you get here early to get a good spot! It’s around 15 minutes to Arches National Park Visitor Center, so it’s very ideal for anyone looking for a free alternative that is still in close proximity to the park. There are hundreds of spots along this road, so explore around and you may even get a nice shaded spot!

There aren’t any facilities here, like most free campsites, and you need to have some type of portable toilet to stay here since the desert soil is extremely sensitive. If you’re tent camping, you may have to hold it until you get into town or to Arches. Or if you’re really handy, you could even pack along some type of pee bottle! Don’t knock it till you try it!

To get here, you’ll go Northeast on 191 until you get to BLM 378/Willow Springs Trail. You’ll see the sites along the road, so browse and then set up at your favorite spot! This site is extremely popular, so expect lots of people here.

 

Lone Mesa

If you’re spending time at both Canyonlands and Arches National Park in one trip, then the Lone Mesa area is a great option that about halfway between both parks and close to the Dead Horse Point State Park. The area is around 25-minutes away from Arches and accessible with any type of vehicle. There are great campsites on either side of the road, and the further down the road you go, the better the view!

To get here, you’ll head onto 191 North for around 6.5 miles, then look for UT-313 W that’ll be on the left side. Follow that road for around 8 miles then pull onto BLM 137/Dubinky Well Road and you’ll see a group camping area on your right. Travel further up the road for the other BLM sites.

 

BLM 143

This is a prime location for more secluded, free camping near Arches. There is also moderately decent cell service here if that is important to you, so if you’ve been a bit off-grid for the last few days, head up here to check-in! This road is northwest of Arches and around a 20-minute drive to the visitor’s center.

If you want to avoid larger crowds, this is a great alternative to Willow Springs since you’ll be on that side of the park, so if you arrive there and cannot find a spot or find it too crowded, head up here for some stillness.

 

Manti La-Sal National Forest

If you’re looking for the absolute GOLDMINE on this list of free camping near Arches National Park and Moab, THIS is it! This spot is around a 40-minute drive to Arches, but honestly, these views almost make the drive worth it. Sitting at around 8500 feet, this area is a lot cooler than the Moab/National Park area, so you can escape a bit of heat here and have an unbelievable view of the La Sal Mountains. There isn’t any water here, so make sure you’re packing enough out for the night!

To get here, take the Manti LaSal Loop Road off 191 for around 15-20 miles till you hit the National Forest. You’ll see multiple areas that you can pull out and set up camp, but keep in mind that the further up you go, the better the view! I gave you an incredible spot in my downloadable map above!

 

Yellow Circle Road

Another fantastic spot for free camping near Arches is off Yellow Circle Road. It’s around a 30-minute drive to Arches and a great spot for anyone with a rig or a tent. It’s the last left turn out of Moab off 191, so watch for the signs on your way down here.

There is a type of tier system to the roads and the higher you go, the more difficult the sites are to get to, so keep that in mind for your car or van and its capabilities. There are plenty of sites here just like on Willow Springs Road, but you should still arrive here early to get a nice spot. You should also be very mindful about your waste here since the desert soil is extremely fragile and sensitive.

 


 

Find Your Own Free Camping Near Arches National Park

 


Click here for the full-sized map

If you weren’t able to secure a spot at the campground in or around Arches National Park, or you didn’t want to pay to camp, there are plenty of areas with free camping near Arches.

There are many additional free camping spots that you can browse with the map at the beginning of this post. The National Park Service for Arches has this map as a reference if you want specific areas and locations.

With the popularity of Arches, free, dispersed, or wild camping is a solid way to avoid crowds and save money while you explore this stunning national park. If you do choose to wild camp, please respect and keep in mind the dispersed camping guidelines and the seven leave no trace principles.


Things To Keep In Mind Before Choosing Your Wild/Free Campsite

  • What Are The Road Conditions Like?

Oftentimes, the roads to dispersed campsites are not well-maintained. The roads could be washed away from a previous season, only accessible with a 4×4 car, or you may even be required to park then hike into your camp. You can contact a local ranger station to get conditions on the roads for your researched sites before you head out.

  • Are You Okay Without Amenities?

Free or wild camping means zero amenities. No showers, toilets, fire pits, electricity, and everything else. That’s why it is important that you have a bit of backcountry knowledge under your belt so that you know how to make a fire, collect water, and the rules for campsite locations in the wilderness.

  • Are you Prepared?

This goes hand in hand with my previous two questions. Going into the backcountry without a plan can lead to many complications and can get dangerous depending on where you are. A great place to get information about dispersed camping in the nearby areas around Arches and Moab, or other areas around the park, contact the backcountry office in Arches and they can give you the additional information that will help you make the best decision for you.


Want more resources for finding free camping? Check these out!

iOverlander

Freecampsites.net

Campendium.com

boondocking.org

Allstays.com


 

The BIGGEST collection of information for camping in Arches National Park, camping outside of the park in nearby Moab, as well as BLM and free options! Get the free, downloable map for your southwest road trip!

 

FAQ’s About Camping In Arches National Park

 


 

  • Are reservations for camping in and near Arches National Park necessary?

If you’re expecting to stay in a paid site at any point in the high season, then I highly recommend booking in advance. A lot of the sites go very fast, the first one being the Devil’s Garden inside the campground. If you’re staying at a free campsite, you’ll need to arrive early in the morning to reserve your site whether that’s a free spot I’ve talked about or one of the BLM campgrounds along the Colorado River.

  • How far in advance should I reserve my campsites?

I would book as soon as you know that you’re going. Many, many people book very far in advance to get a good spot.

  • What campsites do you recommend for exploring Arches National Park?

Whenever I am visiting National Parks, I try and make a point to always get to the park as early as possible for sunrise so that I can beat a lot of the crowds. With that being said, something that is close to the park is what I prefer. I don’t think it’s necessary to try and get a spot inside the park, partly because it’s so competitive anyway and the other being that there are so many amazing places outside the park as well.

For an established campsite, I would go to Slickrock Campground. This is where I stayed during my own visit and I loved it’s both its location from the park and how close it was to the heart of Moab. It also had a pool which was EXQUISITE during my stay in August.

If I were looking for a BLM campsite, which I’ll likely do on my next visit, I would stay at the Oak Grove Campground or really any of those other sites on that side of the park that is close to Arches.

In regards to free camping near Arches, I would definitely try and snag a spot at Willow Springs. If I had a bit more time on my hands, I would make an effort to go out and stay in the Manti La-Sal National Forest.

  • What websites can I use to book these campsites?

There are a few different sites you can use to book these campsites. I did link directly to the grounds websites above, but you can also look at recreation.gov and ReserveAmerica.

 


 

What has been the most memorable campsite that you’ve stayed at? Share with me in the comments below!

Aaren

 

Did you enjoy this guide to camping in Arches National Park? Save it for later on Pinterest!

The BIGGEST information hub for camping in Arches National Park, camping outside of the park in nearby Moab, as well as BLM and free options! (FREE MAP)

The BIGGEST information hub for camping in Arches National Park, camping outside of the park in nearby Moab, as well as BLM and free options! (FREE MAP)

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