Monday, July 13, 2009

Dry Camping in Southern Utah CG’s

I was looking through this groups database for recommended camping sites in Utah and found four; only four in the best of the best western states.

We have been crossing southern Utah for eight weeks, taking it real slow and we will share with you where we have parked KoKo. If you don’t care for dry camping, you can quit reading now, because that’s what we do.

I will list the places in the order we encountered them.

Monticello Lake, head up the mountain from town. There are only two or three level places on the lake, we had the place to ourselves two out three nights. Reason for being here. We wanted to explore the roads in the Abajo Mountains. Also you can access the south end of Canyonlands from here. It’s a steep climb up the mountain, so unhook your toad. There is water at the formal CG’s you will pass on your way up. Be sure and fill up your larder and fresh water before heading further west.

Cedar Bluff, You can park on the south side of the road or if you want a world class site, head up the road on the north side a mile or so and look for a right turn and park next to the rock wall. Reason for being here. There are several excellent hikes and ruins in the nearby canyons. The gate on the north side of the road may be closed. That’s to keep the cattle in, not you out.

Natural Bridges Overflow Parking. A 26 is too big to get into Natural Bridges and if you have a 23 and a toad you are still too big. So turn on UT261 [toward Muley Point] and take the first left. It’s just a large mostly gravel parking lot, but the view is decent and it’s free. You will need your water full and your tanks empty before you arrive because Blanding is the closest place to dump and take on water. Reason for being here. Hike Natural Bridges and explore the numerous canyons and ruins on Cedar Mesa. You can get a little water at the VC. We tote it expanding bladders.

Muley Point – It’s seven miles down a decent gravel road to one of the best views in Utah. When you see the overlook, turn sharply left, avoiding the rough road along the cliff. There are several level parking spots on left side. Reason for being here: VIEW. You will even have OK TV and cell phone coverage.

Capital Reef CG – One of the best NPS CG’s. Stay in loop B, there are fewer tents there. Reason for being here – we think Cap Reef is the best of the Utah parks. It’s also the least visited. Eat at Café Diablo, some of the best food you will encounter. A high clearance vehicle will allow you to access Cathedral Valley. Don’t miss the Burr Trail. There are enough trails to hike to keep you at Cap Reef for two weeks. Groceries are found in Loa.

The FS Singletree CG on Boulder Mountain at 8,600 feet is a change from Red Rocks and provides cooler temps.

Calf Creek Falls CG on UT12 is a small FS CG. There are only a few sites for a 26 and they are across the creek. We got the first one across the creek. You can probably find a site here Sunday through Wednesday if you arrive in the morning. Reason for being here – hike to the falls, hike the Escalante River and explore Hole in the Rock Road.

Kodachrome SP is very scenic itself and it provides access to two roads that are worth exploring, Cottonwood Canyon and Skutumpah Road. You can also day trip to Bryce. The CG has the best showers in Utah.

Red Canyon, a FS CG on the west side of Bryce is even closer to Bryce than Kodachrome. It’s a scenic area with plenty of hiking trails. Groceries are found in Panquitch, 13 miles west.

Overlooking Cathedral Valley, turn east off UT72 on Elkhorn Road. About six miles up the gravel road you will see a turn off to an overlook. Reason for being here: VIEW.

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