If you’re looking for a budget-friendly adventure, you can keep your expenses down by checking out free camping near Moab.
This beautiful town is a gateway to some of the country’s most impressive rock formations and canyons. If you’ve ever wanted to plan a trip to this Southwestern spot but found the costs prohibitive, we can help.
We found the five best plcaes that cost zero dollars for your next adventure to Utah.
Let’s look at the details!
About Moab, Utah
When you picture Moab, Utah, you probably imagine large, red sandstone cliffs. Maybe you also think about hiking or mountain biking in this destination. The proximity of several national parks like Arches and Canyonlands may also come to mind. It has become a major hub for outdoor enthusiasts in recent years.
Moab is in the eastern portion of the state, about two hours southwest of Grand Junction, Colorado. Situated on the Colorado Plateau, the city has an elevation of just over 4,000 feet. Only about 5,000 full-time residents live in Moab, but the area has a booming tourist industry and plenty of free camping.
When Is the Best Time to Visit Moab, Utah?
This popular destination gets quite busy during peak season. People most commonly visit the area in the spring and fall for a good reason. We suggest planning your trip in March or October to enjoy the city and surrounding region with fewer crowds.
If you want to enjoy the city’s outdoor activities, avoid visiting during seasons with extreme weather. Summer temperatures often soar well over 100 degrees, making the outdoor activities that make Moab so special difficult and dangerous. In the winter, the temperature rarely reaches above freezing.
Can You Legally Camp for Free in Moab, Utah?
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has several plots of land nationwide for public use. These spaces have no entrance fee and can be used to boondock, hike, or store cattle. Some of them even allow hunting.
Within 20 miles of Moab, you’ll find several free BLM camping areas. These sites don’t cost anything, but they fill up quickly. You can’t just pull your rig over anywhere and set up. Instead, you can only stay in designated spots. Contact the local Moab BLM office by phone if you have specific questions.
Pro Tip: Looking to enjoy some off-roading while in Moab? Learn all you need to know about Moab Jeep Rentals: Read This Before Booking.
Check Out These 5 Free Campsites Near Moab, Utah
Camping doesn’t have to be expensive, especially if you consider yourself low-maintenance. You won’t find any amenities, but you won’t have to pay any fees either. We think it’s a great deal.
#1 Lone Mesa Dispersed Camping
At Lone Mesa Campground, you’ll find first-come, first-served dispersed sties. They also have bathrooms and trash, making this an excellent option for anyone who doesn’t want to carry everything out.
You can bring a rig up to 50 feet down the well-maintained packed gravel road to the sites. One reviewer even mentioned having no trouble getting their Prius several miles into the area. However, it can get windy at night, so don’t leave anything outside.
Lone Mesa, only about 20 minutes from the national parks, has access to several hiking trails. The well-known Big Mesa Trail even cuts right through the campground.
#2 Porcupine Rim Dispersed Camping
You’ll enjoy this BLM site if you want panoramic views of the valley from atop a stunning plateau. Porcupine Rim has become a well-known spot, so if you want to snag somewhere to park your rig, arrive early.
If you drive an RV, you probably don’t want to risk taking it out here. The dirt road to the location can be brutal, especially if it’s rained recently. Reviewers have recommended a high-clearance vehicle. The route also stretches along the cliffside, so it’s not for the faint of heart.
#3 West Short Cut Road Dispersed Camping
You can find some of the most gorgeous sunrises and sunsets in the area at this BLM site. It can also be accessed by an RV, unlike Porcupine Rim. West Short Cut Road also sees less traffic than other free camping near Moab.
This lonely spot, about 45 minutes away from the city, overlooks the La Sal Mountains. For a real adventure, head up to the Needles Overlook. You’ll probably need a high-clearance vehicle to get there, but you can’t beat these views!
Pro Tip: Make finding a camping spot quick and easy by discovering How To Find Camping – Campendium Tutorial.
#4 Bride Canyon Designated Dispersed Campsites
The sites at Bride Canyon provide a bit of a haven from the wind you may experience at other spots. You can camp at one of five designated areas but may not want to bring a big rig out there. Reviewers have mentioned towing teardrop trailers with no problems, though.
Bride Canyon doesn’t have bathrooms and requires that you carry out any waste. You’ll also want to ensure you have all the necessary supplies because there’s no cell service. The canyon blocks the sun early in the afternoon, so you may want extra layers for the chilly evenings.
#5 Lockhart Road Dispersed Camping
Lockhart Road can is accessible with almost any rig. One reviewer mentioned he brought out a 40-foot fifth wheel with no trouble. You’ll find over 30 spots along this gravel road for dispersed camping.
Because of the easy accessibility, spaces tend to fill up quickly. Don’t forget your portable toilet. Like Bride Canyon, you need to carry out your waste if you don’t have an RV. Alternatively, you can stay in the Hamburger Rock area because they have an outhouse.
Stargazers and geology buffs alike will appreciate the sights. Hiking, biking, and driving ATVs are very popular along Lockhart Road.
Is Free Camping in Moab, Utah, Worth It?
If you don’t mind gambling with a first-come, first-served system, staying at BLMs can be a great way to save on your next trip. You’ll be roughing it but can explore seemingly endless miles. Adventurers with high-clearance vehicles or smaller rigs can easily take advantage of no-cost sites.
During your next trip to Moab, definitely consider checking out the free camping options.
Discover the Best Free Camping Across the USA
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