On to Moab, UT

13 05 2011
Site #40, James M Robb State Park

Site #40, James M Robb State Park

After a mild night in Fruita, we’re packing up for the short trip to Moab, UT. We’re only about 100 miles away and hope to arrive early to snag a prime camping spot at Goose Island, a small BLM campground along the Colorado River.  But, just as we’re about to leave, plans change.  We discover that the water pump on the camper of friends we’re traveling with was inadvertently left on, and with no water in the system, it has burned out.  Fortunately we’re only about 5 miles from Grand Junction and several RV parts supplies.  By 9:00 we’ve purchased a replacement pump and are once again westbound.  Thanks to Bob Scott’s RV Parts.

About 50 miles into Utah, we turn south on Highway 128, the “river road”.  This road follows the winding Colorado River, and with some tight turns wouldn’t be ideal for larger rigs.  Highway 191 is better for big rigs or long combo trailers.  There are 11 BLM campgrounds along 128, most within about 20 miles of Moab.  We start looking for available campsites at Big Bend, a 23 site campground, 8 miles from Moab.  With nothing available at Big Bend, we drive through several other campgrounds before reaching Goose Island, the closest to Moab.  We’re finding very little availability at any of the campgrounds.  This might be more difficult than we originally expected!   

BLM's Goose Island Campground

BLM's Goose Island Campground

The BLM maintains 25 campgrounds in the Moab area. Reservations are not taken, all sites are on a first-come, first-served basis. Many of the campgrounds are located close to Arches National Park along the Colorado River. These campgrounds offer views of spectacular red rock cliffs amidst a green ribbon of vegetation. Several of the campgrounds are particularly suited to even the largest Recreational Vehicles. These RV friendly campgrounds include Ken’s Lake, Hittle Bottom, Goose Island, Goldbar, Horsethief, and Big Bend. Five of the campgrounds feature reservable group sites suitable for gatherings. Drinking water is not available at most of the campgrounds, however it is available at Lions Park, which is at the intersection of Highways 191 and 128 two miles north of Moab.

With nothing available along Highway 128, we continue through Moab to explore several sites along Kane Creek Road which runs along the river south of town.  None of these small campgrounds offer any available sites.  With apparently no BLM sites available, we return to Moab and start looking at commercial campgrounds.  There are many campgrounds, both large and small, along the main street.  All are urban, most likely with constant noise from town and the highway, featuring varying levels of cleanliness, service and nearness to other campers.  Most are set within groves of cottonwood trees, which are in full spring bloom, some of the piles of cotton are ankle-deep – not wonderful for us allergy suffers.

BLM Horsethief Campground

BLM Horsethief Campground

After deciding we really aren’t thrilled with the prospect of staying in any of these commercial campgrounds, we opt for one more BLM campground check. Horsethief Campground is the largest of the BLM campgrounds, with 60 sites and located about 20 miles north-west of Moab along highway 313. We hope that with the large number of sites, and the fact that it is further out-of-town, we’ll find something available. Arriving at Horsethief, we’re happy to find several available sites. Set on the top of a bluff, the campground is organized into several loops with sites well spaced and abundant scrub oak, cedar and pinon pine for privacy. Some of the sites are lower on the bluff, and overlook stunning canyons to the south-west. We select two sites near the entrance without quite as nice of view – but certainly better than ankle-deep cotton! The sites have deep, level parking areas, a large sand tent pad, a clean fire ring and a picnic table.  We’ve found our home for the next 3 nights!

BLM Highway 313 Camping

BLM Highway 313 Camping

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31 05 2015
A Mundane Memorial Weekend | Small Home - Big Yard

[…] 2011, On to Moab, UT […]

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