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Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Moab Overlanding: A Quick Guide

Photo by 1000kbps via iStock

One of the best places to overland in the world is Moab. The landscape and trails offered are simply stunning. It is an adventurer’s paradise!

However, finding the correct camp spot, trail, and ways to access the trails can be confusing.

Therefore, in this article, we will be going over some quick tips that will make Moab overlanding much easier.

Table of Contents

Where to Camp in Moab

Camp in Moab

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Moab offers three types of camping, which I’ll enumerate individually.

The first type is commercial campgrounds and cabins. These campgrounds are privately owned and offer conveniences such as showers, running water, RV hook-ups, flush toilets, and more. Most will also accept reservations, making it easier to plan your Moab overlanding trip.  

Detailed information about commercial campgrounds can be found here.

BLM Campgrounds 

Arches National park with Sand dune arch and crow

Photo by Jonathan Ross via iStock 

Next up, we have BLM campgrounds. These are 26 campsites that are maintained by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). With the exception of Ken’s Lake, most individual campsites are available on a first-come, first-served basis, and no reservations are accepted.

While it’s nice to be able to plan your trip by making campsite reservations, you often have to make those reservations months in advance. If an impromptu trip is more your style, these campgrounds will accommodate – but you have to get there early!

More information about BLM campsites can be found here.

State Park, National Park & Forest Campgrounds

State Park, National Park & Forest Campgrounds

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Campgrounds located in National Parks, State Parks & National Forests usually have fewer amenities than privately-owned campgrounds. However, what they lack in amenities, they make up for with scenic views. 

Keep in mind that from March 1st to October 31st, you will need reservations at these campsites due to the summer rush of visitors.

A list of available State Park, National Park & Forest Campgrounds can be found here

Entrance Fees and Reservations

Motor home camper on vacation in the southwest USA red rock landscape in Arches National Park near Moab Utah

Photo by Pgiam via iStock 

This being a national park and one of the best ones in the USA, it needs to be preserved. 

Therefore, activities inside it need to be controlled, and that is done by using permits. 

In order to enter most of the trails and campgrounds, you will need to get a permit and make a reservation. You can do this here.

Campsite fees differ depending on the campsite you choose to stay in. For example, a standard individual site will set you back $25 per night. The group size is limited to 10 people and two vehicles.

From there on, prices start to increase as campgrounds offer space for more people. 

The most expensive option comes in at $250 per night for the Juniper Group site. This campsite can be enjoyed by 45-55 people.

Again, keep in mind that, in most cases, these campsites must be booked months in advance as they tend to be full. 

Between November 1st and February 28th, sites are first-come, first-served. 

For areas such as Canyonland National Park, you need to book day-use permits, overnight permits, or river permits, depending on what you’re planning to do in the park. 

Permits for these activities can be booked here.

As entry space is limited, it is recommended to book these permits in advance and as early as possible. 

The permit costs $36 and is limited to a certain number of people and vehicles, depending on your exact location. 

While inside Canyonlands, you must stay on designated roads and camp at designated sites.

What is the Best Time for Moab Overlanding?

Delicate Arch, Arches National Park, Utah

Photo by Keegan OConnell via iStock 

In my opinion, the best time to visit Moab is between December and March.

After March, temperatures start to get hot, and the National Park fills up with visitors. 

In winter, temperatures are much colder and you get to see the whole place from a unique point of view as the rocks are covered in snow.

So, instead of heading to Moab during the hot and crowded months of summer, do it in winter, and you will have the whole place to yourself (well, at least more to yourself in the summer, anyway!). 

Off-Road Trails in Moab

Off Road Vehicles Side by Sides Climbing Sandstone Summit in Hell's Revenge Area Near Moab Utah

Photo by Aaron Hawkins via iStock

The off-road trails available in Moab can be experienced by all people. You can rent a Jeep, bring your own 4×4, or go on a tour to experience the hundreds of miles of old mining roads, scenic dirt roads, and fun 4×4 trails.

The trails have a marked difficulty that gives drivers an idea of what to expect. Depending on your vehicle and experience, you can make the judgment of where to go. Keep in mind that in most cases, you can turn around if it ends up being too much. 

Detailed 4-wheel drive maps and trail guides are available at the Moab information center. 

Some of the trails we would suggest having a look at are Chicken Corners (moderate), Gemini Bridges (easy), and Fins and Things (difficult). 

These trails are short; therefore, they are great for a single-day adventure that will give you a taste of Moab. You can find detailed directions and information for these three trails here.

Moab Overlanding – Conclusion

4x4 portion of the Slickrock trail in Moab, Utah

Photo by KaraGrubis via iStock 

Moab overlanding is a bucket list activity. The permits and reservations may take something away from the freedom of exploring; however, the views and landscape really are something one must-see.

If you also enjoy technical off-roading, you will have a lot of fun as few places offer nicer trials. These also have the added benefit of being monitored and crowded. This means that if anything happens to go wrong, you will be able to reach out for help easily. 

If you have any further Moab overlanding questions or for anything else off-road or overland-related, head over to the forum section of our page. 

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