Backcountry Camping in Canyonlands
Backcountry camping is an elevated experience in Canyonlands, but please note that the area can be extremely difficult to navigate. Even experienced backpackers should be well-versed in desert navigation before setting out. Park rangers are extremely knowledgeable and can help you develop your itinerary.
Four districts make up the backcountry zones: Island in the Sky, The Needles, The Maze and the rivers within the park boundaries. Permits are required for all overnight backcountry travel, with special permits for each mode of transportation. Permits should be acquired at least six months in advance for the more popular destinations, such as the amazing White Rim Campgrounds and Cataract Canyon. The National Park Service wesbite has more details on permits. Fees vary depending on the location and modes of travel.
The best way to reach backcountry sites is by mountain bike, 4x4 vehicle, dirt bike, boat or horseback, though backpacking is also an option. Traveling by foot in Canyonlands is generally not beginner-friendly due to the lack of water sources, challenging navigation and hot climate. For those with established backpacking skills, however, the adventure potential is nearly endless.
BLM Camping Near Canyonlands
Both Moab and Monticello offer dozens of campsites hosted on Bureau of Land Management (BLM) land. Note that these semi-developed campgrounds often have vault toilets and picnic tables, and cost a modest fee ($15-$20 per night). Discover Moab offers an extensive list of the Moab area BLM lands. The Monticello field office also has information on BLM campgrounds in the area, including the famous Superbowl campground.
RV Camping and Glamping
Most RV campers stay in the Moab area, about a 30-40-minute drive from Canyonlands. There are plentiful options in town as well as many BLM options for RVs (noted above). (Read: “Wheeling It: An RV Primer for Utah Family Trips”)
There are also several hotels, resorts and even a glamping option in Moab, for those looking for a few more amenities.