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Campsite Suggestions for Southern Utah?


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We plan on a two-week-or-so jaunt through Southern Utah in a couple of weeks. I have been through the area a few times before becoming an Oliver owner but would love to learn of some good camping spots from folks who have discovered them on their trips. We live in Arizona and plan to start in the southwestern corner, perhaps exiting Utah in the Moab-Bluff area. We will probably travel Highway 12--which I consider, with the exception of Highway 1 in CA, to be the most scenic of all US highways.


We would like to visit as many national parks as possible but don't have a lot of confidence in nabbing campsites within the parks without reservations, so camping recommendations near the parks or just along the vague route I have described would be appreciated. I know someone on this forum has mentioned Kodachrome Basin, which I have not yet visited but plan to this time and would like to learn of camping suggestions in that area.


Our traveling pattern has been to alternate boon-dock camping and hook-up camping. (We have solar and composting toilet.) Thus recommendations for RV campsites, along with more remote dry-camping locations, would be appreciated. It would also be great to get any helpful comments about what to see and do in different areas.


And just in case: We are songwriter/musicians (Western Folk Blues) and love to hook up with other musicians and/or perform in impromptu situations in bars, cafes, etc. Any tips of places or folks to check out for opportunities to share our music would also be appreciated.




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Onward through the Fog!

EarthPicks of Cochise County


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When we visited Moab last year we stayed at Horsethief BLM campground. They have 60 sites, no reservations. We were there last September driving from Mesa Verde, CO and arrived around noon. We had our choice of campsites. It’s just outside of Moab in between Canyonlands and Arches NP’s. Nice level gravel pads, picnic table. No hookups. Very clean vault toilets. $15. We would stay there again. Mike









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Texas Hill Country | 2016 Elite II #135 | 2020 Ram 2500 6.7L


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I don’t have any suggestions for RV camping, but if you are at all interested in 4wd roads the White Rim Road in Canyonlands is beyond stunning. Camping is allowed, but only in a dozen designated spots and you can’t tow an OllieYou could camp near Moab, rent a Wangler, and drive the best part of the White Rim, the east half (out and back) in a day. A stock 4wd shortbed pickup with good clearance (not a Chevy)  could do this part, no problem, but a raised suspension and tough tires are best. This is our old Series 80 LX450... good memories.






If you get further northwest in your travels, Great Basin NP is stunning and very uncrowded. Most people have never even heard of it. It is 100 miles north of Lake Meade right at the border in Nevada. There are a number of typical forested USFS campgrounds along the 5000 ft drive to the top, but Wheeler Peak CG at nearly 10,000 feet is the one to visit. It can be really breezy that high up and there is risk of snow. Nearby Wheeler Glacier (13,000 ft) is the southernmost glacier in North America.


Lots of golden aspen this time of year. Remote. Gorgeous rugged alpine scenery. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Basin_National_Park


John Davies


Spokane WA

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SOLD 07/23 "Mouse":  2017 Legacy Elite II Two Beds, Hull Number 218, See my HOW TO threads: https://olivertraveltrailers.com/topic/john-e-davies-how-to-threads-and-tech-articles-links/

Tow Vehicle: 2013 Land Cruiser 200, 32” LT tires, airbags, Safari snorkel, Maggiolina Grand Tour 360 Carbon RTT.

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Starting in the Southwest corner, Snow Canyon SP, stayed there a couple years ago, midsummer 110° temps, you can do full hookups or one of the outlier spots with nothing, look from Google satellite. It's just west of St George and the rocks and overall area is great for exploring.


It was interesting, on one of our walks, we saw, at a very long distance, telephoto lens, a local "dragon" lizard thing, I don't remember what it was called, when we were explaining/asking the park ranger about it she said we must have been mistaken about what we were describing, so I showed her the video of what I'd captured after which she asked for a copy because they had never had any record of them behaving like that and wanted to forward it all the way up the chain for their research.

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One Life Live It Enjoyably

2017 F350 6.7L SRW CC LB

2015 Oliver Elite II Hull #69

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We too have been to Snow Canyon and "second" the recommendation.  It really is not very far from St. George.  The hiking/biking is great.  Don't miss the lava caves but don't try to go in.  Also, if you are poking around St. George - ask about the dinosaur tracks just north of town near the water tower.  Its probably a little more built up compared to the last time we were there, but, you go to the water tower, park and then just walk 100 yards or so to the north to an old dry river bed.  Start walking along this river bed to the east and you will shortly start to see the tracks.  Hopefully it has not been commercialized in that it made us feel as though we were discovering these for the first time.



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2023 Ford F150 Lariat 3.5EB FX4 Max Towing, Max Payload, 2016 Oliver Elite II - Hull #117 "Twist"

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Spike, I was the one who posted about Kodachrome State Park. After my post, Phil Andrews from OTT contacted me and I wrote a story on Kodachrome State Park that appeared in the Oliver Newsletter. Kodachrome State Park is a great park, and close to Bryce Canyon. They take reservations, so it may be hard to get a spot in a couple of weeks. I think some Utah State Parks have some campsites set aside for first come first serve use.


We have stayed at a great NFS campground nearby called Red Canyon, which is about ten miles west of the cut off road to Bryce. There is also a great protected bike path in this area that follows Highway 12. A distance rurther northeast on Highway 12 near Boulder is the Calf Creek BLM Campground, and it is very nice.


The campgrounds in Zion NP and Arches NP are really nice. They take reservations, so it could be difficult for you. The campground in Bryce NP is not so good, but Kodachrome SP and Red Canyon NFS are nearby. The campground in Capitol Reef NP is very nice; it used to be completely first come first serve, but I just looked at the Capitol Reef NP webpage and it says now most campsites can be reserved. but a few remain first come first serve. In Canyonlands the Willow Flat Campground in the Island in the Sky is all first come first serve. The Squaw Flat Campground at The Needles section of Canyonlands NP has part reserved and part is first come first serve.


The area around Moab, near Arches and Canyonlands has a lot of BLM land with great free campsites, as well as BLM campgrounds. Mike mentioned Horsethief BLM campground, which is really nice. We like the BLM campgrounds near Moab along the Colorado River. The only amenities are pit toilets, a fire ring, and a picnic table.  There are also good BLM sites near Capitol Reef NP.  There is a great book on boondocking sites in Utah that I posted info about HERE. The authors also have a guide to Arizona.


My sister camped last year with her Casita at Escalante Petrified Forest State Park, and raved about it, so we made reservations to camp there later this month. Other Utah State Parks that are supposed to be nice include the aforementioned Snow Canyon State Park, Sand Hollow State Park, Goblin Valley State Park, and Quail Creek State Park. Goblin Valley State Park is high on our list, but we have not been there yet. I have heard mixed reviews about Coral Pink Dunes State Park; beautiful scenery, but some people are turned off by all of the ATV activity.


Our traveling pattern has been to alternate boon-dock camping and hook-up camping

That is a good plan. Many of the Utah State Parks have water-electric sites, but those parks tend to reserve first. Maybe you could reserve commercial hook up campgrounds for the weekends, and use state or national parks or BLM land for mid week. There are a lot of commercial places in Moab. We stayed at Wonderland RV Park in Torrey, near Capitol Reef NP, and it was nice.  There is a good thread on the Airstream Forum that maybe useful.


Our last trip to Zion was two years ago while our Oliver was being built. We checked out the campground right next to the entrance, Zion Canyon Campground, and it looked AWFUL. Closely packed rigs with hardly any space for a picnic table. I have heard good things about Zion River Resort Camp, which is about 15 miles west of Zion NP. We have learned to be advance planners, and we have a campsite booked at Zion's Watchman campground during October.


If you head south from Moab, the dispersed camping on BLM land in the Valley of the Gods is the prettiest campsite I have ever found. Info HERE. We then stayed at Gouldings, a nice commercial RV park near Monument Valley.


Finally, since you are focused on Highway 12, among my collected bookmarks is a guide from Roadtrippers on Highway 12.


I will send you a PM with the dates we are visiting Escalante Petrified Forest State Park and Zion NP, and maybe we can meet up. While we are not musicians, we appreciate music!



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David Stillman, Salt Lake City, Utah

2016 Oliver Elite II  Hull 164    |    2017 Audi Q7 tow vehicle. 

Travel and Photography Blog: http://davidstravels.net


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For approximately 8 years, I worked a bicycle tour that started in St. George and after approximately 280 miles we would finish back in St. George. The bicycle tour always went the first week of June. The campground we used in St. George was Temple View Resort.  It has a great bath house and laundry with really great WiFi. It is quiet and within walking distance of restaurants, banks and bicycle paths. In Zion National Park, we stayed near the entrance in a campground called Zion Canyon Campground. It is in a town called Springdale. Busy place! Reservations definitely are needed during the summer. It is right outside the Zion NP Gate. Bicycling or shuttle from campground to park is easy. Too busy for my taste. In the Bryce Canyon area, we would camp at Ruby's Inn Campground and RV Park. Great laundry, bath house and WiFi. Swimming pool was very extremely nice. It is located right outside NP Entrance. About 25 miles away from Bryce is a town called Panguitch. It has a KOA that has been under new ownership for approximately 8 years. They have really made this KOA nice. There is a National Forest Sevice area called Dixie National Forest near Panguitch. We would often stay at Panguitch Lake North or South Campground. Beautiful area.  We tried to stay at the KOA in Cedar City, Utah a few times. However, they were not bicycle friendly. Therefore, we would stay at a small campground called Red Ledge Campground in Kanarraville, Utah. It was nice with a very friendly owner.Temps during first week of June was always hot in St. George but gradually turned cooler as we headed to higher elevation.

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