Adventure on a Dime: Camp for Free in These Moab RV Parks

Owning an RV gives you the freedom to go almost anywhere in the country on a whim. That freedom opens up even more when you can camp for free.


Let’s say you want to visit Arches National Park in Moab, Utah - a very popular destination for RVers and camping enthusiasts alike. Most of the private campgrounds in the area, while more accommodating to large RVs, can be quite expensive. Sure, they have more amenities, but those amenities come off with a price tag. Instead, there is free camping available if you know where to look. You can experience the wonders of this red rock desert without paying a single penny.

1. Bartlett Wash

If you are looking for a somewhat secluded campsite for your RV, close to downtown Moab, and easy to get to, Bartlett Wash is an excellent choice. Don’t let the free price fool you; this campsite still has incredible views. If you are okay with pretty much no cell service, you’ll have a good time. If you need supplies, like we said, it’s close to town.

2. BLM 143

If the lack of cell service in Bartlett Wash is a deal breaker, there are plenty of bars at BLM 143. It is near Arches National Park and provides access to Copper Ridge Dinosaur Trackways, so you will not be bored. Similar to Bartlett Wash, it’s just thirty minutes from downtown and is lesser-known than many other campsites in the area.

3. Gemini Bridges Road

Hikers will fall in love with Gemini Bridges Road. However, we will say that it takes a little bit of time to get to. You can’t speed your way there; you have to drive cautiously and slowly. With that in mind, it still only takes about thirty minutes to get to town and even less time to get to Arches. If you choose this campground, you should have a high-clearance vehicle and travel trailer and your own toilet.

4. Klondike Bluffs Road

For the best cell service available (and great views of the La Sal Mountains), many campers recommend Klondike Bluffs Road. Located just twenty minutes from Moab, it is still close enough to go into town for a bite and a beer. It’s a little crowded because of the great views and cell service (and maybe also because it is free), so you’ll want to arrive early to get a space.

5. Lone Mesa Area

A little farther from the beaten track (closer to Canyonlands National Park) is the ever-popular Lone Mesa Area. People love this site because, while it is accessible via a dirt road, it is easy to navigate. Plus, it has great cell service, which you will find is rare for free campsites. Mornings are most beautiful when you can witness the sun rise over the red mesas.

6. Long Canyon Road

Supposing you want to be close to Arches, Canyonlands, and charming downtown Moab, you might want to venture just a bit into the wild. Long Canyon Road is difficult to get to, and probably only suitable for smaller RVs, but when you reach the top of the mesa, prepare for your jaw to drop all the way to the ground. You will, however, need a high clearance, all-wheel-drive vehicle to get there.

7. Manti-La Sal National Forest

If forests are more of your scene than red rock desert, travel the La Sal Loop in the Manti-La Sal National Forest (located near the mountains you see on the horizon when you arrive in Moab). As you drive along the loop, you’ll notice many dirt roads. For the first several miles, these are private land (no camping allowed). However, around La Sal Lookout Point you’ll find the best campsites. But beware: the road can get a little hairy with an RV in tow.

8. Potash Road

Although this campsite offers no cell service or bathrooms, it is a hidden gem. Not many people know about this place, making it very quiet and very peaceful. At the campsite, you can see the Colorado River, which is an iconic, must-see part of Moab. Visitors also note that it is splendid for stargazing. Similar campgrounds along the Colorado River cost at least $20/night, but there’s no need to fork out the cash at all when you know about this site.

9. Willow Springs Road

One of the most prime RV camping sites in Moab is on Willow Springs Road. Not only is it the closest campground to town, it is also the largest. This makes it very popular among tourists. There are portable toilets on site, as well as decent cell service (if those things are important to you). And while it is indeed crowded, you will probably find that the people could not be friendlier. You might even make some new RVing friends during your stay.

10. Yellow Circle Road

Want to go ATVing (and take advantage of stellar cell service)? If you have all-wheel-drive, you should be able to make it to the campground on Yellow Circle Road. Don’t let that scare you though; it’s the best campground south of Moab. There are campsites meant for RVs and travel trailers, but they fill up quickly. Note that this campground is well-known to ATVers, and there are plenty of places nearby to drive recreational vehicles. This may be annoying to some campers, but if you’ve got an ATV of your own, it is the place to be.

Whatever your reason for visiting Moab, there is probably a free RV park nearby (mostly owned by the Bureau of Land Management). Think about what you plan to do during your trip and choose one of these camping sites based on your itinerary. And most importantly, remember to enjoy your trip. After all, you will be in one of the most scenic locations in the United States.