Camping Canyonlands UT? Sleep In The Needles
Canyonlands Camping? Utah? You’ll want to find a spot in the Needles District, at a campground that used to be called Squaw Flat. Hands down, no holds barred, get yourself there. For Dusty Car Muddy Boots’s money, this is one of the most spectacular and well-designed campgrounds in the National Park system.
First things first: budget!
Y’all know that your handy dandy National Park Senior Pass gets you a 50% discount for National Park camping, right? (Prices subject to NPS regulations.)
What’s with “well-designed”?
Optimally, IMBHO, the design of a National Park campground responds to and integrates with the landscape. The Needles District campground gets an A+.
Look what we have above. The campground is on the left, yes, amidst those sandstone mounds. In a streak across the middle, other sites are snuggled into small trees and shrubs. Still others, abut slickrock. The designer has tucked campsites into the folds of the rock, on ledges, nestled against canyon walls.
You can’t really see the campground from a distance, because it blends so well with the setting, but once there, you’re truly “in the Needles”.
You get to experience the landscape, sleep in it, be it. Genius.
This campground is not for you if you like your mod cons. As is generally the case with National Park campgrounds, don’t expect fancy when Canyonlands camping. The restrooms are basic and may be quite crowded during busy seasons. (For general public campground features, read: Location, Location: Public Campground Savvy For Adventuring Seniors.)
Doublecheck your supplies
Before you leave a significant town (e.g. Moab), restock your Grab ‘n’ Go bin and cooler, load up with gasoline, camp fuel, and food, anything you might need for the next few days.
The Needles Campground is MILES away from anything. You’ll not want to make an all-day sortie to drive back to town to resupply. Been there, done that.
Bring shade for Canyonlands camping
You might find that your picnic table is overexposed to the sun during certain times of the day. If you need to jury-rig a shelter, try this: 3 Tarps And A Tip: How To Camp And Stay Dry.
On the funny side, but NOT really
Canyons echo. Voices carry far. If you relish the quiet of the night sky in far off places, pray that the loud snorer in the camp spot next to yours has lugged along his CPAP machine. Just sayin’.
But PROBLEM SOLVED by the Ranger!
All kinds of exercise. Biking, hiking, nature walks, ranger activities. Just consult the Canyonlands NPS website. You’ll need specifically the Needles District stuff.
On the way
Take a break at Newspaper Rock, a veritable encyclopedia of petroglyph graffiti, pretty much on the road from the main highway towards the Needles district.
If you need refreshment before the turnoff, there’s a shady, public picnic area at The Hole in the Rock on the main route between Moab and Monticello.
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Photo credits for Canyonlands camping. Featured image…Colored rock, Needles District: Public Domain via Pixabay. Top, View of campground plus La Sals, Back to Squaw Flats: CC BY 2.0 by dvs via Flickr. Cozy, private campsite at Squaw Flats: CC BY 2.0 by dvs via Flickr. Indian Petroglyphs (Newspaper Rock, southeastern UT, USA): CC BY 2.0 by James St John