For Your Utah Bucket List: Camping at Long Canyon

Utah, United States

Zach Luchs

Forget the roadside BLM campgrounds on UT-128 or the over-crowded National Park sites and experience camping at the edge of Long Canyon.

Moab and the surrounding areas have always been my go-to weekend getaway when I need to abandon the city for just a night. It's a treasure trove of adventures and the desert has always given me that special feeling of being wild and free. Though Moab has a lot to love about it, I've always found it rather difficult to find camping that isn't crowded or requires a paid reservation. Don't get me wrong, there are dozens of great BLM locations (see UT-128 or 279) but they were always lacking the peace and quite, only-person-on-earth feeling I wanted. 

Enter Long Canyon.

Long Canyon has become our retreat. After a full day of exploring - usually hiking one of the various haunts on UT-128 - we head into Moab, grab firewood and some brews, and make our way toward camp. There are a lot of great spots on the mesa but we have our favorite. One that juts out into the canyon with a fire ring overlooking the edge and incredible views from our tent. 

The sunsets are great, sparking the tops of the La Sal peaks with vibrant color, but it gets better when the stars come out and the silence of this place really begins to show. The feeling of sitting on the edge of the earth with a dark abyss below, the cracking of the fire filling the silence in conversation. Most nights, we'll see a curious Kit Fox creeping around camp, maybe in search of dinner scraps.

Morning on the mesa is always a bit chilly before the sun creeps over the distant peaks but once it does, it'll be a sunrise you won't soon forget. Watching the sun beam over the La Sal peaks, warming up your mind and body, the canyon below filling with golden light is truly something to behold. I find that camp coffee always seems to taste just a little bit better when enjoyed here.

Long Canyon will always be my go-to retreat to escape the hustle of Moab and the flood of people that come to experience this red rock paradise. It is certainly a place that deserves a spot on your Utah bucket list.

Published: November 10, 2016

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