Boondocking in Southern Utah

We didn’t know if we would continue the blog after losing its author and adventurer extraordinaire… Ginger.  But then Utah happened.

© 2014 Richard Broadwell

© 2014 Richard Broadwell – Boondocking in Grand Staircase Escalante

And the blog just didn’t seem complete without a post about our wonderful adventure there, even if our best buddy isn’t with us anymore except in spirit.

In the 3 years we’ve been on the road full-time we have yearned to camp Southern Utah but the seasonal timing hadn’t worked out.  It’s best to go in Spring or Fall, as the Summers are very warm with monsoonal storms.  So this past May we set about correcting that.

Having driven this area before we knew it was perfect for boondocking and started researching spots before we left.  Luckily we came across the perfect website, Adventurous and Affordable RV Travel.  Marianne and Randy are the authors of the “Frugal Shunpiker’s Guide” and have individual editions for 5 different Western states and Ontario, Canada.  These guides are wonderful, with very accurate GPS coordinates for dispersed camping sites on BLM and National Forest Service land.

Though we never shy away from an adventure and have boondocked before is daunting to drive down a dirt road looking for the perfect spot without knowing if you’ll be able to turn around.  Been there, done that!  And pre-scouting takes a lot of time.  With these guides you can rest assured you will not get stuck.  Marianne is very detailed about what size rig can fit in each spot with great descriptions of the astounding views that await you.  This guide is worth every penny!

Our first stop was Zion National Park.  We came in the west entrance and though there are free spots on both sides of the park we were a little trepidatious as we hadn’t used the guide before and it was a holiday weekend so we opted for a private campground.  FAIL!!

But we did scout the sites they recommended and they were great.  So from then on we just went directly to their suggested spots.

© 2014 Richard Broadwell

© 2014 Richard Broadwell

After Zion we continued east to Bryce Canyon National Park.  Again the nearby free spots were great AND all the park campgrounds were full.

© 2014 Richard Broadwell

© 2014 Richard Broadwell

We tried to get into the campground at Kodachrome Basin State Park but again, FULL, so we were very happy to have the GPS coordinates to this great free spot nearby.

© 2014 Richard Broadwell

© 2014 Richard Broadwell

The next day we snagged a spot in the park campground but liked our free spot better.

© 2014 Richard Broadwell

© 2014 Richard Broadwell

Next up was Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument with its 2 million acres of BLM land.  The view from this free spot was incredible (our rig is shown in the first photo).

© 2014 Richard Broadwell

© 2014 Richard Broadwell

© 2014 Richard Broadwell

© 2014 Richard Broadwell

We explored the area on the few dirt roads that traverse it.  About 12 miles down Hole in the Rock Road we visited Devils Garden with lots of hoodoos, arches and spires.  Further down were various hikes to slot canyons.

© 2014 Richard Broadwell

© 2014 Richard Broadwell

At the northern edge of Escalante is the Burr Trail Scenic Backway, and yes, we had another great spot all to ourselves.

© 2014 Richard Broadwell

© 2014 Richard Broadwell

© 2014 Richard Broadwell

© 2014 Richard Broadwell

The Burr Trail is paved for 30 miles but turns to dirt with tight switchbacks.  If you have 4 wheel drive, a small rig, and good weather you could use this route as a short cut to Capital Reef.  We unhooked and went just far enough to have a great view of the Capital Reef Waterpocket Fold.

©2014 Richard Broadwell

©2014 Richard Broadwell

We went the long way to Capital Reef National Park (on the highway) and stayed at the Fruita campground as the boondocking spots were a bit far away.

© 2014 Richard Broadwell

© 2014 Richard Broadwell

© 2014 Richard Broadwell

© 2014 Richard Broadwell

Right outside the campground is the Gifford Homestead barn with this great view!

© 2014 Richard Broadwell

© 2014 Richard Broadwell

From Capital Reef we headed south on Highway 95, the Trail of the Ancients, and using the guide found yet another great free spot!

© 2014 Richard Broadwell

© 2014 Richard Broadwell

We were right beside the 80 mile long Comb Ridge.

© 2014 Richard Broadwell

© 2014 Richard Broadwell

This area is teaming with Anasazi ruins and petroglyphs.  We hiked about 2 miles round trip to get this shot of the “House on Fire” ruin.  You have to get there at about noon for this effect.  This site is unmarked and hard to find but of course there were detailed instructions in our guide!

© 2014 Richard Broadwell

© 2014 Richard Broadwell

From here we headed to Moab, one of our favorite areas.

© 2014 Richard Broadwell

© 2014 Richard Broadwell

It’s harder to boondock in this popular and crowded area but not impossible.  We scouted out a couple of sites from the guide not far from town and they were great.  We hit most of the hot spots; Canyonlands National Park, Arches National Park and Dead Horse Point State Park.

Canyonlands National Park – Mesa Arch

© 2014 Richard Broadwell

© 2014 Richard Broadwell

Delicate Arch – Arches National Park

delicatearch

© 2014 Richard Broadwell

Double Arch – Arches National Park

© 2014 Richard Broadwell

© 2014 Richard Broadwell

We loved the Rock Art.

© 2014 Richard Broadwell

© 2014 Richard Broadwell

Our favorite was the birthing scene.

© 2014 Richard Broadwell

© 2014 Richard Broadwell

There are so many fabulous sites to visit in Southern Utah, and we only did about half of the places detailed in our guide.  Ginger would have loved it ):

Speaking of Ginger, I have a question.  Should I change the name of the blog or leave it?

Coming up Next – High In The Colorado Rockies

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30 Responses to Boondocking in Southern Utah

  1. june yawnick says:

    So sorry to hear about your loss…  I scanned through the pictures first and kept looking for Ginger… then I realized, I’d better start by reading the top..  She will be missed by all.  Keep the name… in her tribute!!!

    Hope to see you guys again when visiting Eileen and Jason some day.

      Juney 909-816-1999

    DON’T EXPECT ANYONE TO UNDERSTAND YOUR JOURNEY, ESPECIALLY IF THEY’VE NEVER WALKED YOUR PATH!

    Like

    • Thank you, June! Yes, she is sorely missed! Thanks for your input, we’re thinking the same but just wanted to check with everybody. We hope to see you guys one day soon. In case you missed it, check out the post “Ginger’s Last Adventure”, it pretty much sums up how we feel about our journey.

      Like

  2. fultonsykes says:

    Hey This was really beautiful . Ginger lives on for me & her memory should too in my opinion. You can have Ginger II. Hope you & Richard are well. XOXO

    Sent from my iPhone. Please excuse any typos.

    >

    Like

  3. Lauri says:

    Thanks for sharing that link; those locations look AMAZING! The last thing I need is any stress about finding a spot and we hope to do a ton of boondocking out west! Hope to meet you on the road this year.

    I also would keep ginger in the name of your blog…it’s a sweet tribute.

    Like

    • You are welcome!! I will order the other states too when we need them, it makes it so much easier to boondock, which we love to do! Thanks for the input about the name, at first I thought I absolutely had to change it, but now I’m thinking not (: Hoping we run into each other one day too! Ginger’s FB page is more current with our location. Happy trails!

      Like

  4. Graeme Dawe says:

    I would leave the name of the blog as is. I think we all recognise it easily and who wants to forget the stirring adventures that Ginger took you through.
    The other thing is that if you change the name we may forget Ginger and I’m not ready for that.

    Like

  5. goatwrangler says:

    I was pre inspecting Sunday north of Truckee, CA on very rough roads with no cell service, right after I discovered Milton Lake my tire blew. No AAA here to help! Dan and I prefer boon docking over campgrounds, but getting “Sylvia”, our ’56 AS Caravanner down rough roads without knowing what were getting into doesn’t work. I will be ordering these guides for sure, wish they would write on for Mexico as Church’s only list established campgrounds.
    I have missed your blog, but appreciate that it takes some time to heal. It’s been 2 years for us and we still miss Amy. I agree with others, keep Ginger in your blog it makes her memory live on forever.
    Muchas Gracias!
    Holly
    Rancho Sol y Mar

    Like

    • Hi Holly!! So sorry we are missing you in Nocal this summer. Still trying to get down to see you on the West Coast of Mexico this fall, hoping for no storms! Thanks for your input and kind words about the blog! I think it’s unanimous to keep the name and I’m so glad. Maybe you should do a Mexico version of these guides?

      Espero verte pronto!

      Like

  6. goatwrangler says:

    PS your photos are fantastic and I adore camping in that part of the country!

    Like

  7. fawn says:

    I love, love, love all these pictures. I have truely missed seeing them and living vicariously through your posts. How blessed you both are to be doing this much traveling. I can only hope someday to do the same. I hope you are both well…just know that we miss you a ton back in LQ and hope to see you some time in the near future. Also I totally agree with everyone…don’t change the name. Ginger was great and everyone who knew her loved her. This keeps her spirit alive.

    Love you guys

    Like

  8. Lydia says:

    I love the pictures. You both make a great team and definitely keep the name. I do have some ideas if you do decide to change it, but you must keep her in it. She was a great girl.

    Like

  9. Rod says:

    Afew years ago, we met you two and Ginger in Silverton, Co, we had two chocolate labs with us… so sorry to hear she is gone. Keep her name as a tribute.

    Like

    • Thank you, Rod! We remember! That was our first month on the road and we loved Silverton! In CO again this summer, for the first time since then, loving it! Hope all is well with you and yours…

      Like

  10. Just wanted to say thank you so very much for the glowing recommendation for my travel guides (a lovely surprise, totally unsolicited). How wonderful to see such amazing photos with your Airstream in “our” locations 🙂 You don’t need to order my other guides. Please contact me to accept them as my thank you gift.
    And don’t change the name – you’ve got a great following here. Like Ginger herself, the name is memorable.
    Cheers,
    Marianne Edwards

    Like

    • Thank you so much, Marianne! We loved your guide so much! It made Utah for us, and we can’t wait to try the other ones. Thank you for such a lovely gift, my turn to be surprised! I hope you get a lot of requests, though I’m sure you already do. I love sharing tips with other RV’ers, it’s such a great community of people. Hope to run into you guys someday in one of your fabulous locations!

      All our best, Carol and Richard

      Like

  11. ivoryjoe says:

    Hey Carol & Richard,

    First, let me offer my condolences for your losing Ginger. My heart goes out to you! … and
    yes, I vote that you keep “Ginger Goes Glamping” for your blog title …. it’s a great title, besides,
    Ginger will always be with you in spirit.
    Richard … once again, your photos are absolutely fantastic and give me a desire to jump right in ’em … well, most of ’em!
    Marie & James send their Love & so do I

    cuz Joe

    Liked by 1 person

    • Joe!!! and Marie and James!! Thank you so much, she IS still with us in spirit. So much so that it will still pop into our minds while we’re out taking photos “is she okay in the trailer by herself for so long?” Old habits die hard. I hope all is well in Nashville! I was just emailing with some fellow Airstreamers who are there right now, and told them what a good time we had visiting y’all! Richard thanks you for the compliments to his pictures. It’s actually really hard to capture the beauty of these landscapes, it’s just not the same as being there (even with photoshop)! Love you more!!! xoxo

      Like

  12. Leigh says:

    I’m glad you’re still on the road. Fantastic photos! I’d like to know which of those boondocking spots had good cell/data service?

    Like

  13. Hi Leigh!! Thank you!!!

    Cell was hard to come by once you hit Bryce, Kodachrome, Escalante and Capital Reef. The west side of Zion NP has it and our particular spot in Escalante had AT&T and a little Verizon (the first photo) but the others in that area did not. The cell coverage stopped a few miles outside of any town (though there are quite a few small towns). Anything in the Moab, Monticello or Blanding area is a much better possibility along the 191. Anything in the southern section of the state near Lake Powell or the southeast, say along the yellow roads (on Google maps) MIGHT also be better. We didn’t do that area this time and visited only about 1/2 the sites in the guide. Marianne has a section on cell signals and would mention if a spot had cell signal possibilities but says upfront this area is very remote. You could probably speak to her specifically about that. I hope all is well with you and yours!

    Like

  14. sarah powell says:

    KEEP GINGER ALIVE! I love the name of your blog! And I love the photographs! And I love the commentary! And I love the Boondocking spots! Free is good! xoxo Sarah

    Like

  15. Craig Marley says:

    Just blown away by the quality of your photos in Utah. Please continue your adventure and name in the spirit of Ginger. You’re inspiring me to do similar.

    Like

  16. Pingback: 10 Absolutely Stunning Boondocking Pics – Open Road Today

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