tent camping near arches
affiliate disclosure

Are you planning a camping trip to Arches National Park? We’ll help you find the best camping in Moab for your next road trip.

Why should you visit Arches National Park?

Arches National Park is the #1 attraction in Moab Utah. It attracts over 1.5 million guests a year.

Be sure to check out How to Avoid Crowds at Arches National Park before your visit to find some awesome off-the-beaten-path spots.

The park is home to the world’s largest concentration of natural sandstone arches. Arches National Park boasts over 2,000 arches within its 120 square miles.

The picturesque park is definitely a bucket list location for most Americans. Arches National Park is open year-round but the most popular time to visit is between April and October.

To learn more about the arches and why they thrive in this area check out Ultimate Guide to Arches National Park: Trip Itineraries and Insider Tips for Your Visit.

Do you need a reservation for Arches National Park?

Due to overcrowding, Arches National Park implemented a timed entry reservation system for the 2022 peak season. From April 3rd to October 3rd, reservations are required to enter Arches National Park between 6 am and 5 pm.

Reservations are in addition to National Park entrance fees. Check out to America the Beautiful National Park Pass: Is it Worth it and Will it Save You Money before your next National Park visit.

delicate arch

Camping by Arches National Park

There are an abundance of camping options when visiting Arches National Park. They include: camping in the park, camping nearby with amenities at a local campground and camping for free with no amenities on public lands.

Depending upon your travel style and camping setup, you can best determine the right camping spot for your Utah trip to Arches National Park.

Camping inside Utah’s Arches National Park

Camping inside Arches National Park is the best way to maximize a short trip since you’ll be sleeping inside the park. This means you’ll get to skip the entrance lines and reservations system.

The only designated camping in Arches National Park is at Devils Garden campground. It is located deep in the park, about 16 miles from the entrance.

There is no cellular phone reception at Devils Garden.

Individual campsite fees at Devils Garden are $25 per night and cover up to 10 people and 2 vehicles.

What to expect camping in Arches National Park?

If camping in Arches National Park, Devils Garden campground offers 51 campsites year-round with picnic tables, fire rings, flush toilets and vault toilets. No hookups (electric, water or sewer) are available at Devils Garden. The campground does not have showers, an RV dumpstation or potable water.

Peak season reservations can be made up to one year in advance on recreation.gov. Peak season runs from March 1 to October 31 and reservations are highly recommended. The remainder of the year, all campsites are operated on a first come-first serve basis.

Devil’s Garden hiking trails are within walking distance so be sure to check out Complete Hiking Guide to Arches National Park: Trail Recommendations for Beginner to Advanced for all the details.

Summary: Devils Garden Campground

  • Location: 16 miles inside Arches National Park entrance gate
  • Amenities: flush toilets, picnic tables, and fire rings
  • Pro: Proximity to park attractions without suffering entrance lines
  • Con: Reservations should be made up to a year in advance for peak times
  • Costs: $25 per night
devils garden campground at arches
Photo credit: Google user Sammy Styx

Camping at Campgrounds Near Arches National Park

There is no shortage of campgrounds near Moab Utah and Arches National Park. But you’ll need to decide between private or public campgrounds.

What is the difference between private and public campgrounds?

Private or commercially owned campgrounds will generally offer more amenities and charge a higher price. Some might offer swimming pools, laundry rooms, and even cabin rentals if you don’t like roughing it. Oftentimes, campsites are close together with little to no native vegetation or wildlife.

Public or government-owned campgrounds generally offer fewer amenities but have lower prices. We’ve found them to be more natural with campsites spaced further apart with natural vegetation and wildlife. They even offer significant discounts for veterans, disabled or senior citizens.

Private Campgrounds

If you love the campground life and can’t imagine a night without running water, don’t fret. As of early 2022, there are 9 private campgrounds available in Moab Utah, near Arches National Park.

Privately Owned Commercial Campgrounds near Arches

We have not stayed at any of the campgrounds in Moab so cannot personally recommend one over another. Listed in alphabetical order.

  1. ACT Campground – RV & Tent sites, yurts and rooms available
  2. Dowd Flats RV Park – RV and tent sties
  3. Moab KOA – resort style campground with rentals, RV and tent sites
  4. MoabRim CampPark – Cabins, RV and tent sites
  5. Pack Creek Campground – RV and tent sites
  6. Portal RV Resort – full service RV resort, luxury rentals, no tents
  7. Sun Outdoors Arches Gateway – rentals, RV and tent sites
  8. Sun Outdoors North Moab -rentals, RV and tent sites
  9. Up the Creek – 18 tent only sites located in town

RV Camping near Arches

Portal RV Resort only offers RV sites and does not have designated tent camping. All other campgrounds in Moab offer both tent and RV sites for rent.

Tent Camping near Arches

Up the Creek campground only offers tent campsites and does not have RV sites. It is located in town and is great for walking or biking to urban destinations.

If you are looking for a quiet private campground for tents only, then Up the Creek is the only option.

Summary: Private campgrounds near Arches National Parks

  • Location: throughout Moab
  • Amenities: vary (some have pools, gyms, and laundry rooms)
  • Pros: showers, toilets, and other home-like conveniences
  • Cons: expensive if staying for multiple nights
  • Costs: $28 and up per night for private
luxury camping at Sun Outdoors near Arches
Photo Credit: Sun Outdoors

Public Campgrounds

However, if you are an experienced camper camping in a tent or small RV, I would highly recommend checking out the public campgrounds around Moab including a few on Potash Road. There are far too many to list here so check out this link to recreation.gov.

Most public campgrounds charge lower fees than private options but have fewer amenities. They also offer 50% discounts for lifetime access pass holders. Check out who is eligible for a lifetime America the Beautiful Access Pass here.

Many public campgrounds are still first come first serve but some accept reservations on recreation.gov. Public or federally owned campgrounds are usually more rustic and private or commercially owned campgrounds. At public campgrounds, the campsites are nestled between shade trees with access to a pit toilet. The sites we saw on Potash Road each had a designated picnic table, tent pad and a fire ring.

Summary: Private campgrounds near Arches National Parks

  • Location: throughout Moab
  • Amenities: limited (toilets are pretty standard, everything else is a bonus)
  • Pros: in nature but with some amenities
  • Cons: limited amenities
  • Costs: as low as $5 per night for public campgrounds
tent camping near arches

Free Camping near Arches National Park

There is an abundance of free camping on public lands near Arches National Park.

If you are comfortable camping without amenities, then you can’t beat the price of camping on public lands. It’s free!!

We travel full time in our 37′ Class A motorhome and love camping for free on public land. Moab is a great location with nearly unlimited free campsites.

What is dry camping or boondocking?

Camping without connections is called dry camping, dispersed camping or boondocking.

Boondocking means camping without water, sewer or electric connections.

For RVs, this means using onboard systems and tanks efficiently to support daily activities. For tent or car campers, this means bringing the right supplies (drinking water and a way to store and cook food) to live without modern conveniences.

Check out 21 Best Tricks for Saving Water in an RV: Extend Boondocking Stays with Conservation for ways we are able to boondock for multiple weeks.

Getting Water & Showers in Moab

If you don’t have big storage tanks, don’t worry. Moab is very camper friendly and you can take a shower or refill your water containers at multiple places in town if you are camping for free on public lands.

Free Water Refill Stations in Moab

We use water jugs like these to replenish our supplies and have found multiple places that offer free water refills in Moab. Most big box stores sell them in the camping section for less than $20. I highly recommend buying your own water containers before arriving in Moab, they are quite overpriced in town.

Our favorite Moab location to get free water refills is Gearheads. They have large industrial sinks with filtered water at the rear store entrance. The sink easily fits our 6-gallon jugs. No purchase is necessary.

Gearheads is located at 471 S Main St, Moab, UT 84532. During our April visit in 2022, they were open 8am until 9pm daily.

For larger containers or late hours, the Maverick gas station offers free water fill 24/7. It is located on the south side of Moab, at 985 US-191Moab, UT 84532. The free water fill is an outside faucet located on the left side of the building near the diesel pumps. This Maverick station in Moab also has a free RV sanitation dump.

Where to Shower in Moab

After a day of hiking or biking, you’ll definitely want a shower before you head back to your free campsite. Showers are not free but many businesses in Moab offer shower facilities for a small fee. Spending $5-$10 for a shower is still much cheaper than paying for a campsite.

Here is the latest list of places to shower in Moab. These businesses are open to the public for showers and you don’t have to be a guest or client to pay for long, hot shower. We love to swim laps at the Aquatic Center which only costs a few more dollars than just a shower.

Arches National Park Camping for Free

Free camping is abundant around Arches National Park in Moab Utah. Some public lands are Bureau of Land Management and others are State Trust-owned but all allow free camping.

We have visited twice in our RV and both times enjoyed free camping near the airport north of Moab. It’s a great location for watching skydivers and hot air balloons.

hot air balloon rising over our free campsite near arches in moab

How to Find Free Campsites

Free campsites are a great way to keep costs low on your next road trip. For other saving ideas, check out Save Money on a Roadtrip: 13 Simple Ways to Still Have Fun on a Budget.

It can be daunting at first to figure out how to find free campsites but we’ve been doing it since 2017 and considering ourselves very proficient. We use crowd-sourced apps to filter locations without cellular service or tiny spots that won’t accommodate our 37′ Class A motorhome.

If we’ve never visited a location and don’t have a personal recommendation, then we use free camping apps to find boondocking locations. Other Class Aer’s online reviews are a really important factor in determining if we might have issues accessing the area.

Best Apps to Find Free Campsites

Our favorite crowdsourcing apps to find free campsites (they all have free versions) are:

Once we arrive at a new location, we disconnect our tow car and scout for the perfect spot. Our low clearance sedan is a great test of road conditions. If our car can make the drive, then our motorhome will have no problems.

We’ve seen others without a tow vehicle, take a walk or ride their bike to scout new locations. Most tow trucks will charge exponentially higher fees for recovery on dirt roads so be extra cautious.

Free Campsites Near Arches National Park

There are numerous free campsites near Arches. Many are not recorded in the camping apps but there are enough in the apps to find a great campsite. Honestly, it is very easy to drive along Hwy 191 and find a spot just by looking for parked RVs.

Here is a screenshot of the abundant free public campsites in the Campendium app

free public campsites near Moab
Source: Campendium

Top 5 Free Campsites Near Arches National Park

We have not scouted these locations personal but the 5 top-rated free public campsites near Arches (source: Campendium) are:

Additionally, we’ve personally found great big rig friendly campsites at:

Summary: Camping for Free on Public Land near Arches & Moab

Location: outside of town Moab
Amenities: none (bring your own water and toilet solution)
Pros: FREE, enjoy nature with no neighbors
Cons: no amenities, roads can be rough
Costs: FREE

Camping for Free on Public Land

It might sound too good to be true but we are very lucky that public lands are open for everyone’s use.

Remember to treat these lands well so they are available for future generations’ enjoyment.

Guidelines for Camping for Free on Public Land
  • Leave No Trace
    • pack out everything you brought including food and waste
  • Respect the land
    • only park on previously disturbed areas to prevent further vegetation destruction.
  • No holding places
    • personal belonging should not be left unattended overnight to hold or reserve campsites.
  • Don’t overstay your welcome
    • camping stay limits vary by location but are generally about two weeks within a month period
  • Don’t interfere with nature
    • leave plants and animals to their nature processes
camping for free in tent on mountainside

Summary: Utah Arches National Park Camping

In summary, there are plenty of camping options for every budget and comfort level near Arches National Park in Moab Utah. Remember to book campgrounds in advance for the best options and always scout free campsites.

Pin for Later

Other Posts You Might Enjoy

Canyonland vs Arches: How to Choose the Best National Park in Moab

Best Places to Eat in Moab on a Budget: Cheap and Cheerful Eats

Red Canyon Utah: A Great Road Trip Stop for Hoodoos and Hiking

One Day at Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument: Some of Utah’s Best Hikes outside the Big 5 National Parks