Outside Moab you can find a string of campgrounds along a scenic drive along the Colorado River. I tent camped at Grandstaff which is sandwiched between the river and the road like all campgrounds along the corridor. That fact was diminished by the gorgeous riparian setting with the river winding through fantastic rock formations. Lots of bird life including hummingbirds.
I love this campground especially during rainstorms as the canyon walls explode with waterfalls!
One of many campgrounds along this stretch of the Colorado east of Moab. If you're looking for beautiful scenery next to a nice cool water front then this place is your desert paradise. All campgrounds had permanent firerings and picnic tables.
The sites fill up very quickly. The first day we tried to get a spot around 1 in the afternoon in May and all spots were filled. We got lucky the next morning and swooped in as another party was leaving around 10, so arrive early!
Nearby are the Big Bend boulders and many side trails into the main canyon. To the east lies the most famous desert tower in the world, Castleton Tower. Driving south through Castle Valley will take you up to the stunning La Sal loop road if you need to escape the heat!
These BLM campgrounds are a great deal! It's $15, or just $7.50 with the NPS senior pass.
After we saw there are about a dozen BLM campgrounds between Moab and I70 along Route 128 on the Colorado River, we knew we wanted to try one. We missed the entrance to Goose Island, the first campground as you leave Moab, but then we saw Grandstaff before we could find a place to turn around. Glad we ended up at Grandstaff. There are 16 sites, and all except #16 and maybe #15, are right on the river. Sites are large; we didn't even see our neighbors on either side of us. There is some road noise, but it didn't bother us.
We arrived around 9 am. "Campground Full" sign was up, but we looked and found 2 empty sites with a couple more groups packing to leave. So….go early! When we left the next day, we told someone waiting to grab it. Someone was already waiting by another site while people packed up. This was around 8 am.
No water, showers or electric but it's still a great place. You can get water at the Lions Park or Gearheads in Moab. The rec center in Moab offers showers for $5 or gym/shower for $7.50 ($5 for over age 55). Great facility!
This campground is just across from Grandstaff Canyon (the ridiculously named former Negro Joe Canyon). The roundtrip that includes Morning Glory Natural Bridge is 4.5 miles. There are several water crossings (rocks, not much water), and the hike is shady in late afternoon.
There is a mountain bike trail across the road. Porcupine Rim starts there and connects with others.
Paved bike path picks up shortly after campground. It is an off road path most of the 5 miles into downtown Moab. You'll be on the road a bit.
great sites show up early as they fill quick. These are first come first serve blm land sites sponge the river. Great scenery and one of the best spots to stay if looking to be near the road.
We were lucky to get in to this campground. There are maybe 8-12 sites, very primitive. There is one vault toilet centrally located. This is right on the Colorado river. There were trees but with that, lots of ants. One ended up in my son's shirt and bit him multiple times leaving a huge rash. The ants were everywhere. But the views were nice. They lit up the canyon wall after dark for some sort of tour I think. It was cool. Stars galore, no real light pollution. Ample space and fire ring. It is hot! 100+ the bike path in to Moab is just half a mile up the road. There is an amazing trail across the road that has a freshwater stream with a small swimming hole and slight waterfall. It's perfect. Loved this spot!
The Grandstaff campground is in a great location if you plan to ride porcupine rim (ride into Moab and up through the Sand Flats rec area first, finish at camp), or if you plan to hike the Negro Bill canyon trail (it's literally across the street!). This campground is perfect for tents or cab-over-campers. Trailers would not be ideal. Unfortunately, the BLM has had to remove a lot of the bushes and invasive tamarisk, so the campground is sparse, but in a few years, it should be much better as they've replanted with native plants. The new paved biking path that runs along 128 is a positive addition to the area, and you'll be able to enjoy it right from your camp spot! If you've never hiked Negro Bill, find a spot at this campground, and do it. It's shady, protected from some of the winds that Moab sees during Spring and Fall, has plenty of water to splash in, and is beautiful! Read the signs posted at the trailhead, as there IS poison ivy in negro bill canyon area.