About an hour outside of Vegas is a town called Overton where you can find plenty of spots for free dispersed camping. We headed there, did some laundry, restocked our supplies and then found a nice spot to camp up on a cliff overlooking the Nevada desert and the Valley of Fire. The place where we camped was called Snowbird Circle. And we saw a couple Canadian RVers pulling into the area. It was quiet and peaceful and perfect.
Next morning, we filled up on Diesel in town ($5.09/gallon) and then headed to Valley of Fire State Park. What a beautiful place. No matter where you look, there was beauty everywhere. So again I am going to be posting a ton of photos because it is so hard not to keep taking photos in a place like this.
Unfortunately we were unable to get a camping spot at both of the first come first stay campgrounds in the Park. So we headed out to Lake Mead which was just a 30 minute drive. We found an amazing spot on Echo Bay. Right on the shoreline. Actually, according to Google maps, we are in the water which means the lake is very low and we are camping on a dry lake bed which at one point was a lake. It is an amazing spot.
A lot of night and early morning fisherman come to this Lake. We stayed two nights then headed through Arizona making our way to my favorite place, Moab, Utah. It’s still a little too cold there for our liking but should warm up in the next three or four days. So slowly we limp toward there. Spent a night in the St George, Utah, Cracker Barrel and the next night at the Hurricane KOA.
Across from the KOA was a State Park with some nice sights and we took a short hike to see some dinosaur footprints which was pretty cool. The dinosaurs passed through this way 190 million years ago.
This would have been a great State Park to spend the night but unfortunately all the State Parks in Utah use a reservation system that doesn’t allow you to book the day of. And they don’t allow walk in sites so out of the 11 sites in the campground, only 4 were being used and the rest remained empty. Sometimes I feel like people that run these State Parks have never camped a day in their lives. It’s pretty frustrating.
Checkout at the KIA was at 11 am and the wind at that point was extremely bad. So we were planning on getting a spot near Zion National Park on some wide open BLM land. Because if the wind though we didn’t want to get there too soon so we headed to the town of Hurricane and both got much needed haircuts. We then had some lunch and decided to hit the movies. The Godfather was playing , (50th Anniversary showing) it’s a 3 hour movie so we will enjoy every second out of this wind storm.
After The Godfather, we headed to the Public Land. The wind never eased up and because we were at a higher elevation we spent the rest of the evening indoors. The views, however, were outstanding.
Next day we drove into the Western side of Zion National Park. Greg had read that this side was not crowded at all with people. We took a nice scenic drive to a Trailhead to do a short hike.
Turns out the hike was extremely short because it led us right to the edge of a canyon. Some technical rock climbing would be needed to continue on the hike so we just called it quits and headed back to the van. We continued up the road to higher elevations and although it was a beautiful sunny day, we came to a road filled with snow.
We then headed back the way we came and found the most amazing spot next to a creek. To me, it’s just unbelievable that I get to camp in this spot for free.
Leaving that camp spot after two days was sad but I knew what was to come. Into Zion National Park we went. If you have never driven the road between Zion and Bryce, I highly recommend it. You can’t go more than 30 mph but you wouldn’t want to. It gives you an opportunity to view the back side of the park. The views are just outstanding and the reward at the end of the journey is Bryce Canyon. My favorite National Park.
We did some hiking on the rim trail and then headed to Rubys Inn to sit in their lobby for a while and shop at their general store. 5:00 starts the dinner menu and we wanted to treat ourselves to the cowboy buffet which was amazing.
After dinner we drove about 10 minutes to the Dixie National Forest for another free camping spot nestled among the Ponderosa Pines.
The elevation here is close to 8000 feet and we can not use our diesel heater above I think 5000 feet. Greg stayed in his zero degree sleeping bag longer than he normally would. I had some coffee and enjoyed the sunrise outside the window.
Once it started to warm up, I went on a short hike to check out what was over a nearby hill. I found some really cool rocks and gems. On the way back I made some artwork in the snow patches.
We would be heading over some more winding mountainous roads so even though we had half a tank of diesel, we wanted to be safe, not sorry. The Diesel is up to $5.50 a gallon here in Utah. When we started our trip in October, it was half that price. We try not to worry about prices as this kind of lifestyle has us spending barely any money.
We stopped at the Escalante Petrified Forest State Park. we did a three mile hike up to where the petrified wood was. It was a great hike. Lots of information along the trail which is great. Keeps your mind off of how much your huffin and puffin at these high elevations.
Headed into the town of Esqualante to a small general store to pick up a few things before heading back into another sliver of BLM land. This sliver found us in a wide open meadow with Juniper bushes all around us. Greg collected a ziploc bag full of the berries to bring home. He looked up a couple of recipes that we can use them in.
Our next drive was again pretty zig zaggy but we’ll worth the views and the scenery. The road went through Capital Reef National Park which is one of the often overlooked places. The beauty in this park should not be missed neither should the homemade pies.
We drove on from there to find a place to sleep for the night. Getting a spot at any of the National Park Campgrounds in virtually impossible unless you book it 6 months in advance. So we headed to Goblin Valley State Park. There are no available spots in any of the Utah State Parks either but we did see some BLM land near there so we gave it a shot and it certainly didn’t disappoint. A huge parking lot with picnic tables and fire rings and maybe 6 of us staying the night. It was perfect. It even had pit toilets. The sunrise in the morning was unbelievable. I really enjoyed this spot and would have for sure stayed two or three nights but we were itching to get to Moab, Utah which is my favorite town to visit.
On our way to Moab we went, again through some amazing Utah scenery. We arrived to town and walked the Main Street before deciding on a camping spot. They have campgrounds here along the Colorado River which are really nice for 20 bucks. They also have a couple of dispersed camping spots about 15 minutes out of town both on the North and South side of town. I also can’t believe how many new hotels have been built since we were here last. We went to our favorite outdoor gear shop first. They are also in a new location and have everything you could ever possibly need for outdoor life. The guys that work there are super friendly and helpful. It’s such a great store. They also have free filtered water for anyone that needs. We bought a few things and filled our water and then headed out to see about one of the sites on the River. It was late at this point so we weren’t expecting to get a site. These sites are first come, first serve and so the first strip of sites were full as were the second. We could have continued on cause there’s 4 or 5 more campgrounds further down the road but we had a feeling they would all be filled so we turned around and headed out of town to the dispersed camping area. The Willow Springs area was awesome, great views in every direction. Only problem was it was pretty packed out. It was fine though for an overnighter, especially an overnighter with rain in the forecast. We didn’t get any photos of that area because of the rain but we will
Probably go back in a few days and will be sure to get a few photos.
Next day headed back to town. They have a new food truck city which was pretty cool. A big circle of food trucks and in the middle were tables and a stage. We got a couple of peanut butter smoothies and walked around town some more. Went to the visitor center, watched the 29 minute movie and then explored the town some more. We decided for the night to try the dispersed camping in the other side of town called Yellow Circle Road. This area was not as crowded as the first but also not as nice views. We cooked up some burgers and called it a night. Rain came over night, leaving the road out a very muddy mess. We put the van into 4 wheel drive and slipped and slided our way out. We had to drive through the muddy bumpy roads for about a mile before hitting the highway. Thank God for 4wheel drive and high clearance on the van.
We decided to head into Arches National Park today to do the delicate arch trail. On April 3, the park is switching over to a reservation system just to get into the park so we wanted to get in there before the system goes into affect. People will purchase their timed entry passes online 3 months in advance so I’m pretty sure we would be out of like trying to get an entry pass on line. We headed over and saw a sign saying that the park is full, come back in 3-5 hours. I couldn’t believe my eyes!!!! I drove in anyway, of course, so did everyone behind me but when I got to the payment booth it was empty with a sign saying turn around, park is full. The road was gated closed and there was no entry. I feel bad for people who plan a vacation to see Arches and then are turned away. In my opinion, they should close trail head parking lots when they are full not close down the entire park. Some people like to just drive the loop and may never even get out of their car and now they are forbidden to do that. I find it ridiculous and I am so grateful I saw the National Parks when I did. We left there and did not come back in 3 to 5 hours.
Instead we did an amazing canyon hike outside of the park across from Grand Staff campground which was one of the campgrounds that was full but today we actually got a spot. Right on the Colorado River surrounded by the huge cliff walls of Arches National Park.
The trail we did according to Greg’s phone was a 6 mile hike crossing the creek way too many times for my liking. I’m not a big fan of creek crossing. At the end of the trail it went up a bit for the grand finale which was a 300 foot natural bridge which we saw in the distance . The trail continued and crossed over the bridge but we are old so turned around when we had a visual of it.
Well today is the last day of March. Time is flying by. We will probably spend another week in the Moab area before all the Jeeps head into town. They come for a big Jeep festival for Easter Week. Currently we are sitting at the Lions Club Park. We had no signal at the campground, so I’m just uploading the last of the photos and finishing up the blog for posting.This park is super nice and so far it’s not too crowded.
The totals spent this month in camping is $277 and gas is $387. Hoping that the gas prices will start going down again before our long haul back to the East Coast.