We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Camping and reservations for entire month of September

Spokane, Washington
Level Contributor
276 posts
15 reviews
Save Topic
Camping and reservations for entire month of September

We were hoping to do a 4 week loop after labor day weekend...Zion, North Rim, Bryce, Escalante Petrified Forest, Burr Trail then up Notom Bullfrog to Capitol Reef, Natural Bridges, Canyonlands Needles, Island in the Sky, Deadhorse Point and Arches, with some smaller stops like Calf Creek, Goblin, etc. but now I am getting worried about campground (tenting) availability without reservations. am eligible for my senior pass in July. would August be too late to book some reservations, and can you get in the first come first served campgrounds if you get there before 10 or 11? am I the only one that thinks it's hard to preplan out an extended trip with reservations? have the moon book, read Fodors and have the Benchmark map book. trying to locate a copy of the AAA Indian Country guide. any and all recommendations and insights appreciated.

Salt Lake City, Utah
Destination Expert
for Utah
Level Contributor
4,531 posts
31 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: Camping and reservations for entire month of September

I think after Labor Day Weekend, most of the crowds are back in school. Midweek, you shouldn't have too much of a problem without reservations. I might plan on arriving for the weekend on a Thursday. Areas like Moab have dozens of BLM campgrounds within a few miles of town. Unless there is a huge event, you should be able to find something. Places like Monument Valley and maybe Zion, you should book as soon as you can.

www.discovermoab.com/campgrounds_blm.htm

There are also lesser known places or state parks near the national parks where you could camp. Kodachrome Basin and Goblin Valley are a couple. Boulder Mountain has several campgrounds but it's at a higher altitude, so bundle up.

Salt Lake City, Utah
Destination Expert
for Utah
Level Contributor
15,902 posts
146 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: Camping and reservations for entire month of September

I agree, it is too hard to plan out a full month worth of reservations. Even sometimes a week I don't know for sure how long things will take or where exactly I'll end up. So I feel your dilemma.

Most of the time, unless it is a busy weekend, you should be able to get a camp spot if you get there when others are leaving- so 9 or 10 is best. Part of the problem with is that in some places the available campgrounds are limited leaving you not much leeway if you don't find a space. So it would be nice if you could decide on a few of the more important areas where and when you'll be there (like North Rim for sure!!) and make reservations.

Spokane, Washington
Level Contributor
276 posts
15 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: Camping and reservations for entire month of September

Thanks.I had Goblin and Kodachrome as two stops, but didn't know if I needed reservations. maybe things aren't as dire as I thought, but good idea to have at least a few reservations made at more popular places. wish I didn't have to wait till July for my senior parks pass!

Kipling. SK
Destination Expert
for Zion National Park
Level Contributor
6,320 posts
131 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: Camping and reservations for entire month of September

Best to read through the material you have and correlate this info with the rough stops you have planned above. Create a plan with the stops you have in mind with the amount of time you think is feasible. We will help you adjust your figures afterwards. After having a good grasp on the allocation of time, then you will have an easier time making some reservations. Do note that you have a more than sufficient amount of time for a basic national and state park exploration loop. Also Note that September is still a popular time to visit the area, as the average climate is very ideal. After labour day, the numbers are obviously less in terms of visitation, but not by a huge margin.

When reading some guide books, it can seem difficult to differentiate the difference between easy to reach and accessible features found in Utah, and those which take a certain amount of effort or appropriate vehicle to reach.

As an example, Calf Creeks Falls is a long but easy hike on dry land to a waterfall. The trailhead is reachable by any type of vehicle. In the rough area, Peekaboo and Spooky slot canyons are two often mentioned and increasingly popular spots to visit. Hiking these two slot canyons is a little more difficult because of the terrain and accessibility, and to reach the trailhead involves an often rough drive down a washboarded sandy/rocky road. Many on this forum can comment on the challenges to reach these features.

If your guide books list places outside of the park that you are unsure of, best to ask about them specifically.

Also best to concentrate on specific areas to receive the best answers if you have questions. Large and broad topics are difficult to answer.

5. Re: Camping and reservations for entire month of September

-:- Message from TripAdvisor staff -:-

This post has been removed at the author's request. The author may post again if desired.

Posts on the TripAdvisor forums may be edited for a short period of time. Once the edit period has expired, authors may update their posts by removing and reposting them.

To read more about editing your posts, please follow this link: http://www.tripadvisor.com/help/how_to_edit_your_posts

Removed on: 12 May 2014, 16:27
Spokane, Washington
Level Contributor
276 posts
15 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: Camping and reservations for entire month of September

good advice. I have read a fair amount as alluded to earlier, as well as downloaded and read a notebook full of stuff as well as having read through all the tourist brochures I received. Didn't know how detailed to get in my posts. have started to rough in a calendar to get a better read on timing. Initial thoughts: Zion 2 nights, Northrim 1 or 2 nights, Bryce 2 nights, Kodachrome 1 night, Escelante Petrified Forest 1 night, Calf creek 1 night (hike to falls is 5 1/2 miles), Burr Trail, camp Deer Creek, Notom-Bullfrog camp Cedar Mesa, Capitol Reef Fruita Campground 2 nights, Goblin Valley State Park 1 night, Natural Bridges 2 nights, Needles 2 nights (possible Camping at Squaw Flat, or windwhistle, Dead Horse State Park with day trips to Island in the Sky, 2 nights, and Arches 2 nights, with camping inside park, or if not available, one of the campgrounds on 128, then head south for 1 night hovenweep. That's about 23 nights accounted for so far. Appreciate any thoughts about time modifications to the above, additional recommendations. Driving a Subaru outback which has 8 1/2 inches of ground clearance, but except for Burr trail, have not read anything I this schedule that's a problem. Have read about some other roads but decided against them, but am open to reconsidering. Both the Moon book and the Fodors give some recommendations on hikes.

Steamboat Springs...
Level Contributor
2,860 posts
31 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: Camping and reservations for entire month of September

Most of the places you have chosen have ample camping spots. So if you can get in to them in the AM you should have no problem. Deer Cr (on the Burr Tr) and Cedar Mesa (on Notom rd) only have 6-7 sites each. They could pose a possible problem, but in all the years I've gone for these sites, we've only been denied once at Deer Cr. Group of ladies had all 6 sites. Mrs PG was glad we found another spot closer to Boulder.

Kipling. SK
Destination Expert
for Zion National Park
Level Contributor
6,320 posts
131 reviews
Save Reply
8. Re: Camping and reservations for entire month of September

Add another night to Zion if possible. Make sure to try for reservations here, as it is nice camping weather well into Oct.

Not sure about North Rim for availability. It will be getting colder up in that area, as well as Bryce in September, so I am sure the bulk of campers will be deterred.

Natural Bridges for two nights? I am sure you are going to branch out from here and see all the local sights, Goosenecks, Monument Valley, Valley of Gods.

Not sure about the order of your stays after Goblin Valley. I might be more inclined to swing through the Moab area before heading south to Natural Bridges and Hovenweap. Might want to add another night around Bullfrog Notom or Natural Bridges to make sure you have time to cover the whole area.

Moab area can use some extra time if you want to try some of the commercial area activities like jeep or river tours.

Are you going to include some of western Colorado and northern Arizona into this trip as well?

Spokane, Washington
Level Contributor
276 posts
15 reviews
Save Reply
9. Re: Camping and reservations for entire month of September

Thank you for your replies. I'll sit down and add that and see what it looks like. The reason I was thinking Natural Bridges was to head south on 95, as the maps indicate that stretch from Capitol Reef to Hanksville and down to junction near Blanding is identified as scenic. I know that involves a back rack over 191 from Arches back down (about 75 miles). Do you think 95 from Hanksville south isn't worth the back track, and that instead it would be better to go up from Hanksville and do Arches, Canyonlands N and S, and only hitting a small portion of 95 from Blanding to Natural Bridges? Wasn't going to add Arizona or Colorado on this trip, as after whatever month long loop through Utah, then we're visiting family in New Mexico and hit the balloon festival there, then get back to the Northwest Washington to prepare for winter. As you might be able to tell, trying to get as much info as possible to maximize our time. We also plan an occasional splurge of a hotel/motel.

Kipling. SK
Destination Expert
for Zion National Park
Level Contributor
6,320 posts
131 reviews
Save Reply
10. Re: Camping and reservations for entire month of September

I am not to familiar with your plans for the area, but it appears that you will need to backtrack somewhere. I might tend to suggest that SR95 is a good place to do this, as it is indeed a scenic route, worth looking at from both directions. Do note that resources and gas are limited in this area, so Hanksville and Blanding for gas. Not sure what resources you can acquire at the marinas on Lake Powell, especially with the water level being low on the lake, and the ferry crossing being out of commission likely for the season. That would be a separate question if needed.