Sunday, October 2, 2022


Boondocking threatened at two Utah National Monuments?

Here’s a question from a reader of about boondocking. 

Hi Bob,
I read in the news that Utah’s Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments will be downsized. We haven’t visited them, but are thinking we might visit before their size is reduced. Is boondocking allowed on either one? —Howard and Grace

Hi Howard and Grace,
As of right now boondocking (dispersed camping) is allowed in certain areas of both monuments, since both are in part managed by the Forest Service and BLM. But if the government’s plans get approved and survive the inevitable court challenges, both monuments will be shrunk and that may affect any boondocking opportunities.

Bears Ears National Monument

In Bears Ears, dispersed camping is allowed within the part of the monument managed by the BLM, such as along Butler and Comb Wash roads, in the Valley of the Gods, and on Cedar Mesa. When dispersed camping, you must stay on previously disturbed areas within 150 feet of designated routes and driving off-road to create new camping is prohibited, as is camping in archeological sites.

Bears Ears is a unique monument since it is managed jointly by BLM and the Forest Service, with input from the Bears Ears Commission which consists of elected officers from the Hopi Nation, Navajo Nation, Ute Mountain Ute Tribe, Ute Indian Tribe of the Uintah Ouray, and Zuni Tribe. The Monument also includes lands in the Manti-La Sal National Forest and lands managed by the BLM Monticello Field Office. Find more information here.  You can find the Bear Ears NM map here.

Grand Staircase-Escalante remains – for now – the largest national monument in the United States. Spanning 1.9 million acres of America’s public lands, it is roughly the size of Delaware and was the last place in the continental United States to be mapped.

Dispersed camping is allowed, but before camping, talk with one of the rangers to obtain current information on road and weather conditions, maps and permits, which are required for all overnight use (a free overnight permit is required for dispersed camping outside of developed campgrounds). To protect soil crust, vegetation and other resources, you must park and camp in already disturbed areas that show signs of previous camping. No dispersed camping is allowed in the front-country zone. A visitor center can provide additional and more current information or visit the Grand Staircase – Escalante website.

Read more about boondocking at my BoondockBob’s Blog.
Check out my Kindle e-books about boondocking at Amazon.

Do you have a question for Bob? Email him at bob.rvtravel (at) .




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Gene Bjerke
4 years ago

The reason these National Monuments are trying tp be reduced is so that much of the area will be available for corporations to mine and drill. Money talks and conservation walks.

4 years ago
Reply to  Gene Bjerke

Not true. It’s already federal land and heavily protected. No real oil resources there to exploit, or it would have happened already. The increased tourism will actually cause far more damage.

4 years ago

There is still no rational reason for these monuments to be reduced. The only thing I can think of that seemingly motivates our current powers that be is their obvious desire to oppose conservation of any kind.

Dave Helgeson
4 years ago

Agree with Brett, National Monuments tend to be more restrictive towards boondocking than undesignated land either BLM or USFS

F Brent Betenson
4 years ago

If the monuments are reduced. There should be more dispersed camping. More of the land would go back to BLM control.

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