If you are spending time around Moab, Kane Creek is one of the most convenient places to camp. Located on BLM land, the canyon is just outside of town and close to many of the area's top destinations. Get here by taking Kane Creek Road from Moab. The way is paved for about 5 miles along the Colorado River in a huge gorge. After it turns to gravel, the road climbs into the dramatic scenery of Kane Creek Canyon. Red rock walls grow and close in as you drive. A set of steep switchbacks takes you to the bottom of the deep canyon, and this is where most of the camping is located.
There are many campsites to choose from, and a variety of sun/shade conditions so you can find a comfortable spot any time of year. The major drawback is that they all get very buggy in summer because mosquitoes breed in the creek. Bring insect repellant and netting.
Camping is allowed only in designated areas, of which there are several, all located on Kane Creek Road. Each is described in detail below, but there are other features of Kane Creek Canyon that deserve attention as well.
There are a few trails within Kane Creek. Favorite among mountain bikers are the Amasa Back trails. These start from near the "Tombstones" area of Kane Creek Canyon about a half-mile into the gravel road where the cliffs look like giant headstones. You can scramble to the top of these by hiking from the Pritchett Canyon Safari Route. You may even get lucky enough to see BASE jumpers launching from the precipice.
A short hike to a great natural arch climbs out of the canyon just before the switchbacks descend. To get to Funnel Arch, pull off above the switchbacks and scramble up a side canyon for a taste of Arches National Park scenery without the national park entry fee.
This area is a hot spot for Native American rock art. At Moonflower Campground along the Colorado River are the Moonflower Petroglyphs. In addition to the interesting panel is a reconstructed ladder that the artists would have used to scale the cliffs. The most impressive panel around is the Birthing Scene, a free-standing boulder with figures inscribed on all sides. This is a short walk downhill from the road. Look for a small pulloff 1.5 miles after Kane Creek Road turns to gravel.
There are nine separate campgrounds along Kane Creek Road. Each charges a self-pay fee of $10 or $15 per site per night. Most sites have a picnic table and metal fire ring, and each area has a pit toilet but no other services, so bring your own water. All are available on a first-come, first-served basis.
King's Bottom is 2.8 miles from town and has 11 drive-up campsites set beside the Colorado River.
Moonflower is a bit further, but it is still on the paved part of Kane Creek Road. There are eight walk-in tent sites tucked into a shady side canyon. This is where the petroglyphs and wooden ladder can be found, and this is the one campground with a dumpster.
After descending the gravel switchbacks, you will reach Hunter Canyon and Spring Site, 7.8 miles from town. These have 12 sites between them, 7 with vehicle access.
Further into the canyon are large campgrounds with many drive-up sites and room to spread out. These have no shade, however, and they are brutal in summer. Ledges A and B are 8.5 miles from town and have 74 sites between them. Ledges C, D, and E are 10.5 miles from town and have 31 sites between them, including an extra-large group site.