Camping at Canyonlands National Park – Arrived at 7 am to Get a First-Come First-Served

White Rim Trail, Canyonlands, Utah, USA

(May 14 – 19, 2019) After leaving Moab at 6 am, I arrived at the “Island in the Sky Campground” in Canyonlands National Park, Utah. This campground has 12 sites including one for the disabled. They say that the early bird gets the worm, and I took the only spot available as I arrived. The thing of “First-Come, First-Served” is taking a chance but the lucky ones always smile.

Camping in the National Park is like having the whole national park as my home. It is the best. I also love the name “Island in the Sky”. What a cool name! After hiking down to “White Rim” (1400 Feet Descent), I realized why. “Island in the Sky” looks isolated by canyons and rivers (Green River and Colorado River). Thus it is as if it truly were an “Island in the Sky”. It is brilliant that someone named it like that.

Canyonlands National Park has three big parks: (1) Island in the Sky, (2) The Needles, and (3) the Maze. Each one is huge and accessible from each different location only. I didn’t get to visit the other two but I enjoyed “Island in the Sky”. I have the freedom of time but I know my limitations. 

To camp at this site, one has to carry enough water. There are “Vault Toilets” but no water supply. As it is a small campground, big RVs are not allowed. It was nice with no RV running a “heater all night” like I experienced at the other national parks. All national park campground have set time limit for generator running also. During my stay at this park, I hardly heard any RVs running a generator.

I met a young German couple who flew with their tent and other small-sized gear for a camping vacation. They rented a car and bought other necessary camping stuff. It was really fun talking to them. They were mountain biking, hiking, boat riding, and rock climbing. I met a Korean couple who came by their RV from Atlanta, Georgia. My neighboring camper is from Maryland, and was very interesting. He previously had two open heart surgeries. He is the same age I am. He has a pacemaker and also a sleeping monitor which is supposed to call his doctor automatically if there is a problem. However, there is no cellular service here. For an emergency call and also to get the weather forecast, it takes11 miles driving to a visitor center. To get reliable internet access, it is about 30 – 40 miles driving to the town. Seriously, when I didn’t see my neighboring camper in the morning, I worried. It was great see him camping with his RV and hiking wherever he can despite of his health situation.

Staying at this campsite was very fortunate for me. Not taking a shower for five nights was not an issue. The only problem with my stay here was the ongoing “Strong Wind Conditions”. Living in Florida, I have been through many hurricanes. The wind gust here was predicted to be 60 mph for three days. I can tell you that sleeping in a tent with strong winds is like experiencing a category 5 hurricane. All in all, I liked Canyonlands a lot.

Upheaval Dome, Canyonlands National Park, Utah, USA
A Girl with Her Cat in Backpack, Mesa Arch, Canyonlands National Park, Utah, USA
Motor Biker on shafer Trail, Canyonlands National Park, Utah, USA
After camping at the White Rim Trail, mountain bikers getting ready for a day ride on White Rim Trail (100 Miles), Canyonlands National Park, Utah, USA
Whale Rock, Canyonlands National Park, Utah, USA
Gooseberry Trail, Canyonlands National Park, Utah, USA
Dead Horse Point State Park, Utah, USA
Solar Evaporation Ponds, Dead Horse Utah State Park, USA (“Those bright blues on the desert floor are solar evaporation ponds for a mine owned by Intrepid Potash, Inc. Potash is potassium chloride, a salt found in the Paradox Formation. Salt deposited from ancient seas made up this formation as it evaporated and was buried by other sediments.”)
My Campsite #11 at “Island in the Sky Campground”, Canyonlands National Park, Utah, USA

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