bear ears boondocking - Top 5 Trails to Hike at Bear Ears National Monument

19 Great Bear Ears Boondocking Locations

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One of the real treasures of this spot is Bear Ears  boondocking and its unlimited locations. Southeast Utah’s Bear Ears region is home to one of the country’s most intriguing cultural landscapes. The two prominent buttes that soar above the Utah landscape and resemble a bear’s ears are what give Bear Ears its name. Numerous old cliff homes, native community centers, thousands of rock carvings, and relics can all be found there.

Bear Ears National Monument’s History

Bear Ears National Monument's History (1)

The American Indian Tribes in the area regard the Monuments’ land as sacred. People first began residing in the area of Cedar Mesa that is now a part of the Monument some 13,000 years ago. Around 2000 years ago, several prehistoric groups, including the Puebloans, migrated into the region. The artifacts and cliff houses that were left behind are proof of this.

Former President Barack Obama named Bears Ears as a monument on December 28, 2016. The initial authorized area was greater than it is now, as indicated above. Former President Donald Trump issued an order on December 4th, 2017 to modify the boundary of the National Monument.

The Biden administration will determine in the next term whether to return the Monuments’ original borders. Despite these recent alterations, Bears Ears and its surroundings have a deep history dating back thousands of years.

The Monument should ideally be managed in collaboration with the BLM and U.S. Forest Service. It consists of two units: the Shash Jáa Unit to the south and the Indian Creek Unit to the north. According to the BLM, there were 161,247 visits in total for the fiscal year 2020, with 125,911 of those coming to the Indian Creek Unit and 35,336 to the Shash Jaa Unit. This Monument receives an estimated 450,000 visitors annually despite rising visitor numbers.

19 Bear Ears Boondocking Locations Near Canyonlands

Bear Ears National Monument boondocking - Bear Ears National Monument's History


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1. Bear Ears National Monument Dispersed Camping – 22 Miles: – County Road 236 Boondock

Address
Blanding, Utah
GPS: 37.524635, -109.748459
Elevation: 6100′

Management – Public – Bureau of Land Management (Unofficial)

The road into this Bear Ears boondocking location is dirt and is and 1.5 miles from a paved road. There are 1-5 campsites at this location and the maximum RV length is 30. You may stay 14 days at County Road 236 Boondock.

Turn south off of Route 95 onto CR 236 (Balley S Lower Road). Travel through a juniper and pinyon pine forest for about a mile before coming to open range land offers some great Bear Ears National Monument boondocking. Go another 1/2 mile and turn left along the pasture fence. There’s an existing campsite with a stone fire ring. This place is really quiet. The only traffic was a water truck filling the tank in the pasture.

2. Bear Ears National Monument Free Camping – 18 Miles: – Salvation Knoll

Address
Blanding, Utah
GPS: 37.561635, -109.813721
Elevation: 7021′

Management – Public – Bureau of Land Management (Official)

The road into this Bear Ears boondocking location is dirt and is and 1 miles from a paved road. There are 6-15 campsites at this location and the maximum RV length is 35 feet.
Activities:
RV Parking
Tent Camping
Hiking

3. Bear Ears National Monument Boondocking – 12 Miles: – Hammond Canyon Overlook

Address
Utah
GPS: 37.681236, -109.767778
Elevation: 8058′

Management – Public – Forest Service (Official)

The road into this Bear Ears boondocking location is dirt and is and 15 miles from a paved road. Hammond Canyon Overlook is open Aprilish to early Decemberish. There are 6-15 campsites at this location and the maximum RV length is 15 feet. You may stay 14 Days at Hammond Canyon Overlook.

One of the Bear Ears National Monument boondocking sites and highest elevation camps in the area at 8000 feet with ok+ plus views of Hammond Canyon. One large site with easy access near corrals, several along Canyon rim with high clearance access. As I recall this was at the limit of 3g smartphone access. You can see the worst of the road from the corrals and there are plenty of alternatives in the area. Elk Ridge Road itself is a good quality gravel road.

Activities:

Tent Camping
OHV
Biking
Hiking
Horse Trails
Hunting
Rock Climbing
Wildlife Viewing

4. Bear Ears National Monument Boondocking – 20 Miles: – White Canyon Overlook

Address
Lake Powell, Utah
GPS: 37.798324, -110.304595
Elevation: 4610′

Management – Public (Unofficial)

West of Natural Bridges National Monument on Hwy 95, just a large pullover site at MP 62.5 is a good Bear Ears National Monument boondocking, but beautiful views of the canyon and not much traffic on Hwy 95 so pretty quiet. There is another larger area about 5 miles east of here as well – both on the canyon side of the road.

5. Bear Ears National Monument Free Camping – 22 Miles: – Canyonlands NP – Devils Kitchen

The price is $30
Address
Unnamed Road
Monticello, Utah
GPS: 38.136053, -109.859954
Elevation: 5285′

Management – Public – National Park Service

The road into this Bear Ears boondocking location is dirt and a 4X4 is required.. There are four campsites at this location. You will need to be self sufficient. Water is not available. Bring some. There are no trash services in this area. Please pack all of your trash out of this Bear Ears National Monument boondocking area, and any that you see, out with you. Remember to stay on the trail and leave no trace. Pets are not permitted, even in vehicles.

Amenities:

Restrooms

6. Bear Ears National Monument Boondocking – 15 Miles: – Fry Mesa

Address
Lake Powell, Utah
GPS: 37.622705, -110.083528
Elevation: 5843′

Management – Public – Bureau of Land Management (Unofficial)

The road into this Bear Ears boondocking location is dirt and is and .2 miles from a paved road. There are 1-5 campsites at this location. Just off the 95 down a short dirt road, there were a few fire rings set up when we stayed there August 2016

7. Bear Ears National Monument Dispersed Camping – 19 Miles: – Blue Notch Road BLM Boondock

Address
Hanksville, Utah
GPS: 37.763397, -110.293869
Elevation: 4823′

Management – Public – Bureau of Land Management (Unofficial)

The road into this Bear Ears boondocking location is dirt and is and .5 miles from a paved road. There are 1-5 campsites at this location and the maximum RV length is 40+. You may stay 14 days at Blue Notch Road BLM Boondock.

8. Bear Ears National Monument Free Camping – 16 Miles: – Grand Gulch

Address
Utah 95
Blanding, Utah
GPS: 37.582931, -109.893541
Elevation: 6772′

Management – Public – Bureau of Land Management

The road into this Bear Ears boondocking location is dirt and a 4X4 is required.. Free Dispersed camping in the Bureau of Land Management Monticello District. No reservations. First come, first served. It is recommended that you have 4x4 and high clearance to reach this free camping area.

9. Bear Ears National Monument Dispersed Camping – 16 Miles: – Jct 95 – 261

Address
Unnamed Road
Blanding, Utah
GPS: 37.570671, -109.882549
Elevation: 6801′

Management – Public – Bureau of Land Management

Free Bear Ears National Monument boondocking in the Bureau of Land Management Monticello District. No reservations. First come, first served.

10. Bear Ears National Monument Boondocking – 18 Miles: – Jacob’s Chair

Address
Utah 95
Lake Powell, Utah
GPS: 37.706954, -110.23939
Elevation: 4849′

Management – Public – Bureau of Land Management

Free Dispersed camping in the Bureau of Land Management Monticello District. First come -> First Camped. Reservations not accepted.

I spent a little over a week there. I was in a 29’class c pulling a motorcycle trailer, and had no trouble getting in and out. The Bear Ears National Monument boondocking site is close to the highway, but there is not much traffic. I had no cell service, and the nearest pit toilet is about 10 miles away. I was parked on the rim of the canyon with great views in all directions! I had the site to myself most of the time with the occasional motorcycle or jeep going up the trail to Jacobs Chair.

11. Bear Ears National Monument Free Camping – 12 Miles: – Human Panted Rocks in Burch Canyon

Address
Lake Powell, Utah
GPS: 37.610409, -109.929119
Elevation: 6811′

Management – Public – Bureau of Land Management (Official)

The road into this Bear Ears boondocking location is dirt and is and 6 miles from a paved road. There are 1-5 campsites at this location. Cool little prepared spot on public lands great for tent camping (and you can pull your RV in Nearby).

12. Bear Ears National Monument Dispersed Camping – 13 Miles: – Burch Canyon Road

Address
Road 254
Utah
GPS: 37.601438, -109.923472
Elevation: 6998′

Management – Public – Forest Service (Official)

You may stay 14 days at Burch Canyon Road. About 3 miles outside of Natural Bridges National Monument UT, look for a sign for Deer Flat Rd. Turn onto that road. Smaller sites on the left in the trees just as you turn into the road (Burch Canyon) and a larger site (large turnaround area) about a half mile up the road. Several more sites further back the road. But road can be rutty especially if wet. The road to this Bear Ears National Monument boondocking spot is ok first half mile. The park ranger suggested the area to us.

Activities:

Wildlife Viewing

Permit Campgrounds

A permit is required to camp in the Canyonlands backcountry. The permit costs $30 and is good for 14 days and up to 5 Backpackers or 9 people and three vehicles. One motorcycle is considered one vehicle. Backpackers may stay up to seven consecutive nights in any one site or zone. Visitors using the designated vehicle camps may stay a maximum of three consecutive nights at a camping area before having to relocate to another Bear Ears National Monument boondocking spot.

13. Canyonlands NP – Devils Kitchen

Address
Unnamed Road
Monticello, Utah
GPS: 38.136053, -109.859954
Elevation: 5285′

Management: Public – National Park Service

The road into this Bear Ears boondocking location is dirt and a 4X4 is required.. There are four campsites at this location. You will need to be self sufficient. Water is not available. Bring some. There are no trash services in this area. Please pack all of your trash, and any that you see, out with you. Remember to stay on the trail and leave no trace. Pets are not permitted, even in vehicles.

Amenities:

Restrooms

14. Canyonlands NP – Peekaboo Spring

Address
Unnamed Road
Monticello, Utah
GPS: 38.112248, -109.753425
Elevation: 5036′

Management: Public – National Park Service

The road into this Bear Ears boondocking location is dirt and a 4X4 is required.. There are two campsites at this location. You will need to be self sufficient. This location has two campsites. There are no toilets. You must bring a potable toilet. Water is not available. Bring some. There are no trash services in this area. Please pack all of your trash, and any that you see, out with you. Remember to stay on the trail and leave no trace when you leave this Bear Ears National Monument boondocking location. Pets are not permitted, even in vehicles.

Amenities:

Restrooms

15. Canyonlands NP – Sunset Pass

Address
NP730
Utah
GPS: 38.061297, -110.147825
Elevation: 5620′

Management: Public – National Park Service

The road into this Bear Ears boondocking location is dirt and a 4X4 is required.. A permit is required to camp in the Canyonlands backcountry. The permit costs $30 and is good for 14 days and up to 5 Backpackers or 9 people and three vehicles. One motorcycle is considered one vehicle. Backpackers may stay up to seven consecutive nights in any one site or zone. Visitors using the designated vehicle camps may stay a maximum of three consecutive nights at a Bear Ears National Monument boondocking location before having to relocate.

16. Canyonlands NP – The Neck

Address
NP731
Utah
GPS: 38.087464, -110.144349
Elevation: 6886′

Management: Public – National Park Service

The road into this Bear Ears boondocking location is dirt and a 4X4 is required.. A high-clearance, four-wheel-drive vehicle (with low range) is required for all Needles district backcountry roads, AWD will not suffice. Inexperienced drivers are discouraged from attempting these roads as the risk of vehicle damage is great and towing expenses typically exceed $1,000. Roads may close intermittently due to poor driving conditions or weather. Pets are not permitted at this Bear Ears National Monument boondocking spot, even in vehicles.

17. Canyonlands NP – Bobby Jo

Address
Unnamed Road
Monticello, Utah
GPS: 38.09347, -109.881668
Elevation: 5525′

Management: Public – National Park Service

The road into this Bear Ears boondocking location is dirt and a 4X4 is required.. There are two camping areas at this location. You will need to be self sufficient. Water is not available. Bring some. There are no trash services in this area. Please pack all of your trash, and any that you see, out with you. Remember to stay on the trail and leave no trace.

Amenities:

Restrooms

18. Canyonlands NP – Horsehoof

Address
Unnamed Road
Monticello, Utah
GPS: 38.098463, -109.880172
Elevation: 5554′

Management: Public – National Park Service

The road into this Bear Ears boondocking location is dirt and a 4X4 is required.. There is one camping area at this location. You will need to be self sufficient. Water is not available. Bring some. There are no trash services in this area. Please pack all of your trash, and any that you see, out with you. Remember to stay on the trail and leave no trace.

19. Canyonlands NP – Teapot Rock

Address
NP756
Utah
GPS: 38.078521, -110.108891
Elevation: 5600′

Management: Public – National Park Service

The road into this Bear Ears boondocking location is dirt and a 4X4 is required.. A high-clearance, four-wheel-drive vehicle (with low range) is required for all Needles district backcountry roads, AWD will not suffice. Inexperienced drivers are discouraged from attempting these roads as the risk of vehicle damage is great and towing expenses typically exceed $1,000. Roads may close intermittently due to poor driving conditions or weather. Pets are not permitted, even in vehicles.

Bear Ears National Monument Important Facts

A little more than 200,000 acres of the Bear Ears National Monument remain now from its initial 1,351,849 acres. The monument’s boundaries are undeveloped and home to a wealth of natural, historical, and cultural elements. The decreased area’s proposed management plan allows for cattle grazing, the collecting of firewood, tribe access to the traditional plant, the use of off-road vehicles for pleasure, water access, and utility infrastructure.

Visitors who enjoy sight-seeing, photography, mountain biking, rock climbing, and trail running will love this area of the Utah environment. The 201,876 acres of the Monument’s cultural history and natural beauty draw tourists from all over the world. You might spend days or even weeks discovering various ancient cliff houses, pictographs, and petroglyphs that were inhabited by prehistoric people.

Pottery, utensils, grainaries, kivas, and other artifacts are some of the relics that have been left for tourists to see as evidence of their way of life. Red sandstone, high plateaus, and juniper woodlands may be found in this region of Bear Ears National Monument.

The American Indian Tribes in the area regard the Monuments’ land as sacred. People first began residing in the area of Cedar Mesa that is now a part of the Monument some 13,000 years ago. Around 2000 years ago, several prehistoric groups, including the Puebloans, migrated into the region. The artifacts and cliff houses that were left behind are proof of this.

Former President Barack Obama named Bears Ears as a monument on December 28, 2016. The initial authorized area was greater than it is now, as indicated agove. Former President Donald Trump issued an order on December 4th, 2017 to modify the boundary of the National Monument.

The Biden administration will determine in the next term whether to return the Monuments’ original borders. Despite these recent alterations, Bears Ears and its surroundings have a deep history dating back thousands of years.

The Monument should ideally be managed in collaboration with the BLM and U.S. Forest Service. It consists of two units: the Shash Jáa Unit to the south and the Indian Creek Unit to the north. According to the BLM, there were 161,247 visits in total for the fiscal year 2020, with 125,911 of those coming to the Indian Creek Unit and 35,336 to the Shash Jaa Unit. This Monument receives an estimated 450,000 visitors annually despite rising visitor numbers.

Places and Things to Do and See in Bear Ears National Monument

bear ears - Places and Things to Do and See in Bear Ears National Monument

1. Climbing Routes

You should go to the Indian Creek part of the Monument if you enjoy climbing rocks. There are almost 1,000 different rock climbing routes in this region, which regularly draw numerous climbers from around the world eager to challenge themselves. Keep in mind that there are no amenities in the pack’s rock area, but you can use the vault restrooms. Water is required, and only skilled climbers should attempt to scale these cliffs.

2. Bears Ears Education Center

The Education Center is one of the fantastic locations you should check out when you get to the Monument. This location is in Bluff, Missouri. This location was created with the intention of helping tourists comprehend the local environment and teaching them about the local history through educational exhibits. Local residents administer this educational facility. It is the ideal location to inquire about this piece of property before going if you have any inquiries. During the busiest times of the year, this education center is open from Thursday through Monday. You can go to the Bears Ears Education Center website to receive printable and downloadable maps.

3. Mountain Biking

For mountain bikers who wish to go exploring, the extensive 4-wheel driving routes within the National Monument are perfect. All of the roads on the monument are open for riding. If you’re an expert rider, the Lockhart Basin Road is one of the best spots to go. Views of the neighboring Canyonlands National Park will be breathtaking. It is a 44-mile mountain trip, so if you decide to continue riding, be prepared for some sore legs.

4. Trekking

Any time you visit the Monument, regardless of the pack you choose, you will have fantastic hiking chances. Several archeological sites, such as Butler Wash Ruins and Cave Towers, are located inside the monument, and there are also a number of hiking paths that provide breathtaking views of the surroundings. San Juan Hill, the site of the Hole-in-the-Rock trip, is among the popular destinations. It’s crucial to keep in mind to bring lots of water because the environment is dry.

5. Driving tours

Consider taking a drive on one of the numerous picturesque roads if you are visiting the Monument in a car. These roads feature a variety of surfaces, including some that are off-road and perfect for four-wheel driving. Harts Draw Road, Valley of the Gods, Needles Overlook, and Bears Ears Buttes are some of the most well-known highways that you may hike with your car. You should bring extra fuel and supplies if you decide to go vehicle touring because you will be far from civilization. You will have the most optionsnd can visit Monument Valley for the lowest price if you drive there.

6. O H.V. Trails

The National Monument has many trails that are great for recreational vehicles. A 28-mile riding circle is located near the Jacob’s Chair monument and is one of the greatest routes. It travels largely sideways the ridge to provide you with a fantastic view, making it perfect for experienced riders. You must always stay on the route and avoid disturbing the natural environment when riding.

7. Canyoneering

Ropes and technical knowledge are needed for this demanding adventure. Some people are capable of navigating these canyons by themselves. However, you have the option to pay a guide service to take you. Swimming, climbing, and abseiling are frequently necessary for a technical canyoneering expedition. Visitors who have the fortitude to partake in the Canyoneering activity will find exquisitely sculpted locations that few people get the chance to explore.

Top 5 Trails to Hike at Bear Ears National Monument

bear ears boondocking - Top 5 Trails to Hike at Bear Ears National Monument

1. Bullet Canyon Trail to Grand Gulch and Kane Gulch

A 20-mile, moderately frequented point-to-point path with magnificent views and a moderate difficulty rating, the Bullet Canyon Trail to Grand Gulch and Kane Gulch is situated close to Mexican Hat, Utah. The trail is most frequently utilized from March until November for hiking, walking, nature excursions, and bird viewing.

Beautiful scenery unmatched by anything I have ever seen for four days and three nights. In order to reach the Green Mask spring on our second night of climbing, we brought enough water for two days of hiking when we entered at the ranger station. It was charming and trustworthy. Lots of brushy wash crossings, an accessible hike, and very stunning ruins. Moderate and lovely hike out. I’d do it all over again in a heartbeat. Look up is all I have to say. You will find that there are numerous unmarked ruins.

Length: 20.0 mi
Elevation gain: 1,719 ft
Route type: Point to point

Interactive Map

Hiking, Nature trips, Walking, Bird watching, Views, Rocky, No dogs

3. Valley of the Gods Road

Valley of the Gods Road is a 16.3 mile, heavily traveled, point-to-point road that is suitable for hikers of all abilities and is situated close to Mexican Hat, Utah. The trail is best used from April until November and is mostly used for scenic and off-road driving. This trail is also accessible to dogs.

Have you seen the John Wayne Western or the HBO series Westworld? There is a possibility that you have already seen this Valley. It is located nearby the quaint community of Mexican Hat in the southern region of Bear Ears National Monument. The Navajo claimed that the towering monuments and spires of the red rock region represented immortalized warriors.

To get there, you must travel across the desert on a difficult 17-mile round into the hills on the particular mesa, which is called Moki Dugway. Additionally, you will enjoy sweeping vistas of the world’s geological wonders. Depending on which direction you approach the valley, the ground drops away, revealing a stunning picture of large sandstone formations rising from the valley floor. If you don’t want to hike, this is an excellent alternative.

Length: 16.3 mi
Elevation gain: 1,653 ft
Route type: Point to point

Interactive Map

OHV/Off-road driving, Scenic driving, Dog friendly, Views, Wildflowers, Wildlife

3. Lower Muley Twist Canyon and Grand Gulch Loop

A 14.8 mile, moderately traveled loop path with a rating of tough that offers the potential to encounter wildlife is called the Lower Muley Twist Canyon and Grand Gulch Loop and is situated close to Boulder, Utah. The path is best used from March through November and offers a variety of exercise possibilities.

The Grand Gulch is a 15-mile hike that is one of the world’s most unusual journeys. More cultural relics will be discovered as you travel farther into the desert. Around every turn are watchtowers, granaries, kivas, and Cliff dwellings, as well as numerous petroglyphs, arrowheads, and pottery fragments.

Length: 14.8 mi
Elevation gain: 1,328 ft
Route type: Loop

Interactive Map

Backpacking, Camping, Hiking, Nature trips, Bird watching, Views, Wildlife, Fee, No dogs

4. Monarch Cave via Comb Ridge Trail

A 1.5 mile, moderately frequented out-and-back route called Monarch Cave through Comb Ridge offers the ability to witness wildlife and is situated close to Bluff, Utah. The track is best used from April until October and is mostly used for hiking, strolling, and bird watching. This trail is also accessible to dogs.

Near Bluff, Utah, on the east side of Comb Ridge is where you’ll find Monarch Cave. From the trailhead, a short walk ascends a small canyon to a cave.

Length: 1.5 mi
Elevation gain: 114 ft
Route type: :
Out & back

Interactive Map

Kid friendly, Hiking, Walking, Bird watching, Cave, Dog friendly, Views, Wildlife

5. Wolfman Panel Trail

Near Blanding, Utah, the 0.8-mile Wolfman Panel Route is a moderately frequented out-and-back trail that offers spectacular vistas. The majority of users of the trail are hikers. This trail is also accessible to dogs.

extremely nearby parking. You can see trail markers to your left as you follow the trail to the edge. There are numerous petroglyphs nearby.

Length: 0.8 mi
Elevation gain: 91 ft
Route type: Out & back

Interactive Map

Hiking, Dog friendly, Views, Rocky, Historic site

5 Scenic Photography Places To Visit in Bear Ears

Top 5 Trails to Hike at Bear Ears National Monument (2)

1. House on Fire Archaeology Hike

This famous Ancestral Puebloan cliff is also known as “House on Fire” because the rocks here occasionally catch fire throughout the day. Families can enjoy the hike together. Make sure to arrive before midday if you want to take pictures of the rock formations. The BLM office in Monticello or the BLM Kane Gulch Ranger Station both sell annual passes.

2. Mule Canyon Roadside Kiva

This Roadside Kiva was constructed for ceremonial purposes. You will get a fantastic idea of the kind of underground and surface structures built by ancestral Puebloans when you visit this Canyon Roadside Kiva. These buildings were ideally built on Cedar Mesa 700 years ago. The paved, short distance that leads to the kiva.

3. Needles Overlook

This location gives breathtaking views of the Needles District of Canyonlands pack and BLM lands. Every time you walk along the fence at this location, you get a panoramic view of Indian Creek, Canyonlands National Park, and the Abajo Mountains. There is a picnic area and a pit toilet available.

4. Sand Island Petroglyph Panel

The Sand Island Campground has a boat launch, a seasonal ranger station, camping, bathrooms, and seasonal drinking water on this Sand Island. So, be ready to bring your water with you.

5. Butler Wash Ruins

Ancestral Puebloans built and inhabited this building approximately 1200 A.D. The ideal cliff residence would include four kivas as well as store, residential, and ceremonial buildings. The site’s components have been stabilized and rebuilt. One mile of the moderate walking trail has seats and a few signage identifying plants. A walled overlook with informational signage may be found at the trail’s finish. There are restrooms and packaging facilities.

What to Pack for Your Visit to Bear Ears National Monument

Top 5 Trails to Hike at Bear Ears National Monument (3)

You must make plans if you intend to visit Bear Ears Monument soon if you want to fully enjoy and learn from the experience. Don’t miss any prehistoric sites, historical artifacts, picturesque drives, or breathtaking natural formations. The list of potential needs and absolute necessities is shown below.

Food—more than you think you’ll need.
Water—at least one gallon per person per day.
Sun hat and sunscreen.
Sunglasses.
Ice and ice chest.
Sturdy footwear.
Layers of light clothing.
Daypack or Camelbak.

We sincerely hope you have enjoyed reading this information and that it has assisted you in making travel arrangements to the Bear Ears National Monument. Be safe and enjoy your trip!


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