Dirty Devil River Campground, Glen Canyon Recreation Area

Thursday, May 16

The Perfect Tow Vehicle carries the crew and me northward out of Bluff, Utah, on Highway 191.  The Best Little Trailer tags behind as if not even there.  Before reaching Blanding we pick up Highway 95 west.

Originally, I was going to camp around Moab.

Since it’s already mid-May, I’m saving those Colorado River camps I’ve heard so much about until another trip through Utah.  Instead we drive The Trail of the Ancients (Hwy 95) to the Glen Canyon Recreation Area on the northern shores of Lake Powell.

The drive is spectacular!

Most of the breathtaking views I pass by without taking a photo because the road is winding and up and down ridges and hills and there’s no place to pull over.  In fact the drive has me practically in a stupor.  It’s like this . . . You eat a seven-course meal and then a platter of more food is placed in front of you.  That’s what it’s like when you approach the sign for Natural Bridges National Monument.

“You mean, there’s more?”

I keep on driving without stopping.  This may be hard to understand if you’ve never been on this road.  By the time we reach Glen Canyon I’m satiated with scenic beauty!

I pull into Hite Campground in the Glen Canyon Rec Area.

What a disappointment!  It’s a parking lot of red dirt with a few picnic tables scattered about.  Plus the water for Lake Powell has been diverted so it’s a dry lake bed.  I toss up the $6 entrance fee (with Senior Pass) as a loss and drive out.  The crew and I have our standards!

We cross the picturesque Hite Bridge.

(You can see all this on the Utah Benchmark map.)  A short distance and we arrive at Dirty Devil River Campground and I immediately look for a level site.  There are only three campsites.  No one is here!  The fee is $6 regular ($3 with senior pass).  Since I’ve already donated $6 to Glen Canyon Rec Area, I don’t pay the fee here.

Our view from every side of our camp is picture-postcard magnificent!

Bridget, Spike and I have fun climbing around on the slickrock (which is not slick!).  The vistas are incredible. . . vast empty spaces for many miles.  It’s a National Geographic photo in every direction from our campsite.  I try to capture the grandeur of the place with my camera.  Unfortunately it’s an extremely overcast day but I think you can see from the slideshow that Dirty Devil River Camp is quite stunning!  Wow!  This is Utah!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


From Dirty Devil River Camp we continue on Highway 95.  This entry was written, the photos uploaded, and all of it finally posted while in the parking lot of the Chevron Station in Hanksville.


About rvsueandcrew

Fulltime nomad
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69 Responses to Dirty Devil River Campground, Glen Canyon Recreation Area

  1. Dave says:

    Wow, my dream area and it looks like almost no traffic!

  2. EmilyO from KS says:

    Wow, and I have my head buried in dust and dustbunnies and, at the same time, keeping an eagle eye on the weather since we have warm fronts, cold fronts and whatever in between in the area. Do you have any dustbunnies?

  3. I notice that you move on within a day or two and I was wondering if you could address how you arrive at your route or schedule in your blog. The slide show is just wonderful, its going on my list of places to go.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      I don’t have a schedule and my route is loosely planned, if planned at all. Now we’re moving through red rock, canyon, and reef country where internet is spotty. That influences how long we stay at a camp. I don’t want to let my blog stagnate! Also in the back of my mind is Memorial Day weekend coming up. We need to find a great place to hunker down for a while!

      About my route…. I don’t try to “do everything” in an area. I travel under the assumption that there will be more trips through this area as we make our annual migration north each summer and return in the fall to Arizona.

  4. joolsjaunts says:

    Sue, you’re seeing magnificent places. You have quite a keen explorer intuition! Do you ever plan to go back to New Mexico? Perhaps the places that are cool with high elevation? Just wondering, because I’m wondering if I would ever get done just exploring New Mexico. LOL! ! ! !
    –Jool in North Texas

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      I’ll go back to New Mexico, God willing. There’s a lot of NM I haven’t seen yet. We camped in several of the state parks because I didn’t have solar yet. Now that I can boondock, I’d like to camp in the national forests of Mexico.

  5. Renee (from Datil) says:

    Sue, you’re turning into a southwestern-er by heart, just like I did when I moved from Missouri in 1977!! There’s something about the remoteness & ruggedness that so appeals to me. Love love LOVE Utah (& Wyoming, & Montana, & Colorado, & New Mexico…, but that’s beside the point). You’re seeing some areas we haven’t gotten to yet; I’m going to have to start nagging Dave again.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      I know exactly what you mean about “remoteness and ruggedness.” I love a camp that feels wild. Utah has a lot of that to offer! Time to hit the road, Dave!

  6. juleyt says:

    Hi Sue,
    We are currently in Arkansas waiting for repairs. We had planned to be in Utah seeing the sights in April and early May. We know we will be back through Utah another time so no biggie but we are enjoying Utah through you this time. Love the photos. My favorite Utah park is Canyonlands NP.

  7. I forgot to say, we got our Utah and Colorado benchmark maps through your Amazon link. Getting ready to boondock. Just as soon as our black tank and tank indicators start working correctly.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Great, Rob! Those Benchmarks will not let you down! Thanks for ordering them through my blog. I use them every time I get out on the road. Every boondock originates with a study of my Benchmark map.

      Happy boondocking to you!

  8. TravelBug-Susan says:

    Please tell me you’re going to Natural Bridges. What a fantastic place. However, there will be trails the doggers won’t be able to navigate as there are wooden ladders to go down the cliff faces in many places. Come to think of it, I don’t know if dogs are allowed on the trails in Natural Bridges.

    Anyway, you’re in such a beautiful area. I’ve been there twice.

    In one of your photos from today, I saw a comical face very distinctly on one of the big rock formations. (The photo had two or three big rocks in it.)

    Love reading your blogs.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      I see that face in the rock, too!

      I’m bound to disappoint readers at the places I don’t visit in the areas I pass through. There’s really so much to see on this route, it’s hard for me to take it all in. I’m almost at the point of being “rocked out!” I skipped Natural Bridges, mainly because it was too much to do in the same day I had to travel from Bluff to the next campground. Someday . . .
      I love to read that someone loves reading my blog. Thanks for writing, Susan!

  9. cinandjules (NY) says:

    Beautiful………….reminds me of that Citibank commercial..rock climbing girl…”someone left the gate open”. What are those holes in the strange formation rocks/mountain?

    Can’t wait to see Moab when you (we) get there…as well as Natural Bridges.

    The crew looks eager to roam….Spike is eyeing that waterhole way down yonder! Memorial Day coming up…means crowds everywhere. Find your spot early!

    Have a wonderful evening.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Oh dear, cinandjules…. I’m not going to Moab or Natural Bridges this trip. I’m headed westward. I’m sure you’ll be delighted at the places we visit!

      You’re right about Memorial Day weekend. I have to find a place that I love and that has internet!

      • cinandjules (NY) says:

        That’s okay…you can’t go everywhere! There is plenty of places to catch on your next cycle. Something to look forward to.

        Our desolate lake/woods is starting to have city type noises…people are already heading up here.

  10. Glenda Cornwill says:

    Simply awesome scenery Sue and you have captured it so well. How many times have I seen this scenery in films and thought wow, I would love to go there one day and now you have taken me there. How amazing are those smooth rock faces with the holes………….one tries to imagine the force of nature that has formed them over many many years. Again thanks for the ride.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      You’re welcome, Glenda! I admit I’m disappointed in several of the photos. I wish I had caught our camp in better light. It was windy and cloudy. The photos don’t come close to showing the magnificent views in all directions.

  11. Marcia GB says:

    Simply fabulous slideshow with eye-popping formations! You and the crew are trailblazers for many of us. Your pics and descriptions really tell the story. Can’t wait to see where you end up for the long weekend.

  12. jamajoan says:

    Smiling at two of your comments…..”the crew and I have our standards” and your donation “already” to the park. Loved ’em!
    May I inquire as to what camera you use? May I ask how you get the “rvsue 2013” on each photo? I’m heading that way in July, but, alas, the roads won’t be that wonderfully sparse of traffic. Another question….are you heading into Idaho per chance?

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi Joan,

      My camera is a Panasonic DMC-TZ3, LUMIX 10x optical zoom. It was given to me by Mick, a friend I met online and have never met in person. It’s a dandy camera!

      I load my photos into Picasa from a memory card. Then when I download each photo to a file on my hard drive, a window appears where I can adjust the size (pixels) and also a place where I can type what I want to appear on each photo (rvsue 2013).

      I don’t have any specific plans to visit Idaho. But then I didn’t last year and we crossed the state!

      • jamajoan says:

        Thanks for the info and quick response! If I read you correctly, you type “rvsue 2013” on each picture individually?!? I’m heading to Idaho mid-July and for an extended visit in the tip-top area.
        I am such a camera novice that I want to compare your Panasonic with my Canon now.
        Still working on setting up my blog with wordpress….learning process or maybe I should just jump in and get my feet wet….za!

        • rvsueandcrew says:

          Once I type “rvsue 2013” it shows on every photo after that until I remove it from the “window” or change it to something else. Very easy.

          Learning WordPress may be daunting at first. Soon you’ll navigate it without much mental effort at all!

  13. You could be busy from dawn to dark photographing the light on the rocks as it changes there. What a spectacular site!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      You’re right about that, Mary. I think Dirty Devil River Camp is one of the top three most spectacular camps so far for me and the crew.

  14. Kay says:

    RV Sue and Crew… thank you for sharing your experiences along the way. There is so much to see, and if you see it all at once – you’ll have nothing to see next time through. I think I’d be rocked out after a week, maybe two. I love that “green” stuff, such as the grass and trees. Just something special about water rushing through a nice deep green area that is soothing.

    I think Bridget looks like she’s put her “no picture” attitude to rest. Rowdy went to the groomers on Thursday. She told me he was the best ever. He pranced around like he was Royalty. Arriving at home he dashes in the front door and in 2 seconds he’s out the back door, BARKING! Of course, the whole neighborhood knows he spent the day at the dog salon.

    We did manage to get the new Wilson Antenna system all installed. I took my one cell phone that gets no bars to the RV. Flipped the switched, and 5 bars. I have a glimmer of hope now, maybe I will have service most of the areas on at least one of the phones. The booster is suppose to boost 20X, so we shall find out.

    Have safe travels, and fun!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      That Rowdy is Mr. Personality Plus! I know you must’ve wondered what he would do at the groomers.

      Glad the Wilson antenna is installed and working for you. I love mine for internet connection. I don’t have it hooked up for cell phone.

      I love the green grass with flowing water, too. The red rocks, cliffs, and canyons are a wonderful contrast. The crew and I will get to green grass country this summer.

  15. tinycamper says:

    Spectacular is right! WOW!

  16. earthdancerimages says:

    Sue, hate to say “TOLD YA SO!” but we told ya that road was magnificent! Grin!!! We are back at Canyon de Chelly and will be at Datil Wells by Monday night! Have fun girlie, don’t let your eyes bug too far out from all the beauty… they might never pop back in!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Yes, the road was incredible! Glad you aren’t rushing back to T or C. Enjoy the trip home. Wish you were here!

      • earthdancerimages says:

        Wish we were there too! Our good friends are camping at 1,000 Lakes Campground! Been 2 years since we have seen them! It was soooo good to see you in Bluff! Torrey UT reminds me of Sedona AZ 40 years ago when I camped there !!!

  17. Rattlesnake Joe says:

    Love the pics, almost like photos of Mars except better. There is nothing like the feeling of being out in the middle of nowhere, like you are the very first trailblazer. Invaribly the feeling is lost when you look down at your feet and see a cigarrett butt. Evidence of the Naked Ape having been there already. But go further, look beyond the mysterious canyon, something lost and waiting for you…go… go and find it…just a little further…beyond the mountains, go and find your destiny. [Kipling wrote simiiar words better than I a long time ago].

  18. Alison Pacific Northwest says:

    Hi Sue, I haven’t posted to you in awhile, but I’m still reading your blog daily! Now that you’re in Utah it’s bringing back memories of a boondocking and hiking trip I took there about 10 yrs ago. Utah is fantastic for boondocking! Just about every side road seems to have spots. si much BLM land there. So here are some of my favorites.

    We found great boondocking spots north of Hanksville, near Goblin State Park, around Temple Mtn and off of “Back of the Reef Road”. An added attraction is you can get a short safe taste of slot canyon hiking at Bell Canyon, in that area. You can walk 1-2 miles (RT) and get a true slot canyon experience (but not TOO narrow) or do a much longer loop with Wildhorse Canyon. Wildhorse is a bit more challenging though. Btw, Goblin SP is a horrible campground but does have hot showers.

    Also tons of boondocking near Escalante, off Hole in the Rock Rd. large flat pull offs used by horse packers with trailers in the summer. Nice views of Kaiparowiz plateau. I got helpful tips from the NF Ranger station in Escalante.

    My favorite town in the area is Torrey. Just touristy enough to be cute and have good services, but its not over the top like Moab. Nice bookstore, big shade trees.

    I LOVED Capitol Reef national park. Way way way less crowded than the other NPs in Utah. The north section is spectacular (like Monument Valley but you have it ti yourself). It has a great small free campground (like 3 spots) – Cathedral Valley CG, with huge views.
    The south section is also great and has another small CG called Cedar Mesa – beautiful, looks just like it sounds.
    Be sure to check road conditions though, the dirt rosds were excellent when I was there but things can change. Park Rangers in Fruita can tell you.

    Finally, the Burr Trail is a specular red rock drive if it works with your plans. Was a real high point for us.

    Whatever you do, have a great time in Utah!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Nice to hear from you again, Alison. I’m glad to know you’re still with us!

      Thank you for all the camping information. I think you’ll find my next post very interesting.

  19. Reine in Plano,TX says:

    Sue, we are once again just missing each other. We were camped at Fruita Campground at Capitol Reef from Wednesday to this morning(Sat). On Thursday, several of our group went down the “scenic BACKway” to Bullfrog at Glen Canyon and then back up 95 through Hanksville and back to Fruita. We were probably at the Phillips station shortly after you were at the Chevron station. We’re now in Canyons of Escalante RV Park because we couldn’t get ressies at Escalante State Park. Leaving on Monday for Red Canyon Forest Service Campground near Bryce Canyon.

    We drove hiway 12 from Torrey to Escalante today. BEAUTIFUL road but NOT for agoraphobics. There were several places when it was down on BOTH sides of the hiway. This afternoon several of us we went on the Burr Trail road (vehicles only). I agree that it’s a great road but not recommended for trailers. We were going to walk back in a slot canyon but there happened to be a mountain lion there that the rangers couldn’t get to move on down the road. As we left they were waiting on additional folks with tranquilizer guns to show up because they felt the mountain lion was either hurt or sick since it didn’t respond to either guns fired in the air or rocks thrown at him.

    Utah can be interesting.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi Reine! Yes, we are crossing paths and just missing each other! Wow! Your tour group is covering some ground. I bet you and Paul are having a great time.

      Mountain lion story is a good reminder. That’s one thing about exploring canyons. Lions love to perch above, waiting for prey to come strolling by.

      I’m not going to Bryce this trip — enjoy!

  20. Dawn says:

    LOVE Utah…and haven’t been in years and years and years…way too many years. Thanks for taking me with you. The slide show is spectacular. I last visited Capital Reef with my folks, just before I got married maybe 24 years ago now. Loved it. First time we went there I was probably 13, and we camped in their campground in an apricot orchard and ate all the apricots we wanted. Your blog is bringing back all sorts of sweet memories. 🙂

  21. jason says:

    I know this is a lot to ask but here it goes. I to am a fan of boondocking and here in the the north east it is easy to find water to shower/wash when ever you want. You mentioned in one of your last post ” Wow Sue takes a shower ” Do you mostly sponge bath because of the lack of or the need to conserve water and not use your shower in the BLT? I to am planing to head south west when I retire and all the help I can get would Help! Sorry if this is to personal. :^)
    Thanks so much!
    PS: Any other secrets you could tell me/us would be great!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi Jason…

      The BLT has a good shower. I tried it a few times and decided I liked sponge baths better for a couple of reasons.

      Using the shower draws water from the BLT’s tank. Since I rarely have hook-ups, I need to be careful how much water I take from the tank even though I have a large tank. (The tank water flushes the toilet.) If I empty the tank water, I have to break camp and go somewhere to fill it up.

      For me the effectiveness and enjoyment of a shower requires lots of water and time under the water. It’s annoying and hard for me to feel really clean when I have to turn on the shower to get my body wet, then turn off the shower to soap up, then turn it back on to rinse. I’m uncomfortable with water evaporating all over me while I try to scrub myself.

      When I’m done the entire bathroom is wet (so if I have anything stored in the bathroom it has to be removed before each shower). Then I wipe down the bathroom and put things back. To me that’s a hassle. Carrying around a water “bladder” and filling it up to refill the water tank drained by showers is more hassle.

      I’d rather fill a full-size dishpan with hot water, take my time and scrub with a washcloth and back-brush. Then rinse with more hot water. I come out cleaner and more refreshed and I don’t have to put my bathroom back together again when I’m done. Plus I can boondock longer because I haven’t drained the water tank. (I often heat the water from jugs for my baths.)

      It’s a preference. If I were hooked-up to a campsite spigot all the time, I’d probably do things differently.

      • jamajoan says:

        That is so Mongolian Peace Corps, Sue, and probably a large % of the world is bathing in a tub or a river! The PC issues us very large plastic tubs and….well…I haven’t had a shower in months. Went to a hostel in UB and…..brrrr…..only cold water. Funny how I was glad to get home to my sponge bathing and tea kettle with boiling water. Crazy as it sounds, I actually don’t look forward to all those “conveniences.” That is why the boondocking is becoming so enticing. When they ask me how the PC has changed my life I ’twill smile and say, “Well, I don’t shower every day!”

        • rvsueandcrew says:

          Great comment, Joan. I get the feeling people think you can’t be clean if you bathe any other way than a shower.

          • jamajoan says:

            It’s not that I want to get in the last word or anything like that…..so LOL…..however, you are so on the mark! I am a bit older than you and showers were what the men did in the basement, baths were for Saturday night and inbetween….sponge baths supreme! And then we entered the decades of “shower every day in a home with a bathroom for every bedroom!” Well, I am dedicating the rest of my life to simplicity and…… maybe a Saturday night bath when I get back to America! Bet you are often surprised at the directions your blogs take……:)

  22. Rattlesnake Joe says:

    Jason here is a couple of secrets for you. The bathroom is not big enough to shower in. I’m 6’3″ and 290 lbs…so I bought me a shower tent and set it up right beside the bathroom window. Just open the window and run an extension hose out to the shower tent. This keeps the bathroom dry for all your other stuff that you store in there. Also look at trailers that have good ground clearance so you don’t hit all the plumping pipes that are hanging down too low. You will need a generator to run your air conditioner and solar panels to charge your batteries. Get a trailer that has large holding tanks so you don’t have to dump all that often. Your tow vehicle should be 4 wheel drive so you don’t get stuck out in the middle of nowhere. Tripple AAA and Good Sam don’t go out in the deserted desert to help you. Find a friend that shares your dreams and Boondock together for safety and fun. For peace of mind keep the TV turned off and don’t listen to the radio news. It is designed to put and keep you in fear. Get a bunch of good books to read when it is raining. Snake gaiters are good to have for protection against rattlesnakes and cactus thorns. Hand held GPS is good to have so you don’t get lost. Keep a journal with GPS co-ordinance for your camps and other interesting places you may want to come back to. A camera to record all your adventures and in case you see a UFO. A Cannon 10×30 image stabalized binocular will make you smile every time you use it. Rechargeable batteries for your flashlights etc with a solar power charger.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Great advice, Joe.

      Jason — I don’t have a generator. I use nature’s air conditioning. When it gets hot, I move to higher elevation.

      • jason says:

        Thanks Sue and Joe!!!!!
        I have a u haul CT13 with no Bathroom. I do have a shower tent and a 60 cup electric coffee pot for hot water (just enough for a real good on/off shower or sponge bath) No air conditioner but I do have a generator to keep the battery’s up and for when I need 120volts. I am planing on installing solar and maybe air.
        Thanks again!

        • earthdancerimages says:

          Jason, may I suggest the 5 gallon solar shower, probably available on Amazon? I used to put mine on the hood of the truck to heat it, then hang my shower curtain around a hula hoop and hang that contraption and the shower bag of water now hot, from a sturdy tree limb. It was always plenty of water for a decent shower!

  23. Ed says:

    Sorry, I posted this on yesterdays comments with my first try. It should have been here – I’ll blame it on my new Windows 8 OS. HA

    You were disappointed with the campground at Hite Crossing. This is what I had to say in my Journal in 1991 when I was doing an 11 week Park to Park bicycle tour of the Rocky Mountains and Pacific Coast.
    19 Jun: Bicknell to Hites Crossing
    Roads: UT24 & UT95
    Distance: 106 miles (first Century)
    Camp: A bare parking lot by the Colorado River
    I just thought yesterday was tough. Today we had and easy time of it for about the first 50 miles to Hanksville but then turned south to a gradual uphill and into a headwind. Then when we thought it couldn’t get worse it got hoter and there were two steep climbs at the end of the day. There were a lot of people quit and take the “sag wagon” today, there was a point where I stopped to rest that I would have probably done the same if one had come by.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Interesting, Ed. I can’t imagine biking that road. Was the Colorado River there when you camped in the “bare parking lot?” That would’ve redeemed it for me somewhat. Now it’s all dry which gives a dismal look to the place.

      I suppose if I had biked over a hundred miles that day, any place to rest would look pretty darn delightful!

      • Ed says:

        Yes, there was a beach of sorts and the river. Most of our group took our bath in the river that night although there was a shack that sold ‘convenience’ food items and most importantly BEER. They also had 1-2 pay showers available but we were a group of over 100 so the river and beach was just as clean as the shower floors would have been.

  24. Gayle says:

    Just ordered a CD thru RVSUEAmazon (Dvorak, New World, to me it sounds like the lightness, freedom of open road). Do you listen to music on the road or at campsite? That scenery and classical music — wow! If so, what do you enjoy?

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Well, Gayle, to be honest I don’t listen to music on the road or at the campsite. I enjoy music only once in a great while. I find my mood is easily influenced by music, and I can become depressed very easily by it.

      While driving I like to focus on what I see and on my own thoughts. At the campsite I enjoy silence broken only by nature’s sounds.

      Sorry. In today’s world it’s practically a sin not to listen to music all the time.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Be that as it may . . . thank you for ordering your CD through my blog. Great choice, BTW.

      • Gayle says:

        You & Rattlesnake Joe or on to something important. TV&radio news: CONTROL&fear. Classical music starts out relaxing me and then starts to wind down my energy to lethargy if I don’t pay attention. Am warming up for 50th high school reunion Friday by listening to 1960’s music. It’s uplifting at first, but after an hour — downright maudlin. RVing gives you total control over your food, time, ears, eyes, leisure, decision-making, destinations … I’m sure you’ve noticed! :))

  25. Wow that SURE IS beautiful. What are the temps there now?

  26. placestheygo says:

    Okay, Sue, we have arrived in beautiful Bluff!! We happen to be staying at the Cadillac Ranch RV Park. The woman in the office remembered you and your friends. I was very excited to go for dinner. Tonight we hit the Twin Rocks and had Navajo Cheese bread followed by Supreme Navajo Pizza. Excellent fry bread! I would have gotten dessert if they had a fry bread one!! I know we’ll be back! Thanks for trying all the restaurants for us!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      That’s wonderful! I’m so happy you are enjoying Bluff. It’s funny… Now my readers are going to the same restaurants, eating the same food!

      Cadillac Ranch is a quiet, tidy campground and very conveniently located. Bluff Fort is practically across the street.

      Okay… Now you have to try Bluff City Grill!

      • placestheygo says:

        Oh, yes, that is up and coming! I decided that I cook every night and I am now on vacation with these neat little places to eat. Besides, I have so many canyons to hike, our days will be filled with no time to cook. Bluff City Grill was closed today.

        We will definitely be visiting the fort. It’s nice that we can walk or ride out bikes every where we need to go in “town.”

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