Do you love the desert? Do you frequently visit Moab, Goblin Valley, or The San Rafael Swell? If so, or if you are just in search of a new camping spot, then head to Utah’s Muddy Creek. The Creek itself is quite long, and there are many places to stop along it, but I am specifically reviewing a section of it just north of Hanksville and East of Goblin Valley. 4-wheel drive or all-wheel drive is required to get to this destination. It’s worth it though, rent a car if you need to.
1. It Is Stunning
Every view is breathtaking. The steep red cliffs, the running creek, the blue skies, and the lush desert plant life are just some of the features that make this place so magical. Your campsite can be atop a cliff overlooking all this, or waterfront to soak it all in. Be sure to bring a camera to capture all of The Muddy Creek’s beauty.
2. IT IS FREE
Unlike the nearby national and state parks, this area is BLM and completely free to enter and to camp. Vacations where you can eliminate accommodation fees are always a win in my book. Your costs include gas and food, but your waterfront sleeping accommodations, endless views, and wildlife entertainment are all free.
3. THE HIKING
This isn’t like any hiking you are used to. This hike involves following the creek as far as you’d like, but be prepared to tie your shoes to your backpack and hike barefoot. Yes, barefoot. The Muddy Creek is exactly what it sounds like, muddy. This mud is amazing though, walking barefoot through it is seriously like a foot massage and an exfoliating clay mask all at once. The walk itself is full of panoramic views and playful safe features to climb on and explore! There is a climbing wall that is better than anything you’ve ever seen at any gym or park and is easy enough for everyone to participate. Plus, there is a historic mining camp that you can walk through and see the remaining shelter that once housed upwards of 5 men. Pack a day bag with plenty of sunscreen, beverages, a camera, hat and have fun!
4. THE LACK OF CROWDS
Becuase this place is off the beaten path a bit, there are hardly any other people to run in to. There is, however, a dirt airstrip that is in use, so you may see a propeller plane land or take off while visiting. From Salt Lake City, it takes about 4 1/2 to 5 hours to reach the campsite, of which the last hour is on dirt roads. Becuase of this, it’s lack of publicity, and the many famous destinations nearby, you are likely to see few other campers and hikers. Enjoy this remote camping weekend without having to hear other campers. No loud music, no babies crying or dogs barking, just you, the campfire, and the sound of the running creek.
5. THE JOURNEY
Not only is the campsite you choose going to be gorgeous and surrounded by steep red cliffs, but the drive out there is amazing as well! You will be driving through a very secluded desert landscape and are guaranteed to see wild horses! WILD HORSES! I was in awe! There are many sights to see along the way, so be sure to take it slow and enjoy the ride.
How to get there:
- From I-70, take exit 131 toward Buckhorn Draw Rd.
- Turn left onto Buckhorn Draw Rd. (10 miles)
- Turn right onto County Rd 322 (3.7 miles)
- Turn right to stay on Co Rd 1012 (.9 miles)
- Turn left to stay on Co Rd 1012 (19 miles)
- Choose your campsite.