Who says you can’t have both the desert and the mountains? La Sal Mountains camping areas give you the best of both worlds - a cool, alpine camping experience with easy access to the red rock desert below. Here’s what you need to know about camping in the La Sal Mountains.
If you’re looking east from Moab you’ll likely see a ridgeline of snow-capped mountains in the distance. These are the La Sal Mountains. Considered sacred to many Native American tribes, these iconic landmarks are a unique surprise in an otherwise rock-covered desert scene.
The easiest way to access the La Sal Mountains is via the La Sal Loop Road. From here you can quickly get into this small but mighty mountain range and access the La Sal Mountain camping areas.
Camping in the mountains is slightly different than desert camping. First, you’ll want to be prepared for mountain weather. This means bringing warm layers such as puffy jackets, rain gear, and pants, even in the summer.
Second, there are limited facilities while camping in the La Sal Mountains. Be prepared to bring in all of your potable water, food, trash receptacles, and gasoline. You’ll have to head into Moab in order to restock your supplies.
The weather changes daily in the mountains, so be sure to check the forecast before you head out and be prepared. Also, these mountains are between 8,000 to 9,000 feet, so don’t forget to acclimatize properly. Take your time with activities in the mountains and drink plenty of water.
Pro tip: Mountain camping is amazing, but don’t forget that bears live here. Don’t leave trash, coolers, food, or other smelly items outside or in your tent. Always pack these items in your vehicle at night with the windows rolled up or use odor-proof storage systems.
The Warner Lake Campground is the most developed La Sal Mountains camping area. The sites can accommodate both tents and large RVs. You can even rent cabins (you’ll need to bring your own linens and cooking equipment).
There are vault toilets, fire rings, and picnic tables. Check to make sure that fires are allowed, and be sure to only use local wood (you can purchase this in Moab) in order to avoid bringing unwanted plant disease into the area.
Moab is 30 miles away and prices range from $10 to $50 a night depending on which type of site you reserve. Advanced reservations are strongly recommended.
However, there are ample opportunities for recreation. The lake allows non-motorized boating, fishing, and there are three miles of hiking trails nearby.
Ken’s Lake Campground is managed by the BLM and has several sites available on a first-come-first-serve basis. Since these campsites are free, they fill up fast, so plan on visiting during the week or off-season times to snag a spot.
There are grills, fire rings, vault toilets, and trash receptacles, but no water sources so be sure to bring along all the water you’ll need.
At Ken’s Lake, you can enjoy canoeing, kayaking, standup paddleboarding, fishing, and relaxing. The water is a nice contrast to the dusty desert floor below the mountains. As one of the more relaxed camping areas near Moab, Ken’s Lake is a must-visit for anyone looking for a little bit of mountain adventure mixed into their desert tour.
When it comes to La Sal Mountains camping areas, Ken’s Lake and Warner Lake take the cake. These two awesome recreation areas show you a different side of Moab. Enjoy the lakeside recreation after a long day of enduring the desert heat.