Camping in BLM Land in Green River, Utah

Camping in BLM Land in Green River, Utah
The country around Green River, Utah, is some of the most open, primitive land in the entire United States. The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) offers camping in some of the area's least developed lands, including the San Rafael Swell. Camping opportunities are more primitive than the state and national park sites to the south, but offer a combination of solitude, distinctive scenery and outdoor recreation.

San Rafael Bridge Campground

The San Rafael Swell is a large swath of wilderness under the purview of the Bureau of Land Management. Green River is the gateway city to this 2,000-square-mile open high desert filled with slot canyons, wind-sculpted sandstone and trails for hiking, backpacking and mountain biking.

Unlike many of the BLM trails of nearby Moab, San Rafael Swell is known more as a raw, isolated wilderness. There is one designated campground in the Swell: the San Rafael Bridge Recreation Site.

The campground offers a multitude of campsites with fire rings, tent pads and picnic tables. Toilets are available, but there is no drinking water. No reservations are taken for the campground. The BLM field office in Price, Utah, is responsible for the San Rafael Swell and other area BLM lands.

BLM Price Field Office

125 South 600 West

Price, UT 84501


Primitive Camping on the Swell

The San Rafael Swell and surrounding area offer hundreds of miles of trails and canyons for hiking, mountain biking, canyoneering and off-roading. While designated campsites are limited, primitive camping is available. The BLM asks that you use previously established campsites for backcountry camping and tread lightly.

Some specific things to keep in mind are to avoid making campfires in the backcountry, pack-in/pack-out, remain at least 30 feet from water sources when camping, and leave historic sites such as Native American ruins and artwork undisturbed. Contact the Bureau of Land Management in Price, Utah, for more information.

BLM Price Field Office

125 South 600 West

Price, UT 84501


River Trips

One of Green River's claims to fame is the whitewater rafting trips located nearby. The Green River provides a way of exploring remote sections of the area that you could never see by car. The town's namesake river flows through the vast, open lands near the town on its way to the confluence with the Colorado River farther south.

The Labyrinth Canyon trip can be accessed from Green River State Park. Arguably Utah's most famous run, Cataract Canyon, can also be accessed from Green River. Labyrinth Canyon is a calm, flat-water trip, while Cataract Canyon is a challenging, whitewater adventure. Both trips take several days, so camping is an integral part of the experience.

You'll need a campfire pan for river camping and should only use driftwood for fires. You'll also need a portable toilet for packing out waste. Note that the river water is silty, salty and can be unfit for drinking, so pack enough drinking water for your trip. The BLM office in Price is in charge of permits for Labyrinth Canyon, while the National Park Service handles Cataract Canyon.

National Park Service

Reservation Office

2282 S. West Resource Blvd.

Moab, UT 84532-3298


Nine Mile Ranch

Nine Mile Canyon is another BLM area in the greater Green River/Price area. Camping is prohibited in the vast majority of Nine Mile Canyon, except at the privately owned Nine Mile Ranch, a cattle guest ranch. The ranch offers a campground as well as cabins.

Campsites are furnished with fire pits, picnic tables, showers, flush toilets and a playground. Activities within the canyon include hiking, mountain biking, rock climbing and guided tours of Native American artwork.

Nine Mile Ranch

Ben & Myrna

P.O. BOX 212

Wellington, Utah 84542


Article Written By Joe Fletcher

Joe Fletcher has been a writer since 2002, starting his career in politics and legislation. He has written travel and outdoor recreation articles for a variety of print and online publications, including "Rocky Mountain Magazine" and "Bomb Snow." He received a Bachelor of Arts in political science from Rutgers College.

Keep Me Informed

Weekly newsletters, announcements and offers from to your inbox.

Sign me up!

We HATE spam and promise to keep your email addresses safe and secure.