Sand Island Campground
- Date Visited: May 7-8, 2021
- Address: Sand Island Rd, Bluff, UT 84512
- GPS: 37.2606, -109.61801
- Phone: (435) 587-1504
- Price: $15 Per Night
- Reservations: No
- Pets: Yes
- Restrooms: Yes
- Water: Seasonal
- Trash: Dumpster
- Hookups: No
- Cell Service: AT&T 4G - No Verizon
After a couple of bad days we were in need of a break.
We had just spent the night at Valley of the Gods and had to make an unexpected departure that morning due to unforseen circumstances (long story). We packed up and started the trek to Moab. While driving we passed a sign for the Sand Island Petroglyphs and decided to check it out. Turns out they were located right at a campground and after looking around a bit ended up staying for two nights.
Sand Island Campground is a BLM run campground located in the Sand Island Recreation Area right outside Bluff, Utah. They have 23 campsites which are on a first-come, first-served basis and you self-register at the site. Each site can accommodate up to eight people and two vehicles. There are two group sites which may be reserved on www.recreation.gov.
Loop A has much smaller sites and is geared toward tenters, vans and those individuals who are car and truck camping. Loop B contains much larger sites for those with RV’s and trailers. There are a couple sites that could handle travelers which much larger rigs.
This is dry camping so no hook-ups, electric or dump. There are multiple extremely clean vault toilets around the campground. Drinking water is available seasonally, March through October, from a couple of spigots located at each loop.
There are no trashcans, but a dumpster is located near the boat launch. The campground was also very clean I literally didn’t pick up one scrap of trash and I cannot remember the last time that happened.
Each site has a picnic table and fire ring. Most sites I saw looked like they had a decent amount of room and weren’t that close together. I admit I’m not the best judge of this though, because we primarily boondock and avoid campgrounds at all cost.
We were very lucky and got this sweet little corner spot tucked into the trees with some shade, but plenty of sun for our solar panels. We followed paths behind our site that led us straight to the San Juan River. We took these small treks multiple times during our stay and the water was a much needed distraction from the last couple months in the desert.
We had no Verizon service here, but AT&T did work and got even better once we added our booster so we were able to get some work in. They have posted generator and quiet hours, but for the life of me I can’t remember what they were now. Pets are allowed as long as you keep them on leash and remember to always pick up after them.
This campground was extremely quiet during our stay. It was full by 5 pm both nights and considering it was a weekend I was expecting some rowdy campers, but nothing. It was an unexpected delight.
Remember to check out the petroglyph panel. You can easily walk there from whatever campsite you choose and it’s pretty cool. The town of Bluff is only 3 or 4 miles away and historic Bluff Fort is suppose to be a great attraction. We were being completely lazy though and having such a great time relaxing we decided not to drive anywhere.
A day use picnic area and restrooms are located near the boat launch. This is a popular launching spot for river floating, kayaking and canoeing on the San Juan River. We saw a ton of people getting in the water and floating by us while we were sitting on the banks. There is also a very short nature path accessible from the picnic area.
At the far end of Loop A you will find a hiking path. This path takes you along the rock wall and through the trees. As you are walking be sure to keep your eyes open for more petroglyphs etched into the rock wall. There are a few more along your route waiting to be discovered.
Follow the path till it looks a bit overgrown, scramble over a couple of fallen logs and keep going till it ends at what looks like a small canyon. To your right you will find a path over the bank to reach the river. We followed the rocky and muddy shore till we reached our own tiny, but private beach.
Dexter, the dog, loved running up and down the shore on the waters edge and making circles in the sand. Everest, the cat, loved rolling in the sand ensuring ever single bit of him got covered. And the hubby and I loved cooling our footsies off in the flowing water.
We must of spent a good hour here just relaxing and enjoying the sounds of the river rushing by us. It was a pleasant surprise to an already enjoyable stay at the Sand Island Campground.
Always follow the Leave No Trace Seven Principles and try to leave your camp nicer than you found it. Please research campgrounds before visiting. Rules and regulations may have changed since we stayed there.