Wagon West: Smoky Mountains to Moab

  • Hi Guest, you may choose a LIGHT or DARK theme that works best for you with the "Style Chooser" button at the bottom left on this page!

ADVTouring

Rank I
Member

Member I

233
Great Smoky Mountains, United States
First Name
Damien
Last Name
Meredith
Member #

20218

Hey all, I am planning a trip and hoping to find some recommendations and advice from anyone that is more familiar with the area(s) I will be traveling.
Any and ALL advice is welcome. For the record I do plan on stoping at as many ranger stations as I can and will ask these questions there too. I just know where my experts are and hoped you all could help me make this trip an epic journey!

Expected departure will be March 15th 2020.

My Rig is a 2015 Subaru Forester (its been fitted with All Terrains and skid plates and is my dailey driver) While it is not a rock crawler and I am aware of that,
it can cover most terrain and has no issues with Forest Service roads, rough back roads etc...

I am leaving from East Tennessee and heading to Moab, (Arches and Canyonlands) This will be my first trip there and I am beyond stoked!
The main idea of the trip is to see these two parks but I am not wanting to short change anywhere I am passing along the way.

I have routed my course loosely and have a good idea of how much time I will need, I plan to be gone just over two weeks.
I use a ground tent and for now, I have scouted some actual campgrounds on google although If anyone here has some insight on better places to post up for a night I am all ears.
I am not overly concerned about having amenities as long as I cross somewhere with a shower every few days. More so wanting to avoid the RV's and their symphony of generators and children.
(no offense to those who camp with a generator and the kiddos, I loved being one of those kids once upon a time)
I plan on staying as south as possible along my way in efforts to catch the best weather but it will be March so all bets are off!

First leg was to burn clear from the Smokies to the Ozarks and spend the first night at ''Steel Creek Campground'' just north of Ponca Arkansas.
This place has good reviews and looks like it offers some nice scenery although a dispersed location would be preferred.

Second leg was to take me from the Ozarks to just outside Taos New Mexico. I wanted to go through Taos and visit Dennis Hopper's burial sight and pay my respects.
I found "Mills Creek Campground" just west of Wagon Mound New Mexico and being that it will be in late March I figured trying to sleep in a lower elevation will make for the warmest evening temperatures.
(I am prepared for lows in the 20's) This campground too has good reviews and looks to have some awesome views although I would not mind advice on a more secluded location here as well.

From there is where I start going a few too many directions in my planning. Does southwest Colorado deserve a night of basecamp? I can only imagine it too has some great countryside. Maybe even make this a stop on the return trip home? Anybody know if Southwest Colorado will be a winter wonderland still in late March? I know people snowboard and ski all through spring and into summer sometimes.

As well as once I am in Utah I don't even know where to start. Of course the one campground inside Arches is already booked full through March but I am not sure it would be my scene to stay there any way.
I want to find some dirt roads and travel around but I will most likely be flying solo so I cannot get too remote if it means testing the limits of my rig. From what I understand a passenger car can show you a lot of the area? I would not mind any advice on some less agro Jeep trails in the area if anyone knows of any. I tackle a lot of "Jeep Trails" out here in Tennessee and have no issue turning around if I find its just to gnarly but I am fairly certain our trials are nothing compared to what I can get myself into in the Wild West. Im not trying to be the next dude on youtube who concurred some gnarly track in his Subaru but if any one knows of some roads that are less traveled yet still passible I am all ears.
IMG_1483.JPG
So, once in Moab - where do I go? Where CAN I go? Where should I camp? What should I not miss?

The fact that I have never been leads me to believe I can't go wrong but at the same time, I do not want to be stuck at camp one night drooling over my map like I'm trying to find something to watch on Netflix.
I am bringing along the hiking gear so A base Camp spot with some Subie friendly wheeling near by that can also let me check out a hiking trail would be ideal.

I plan to spend at least 5 days near Moab to try and see as much as I can either moving camp or base camping and then moving my self.

I appreciate you guys being one of my greatest resources. Thank you for reading my plan!
 
  • Like
Reactions: JButtress