It has been my dream to sleep in a cave but they’re always CRAZY expensive to rent! When I discovered Kane Creek Campground I immediately booked for us to go camping in a cave in Moab, Utah. And it was ONLY $75! You absolutely NEED to know a few things that we experienced though! (the campground is currently now closed due to management issues)
First of all, I noticed they closed for the remainder of 2020 due to covid so just a heads up if you’re looking to stay! OK, we camped for 40 straight nights on our 9000 mile road trip and this was by FAR the most remote and solitary (but incredible!) experience we had. It was an AMAZING experience and I would hands down do it again – but you’ll want to know a few things before you go.
Video Walking through the Cave in Moab:
The drive to get to the “campgrounds” is AMAZING. You’ll see in photo below that the view next to the Colorado River is absolutely unparalleled. Hands down one of the prettiest drives to a campground ever. You’ll drive by Moonflower Canyon and loads of petroglyphs which you can find more about here.
The actual “check-in” was pretty non-existent. The entire experience was confusing and the entire weekend I never saw a single person….ever. It was a little unnerving to be honest. I wasn’t really sure where I was driving to but found a mobile home past a few tent sites on the side of the road that seemed like it was the “camp host”. It was more like someone living next to a few tent sites. No signs.
I knocked on the door to “check in” and no one answered. There was a phone number to call on the door if no one was home but that far into the canyon I had no cell phone reception so I had to drive back into town to get cell phone reception. It wasn’t a HUGE deal but it was over 100* that week and I was driving and hiking by myself with 3 kids.
Once we got back into town for cell phone reception no one answered the camp phone number or ever called me back. So I decided to drive back down to what seemed like it might be the campground area (again, there are NO signs down there!). Notice a lot of confusion here?!
On the right side of the road you’ll see some tent sites. Past that is the mobile home I mentioned. KEEP DRIVING – on the left side when you are REALLY thinking you’re totally hopelessly lost and in the middle of nowhere – that’s where you’ll find it.
I found a sign with cave rules in the gravel parking lot and was not prepared at all for how steep it was to hike up into the cave! In fact from the parking lot area look up and you can barely see the cave entrance. There’s no marked path or anything to get up there either – you’re going to need to have sturdy shoes and a firm foot to climb up the side of the steep hill. (watch the video to get an idea of how steep!)
It was quite the ordeal after hiking in 112* temperatures in the national parks that week to carry our tent and gear with 3 kids by myself up the incredibly steep incline. I had previously read the reviews warning of the height up but mostly dismissed HOW steep it was. Thank goodness my boys helped me tremendously! Trust me when I say that you will NOT want to be hauling much of anything up there!
It was such an odd feeling to show up and camp without even seeing a single person but I absolutely won’t knock the experience camping in a cave – it was the coolest thing we did all summer! There was a picnic table up there and a small campfire area too. My kids and I literally had the entire hillside (entire valley??) AND the entire cave to ourselves! The cave was impressive in size considering we had the whole thing!
Inside of the Cave in Moab:
Below are tips on camping in a cave to help you know better what to expect but the view as you can see from our cave was just breath taking. Make sure you watch the video above for a complete picture – W.O.W. I knew the floor would (obviously) be hard but I wasn’t expecting the swarm of mosquitos!
We had camped at Slick Rock Campgrounds in Moab the night before and the mosquitos were worst than I had ever seen in my life! I expected being so high up and in a cave we’d be mosquito free but that simply wasn’t the case.
Noises are amplified in the cave at night. Sometime during the night a whole bunch of four wheelers were screaming and driving around on the sides of the hill where we were and my gosh it sounded like they were literally in our cave.
Being alone in a desolated area with 3 kids by myself I was getting really nervous because it sounded like they were in our tent it was so loud! I couldn’t tell if anyone was approaching the cave or if they were on the other side of the valley. Although I was a little unsettled we were totally safe and it was just annoying to be woken up during the night.
View from Inside the Cave Looking Out:
Let’s talk about bathrooms. There’s a wonderful building with showers and toilets down on the other side of the parking lot – a very impressive bathroom set up considering you’re literally in the middle of nowhere. (and I mean really impressive for primitive camping – it was very adequate)
The only downside of camping with 3 kids up a very steep hillside in a cave is that if you need to use the bathroom at all you have to hike back down the very steep hill and across the parking lot to use the bathroom! Just a little finagling since I could leave me boys on their own up at the cave but not my 4 year old!
Although it was eerily desolate and I was confused on never being able to “check in”, I hands down preferred this experience over my over-crowded experience at Slick Rock Campgrounds just down the road. Kane Creek Campgrounds (known to me as the cave in Moab since there are no camp signs anywhere that I could find) was affordable and the most unique experience I’ve ever had.
I mean have YOU ever slept in a cave or woken up in the morning to views like this!?
Tips for Camping Inside a Cave:
- You will not be able to “stake” your tent down so be mindful of your equipment. We used this specific Coleman pop up tent for our entire 9000 mile road trip and it was perfect for use in the cave!
- If using a pop up tent in an open cave like this be forewarned that it can stir up a LOT of dust inside the cave when opening up your tent! I highly recommend setting up your tent before you actually need to get inside so that you can let the dust settle a bit! We actually put our rainfly on the tent to help keep the dust out.
- Typically inside a cave is cooler temperatures, but this cave was so open that it was still quite hot! If you’re sleeping in an underground cave make sure you have warm sleeping bags, socks, etc. If you’re somewhere hot like Moab, make sure you have water!
- Bring a flashlight! It doesn’t matter whether you’re in an open cave like this one in Moab or you’re in an underground cave – there will be no lights when the sun goes down. You definitely don’t want to wake up in the middle of the night to use the restroom and whack your head on a rock.
- Understand the ground is harder than hard with potential rocks! If you’re tent camping you’re used to sleeping on hard ground, but in a cave you may also have uneven rock or rocks you’re maneuvering around. I recommend an extra sleeping pad or something soft to help cover the hard ground.
- Bathrooms might not come easy in a cave! More than likely if you’re sleeping in a cave there’s no bathroom there with you! As mentioned this cave in Moab had bathrooms (sort of) near-ish. Always bury any waste and not in your cave! You may need to have your own toilet paper on hand.
- Have a weapon of some kind – a stick, baseball bat, stun gun, anything. I was traveling alone with 3 kids for 9000 miles – I kept a long flashlight and a stun gun by my side at all times. Not only for protection against people but against wild animals.
Tips for Camping in Hot Weather:
- Always have water! We traveled our entire trip with 4 gallons of water in our van at all times and additionally each person lived with a water bottle attached to them. I was concerned about our van breaking down and with the temperatures soaring well over 110*. I wasn’t taking any chances.
- Having a portable battery operated fan won’t hurt!
- Dress for the weather AND environment! While it may be extremely hot you need to be mindful of sunburns (during the day of course) and mosquitos at night. If you need long sleeves and long pants keep them light and airy!
- Have protein packed snacks available. Although you don’t really feel like eating in the heat, make sure you keep protein packed snacks handy. Being overheated and hungry is a bad combination!