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Thanksgiving Car camping in Canyonlands Natl Park then hike, bike, adventure

Thanksgiving Car Camping in Canyonlands Natl Park (map)

Then hike, backpack, bike, photograph, adventure

--- options and choices can be yours ---


In Canyonlands Natl Park, Needles District (immediate area map) we will:

- Car camp for at least Thursday night - Thanksgiving Day at Squaw Flat Campground ($3/person group campground rate)

- Bring a FEAST to share in the campground on Turkey Day

- Day hike (unlimited opportunities for short, medium or long hikes)

- Mountain bike (2 or 3 different dirt road destinations. It is not the famous White Rim but, it'll be scenic and fun)

- Backpack (for those who choose to do this there are many 1 or 2, or more, night options)


Plan to arrive on Wednesday, Nov. 23 or early enough on Thanksgiving Day to participate in a group feast about 2-3 PM.

Stay for as long as you want. Many of us will be here through Sunday, Nov 27.


There will be plenty of room for tents so do not bring your little tiny backpacker (unless you are going on a backpack trip Fri-Sat-Sun). If anyone has a trailer, camper or other camping vehicle, they are welcome and encouraged too bring/ come with that. As a matter of fact, if you have a vehicle with cooking capability, maybe you would be willing to do things like be the local coffee shop each morning (just a suggestion, not required), etc.


- All your standard car camping gear

- Stove, pots n pans, dish pans, dishes, table cloth, cooler, dutch oven ( charcoal), etc

- Firewood (lots of it since there is none at the sight and we will have 3-4 nights)

- Camp/ lawn chair

- Tent/sleeping bag/pad/pillow

- Large canopy or mega-sized tarp with poles (optional but great if we get weather)

- Lantern (propane, solar or battery powered)

- Muscial instruments

- Telescope &/or binoculars (will be REAL dark. Full Moon was 10th; 24th will be no moon)

- Warm clothes (but in layers so you can dress up or down with day/night temps)

- gloves, warm hats, neck gaiter, long underwear, wind/rainproof shell

- Sturdy shoes/ boots for hiking

- Camp shoes, warm stand/sit-around clothes

- No need for bug juice

- Mountain bike (if you want to ride 1 or more days, good dirt roads right from camp)

- Hiking/trekking/ skiing poles (optional. Bring rubber tips to not mar the soft sandstone)


This will be car camping based so it's a perfect opportunity to bring the 'future outdoors (wo)men of America.


Not recommended but you can read here what park rules and policy are.


This would be VERY GOOD. Please note in your RSVP where/ when you will be coming and if you want riders or a ride. Post your cell #, when you can leave/return and other rlevant info.

Drive time from Grand Junction should be ~2-2.5 to the turn off US 191 then 30-60 minutes down Indian Creek/eedles access road to the campground.

From Denver, add on the drive time Denver to GJ.

From  SLC ~4-5 hours.


Let's bring all the Thanksgiving feasting you might have at home. You may want to pre-cook and reheat, cook in a Dutch Oven, or . . . prepare a dish(es) however you choose.

As time gets closer we can start making a list of who wants to bring what but I am hoping we will have at the least: Appetizers. Turkey, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes/ yams, string beans, cranberries &/or cranberry sauce. Desserts to definitely include pie.

As for all the rest of the meals - I will bring a 3-burner propane stove and if others can do similarly we may be able to set up cooking groups so we don't need a lot of little camp stoves running at each hot meal. Bring all your food - the nearest stores are in Montecello- 37 miles or Moab- 45 miles away.

Campfire Smores making will be encouraged so bring green wood sticks or metal coat hangers for the marshmellows.


The park service has a variety of ways to bill so I will let you read here what the admission cost is, but in any case, it is very low. Fee for camping fee will be $3/person/night. This will include picnic table, running water and toilets. There are no showers at Squaw Flat and closest commercial venture will be closed by this time of year. It's ~40 miles to closest town, Monticello, UT.


Doug Van Etten [masked]

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  • Emma

    What a wonderful Thanksgiving! Thanks to Doug and Mary for organizing this!

    November 28, 2011

  • Doug Van E.

    People, weather, location, food, hiking, campfires, canyoneering . . . . it was all about as good as life gets. We had about 20 campers all total from the Western Slope group, 2 SLC groups, a Denver group and even 3 ladies from Alaska. This was a great inaugural Turkey Day in National Parks tradition. Next year I think we might aim for Capitol Reef National Park.

    November 27, 2011

  • Lyn B.

    Radiator hose decided to leak. I'm hoping to find one tomorrow morning so I can get an early enough start. Good thing it happened while I was still home. My truck is all packed and otherwise ready to go.

    November 24, 2011

  • leon l.

    sounds like fun! but maybe later if finances allow....
    .fuel costs alone...... from Los Wages NV.
    I look forward to MEETING UP with your group!

    November 23, 2011

  • Jessica

    We will be coming for sure for turkey day, and can provide a dutch oven full of taters, but unsure about other plans, playing it by ear depending on what fun activities are going on :)

    November 23, 2011

  • Doug Van E.

    I know very little about veganism so it'll be very interesting to learn.

    November 19, 2011

  • Lyn B.

    I'll bring a stove and additional vegan food to cook on it.

    November 19, 2011

  • Doug Van E.

    Hey Paul that will be fine. We have atleast 2 or 3 large propane stoves coming that I know of so we will be good on that. If you can bring FIREWOOD that will be greatly appreciated. We look forward to your being part of the group and we will see if we can save you a little bit of Turkey so you'll be able to say you have partaken of the feast. See you in less than a week.

    November 19, 2011

  • A former member
    A former member

    @Doug, just want to be sure you realize to not count on me bringing my stove like I said I would. Since I can't make it down until late Fri night for just Sat night it won't be much of a contribution anyway :-( Still looking forward to the trip though!

    November 19, 2011

  • A former member
    A former member

    Found out that I have to work on Friday after Thanksgiving so I won't be able to give anyone a ride Wed night or Thurs. I will still make it down though Fri night.

    November 14, 2011

  • Brandon S.

    Glad to join some outdoorsy Thanksgiving camping pilgrims. I would love to join you Alison or Paul for a ride if you're still offering. I can leave anytime early or late thurs morning is ideally. And could stay one night or two, or til Sunday. I can bring food for the feast and some firewood too, if there's room after all our gear. Thanks. [masked]

    November 12, 2011

  • Doug Van E.

    That is a great offer,Paul, to bring your jeep for the cool dirt roads that canbe accessed right from camp. Everyone please remember: 1) email Mary with your items that you will bring for dinner on Thanksgiving -- [masked], 2) bring a lawn chair, folding tables, 2-burner stoves, etc. 3) bring firewood and lots of it for Wed-Sat night's fires. I am totally jazzed to see everyone in Canyonlands for the Turkey (and Tofurkey) feast !!!

    November 8, 2011

  • A former member
    A former member

    @Allison and others in/near SLC. I'd like to drive my jeep down so I have it down there available for the dirt roads. Would anyone like to ride with me? I can go down on Wed eve or Thurs morning. Would like to stay until Sunday.

    November 6, 2011

  • Doug Van E.

    If you have not contacted Mary yet to let her know what you plan to bring for the thanksgiving big feed, please do that this week. You can email her at colorcreek49 @ . Here is a link to the master list of suggestions of what to bring. Look over the list and let Mary know what you will be bringing. Please also bring FIREWOOD for evening campfires and folding campchairs for sitting around that fire. See you in Canyonlands in just 2-1/2 weeks.

    November 6, 2011

  • Doug Van E.

    Also look on the Backpackers Anonymous web site for SLC-area folks coming down. Maybe some of them want to ride-share

    November 4, 2011

  • A former member
    A former member

    I'd be driving alone, would love to join someone or give someone a ride! Allison (202)[masked]

    November 4, 2011

  • Doug Van E.

    Hey its great you'll be joining us for Thanksgiving in Canyonlands, Emma. We have folks coming from 2 SLC meetup groups, our group in Grand Junction, a Denver backpacking meetup and 4 Adventurers are coming from Anchorage, Alaska. Should be a big party and great time. Please look at the food & group gear list at the following link and let Mary know what you'll be bringing. See you in the Red Rox for Turkey and the Feast.

    November 1, 2011

  • Doug Van E.

    We are now set on a campsite- I received our group site reservation confirmation. That means camping will be $3/person/night. Please bring cash since the NPS will want me to pay it to them for all of us on Thursday and a bunch of credit cards or checks would make for more hassle. Please remember to BRING FIREWOOD and LOTS of IT.

    October 6, 2011

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