The Best Free Camping Near Mexican Hat, Utah
If you are passing through Mexican Hat or Monument Valley and you want to stay a night or two, Mexican Hat has the best free camping. Dispersed camping is allowed on public land for a period not to exceed 14 days within a 28 consecutive day period.
Mexican Hat is a great place to camp in the full sun. With its wide open spaces and lack of trees, you’ll get plenty of exposure to the sun’s rays. So if you’re looking for a little vitamin D on your next camping trip, Mexican Hat is the spot for you!
We were coming from Camp Verde, Arizona and going to Durango, Colorado and decided to take a detour and stop at The Mexican Hat, Utah. We dry camped for two nights (Feb 28th and March 1st, 2022) at The Mexican Hat. Here are the coordinates: 37.1727, -109.8473. It was chilly at night but we have solar and a generator. I would recommend Mexican Hat towards the end of March or April for warmer night. Speaking of nights, the starts are incredible.
There were plenty of spots and the surrounding scenery was incredible. We had decent AT&T signal. Mexican Hat is a great place to camp for free if you want incredible views without having to hike very far. There are trails for dirt biking, ATVing, and and hiking along with kayaking trips along the San Juan River. There are three major access points for the San Juan River. Most trips launch at either Sand Island or Mexican Hat and take out at Mexican Hat or Clay Hills.
Here is Aaron on his dirt bike.
Even the dogs had a great view!
Other dry camping options include Valley of the Gods and Gooseneck State Park.
Valley of the Gods is also free but a little more crowded but still has stunning views. The coordinates for Valley of the Gods are 37.2670° N, 109.8340° W.
Goosenecks State Park ($10 fee per night) is on the San Juan River and has amazing views of the San Juan River and canyons. The coordinates for Gooseneck State Park are 37.1742° N, 109.9271° W. Camping is in 8 designated sites along the rim, where fire-ring and picnic tables are located. First come, first served site only. No reservations accepted. Conditions are primitive, bring your own firewood and water. No services except vault toilets.
Cedar mesa is another great option for camping about 40 minutes from Mexican Hat. It’s a bit more remote than Gooseneck State Park and Valley of the Gods, but still has stunning views.
All of these options are first-come, first-serve so get there early to snag a spot! And make sure to bring all the essentials like water and firewood. There are other paid RV parks that are closer to Monument Valley.
If you are looking for a lodge then Mexican Hat Lodge is a great place to stay nearby.
Why is Mexican Hat Utah called Mexican Hat?
Mexican Hat is a small town in San Juan County, Utah, United States. The population was 58 at the 2010 census. It is located on the banks of the San Juan River, near the junction of U.S. Route 163 and State Route 261. Mexican Hat is about 50 miles (80 km) south of Moab and about 20 miles (32 km) north of Monument Valley.
Why is it called Mexican Hat Utah?
The name Mexican Hat is derived from a nearby rock formation that resembles a Mexican sombrero lying upside down on the ground. The sandstone formation stands about 60 feet (18 m) high and has a diameter of approximately 250 feet (76 m).
Mexican Hat draws its name from the rock formation that, from some angles, resembles a sombrero which stands along US Highway 163 about two and a half miles northeast of the village of Mexican Hat, Utah.
Mexican Hat Rock, as it is called, is composed of Entrada Sandstone that was deposited during the Late Jurassic Period. The Entrada Sandstone is a red bed formation that consists of sandstone, siltstone, and shale. Mexican Hat Rock is perched atop a pedestal of Chinle Formation mudstone.
The rock formation is part of the Mexican Hat quadrangle, which was mapped by geologist Clarence Dutton in 1875. The Mexican Hat quadrangle includes Mexican Hat Rock, Gooseneck State Park, Monument Valley, and the Four Corners Monument.
Can you climb on Mexican Hat Utah?
Mexican Hat Rock is a popular spot for rock climbers and photographers. It has been featured in several movies and television shows, including John Ford’s The Searchers (1956) and Michael Mann’s The Last of the Mohicans (1992).
If you’re looking for a little adventure on your next camping trip, Mexican Hat is the perfect spot. With its stunning red rock formations and easy access to hiking and climbing, Mexican Hat will not disappoint. And what’s better than free camping? .
What are some other things to do in Mexican Hat Utah?
If you’re looking for a take out point or a place place to take out your kayak or canoe on the San Juan River, Mexican Hat is the spot. There are several places to park along the river and put in your boat.
The Mexican Hat quadrangle includes Mexican Hat Rock, Gooseneck State Park, Monument Valley, and the Valley of the Gods.
Gooseneck State Park is a small state park located on the San Juan River, just south of Mexican Hat.
Monument Valley is an iconic location in the American West that has been featured in movies and television shows for years. Forrest Gump (1994) famously ran through Monument Valley, and it has been featured in The Lone Ranger (2013), Back to the Future Part III (1990), and many other films.
The Valley of the Gods is a scenic backcountry area located north of Mexican Hat. The valley includes red rock formations, mesas, canyons, and desert landscapes. There are no developed campgrounds in the valley, but dispersed camping is allowed.
Mexican Hat offers something for everyone, from its iconic rock formation to its nearby state parks and monuments. So what are you waiting for? Start planning your next adventure today!
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