At a Glance
Westwater is Utah’s own, but we’re including it because the mesa — in addition to
enjoying a positively lyrical name — offers easy primitive camping close to major Colorado and Utah attractions. This Destination discusses the mesa/rim. For the canyon itself, consult sources for Westwater Canyon.
What to Love
Westwater Mesa is smack off the freeway but still quiet and serene with pretty nice views. There are plenty of “messin’ around by the campsite” opportunities, short hikes, and easy mountain biking for younger children. Dispersed camping is tent- and RV-accessible (boondocking only) and offers reasonably quick access to Colorado National Monument, Rabbit Valley, McInnis Canyons, Black Ridge Canyons Wilderness, the Book Cliffs, Grand Junction / Fruita, and Arches National Park.
Where to Sleep
A gravel road (see the northernmost “P” for Parking area) leads directly from the freeway frontage to several well-dispersed primitive campsites suitable for tents. For RVs, take your first left-hand fork to find 5 or 6 level sites. If you go straight, there are a few more sites with plenty of turnaround room before the first rock outcroppings. We would not venture past those rocks without a very small rig plus a large measure of expertise.
Good to Know
There are absolutely no services at this exit: no tables, toilets, grills, nor water. Campsites have fire rings only. You need to pack-in / pack-out everything, including water, trash, cooking fuel, and human waste. Firewood gathering is prohibited.
Hike Report from gjhikes.com – Westwater Mesa Loop
Trail Report from UtahMountainBiking.com – Western Rim Trail
Video (Mountain Biking) from Robb Parsons – West Water Mesa
More to Explore
REI’s MTB Project: Westwater Overlook Trail