Onion Creek Campground

In The American West, Travel by Tom @ Abroad American1 Comment

Onion Creek Campground is a post in my “The American West” series about a National Park-themed camping road trip I took in early summer, 2015.


It may not have been a National Park, but this out-of-the-way campground brings back some of my fondest memories from the trip. After failing to find a camping spot in the park the night before, we absolutely had to find one after our hike at Arches that day. The problem was that we faced the same problem again the second day: all the nearby campsites were taken. While the previous night we only drove a few miles up the Colorado Riverway, our second time around was more determined. Our determination absolutely paid off, see below.

Onion Creek Campground

Sunset view of our campground and the canyon walls in the distance.

After 25+ miles driving up the Riverway, and many frantic searches on the BLM’s mobile site, we came across Onion Creek campground. At turnoff of the Riverway drive, the sign pointing to Onion Creek seemed untrustworthy. We had been lied to by signs before, so we weren’t initially optimistic about the actual existence of an Onion Creek. The dusty almost desert-like landscape only added to our skepticism.

Onion Creek Campground

Perfect weather, a comfortable campsite, a flickering campfire, and some tasty camp food lead to an extremely relaxing evening in the Colorado Riverway. We had plenty of time to set up our tents and prepare our dinner before sunset. There is just something so relaxing about having time to enjoy a sunset with a full stomach and a nice glass of scotch. Next time you’re out sleeping under the stars, I highly suggest a nice bottle of a fine scotch or other similarly intoxicating beverage.

Onion Creek Scotch

Shout out to my great friend, Jeff, who bought me this bottle of Macallan 15 as a going away gift. <3

If you take a look at the map of the area, you’ll see that Onion Creek sits in the middle of a wide valley bounded by steep canyon walls. Not only did this make for beautiful scenes at sunrise and sunset, but the walls also provided a sense of comfort, almost like being within some sort of massive domed shelter.The contrast between the bronze earth and the sage green shrubbery (I finally got to use that word) created a familiar American West scene. Maybe we were still feeling a bit spiritual after our hike at Arches, but at Onion Creek, we simply felt relaxed. We were able to kick back, put our feet up by the fire, and have not a worry in the world.

The contrast between the bronze earth and the sage green shrubbery (I finally got to use that word) created a familiar American West scene. Maybe we were still feeling a bit spiritual after our hike at Arches, but at Onion Creek, we simply felt relaxed. We were able to kick back, put our feet up by the fire, and have not a worry in the world.

The campground had pretty standard BLM facilities, gravel roads and parking spaces for your vehicles, pit toilets, steel fire rings, and camp tables. The views from the campsite were unparalleled to any other place we stayed, however. There is one great word to describe the feeling that staying in Onion Creek campground instilled in us, unfortunately, it’s not in English. It’s a great German word combining coziness, warmth, and friendliness all into one: Gemütlichkeit.

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