Sleeping Bear Campground is a scenic camping destination located in southern Utah, known for the towering sandstone buttes of Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park. This Navajo family-owned campground offers visitors a chance to disconnect and immerse themselves in an amazing, picturesque landscape.

As I drove north on Hwy 163 through Monument Valley, I noticed a small, battered, hand-painted sign on the side of the road that read “Camp” with an arrow pointing down this old, worn-out asphalt road. One thing I’ve learned from traveling all over this country is that when something interesting catches your eye, definitely stop and take the time to check it out. So with that thought engrained into my mind, I pulled my trusty 1987 VW Westfalia over and made a U-turn so that I could drive down and see where this sign will lead me.

The Sleeping Bear Campground entrance was located about a mile off of the main highway and the road. A very rustic sign welcomed me in and let me know that camping is $20 cash per night. I decided to drive in and see what this campground had to offer.

Main entrance of Sleeping Bear Campground located in Monument Valley Utah.
Entrance into Sleeping Bear Campground. | Abel Longoria

As soon as I got in and started to look around I was so glad I decided to turn around and check this place out! This place had some of the coolest campsite vistas that I have ever experienced and I’ve camped all over! This was a Tuesday in September which meant I missed all of the weekend traffic and subsequent summer traffic and I had this entire campground to myself. I counted about 12-14 camping spots total so I got to pick my favorite.

Overall campsite view in Sleeping Bear Campground located in Monument Valley Utah.
Overall campsite view. | Abel Longoria

Most of the campsites had a nice little picnic table with a cover, a fire pit as well as an iron grill to cook on. This area of Utah really has no shade so between the covered picnic table and the shadow of my van’s pop top I managed to stay out of the sun for most of the day. Temperatures today were a high of 93°F and 63°F for the overnight low.

Campsite amenities available at Sleeping Bear Campground located in Monument Valley Utah.
Overall campsite view. | Abel Longoria

The views from my campsite were just amazing. Definitely not something I see every day so I made sure to take plenty of photos and just sit and enjoy it. Being the only one here was surreal, it was so quiet and peaceful.

One of the amazing views of a butte from Sleeping Bear Campground located in Monument Valley Utah.
Amazing campsite view. | Abel Longoria

How about this for an outdoor kitchen view? Awesome right? I don’t know about you, but I always feel that food just tastes better when you cook it outside with views like this. I threw a couple of hamburger patties on my Camp Chef Everest camp stove for dinner.

Outdoor cooking with an amazing view in Sleeping Bear Campground located in Monument Valley Utah.
Outdoor cooking just makes food taste better. | Abel Longoria

The smell of hamburger meat on the grill quickly caught the attention of a couple of stray dogs that roam the area. I gave them a bowl of water and a couple of hot dogs to munch on and they were in heaven. They hung out with me and kept me company for the rest of the day. Since there was no shade, the dogs and I kept following the shadow of my van in order to get a break from the Utah sun. Once the sun set, my new friends decided to head home for the night. They were a welcomed bonus to have around!

Friendly stray dogs at Sleeping Bear Campground located in Monument Valley Utah.
My new friends. | Abel Longoria

This little guy was very photogenic so I decided to have a little portrait session with him just as the sun set on the horizon. He was definitely very friendly and even jumped into my van at one point like he was ready to become my copilot for the rest of my journey.

Friendly camp dog at Sleeping Bear Campground located in Monument Valley Utah.
Portrait session with my new friend. | Abel Longoria

Late afternoon, a woman drove into the campground and stopped by to say hi, and to collect my camping fee. She was the daughter of the family that owns the property and the campground. She explained they are a local Navajo family that has owned that land for several generations. I had a good talk with her about the history of her family and the surrounding landscape and gladly gave her my $20 for permission to stay here the night. I love supporting small family-owned businesses such as this and always recommend other travelers do the same whenever possible.

As a photographer, I was very pleased with my stay here at Sleeping Bear Campground. I definitely think I captured a few photos that are worth printing out and hanging on my wall at home. It’s also worth noting that the stunning views don’t end at sundown, with the super dark skies the Milky Way is easily seen at night.

Great photo opportunities at Sleeping Bear Campground located in Monument Valley Utah.
Photographers will love this spot. | Abel Longoria

Stone-lined fire pits are provided at all of the campsites; mine in particular had a great unobstructed view of Monument Valley. If you plan to have a campfire, pack in your own firewood as there is none for sale on site. This would be a great spot to have a fire and enjoy the night sky with friends or family.

Campsite fire pit with and amazing view at Sleeping Bear Campground located in Monument Valley Utah.
Campsite provided firepit. | Abel Longoria

This is a rustic “dry camp” meaning there is no camp store for instance. If you do need supplies and/or fuel, there’s a nice little local Navajo-owned grocery store and gas station about 9 miles south of this camp location. Goulding’s Grocery had everything I needed and as I previously mentioned, I always try to support small local mom and pop stores and gas stations when I travel.

Goulding's Grocery located just south of Sleeping Bear Campground located in Monument Valley Utah.
Goulding’s Grocery Store. | Abel Longoria

Looking at Monument Valley in the side view mirror as I head north I began to think… Sleeping Bear Campground is one of my Top 5 favorite campsites that I’ve ever been to. This is the reason I never pass up an interesting sign and/or cool road without checking it out first. If worse comes to worst I only lose about 30 minutes or so but the flip side is getting to experience an amazing location such as this!

My parting view of the majestic Monument Valley Utah.
Til next time Monument Valley. | Abel Longoria

If you plan to visit Monument Valley in Southern Utah I’d highly recommend swinging by Sleeping Bear Campground and camp for a night or two to enjoy the views and the super dark skies. The $20 camp fee is very reasonable and it goes directly to the Navajo family that owns the land and maintains the campground. In hindsight, I am a bit surprised that the camp fee wasn’t more than the modest $20 a night that the family requested. I could easily see this location charging $40 a night simply for the views! Keep in mind, there are no water/electric hookups or showers but if you can manage a little dry camping you will not be disappointed.