BLM Camping

Little Book Cliffs WSA

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is responsible for 1 in every 10 acres of land in the U.S.

Located only a few miles outside of Grand Junction, CO, the Little Book Cliffs Wilderness Study Area (WSA) is a beautiful region featuring many small canyons, gently sloping plateaus, and four significant canyon systems. The natural site, which is protected by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), gets its name from the 2,000-foot-high Book Cliffs that lie within the southern section of the area. Like most of the BLM sites all over the country, the Little Book Cliffs WSA receives frequent visitors in search of peaceful respite. The stretch of land also provides fantastic opportunities for hiking, backpacking, horseback riding, and wildlife observation.

What to See and Do

What to See and Do

Hiking and BikingHiking and Biking

Main Canyon Trail

The Main Canyon Trail is a very long out-and-back trail located within the Little Book Cliffs WSA. The route is located near the town of Mesa Lakes, CO and regularly sees horseback riders in addition to hikers. The trail features several creeks that hikers must cross and can get a bit muddy in some areas, but overall, it's a leisurely route to traverse that leads to beautiful desert scenery and views of the nearby canyons. 

Length: 11.5 miles

Intensity: Easy

Coal Canyon Trail

Coal Canyon Trail is an out-and-back route that's excellent for hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding, and off-roading. It features a river, beautiful wildflowers, gorgeous desert views, and plenty of wildlife inhabitants. Many who have visited the trail have reported spotting wild horses, desert bighorn sheep, and other cool creatures. You can bring your pups along on the trail as long as they stay leashed, and the ideal time to visit is between June and November.

Length: 5.7 miles

Intensity: Easy

Fishing & Boating

Perhaps the most popular fishing destination near the Little Book Cliffs WSA is the Grand Mesa, CO area, which features hundreds of different lakes for anglers. You can do your fishing from a boat if you like, as both motorized and non-motorized crafts are permitted on the reservoirs. When you do cast your line, you'll have a good chance of coming away with a few rainbow, brook, or cutthroat trout. Another quality nearby option is the majestic Colorado River, which also offers opportunities to catch several kinds of trout. Alternatively, you can hop in your canoe, kayak, or paddleboat and spend a pleasant afternoon on the river.


With such a large variety of canyons and cliffs in the area, the Little Book Cliffs WSA is filled with options for those who enjoy bouldering and adventure climbing. The rock formations in the area come in all sorts of sizes and qualities, and the canyons vary greatly in size and difficulty as well.

Wildlife ViewingWildlife Viewing

Due to its impressive variety of animal inhabitants, the Little Book Cliffs WSA is a popular destination for wildlife photographers and enthusiasts. Although the WSA is perhaps most known for its population of wild horses, many other interesting species roam the area as well. You might be lucky enough to glimpse a mountain lion, wild turkey, gray fox, black bear, ringtail, chukar, collared lizard, or coyote. If you enjoy bird-watching, you'll want to keep your eyes open for great horned owls, golden eagles, and the various other raptors that live in the region.


The Little Book Cliffs WSA is surrounded by beautiful scenery and areas of high elevation. Although there may not be any designated picnic areas at the site, it shouldn't be too hard to find a spot with a lovely view to enjoy your meal. All you need to do is bring your own picnic blanket and whatever you plan to eat, and you'll have everything necessary for a pleasant snack or lunch in nature.


Bureau of Land Management Camping

RV Camping Caravan Icon

Visitors can partake in RV camping near the Little Book Cliffs WSA, but they must do so outside of the area that's federally designated as wilderness. Since there are no Bureau of Land Management campgrounds located at the site, they'll have to create their own campsite and go without amenities or services. That said, there are a couple of nice RV parks within only a few miles of the BLM site. One great nearby option is Palisade Basecamp RV Resort, which features full RV hookups and a variety of modern amenities and conveniences.

Free Camping Campground Icon

If you don't mind roughing it and are able to find a suitable spot among the rocky terrain, you're welcome to enjoy Bureau of Land Management free camping at the Little Book Cliffs WSA. If you travel north and stick to the areas near the banks of the Colorado River, that may provide the best odds of finding a pleasant spot to set up a dispersed campsite. Search "BLM camping near me" on your phone to see what options best suit your needs.

RV Rentals Near Little Book Cliffs WSA Plan your next adventure

Planning Your Trip

Credit: Vanna Mae, @vannamaeart

Planning your Little Book Cliffs WSA BLM trip

If you're planning to visit the Little Book Cliffs WSA, don't forget that there are restrictions around areas federally designated as wilderness. Most importantly, no motorized vehicles or equipment are permitted, meaning you'll need to limit your driving and RV travel to the areas outside of the wilderness. You should also check on the weather in the area before you make the trip as the main access road tends to become impassable during rainy and snowy winter conditions. Before you head out on your trip, check out our blog for all you need to know about BLM camping.

Leave No Trace Leaf

Any time you visit or camp on public BLM land, it's crucial that you make a real effort to leave no trace of your stay. If you're thorough about cleaning up after yourself and careful to avoid disturbing the ecosystem, it will go a long way toward preserving the site. You should also keep a safe distance from any wildlife you encounter, limit your traveling and BLM RV camping to durable land surfaces, and be respectful of other campers. If you keep these things in mind and make it a point to plan your travels and activities in advance, you'll help the Little Book Cliffs WSA remain pristine and healthy.

Leave No Trace

Little Book Cliffs WSA Location

To reach the Little Book Cliffs WSA from Grand Junction, follow I-70 east to exit 62 for Debeque. After exiting, cross over the Colorado River and then continue on the main road until you reach 4th Street. Take a left on 4th Street into the town of Debeque, and then take a left at the gas station. Follow that road to its end. Then take a right onto Winter Flats Road. Continue on for roughly 20 miles until you come to a fork in the road. Both directions of the fork will take you to different parts of the WSA; keeping left will take you to the Indian Park area, and keeping right will take you to the North Soda area.

Ready to visit Little Book Cliffs WSA? An RV rental is a great way to experience your destination. Not only will you be close to all the action, but at the end of a long day exploring, you’ll have your RV to return to for the night where you’ll enjoy a full kitchen, bathroom, and nice soft bed. Not sure about renting an RV? Here’s a step-by-step guide to renting an RV with RVshare.