Free camping is practically everywhere at Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument, as long as you don’t camp at the trailheads and the few paid campgrounds in the area.
For one, Grand Staircase is run by the BLM, and the BLM generally has very relaxed rules on camping and RV boondocking. But moreover, Grand Staircase is huge, and covers a lot of land in Southern Utah, with hundreds of dirt roads criss-crossing the area.
Sash & I found a pretty good camp site along BLM Road 717, a dirt road that heads south from US-89, about 22 miles east of Kanab, UT. We stayed there for 10 days, from April 24, 2019 to May 4, 2019.
This particular site was wide enough to get our truck and 28 foot ATC toy hauler into, along with Sash’s Chevy Suburban-turned-overland-camper nicknamed, “Jupiter”.
BLM Road 717 has dozens more campsite further along its path towards the Vermilion Cliffs, but there are very deep ruts in the soft, red dirt which would challenge any skilled RVer in trying to keep wheels from falling in. Even though our site could still barely be seen from US-89, and even though we could still hear some highway noise, we opted to stay right there.
The area we camped was thick with Big Sagebrush and Utah Juniper. There were also bundles of tiny white and pink ground flowers from the recent rains. This area seemed popular with hunters too, with segments of deer bones scattered throughout.
Much of the BLM roads around this area are popular with off-roaders riding dirt bikes, quads, and side-by-sides.
Our camp also presented a convenient half-way point between supplies and amenities 22 miles to the west in Kanab, and much of the better hiking about 22 miles to east in Paria.
But the fact is that most of Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument is open to free camping and RV boondocking. To find these campsites, you only need to know the boundaries of Grand Staircase, then use Google Maps Satellite view to follow dirt roads until you find a clearing wide enough to camp in. Then, drive out there and start setting up camp.
Note that while camping is free at Grand Staircase, the BLM requires you to obtain a camping permit at either the BLM visitor center in Kanab, or the Paria Contact Station in Paria. Camping permits are free, and must be displayed in your vehicle window.