Sand Wash Basin is located in the northwest corner of Colorado. The closest airports are located in Grand Junction, Colorado or Hayden/ Steamboat Springs, Colorado. From Grand Junction it is about 3 hours to Craig, Colorado. The Hayden airport is just 30 miles east of Craig, Colorado.
From Craig, Colorado take Highway 40 west to Maybell, Colorado.
You will turn onto 318 just west of Maybell. Taking 318 about 16 miles to Ct Rd 67, Sand Wash Basin Entrance. Just before you reach Sand Wash Basin you will see two CDOT signs letting you know you are approaching the entrance.
Allow 30 minutes from Craig, Colorado, to reach Maybell, Colorado.
Maybell has the last fuel, snacks and public restroom. It's another 20 minutes to Sand Wash Basin.
For many of you this may be your only trip to the Basin, to make the most of it you need to come prepared.
You will need a vehicle with high clearance. Although you do not need 4 wheel drive everyday in Sand Wash Basin, we strongly recommend it.
Be sure that you have a full size spare tire and the tools to change one. Flat tire are common in the Basin.
Traveling in the Basin can be tricky. The Basin covers 225 sq miles. It can be hot and sunny in the southern end of the Basin and pouring in the northern area. Once that rain water hits the washes the southern area can experience flash floods. When the washes are full you can become strained.
Come prepared to spend an extra day or two in the Basin if you get caught in a storm, snow or rain.
Cell service is spotty at best. Most of us have found that currently AT&T is providing the most coverage in the Basin. Some of us use a booster and that has also helped with reception.
Be prepared for quick changes in weather and dress is layers. Mornings can be cool and the high for the day could be over 100 degrees.
Medication, bring extra meds, just in the event you are stuck in the basin, due to flash flooding.
Drinks, lots of water, Sand Wash Basin is high mountian desert and dehydration is a high risk. Bring Plenty for you and your pets if they are with you. There is no drinking water available in the Basin.
I would not recommend coming into the Basin without a full tank of gas.
Do not wear sandals , wear comfortable shoes that you can walk in. I would not recommend wearing shorts. Always be on the lookout for rattlesnakes. We recommend snake gators if you plan to much walking or hiking.
Normally by mid June the gnats are out, They will be buzzing around for about 2-3 weeks. Short season but it can be miserable if you are not prepared.
Snake Guards if you have them
First Aid Kit
A Map of the Area
Winter in Sand Wash Basin is beautiful, but it can be deadly. The road in the Basin are not maintained. They are not plowed during the winter. It is common for the snow to drift across the roads and close them. Remember if you can not get out, it is unlikely anyone can get in and to get you out.
Stay in touch with some one who is not in the Basin Let them know when you plan to return and let them know when you do return.
911 is the local emergency contact. We are so close to the Wyoming border you may be connected the Wyoming Emergency Line. You may actually have to tell them you are located in Sand Wash Basin, in Colorado.
Sand Wash Basin is a remote high mountian desert. In the case of an emergency it could take 2 hours for help to arrive. The closest ambulance is located in Maybell, Colorado. The closest hospital is Craig, Colorado.
Cell service is iffy and if you have an accident you may not have cell service to place a call, but keep trying. We have had some calls go through when we did not think they did and the police dispatch was able to call us back using a GPS phone.
Sand Wash Basin is a Herd Management Area located on BLM land. This is a public area and camping is allowed without a fee. It is also a "LEAVE NO TRACE BEHIND" area. Carry everything out that you bring in, including toilet paper!
It is primitive camping, which means there is no electricity, no water, no designated camp sites and no restrooms. You may find a site with a fire pit, but check with the local BLM for current burning restrictions.
Cell service is spotty in the basin and there are no land lines available.
You may camp for 14 days on BLM land.
Please do not camp next to the water in Sand Wash Basin.
Be aware that flash flooding does occur and if you are camped in a wash you and /or your supplies could get washed away.
Do not camp on a wild life or wild horse trail.
Maybell, Colorado has an amazing camping area, with electricity and water. There is also a public restroom with showers. There is a camping fee for a small fee for the showers. The park also has water and a sewer dump, for a fee.