Half-time RV'er and author of guidebooks "The Pender Islands Handbook" and "enCYCLEpedia Southern California - The Best Easy Scenic Bike Rides," featured in Trailer Life (Apr '15) and RV Life (Nov '14) magazines and the Orange County Register (May '15). enCYCLEpedia highlights the best "Camp 'n Rides" which is always an emphasis of my reviews.
Date of Stay: September, 2015
Another Colorado State Park gem, we stayed here as a base to visit Great Sand Dunes National Park, one of my favorite places. We prefer not to drag our big rig up into the mountains, so this was perfect, just 3 miles from I-25, and a 75-mile very scenic day trip to the Dunes. The Pinon hookup campground has 4 loops, which are all fine. Most sites have views of the Spanish Peaks, some the Sangre de Christo mountains, farther away, and a view of the pretty lake down the hill from the campground. We paid in the visitors center and were told to pick our own site that was not claimed on the post. The fee was $20 plus $7 day use (without CO park pass). Sites have electric hookups but not water, though many have spigots nearby if you have an extension hose, but they are shared so you can't stay connected. We tried several sites and none were very level. After finally getting settled at our perfect site, we discovered our water pump wasn't working. So we moved to a site next to a spigot and after spending a time leveling were able to connect for short periods to take showers, etc. Within the park is a 3-mile paved trail around the pretty fishing lake, with a mountain backdrop, and we enjoyed biking around it during the day and under the moonlight. The path is so extensively patched that it would be difficult to see a snake on it! It's also not very well signed, so follow the map. A basic public golf course is also accessible from the park, which has a restaurant. All in all a great place to stay - provided your water pump works! There is a double dump station upon exiting. The town of Walsenberg is not really a going concern these days, not much in the way of restaurants according to reviews. The old outdated Safeway has no fresh bakery or deli.
Date of Stay: September, 2015
This is a newer facility with very long gravel sites and ample space in between suitable for big rigs. There's no table and not much vegetation or shade so it's not a Shangri la to hang out in, but we enjoyed the openness and views of surrounding hills, and it was a great vantage for the blood moon lunar eclipse. All utilities worked fine, expect we got no wifi signal and had to use our Verizon 4G, which did work here. Satellite TV was unobstructed, though we didn't scan for local digital channels on the antenna. They seem to have 3 rates, $24 (incl tax) regular, $22 Good Sam, and "Billboard Rate." Thanks to the reviewers that mentioned it since that lowered it to $20 without hesitation (Sept'15). Signing up for Players Club got us $2 off the $12.99 buffet on Sunday night, which was OK, but not as spectacular as many others. You only get one $2 off per 24 hours (and need a certificate from a kiosk each time) but 10% senior discount is 50+ at all times. The breakfast buffet was inexpensive, around $7 (- discount) but was not extensive, the only eggs were scrambled. Good meats though; biscuits but no pancakes or French toast. We also both got $25 free play and I ended up cashing in enough to pay for our RV spot and a couple meals, so all in all a great overnight experience. Follow the large sign for RV check in - it will either be at the hotel front desk, or the RV office that is only open part time. They will ask you to choose a site, so if you care you may want to drive through the RV park first. They're all the same, it's just a matter of if you want a view or be closer to the wifi, or a shorter walk to the casino. We were at the end in 27 and had a nice view, but no wifi signal and a long walk. It's not all that organized; there was someone in the site we were assigned and had to change keys, which unlocks the utilities. Make sure to return the key before 11:00am checkout to avoid another night's charge.
Date of Stay: September, 2015
We really enjoyed our overnight here, and thanks to this site for listing it. We typically stay at those yucky overnighter RV parks when cruising I-40 through here, so this was a great alternative, though slightly more expensive at $25. It's a bit of a drive off I-40 and all the way down the park roads to get here, but we found it worthwhile. We had to go even farther out of the way to get to the visitors center to pay the fee. The camp has 42 very spacious state park style sites, most with views of the surrounding grasslands and San Francisco Peaks. Water and electric utilities are on the opposite side but small RV's can easily turn around if necessary. We carry extensions, and since there's no sewer hookup (there is a dump station) that's no problem for us. Our 50-amp pull through was level, but we could see other sites were not as level; all have a picnic table and fire ring. There are some critters here; lots of anthills at our site, made us wonder how long it would take for them to make their way inside, and the ranger warned to carry a flashlight at night since snakes (including rattlers) like the warmth of the roads, especially at night. But that's Arizona. At 4,900 feet it can be warmer than Flagstaff, and it was 90F when we stayed on a late September weekday when the camp was about half full. There was no one using the park roads, however, and we enjoyed a 5-mile bike ride out to the Homolovi II ruins with expansive vistas of the surrounding grasslands. Roads have large expansion cracks at regular intervals (a few were repaired) so those with skinny tires may not like riding here. In our 14 miles of riding we encountered one car on the road, and one sidewinder crossed the road in front of me. October is apparently a busier month. Ruins are mostly rubble, so use your imagination with help of interpretive signs and visitor center displays. It's still fascinating and spiritual here. Verizon 4G worked fine, satellite good, but no antenna TV.
Date of Stay: October, 2014
$38 represents the AAA rate. This park is conveniently located 1 mile from an I-25 exit east of town, about a 20 minute drive from the center of Santa Fe. It's 3 miles closer to Santa Fe than the KOA down the road. There's a popular breakfast/lunch place close by and it's on a bike route that leads to Santa Fe. The check in staff were extremely friendly and helpful. Most sizable rigs are lined up in the 50 amp full hook up sites along the front of the park. They are close together but spacious enough for our slides on both sides and also have picnic tables. We backed up to some trees with a nice view of mountains and sunsets to the west. Getting to the site required a short drive on a very torn up gravel driveway, up a small hill followed by a fairly tight turn for our 36-ft 5th wheel. The rest of the park is up more torn up roads with some questionable sites, so make sure to inquire about the specifics of the site regarding access, slope, etc if they are sold out of the 'premium' sites. All the utilities worked fine, although there was a distinct sewer smell at the front of our site (99) near a sewer manhole there. The free wifi worked well at our site. Cable TV is included, and we were able to get most local networks on our digital antenna. Dish satellite and Verizon 4G also worked fine here. It was a very pleasant 3 day stay, and we'd stay here again. My only complaint is the high price, but then it's the Santa Fe area.
Date of Stay: October, 2014
The 19.50 rate reflects 50 amp site via Passport America (cash only). The 30 amp sites were 16.50. As others described, it's a rundown place in the middle of nowhere, just a place to stop for the night, or if you're touring Petrified Forest NP. We stayed in a 50 amp site near the road rather than the designated narrower sites in the back, so there was plenty of room for our 4 slides. Electric and water pressure were fine and there was a sewer connection. Surprisingly the wifi worked great from our site, which is good because our Verizon 4G was very intermittent. No cable TV; Dish satellite worked fine; didn't try to use the antenna for locals. Constant noise from trucks on I-40, but not something that kept us up. The family who checked us in was very nice. All in all a very good overnight experience for a decent price, exactly what we needed.
Date of Stay: June, 2014
This pleasant US National Forest-run campground is set in a wooded park near the Sacramento River. There are sites for small rigs, and pull-through semi-circle sites and some back-ins for larger rigs. Some have complained about the tight squeeze, which mostly means you have to drive over some grass to make the rig fit, but nothing too arduous in our experience with our 35-ft 5th wheel. It is a treed park, so only a couple of sites will get satellite. There’s no Wi-Fi or cable TV, but our Verizon 4G worked well and there were several TV channels that came in over the digital antenna. A gate to the park closes 10PM-6AM, so late arrivals should get the gate code in advance by calling the number shown on this listing and have them give you the camp host phone if they don’t know it. We had a pleasant stay, and it was a weekend, the only noise coming from a family reunion that took up 3 sites. The cost is $25 for RV hookup sites, and those with the US senior citizens or disabled National Parks passes get half off. That was confusing because signs say “Lands Pass” is accepted, which is the common $80 America the Beautiful” National Lands Pass. But, alas, no. They need to change the signs to avoid confusion; or I guess until they change the signs just take the discount and don't ask the camp host to clarify it like we did! The campsites offer water and electric (we had 50 amp at our pull-through that worked well, no voltage problems). We did not use the restroom/shower facility. However, the fatal flaw of this campground is there is no sewer or dump station. A sign at the entrance mentions a nearby fairgrounds with $8 cost, however, without specific instructions of where to go to dump we didn’t want to drive in and get stuck, so we ended up dumping along our route at a Chevron mini mart (found on sanidumps.com) in north Redding, 5425 Mountain View Drive, for $5 (free with $100 gas purchase they said). The RV parks in town were all going to charge $10. So, add that to your cost of staying here as well. A series of paved paths lead through a beautiful oak woodland/meadow in a loop, and along a flood bypass of the Sacramento River, which was dry when we were there. The main river channel also passes the park, and there is a boat launch facility where you can boat downstream of the large diversion dam. The paths total about 4 miles and allow bikes except for one nature trail. We rode the trails to the north trailhead, which leads to the quiet Sales Road that accesses the park, and then rode on sidewalks across the flood channel, I-5 and the main channel (a scenic view from that bridge) into historic Red Bluff. It’s a very pleasant town, with restored shops on Main Street, and a few blocks of Victorians on Washington Street. We rode along the river for a bit in the Red Bluff City Park, and up a stream channel, doing a loop through downtown, for a total of about 10 miles including the park trails. All in all, we would return, but it’s not the deal that we were hoping for based on other reviews, especially taking into account the cost of dumping elsewhere.
Date of Stay: February, 2012
We stayed here last year and the power so was poor that we couldn't use it. This year they claim to have taken care of the power surges, so we tried it again, and we had a very good experience on our overnight stay. The Wi-Fi worked well also. At $27 (AAA rate incl tax) it is a good stopover place and during the months when they take Passport America (one night only) it would be a fantastic deal for a park like this. There is a section dedicated for overnight pull throughs. It is toward the west end of this huge park, and there are nice views of the surrounding mountains and desert. Sites have no tables or grills, just gravel drives with a concrete pad. It has a nice, mellow, safe feel to it. We'll be staying here routinely now on our trips through the area. An 8 rating is about as high as a park like this gets in our book. We prefer the more scenic parks.
Date of Stay: March, 2011
The park is conveniently located on the north side of Mission Bay, off of I-5, but far enough away to not have excessive traffic noise. Freight trains can be heard vibrating in the distance, but it’s nothing like another local RV park. It’s a huge parking lot broken up by planted trees at each site. The trees didn’t impact our fixed satellite but could in other sites. There are no amenities such as pool or spa, just two shower/restroom buildings and a snack shack. Friendly security guards at the front gate will open it for you, otherwise it requires a key card if they are not in the booth, perhaps later at night. It doesn’t seem like a dangerous area, although there are a lot of homeless people wandering around Mission Bay. Across the access road (outside of the security gate) is a swimming beach and boat ramp, but around the bend is a new sewage pump station (not sure of treatment level). Many reviewers have mentioned the strict rules, which we don’t mind, it keeps a park nice. However, our fresh water connection chose the wrong park to spring a small drip leak. Security came over (after a puddle had accumulated on the second day) and turned off our water. They followed up with a phone call and told us: “Water is not allowed to hit the ground here.” We improved it and put a bucket under the area. We kept our black water closed off while we were here. If you spill any there is a $50 charge to clean it up since the sewer outlets are raised, so it would be difficult to adequately clean it up yourself. We found the striped-off sites to be adequately sized. The water and electric is behind the adjacent site, but sewer is more in the center of the site. They told us they try to stagger rigs if not crowded, which is a good practice. When we were here though, tree trimming on half the grounds forced us all in one section, which was OK. You can pay $75 to $90 to have a great view of Mission Bay and sunsets (if you have a rear view that is, sites are strictly back-in so motorhomes are out of luck). Or $65-$75 to view the Bay on the other side facing east (same problem with motorhomes). We used Passport America, (Valid Mon-Thurs in winter, no reservations) and paid around $27 with tax. PA sites are only available in the vast interior, although upon checking in, you can hike in (not drive!) and look around for a site that may have a peek view of something. We were here for the easy scenic cycling, though. We love cycling around Mission Bay, and the campground is right next to the East Mission Bay segments of the trail. The west side trails are much better, but you can ride to there too, or all around the bay in 16 miles. If the Rose Creek bike bridge is ever completed to the west of Mission Bay RV, the location of this campground will rival the other Bay park, which for now is a 15-minute ride closer to the fabulous western sections of the bay bike trails. There is even a wide bike trail that winds around the peninsula where this campground is located, good for families. We stayed for three days and rode every day, returning to our rig that had all the necessary hookups working great, even the free WiFi. We will definitely be back if they maintain the Passport America deal. By our standards (we like scenery and large sites) the camp gets a 6, but because of the great location and the Passport America opportunity, it goes up to an 8. If you can afford the view sites, you may just give it a 10.
Date of Stay: January, 2011
We had high hopes for this park as a stopover, and they keep a lot of sites open for that purpose. It is a large, nicely laid out park with lots of palm trees and a smattering of native fauna and views of some mountains in the distance. The sites are gravel with a concrete living pad but no tables. We were greeted after hours by a friendly gentleman who led us to an overnight end site and registered us and turned on the 50 amp service. All was fine, until BOOM the power tripped off when we tried to use the microwave. We have a sophisticated power management system that protects the coach from high voltage and power surges. After turning everything off except for the TV, the surges continued to trip the system several times. Since the incoming voltage did in fact read higher than normal, we had to disconnect from the power, which ruined our evening. The same gentleman who had registered us drove by and responded that this has not happened before and it must be our rig's problem. This had only happened to us once before in about 14 solid months in this rig and at that public park they admitted to high voltage. So, be warned, especially if you don't have a system that protects you from high voltage and surges. Unfortunately we can't come back here.
Date of Stay: October, 2009
I'm glad I ignored the other reviews. We had no problem with this park for an overnight en route stay, especially for the $15 Passport America rate. We got a long pull-through site (in an area separate from the full-timers), 50 amp, full hookup w/ basic cable, free Wi-Fi (worked well for email and light browsing) and from sites 3-5 Dish rooftop satellite should work. It is convenient to I-5 and quiet, in a valley surrounded by treed hillsides. The host was helpful and friendly. Kids were playing. It's run down and not a campground we'd like to hang out at, but would stay overnight again for the Passport rate.
Date of Stay: October, 2009
The rate reflects weekday, Passport America, for a 30 amp site (50 amp is more). A great I-5 stopover with easy pull-throughs. The sites are a bit close together but not bad. I liked the trees planted around that were pretty with fall foliage, but not tall enough (yet) to block our roof satellite. Overnighters are in the back section with a better chance for reception, or plug in to their extended cable. The yellow barn office is a nice touch, and the drive-in movie would have been fun if playing that night. Wi-Fi worked well. The park has a good feeling about it, and I would definitely stay here again.
Date of Stay: February, 2009
We stayed here because of its good en-route location, and its Passport America Rate. Upon check in I was informed that the $12+tax rate is charged to all now. Although the property looks terrible from the road (they really should do something about that to avoid scaring people off), and the office/store is dingy and smoky, it turned out to be a good place to stay. Sites are gravel and level, and we had a nice view of snow covered mountains and rural ranch land. The manager directed us to the middle row, halfway back for the best wifi reception, and we were delighted that the free wifi worked great during our two-night stay, that we shared with only a handful of rigs on a holiday weekend. The 50 amps and full hookups worked fine, and our Dish satellite came in with no problem. There are no tables or fire pits. We did not use the facilities, but the laundry room looked OK. A nearby active railroad line created loud noise, but since there were no whistles or switching, it did not disturb our sleep, nor did nearby I-10. Bowie is pretty much a ghost town, so you’ll have to go to Lordsburg or Willcox, 25 miles in either direction, for food. Bowie is the closest access point to the Fort Bowie National Historic Site (ruins) trail head, about 14 miles from Mountain View. It is an excellent 3-mile round trip hike. Make sure to take the ridge route on the return. From the trail head you can continue on the unpaved road to Highway 186 and amazing Chiricahua National Monument for more great hiking, and loop back through Willcox for dinner for a great full day. We enjoyed Big Tex BBQ in the old town railroad car. Willcox has a lot of amenities, which is probably why the RV parks there are full while this one is virtually empty. For the price, I would stay here again.
Date of Stay: February, 2009
This campground is located at the southern extremity of the city of Carlsbad in a commercial area. From here it’s a good half hour’s drive south to the Caverns. A Super Walmart is a few minutes drive to the north, and an RV service center is adjacent. The park seemed to be mostly full of extended stay campers when we were here, with just a few open sites available for overnighters. We assume that since we were Passport America customers, we were given the worst sites, adjacent to the office and a trash dumpster. The sites are criminally close together, but luckily we were given two sites (12 and 14) with 13 left vacant in between. These sites are dirt and gravel, with no table or grill, no cable TV and only 30 amp. Our goal was to tour the caverns, so the fact that we were close to the (free) wifi transmitter made it worthwhile. The wifi was fairly slow speed and was down one of our two nights. I would not want to stay in these sites longer than absolutely necessary. Some of the other sites around the park were a tad nicer, with even some dead grass next to them. There are lots of places to walk dogs, but our friends with a dog reported they were disgusting since it seems that no one picks up after their pets. The park does have facilities to offer: a small indoor pool which seemed clean, a games room and arcade with pool table, a store, free coffee, a large DVD rental library (1st one free, $1 thereafter), swings for kids, and more. Our Dish satellite came in, but in summer when the trees have leaves some sites may have problems with that. The other option besides WalMart for camping and seeing the caverns is the campground at Whites City, at the entrance of the 8-mile access road to the caverns. That camp cost around $27, and offered wifi only in the office, a long walk from the campground. The campground was more aesthetically pleasing than this one, although the rigs appeared to be amongst utility lines. I would consider staying here again at the Passport rate while touring the Caverns. Once you get home from the caverns, this camp has more amenities to offer close by in Carlsbad
Date of Stay: February, 2009
This is the nicest of the private RV parks in the Fort Davis area, much nicer than Overland Trail. At the $14 Passport America rate, including free wifi, it was an amazing deal. The park is for sale, so beware of policy changes. Spots are level spacious gravel pull-throughs, with covered picnic tables and bbq grills in the grassy areas between sites. The 50 amps worked well, as did the wifi. Views are of the surrounding high desert countryside with mountain views, about 3/4-mile south of the quaint historic town, which you can ride your bike to via a flat bike trail. Deer and javalina frequent the campground, so pet owners need to beware. There are no large trees, so satellite comes in fine. They also offer free cable TV. Facilities are very nice and new, although there are only two washers and dryers, and four private bathrooms with nice stone showers. A common room has a big screen TV where they have occasional events. The manager at the time was extremely friendly and helpful. It’s a nice campground to spend some time at and tour the area.
Date of Stay: February, 2009
This campground in Rio Grande Village has the only hookups within Big Bend National Park, and they charge a premium for the privilege. If you have a rig over 24 feet in length, the only options I am aware of are this campground and the adjacent campground, which has no hookups. Rio Grande Village contains a visitors center and a small store with gas pumps (no diesel), a few washers and dryers, and pay showers that were dirty during our stay. RV camping consists of a converted parking lot near the store (check in there), with back in sites on either side. As others have noted, depending on your rig and who is already situated, you may have a difficult, or even impossible time getting into your site, and they do not offer refunds. We had no problem with our 34-foot motorhome, but the driver of a 30-foot trailer tried 4 different sites before getting into one, and they were lucky that so many sites were open. Sites are wide enough for your rig and tow vehicle next to it. The sewer is to the left against the curb, and the electric and water are about ten feet past the curb in the grass area. There are no picnic tables or fire rings, however, there is a very pleasant area with grass and some trees surrounding the RV parking lot where you can set up your own table, with beautiful mountains visible in the distance. Trailers with a rear window will have a pleasant view, but motorhomes sit facing each other. We opted to face the opposite way in our motorhome to enjoy the view, requiring an extension for our electric, and no sewer connection for our two-night stay. Our Dish satellite came in (they recommended the north row for that), but not Verizon cell phone. There are pay phones at the store and visitors center. There is no wifi. The closest wifi seems to be at Chisos Lodge. Next to the campground is a dead-end paved road that leads in about 0.7 mile to a picnic area and trailhead for a viewpoint and another 2.8-mile trail to the hot springs. The little-used paved road is nice to stroll or bike on. Pet owners watch for coyotes here. In the other direction the road leads to the main Rio Grande Village campground. It is half the cost, and gets the most usage. When I cycled through there I heard the loud whirring of generators from most of the sites (allowed until 8pm), which turned me off to the place. Sites are more park like there with picnic tables and fire rings, but I did not find the campground especially scenic, and the main asset of the park, a boardwalk nature trail to the river, had been destroyed in the big September 2008 flood. Since I don’t care about having a campfire, I actually preferred the ambiance and views at our quiet parking lot. The only attractions at this far southeastern corner of the park are the hot springs and the road out to Boquillas Canyon. The short trail at the end of that road is very worthwhile, leading to the Rio Grande and an entrance to a canyon. When we checked out of the RV park we drove out to the Chisos Basin road, leaving our rigs at a spacious historical marker turnout, then took the tow car up to explore the Chisos Basin and have lunch. We then moved out to Terlingua (Big Bend Motor Inn/RV) as a base to explore the rest of the park including Santa Elena Canyon. If you have a rig under 24 feet and don’t care about hookups, the most central place to stay in the park is the scenic campground at Chisos Basin, but signs warn that this is also the area where cougars and bears are more prevalent. Chisos Basin has the most hiking trails, the only restaurant (casual, but good food with great views), but is not next to the river. I was disappointed at the location of the main park campgrounds at Rio Grande Village. Perhaps it was a more worthwhile location when the border between the quaint town of Boquillas was open, but now it is too far removed from most park features. Despite the location, while I was there it was an enjoyable place to stay.