Date of Stay: March, 2012
This is one of the parks run by Maricopa County. It’s in Cave Creek in the north Phoenix metro area. It’s a scenic Sonoran Desert setting, not really too far from civilization. Loops and sites are paved and arranged well. There are water and electric hookups at each site. Sites also have a cement picnic table and fire ring/grill combo. There is a dump station at the entrance. We stayed in back-in site #27. This site is level. They also have some pull-out sites. Showers were clean and hot. The hiking trail system is extensive. Horses are allowed on the trails. Rodeo grounds are next door. There was a rodeo event the weekend we stayed. You could hear the activities, but they shut down by 9:00 p.m. We will definitely be back.
Date of Stay: February, 2012
This is a dispersed camping area on a beach at Bartlett Reservoir. It’s managed by the Tonto National Forest. The closest town is Carefree, 20 miles to the west. All roads leading here are paved. It’s about 2 miles north of the Bartlett Marina. You drive down to the beach and find a spot you like. There a rock fire rings that other people have set up. There is a flush toilet where you enter the beach. Depending on where you set up camp, that toilet could be far away. The views of the water and surrounding mountains are great. Just south of this beach are good hiking trails with more views of Bartlett Lake. We stayed here during the week. It was practically empty. Weekends are probably much busier. Litter was a bit of a problem, but not as bad as we saw at Riverside Campground, just south of Bartlett Lake. That is why the rating is only a 7. We would come back here again and would probably stick to another weekday.
Date of Stay: February, 2012
This is a Tonto National Forest campground downstream from the Bartlett Dam/Reservoir on the Verde River. The closest town is Carefree, 23 miles to the west. The 3 mile road from the Bartlett Marina is maintained gravel. Sites are among large mesquite trees in a sandy, dry grass meadow. Each site has a metal picnic table and fire ring/grill combo. The sites are not numbered. You can position your vehicle any way you like around a site. There are no hookups, but there is a vault toilet. The river is just across the loop road. At some sites you can get a glimpse of the river. You can see the Bartlett Dam. We stayed here during the week. It was practically empty. Only one other camper was around. They were at a far site from ours and out of sight. Though this seemed like a great place to get away on your own, the litter problem was bad. That is why the rating is only a 6. At the sites and along the river, there were empty beer cans, broken bottles, and other litter. We spent an hour cleaning up around our site.
Date of Stay: February, 2012
This is a scenic Tonto National Forest campground on the shore of Roosevelt Lake. There are no hookups. There are water spigots throughout campground. The restroom/shower buildings have flush toilets. They were clean. Showers use solar technology, but water was lukewarm. Loops are paved. Sites are gravel and fairly level. Each site has a shade ramada, metal picnic table, and fire ring/grill combo. We stayed in pull-out site #38 in the Buckhorn Cholla loop. They also have back-in sites. The layout of the different sites is very good. You don’t feel on top of any of your neighbors. The scenery is desert meets water. Mountains, including Four Peaks, are in view. Only a few sites have a direct view of Roosevelt Lake. Lake views are an easy, short walk away. There are plenty of trails including ones where you can walk to the lake shore. We will stay here again.
Date of Stay: January, 2012
We think this is a nice state park even more than we would have thought. It’s just off I-10, between Casa Grande and Tucson. The mountains here include Picacho Peak (3,374 feet). There’s a smaller butte right near the camping loops. Sites and loops are paved and level. The landscape is native Sonoran Desert. There are no trees or even oleander bushes. Each site has electric (no water or sewer), a fire ring/grill combo, and a wood-top picnic table. Some sites have a ramada over the table. There are back-in and pull-through sites. The electric on the back-in sites is at the back of the site. The back-in sites are double-wide. Depending on the site, the picnic area could be on the right, the left, or at the back of the site. We stayed in site A13 that had a good view of the peak from one side and the butte on the other side. The layout was good, giving ample space between sites. It was not crowded on the January weekend we stayed. The I-10 traffic and train noise was muted and distant. Showers and restrooms were clean and modern. The shower area had tile walls and terrazzo on the floor. There was plenty of hot water. There are a lot of hiking opportunities, from easy to difficult. We will stay here again.
Date of Stay: November, 2011
This is a nice, scenic state park. Sites and loops are paved and level. The camping areas are on a very flat area of savannah grasslands with a scattering of mostly mesquite trees. The Santa Catalina Mountains provide the background. The layout was good, giving ample space between sites. We stayed at back-in site #A40 with water and electric. This site and adjacent site A38 had the hookups and picnic area on the same side. The other sites had the picnic area on the correct side, facing the RV passenger side. Each site has a picnic table and pedestal grill. There are no fire rings. Wood fires are not allowed at this campground. Loop A, which we prefer, has a more natural look where grass is tall. In loop B the grass is mowed, and the sites are in straight rows. This gives loop B more of an RV Park feel. Though both loops have plenty of trees, loop B has a more open feel. Showers and restrooms were clean. Showers were free and hot. They are on a timer. You push a button and get a couple minutes of shower at a time. The force of the water almost hurt. You can’t change the angle of the shower head. There are plenty of hiking trails. We would stay here again.
Date of Stay: October, 2011
This is a San Bernardino County regional park about 4 miles from I-10. Sites and loops are paved and level. There is grass and large trees throughout the campground. There are mountain views from this park. The county reservation system will show a picture of the site and indicate the length and shade level. We stayed at back in site #35, with full hookups. It’s a partial shade site. The site includes a pedestal grill and picnic table. There was no fire ring at this site. Showers and restrooms are old and rustic. One building looked newer. The building closest to us had semi-open air restrooms. The sink did not work. Showers were private, but the metal door did not close all the way. The water level of the 3 lakes was low. The water slide/swim area was closed for the season, but it looked like it had potential for the summer season. We did not use the park for its recreational opportunities. We stayed only 1 night as we drove further into California. We would stay here again on another stopover visit.
Date of Stay: September, 2011
This is a primitive (no hookups) campground in the Coconino National Forest, north of Sedona, AZ. It’s right in Oak Creek Canyon and very scenic. It has new vault toilets and dumpsters, but no showers. The picnic and tent pads are new. Each site has a cement picnic table, fire ring/grill combo, and a separate pedestal grill. The campground is right off highway 89A. Between Sedona and the campground, we encountered an area on the road where they were cleaning up a mud slide. The host said that happens regularly. The highway is busy during the day, but not at night. There’s one loop on the east side of the highway and another loop on the west side. We stayed at back-in site 28 on the western loop. Oak Creek was right behind us. Due to the terrain, many sites are not level. Our site had only a slight incline. On the east side, sites 41, 44, and 50 looked level, but on site #50 there is a steep drive to reach the level parking pad. Sites were a little close but not too bad. Only a few sites can be reserved which we did, because we were arriving late on a Friday. We would stay here again.
Date of Stay: September, 2011
Our rate reflects the senior pass discount. This is a Joshua Tree National Park campground. It’s located at the northwest corner of the park. Access is not from the park roads, so you do not have to pay a park entrance fee in addition to the campground fee. It’s about 5 miles south of CA-62. There are no hookups. There are modern restrooms, but no showers. There is a dump station. Loops are paved, but in poor condition. Sites are compacted sand. They are not level. We used a couple of leveling blocks on each front tire. We stayed at site #25. This is along the western outer loop. The view behind us was nature. The eastern outer loop has views of houses off in the distance. This is a very scenic desert campground, and there are plenty of Joshua Trees here. Most sites are back in sites. The campground has some pull through sites. Some sites are too close to each other. This is especially true for the back to back inner loop sites. The campground was only a quarter full on the Tuesday we stayed, so we had no privacy problems. The sites include a fire ring/grill combo and cement picnic tables. We stayed only 1 night as a stopover, on a longer trip, heading home. We would stay here again. We are now motivated to make a trip just to see the park, perhaps staying at one of the campgrounds further inside the park.
Date of Stay: September, 2011
Sites and loops are paved and level. Sites are a little too close for our taste, but we did not have a problem with the noise level. We stayed at pull through site #23. It had water and electric hookups. Some sites are in the shade. Many, including #23, are in the sun and surrounded by shrub-size vegetation. Huge trees are scattered throughout the park. The site includes a fire ring/grill combo, CCC-era stone grill and picnic table made of stone, cement, and wood. Showers and restrooms were muddy at times. Some of the toilets were clogged. Park workers cleaned throughout the day, but it was hard for them to keep up during the weekend when the campground was full. Showers were free and had inconsistent hot water, which is exactly what posted signs said to expect. Just across the street from the campground entrance, is a place to rent canoes and kayaks. This is near the Bayside Cafe. Having a restaurant in walking distance to a campground is a nice treat. The Museum of Natural History was a very short walk down the road. This park has plenty of hiking trails, including one that goes to the top of Black Hill where you can get some great views. We would stay here again.
Date of Stay: August, 2011
This is a popular campground in the Sitgreaves National Forest. We’ve never been able to get in without reservations. This time that’s what we did. The campground is in the Woods Canyon Lake Recreation Area on the Mogollon Rim. There are no hookups or showers. It has vault toilets throughout and dumpsters at the entrance. Each site has a picnic table, fire ring/grill combo, and a separate pedestal grill. These could be located to the side or behind the site, depending on which site you’re in. We stayed at back-in site 25. We would stay at this site again. We’d consider the far outer loop sites, starting at 100 because there is nobody behind them. You will want a site that has at least one site between your site and the vault toilets. The campground is huge with multiple loops. You can visually see other campers, but this is a well laid out campground with plenty of space between sites. Loops and sites are paved and are mostly level, though some do have an incline. A few of the sites are out in the open in full sun, or they have a long path from the site to the picnic area. The majority of them are set among decent sized ponderosa pines. There are several trails, including one that goes around the lake, which is walking distance from the campground. There is a store at the lake that sells food items and fishing supplies. We enjoyed this campground and will be back.
Date of Stay: June, 2011
This is a primitive (no hookups) campground in the Coconino National Forest. It has vault toilets (two per building) and dumpsters. The picnic and tent pads are new. Each site has a picnic table, fire ring/grill combo, and a separate pedestal grill. We stayed at back-in site 6. The campground is one big loop, which is dirt with some gravel. Sites are the same and are level. There is ample room between sites. The loop is large enough so people on the inner loop do not see across to the other side of the loop. There are both back-in and pull-through sites. The pull-throughs are really wider areas where you pull off to the side of the main loop. The campground is located about 2 1/2 miles down a decent dirt road (FR 751), off of AZ-87. The pines and oak are small to medium size. This campground has a host, but you pay cash at a fee station near the entrance. You can access the Arizona Trail from this campground. Forest Road 751 goes another 2 miles past the campground to the Blue Ridge Reservoir, but that part of the road gets steep and narrow. We enjoy this type of National Forest camping, and will be staying here again.
Date of Stay: May, 2011
This is a very nice state park, very close to Cottonwood, AZ. Loops and sites are paved. There are electric and water hookups. There is a dump station near the park entrance. We stayed in site 17 in the Quail loop. This is the lower loop where you have more mature trees around your site. The upper loops (Red-Tail Hawk and Cooper’s Hawk) are on a hill where you get good views of the nearby towns, including Cottonwood and Jerome. The park has plenty of trails, access to the Verde River, and lagoons. They now have an equestrian concessionaire, where you can go for a wrangler-guided trail ride. We made reservations, which is something new they’re doing. We arrived after the ranger station closed. We drove right to our site. It wasn’t until the last evening when someone came by to verify our confirmation papers. There were no issues with this. We stayed here two years earlier, and we plan on going back in the future.
Date of Stay: December, 2010
This is a pleasant state park on the Colorado River. We picked our site, hooked up, then walked back to pay for it. We initially paid for two nights but later added an additional night because we liked it so much. Everyone was friendly. During our stay in early December, the park was only one quarter full. This is a water and electric hookup park. They have a dump station. Our site #48 was level and had medium size cottonwood trees on either side. Some sites were at a slight incline. Loops and sites are all paved with gravel everywhere else. There’s a combination of full sun to partial shade sites provided by small, medium and large trees. The park is long and narrow with the Colorado River at one end. There’s a 1.5 mile trail along the shore. It has a shorter loop off the main trail. You can also walk up to an overlook and over to the neighboring Sandpoint Marina RV Park. We enjoy this part of the Colorado River. On our next trip, we’ll probably explore the California side. We’ll definitely plan on returning to Cattail Cove the next time we’re on the Arizona side.
Date of Stay: November, 2010
When we paid at the entry booth, they assigned us a specific site. Some sites had partial shade. Our site #9 was in full sun, which was fine for early November. We were in the water and electric campground loop. Our row had an odd hookup arrangement. They were 10 feet behind the site and down a hill. We had to use an extension cord for the electric. The fire rings for our site and the adjacent site were only 5 feet apart. Other sites had a more convenient layout. The lake and surrounding desert hills make for a scenic location. There’s a hiking area where you can walk near the shore or in a tree-studded meadow. Watch out for fresh cow pies. We like the scenery in this part of Arizona and plan on visiting in the future.