We wanted to love this place. A few years ago, we had our wedding at Taos Mesa Brewing, which is conveniently located next door. When we rolled up to the hip Luna Mystica, we told to camp as far away as possible from the airstreams. Then, we were charged $25 for dispersed camping. No shade, no amenities, no nothing. Another camper secretly gave us the code to the bathrooms (designated for the airstream campers). Confused by the complete lack of amenities for $25 (and not wanting to roast in the sun while feeling like second class citizens, we left after a few hours and camped elsewhere.
Arrived early evening (6-ish) after rejecting a disbursed campsite which wound through "Hills Have Eyes" terrain. Immediately accommodated by the nicest lady, and led to campsite on a grassy opening a stone's throw away from a bend in the Rio Grande. RV area was out of site/ out of mind. The 4 or 5 tent sites were secluded, beautiful grounds,clean restrooms and showers just built. Fire pit provided and a bbq grill offered if needed. Would recommend and will return again, hopefully for 2 nights. Watch a skyful of stars and then fall asleep to the sound of the river.
The campground is located San Luis Lakes State Wildlife Area. The facility which is located just a few miles west of the Great Sand Dunes National Park. We stayed here on the way to Salida, CO after visiting the National Park. The wildlife area is basically reservoirs in a desert valley. Despite the Central Valley location the site was empty during our summertime visit. The facilities are well planned and more than sufficient. However, the location is barren and not very picturesque. The visitor entrance is not manned and you are required to have a Colorado Parks Pass. The site has no cover and experiences summer temps well above 100 degrees despite the high altitude of 8000 feet. The parking lots and campsites are all gravel stone but can be dusty in the dry season. You can see migratory birds here in the fall and fishing is popular as well. After seeing the site in person, I can not recommend this as a place to stay unless you cannot get a site at the National Park and need somewhere to park. It would be a difficult site for tent campers due to the lack of cover and the summer temps. You don’t need a reservation given the availability.
Clean camp, nice amenities. Dog park is a little small, but is nice to have a place for dogs. Pool was very nice. Was disappointed in our tent site as it was all gravel with brush behind us. Pics online showed nice grassy tent sites with big trees. We had dogs with us, and it sucked to only have gravel for them to sit/lie on at our site. Otherwise, friendly place!
I did a fair amount of research online regarding walk-in tent camping at Heron Lake, during the week. See the great maps and detail at https://newmexicostateparks.reserveamerica.com/camping/heron-lake/r/campgroundDetails.do?contractCode=NM&parkId=430012 . I called the visitor center to confirm that being a walk-in would not be a problem during the week. Once one arrives as a walk-in, look for the campsites with a green tag on them.
The Heron Lake camp sites shown at the above reserveamerica website all have a fair amount of trees for shade. What the reserveamerica site does not show is a few more Heron Lake campgrounds southwest along Highway 95 (beyond the dam). The southwesterly sites are way more exposed to the sun than the first four campgrounds. Otherwise, the southwesterly campgrounds have fine views of the lake.
I was at Island View campground, in a loop that was convoluted enough that I do not think a trailer (with its inevitable noisy generator) could get in. I guess that this is the point. As a result, all I heard from time to time were muffled voices and no generators. It's the first tent spring-summer-fall camping I have enjoyed in years that was generator-free. I had at least one empty campsite on either side of me as an additional buffer to noise.
I walked along the lakeshore. It did not seem that low. I saw large fish jumping in one cove. I hiked the Salmon Run Trail to the dam. The Salmon Run Trail is a beautiful hike, not all level but not too steep for this older person's knees and walking poles. On the lake side of the dam, walking along the highway to get a good look at the dam, I saw several schools of large fish.
The vault bathrooms and the flush-toilet bathrooms were fine. Not super clean and not super dirty. I did not try the shower but it looked like people were using it.
This time of year, bring some bug repellent or wear jeans and a light long sleeve shirt at night. New Mexico has had a lot of moisture this season, so I think the bug-giness is higher than usual. Still, I sat outside and read for an hour or so pretty comfortably.
The camp host was lovely.
We drove up the road for a while to find a higher up spot. High clearance is definitely needed, dirt road turns into curvy, rocky road with multiple spots on both sides. There were plenty of already made fire pits. The views are amazing and even though we saw several other people, we never heard them. There was a few 4wheelers and dirt bikes. All around great, free spot.
We stayed a week and half in late June 2019. The camping areas are very easy to find and are directly off Lake Como Road which is off Hwy 150(main road that leads to Great Sand Dunes NP). There is a BLM sign at the turn to the right. The GPS coordinates will take you to the correct area. There are several camping areas as you drive down the road. There are all on the left side. There is a large dip right after you turn and before the sign. Make sure you are going slow and you shouldn’t have any problems. The road is washboard sand and dirt but overall is not bad to drive down, especially if you go slow. I think any size rig would be fine to travel to the first three camping areas. Each camping area could probably fit 3-5 rigs and some tenters without being on top of each other. The first camping area is about¼ mile down the road. Not a bad area, but it was a bit busier when we arrived(probably due to the proximity to the road). We went to the second area which is probably another¼ mile down the road. That area was busy as well, but we liked it better(more grass than dirt). We setup camp in the back of the area and were able to get level without blocks! Most everyone else needed blocks, but they didn’t seem to have much problem leveling. As you continue down the road, its condition does worsen. Tenters and small vans have more options towards the mountain. We did see a decent size Airstream make it to the fourth pullout area, but we didn’t feel comfortable taking our 30 ft travel trailer past the second section. We did walk down to the third pullout and it was not as level or as big, so we were happy with our decision to stick to the second section. The road was a bit worse from areas#2-#3, but still probably doable for most rigs. After that it starts to get a bit rough, at least in our opinion. Cell reception was good, we had 2-3 bars 4G LTE on AT&T. We use hotspots for internet and have AT&T and Verizon and both worked well. No amenities at all so pack in and out. The area is about 20-25 minutes to the Great Sand Dunes National Park. We were able to get potable water there(at the dump station) and dump as we were leaving. They also have dumpsters we used to dispose of our trash(and the trash of inconsiderate tent campers who left over two bags of trash for us to collect for them). The town of Alamosa is about 30 minutes away and has places for groceries, propane, and anything else you may need during your stay. The camping areas have a wonderful view of Blanca Peak. If you are in better shape than we are, you can attempt the summit while there. There are no trees or any obstructions on any of the pullouts. Perfect for solar, but also no protection from wind and blowing sand. It was windy several times when we were there, and it will blow sand and dust in the RV. Nothing too bad but be aware. The weather was great until the last few days when the high was almost 90. Small rain events happen frequently in the afternoon, but they never last long and some don’t make it to the area, but you can see them in the distance. The area gets busy on the weekend, but during the week it slows down. Everyone was respectful and enjoyed the quiet. The biggest noise was the free-range cows in the morning making a raucous and using the RV as a back scratcher. They didn’t visit every morning but were there several times bright and early. Dark skies there. You can see the Milky Way with the naked eye. Overall, it was a great stay and we would stay again if ever back in the area.
Heron Lake has several campgrounds with most sites being first come first serve. Most sites have a lake view. There is a good walking distance to the water and very little shade. Lots of wildlife here! We saw deer, coyotes and bear droppings. Sites are kinda spaced out, have benches, fire rings and cost $10 a night per car. We came with intentions of paddle boarding but it was way too windy! It can get crowded on the weekends, but you'd have the place all to yourself during the week.
We stayed here over the Easter Holiday. We were on Lot 2 in the Willow creek section. For $14, we had f/u hook-ups. I think Lot 1 & 2 are the only lots with full hook ups. I didn't use the facilities, so I can comment on those. Our campsite was big enough for our rig and a tent. We had picnic table (made of concrete, so you can move it) Firepit (don't know if they sell wood, because we couldn't find anyone working or a camp host) We basically had the park to ourselves. We did take a couple of hikes. One was to the lake, which was sadly almost empty. There was very spotty Verizon cell phone and dish satellite. There is not much of a town, so make sure you're fueled up and have all your camping provisions. I would like to try and stay here again, maybe in the summer. Elevations are up there 7000 ft, so I think it would be nice and cool.
Reservations are a must on summer weekends with some one night only walk-ups available. Large but sparse tree cover and fairly close sites limit privacy. Campground is on the banks of the Red River which was running high from extraordinary snow melt and had taken out a dam between the lakes. These circumstances limited fly fishing success but we still saw people bringing in a catch from time to time. The camp is close enough for day trips to Red River, Rio Grande del Norte National Monument, Taos, and the Enchanted Circle. The Scenic Canyons contract camp hosts from neighboring campgrounds went the extra mile to cover this campground when its host fell ill and did a marvelous job maintaining the grounds and vault toilets and keeping fire wood available. Campground accommodates anything from tents to large RVs in most sites with a truck or tent area only as well. Recreation.gov does need to refine its on-line info about extra vehicles. There is an extra vehicle charge of $5.00 per day even if the site info says 2 vehicles are allowed. Overall, it’s a very nice place to camp.
The campsite was clean and simple with a fire ring, picnic table, and trash can (tent site). The bath house with private restrooms and showers is a great relief after a long day. Landscape is natural with great views of the mountains, only downfall is no trees, so no shade. Fairly close to fellow campers but our neighbors are friendly and quiet. Only 20 minutes from Sand Dunes.
The best site at Wild Rivers. 850 feet above the gorge. This is where the magic happens, beautiful moonrise’s and sunrise, sunsets. clean wasteland clean bathrooms. I camp here as often as I can.
We chose this BLM campground because it is right outside of Great Sand Dunes National Park. There are several sites along Lake Como Road. The type of vehicle you have determines how far up the road/secluded you can get. We were there over Memorial Day Weekend and it was packed. However, there are tons of sites and plenty of space for all! We camp in a RV and there were plenty of accessible sites for us to choose from us well. The road in is really bumpy so we parked in the first parking area on the left as you come in and were happy with it. This is a popular area for off-roading so be prepared for some traffic heading up Lake Como Road to hit the trails if you are there on a weekend. The only downside to this area was the CRAZY winds that blew through. There were gusts of 67 mph one day! The views are amazing in this spot. And, even better – our Verizon hotspot was strong enough for us to both work all week. When the weather was clear it seemed no matter where we looked, we had mountain views. Not to mention the spectacular view of Blanca Peak. It’s also amazing being so close to the National Park. We were really happy with the location and thoroughly enjoyed our time in the park. We were really happy with this free spot!
As a Ranger for The Dyrt, I occasionally get to test products. During this stay, I tested Éclipse Sun Protective Clothing’s neck gaiter. I knew the sun would be strong when we were hiking the dunes, so we wanted to protect ourselves. We also expected the wind to blow the sand around so we figured this would be the perfect product to protect us from both. Boy, were we right! The gaiters were perfect. They come with an info sheet showing you the different ways you can wear your neck gaiter. I assumed I would just wear it around my neck as planned. However, prior to hiking the dunes we hiked a Zapata Falls and I was a little chilly. I pulled the neck gaiter out and wore it like a headband and LOVED it. It was super easy to get comfortable and in a good spot and it was nice knowing my hairline was protected from damaging UPF rays. Once we started hiking the dunes, I assumed I would pull it back down around my neck. However, I loved it so much as a headband I didn’t want to move it. It did a great job of keeping the sand out of my ears which I am so thankful for. My husband wore his around his neck and he too was really happy with it. This is versatile product has earned a permanent spot in our day packs. Way to go Éclipse!
Nice quiet dispersed campground near Sand Dunes National Park. It is a bit of a trek to get to, but with the busy season, it was nice to get away from big crowds. We got there earlier in the day in order to get a good spot and were the first ones for the weekend. Our spot was amazing with established fire pit and tree stumps for sitting. The view was incredible. We had a nice flat area to park our pop up. We enjoyed the spot for a quiet place to camp with our family. The dogs on site kept our fur girl entertained and made it feel safe. They had firewood for sale which was awesome. The area can get very windy so we were unable to make a fire one of the nights which is ok. Good reason the go to Calvillo’s in Alamosa. (About 35 min away)
I chose this spot to scout for my Dyrt Ranger Mission because I had stayed at a similar place right near here last Summer (see Zapata Under the Stars review) and I was excited to get back out into dispersed wilderness again. The views and solitude of the desert did not disappoint.
After booking I realized I wanted to add an extra night and the hosts got back to me immediately saying it wasn't a problem. I also asked them about the dogs since I was bringing mine to camp with us. They said the dogs were very friendly and it shouldn't be a problem at all. They also let me know I could purchase wood at the site.
We ended up arriving after dark on Friday night and following the directions wasn't a problem. The directions from the hosts after booking are like a scavenger hunt of sorts. It was a bit hard to make out in the dark, but thankfully, we are pretty good with directions…and puzzles. The site is approximately 10 miles from the main road.
This is a dispersed style campground for the most part. There is one site that has a landing pad, grill barrel, and was near the PooLoo and the Woodstock but the others were marked by little orange flags (we noticed those in the morning). Since there weren't clearly marked sites so we did drive around a bit until we saw what looked like remnants of a former campsite and pulled in there. There weren't big spots to fit our tipi tent but we made it work. I think most of the sites are made for smaller 2 man tents.
We were immediately greeted by one very friendly Pyrenees dog named Kaylee who took an immediate liking to our dogs and began playing with our youngest pup. They seemed to really take to each other. Another one showed up named Deja and seemed to be the protector of the campground. Deja was not a fan of our playful puppy and Deja made it known that our dog was not to be around her. We kept a close eye when Deja and Kaylee came around since they looked so much alike, our puppy was confused as to which one would play and which one would growl and take him down.
That night Deja and Kaylee slept outside out tent the majority of the night while our pups were inside the tent. One of the outside dogs began barking nonstop in the middle of the night and wouldn't stop for a couple hours. This happened both nights. Thankfully I had my aftershokz headphones (with the ear plugs) so that was my saving grace in falling asleep through the barking.
Other than the random dog drama and barking, this site was fantastic! It was quiet and peaceful. Had great views of Mt. Blanca, the Sand Dunes, and easy access to town if needed.
Bathroom: The pooloo was hilarious (see video). The concept and view was fantastic! It was just a bit too close to the big site. If we were the only ones camping there it would have been perfect, but it was far from where we camped and since there were other people camping at the large site, it was a bit awkward to use when kids are running around that can see your face.
Water: We brought plenty of water so we didn't need to see the pump, but if you contact he host, they can operate the well water pump for you.
Firewood: Firewood is for sale on site. Unbundled but large stacks of wood. $6 per stack and it's on the honor system. So please make sure you are being good humans!
Local attractions: From the main road, you are about 30 mins to Sand Dunes National Park, 50 mins from Zapata Falls, 45 mins to Del Norte, and 30 mins from Alamosa. There is also an Alligator and Reptile Refuge about 20 mins North. There is also a large pool/hot spring in Hooper, Co near the refuge (this pool is alligator free).
As a Dyrt Ranger I get the opportunity to receive products to review and a month ago I got these for a biking trip that ended up being cancelled. I wasn't intentionally going to use these and review them on this trip but they ended up being needed for both nights so I figured it is the perfect time! The product is the Air Trekz by Aftershokz https://aftershokz.com/collections/wireless/products/trekz-air.
I was super curious when I received these headphones.I can't use normal headphones because they are either are super painful or fall out since my ear canals are very small.
These headphone ROCK! They are super comfortable and stylish. I found that I started using them for just about everything, driving on the phone, riding my bike, walking the dogs, hiking, and even sleeping when it's noisy. As my boyfriend put it "this is the end to people's tone deaf singing, since they can now hear what they sound like".
They are a bit big for my head so the back strap falls down a bit but they never fall off. They come with a set of ear plugs so you can focus on the sound if preferred too.
They come with a really sturdy case that stands up on its own. The base is wider so they don’t get smashed or broken when put in a bag.
The sound quality if pretty good considering you are hearing it from your cheek bones instead of your ear drums. podcasts are clear, music is fluid, and even instrumental music is clear. The only genre that gets a bit wonky is music with heavy bass. The sound just can't compare to professional headphones when it comes to bass.
For the purpose of using these for our trip, I used them on a hike and while sleeping when the dogs outside the tent started barking late night. I was able to fall asleep on the side of my head without worrying about painful ears. They worked like a charm.
This is a beautiful area, the lake is gorgeous and on the way in we saw a huge herd of elk which was awesome. However not long after we set up some rowdy locals decided to do donuts on the beach in their truck, some playing loud music. Thankfully they left but it wasn’t the peaceful evening we were hoping for. There are two sides of the lake to camp on. One side had pit toilets but it was more crowded with lots of people on ATV’s there are tons of trails you can see where they go all over that side. On the other side of the lake there are no toilets and not as many ATV trails. It’s a great free place to camp but it may not be the quiet peaceful place you’re looking for if the wrong crowd is here at the same time.
Very nice campground. The river was very high and actually flooded close to a couple campsites but there were enough that we were away from it. For $18 dollars it was very nice, there were vault toilets that were well maintained. There was drinking water available on site. Overall it was really nice and we could go to sleep listening to the river.
This place is so cool. There is a “hotel” made up of old airstreams and other RVs, a solid brewery and a music venue that brings pretty serious acts in.
We paid $10 to park our van essentially. Parked in the gravel lot, had acces to showers and bathrooms. There was also tent camping for $10 a night as wel and that looked really legit with unobstructed views .
10/10 will 100% go back to this spot and support what they are doing
The site is like a number of other campgrounds we have seen that were created alongside county or state reservoirs. The campground is in a good location in Northwest New Mexico. We ended up staying an extra night here due to the amazing sunsets as well as the peace and quite. They have self checkin and well maintained pit toilets. The camp was about half full on the weekend in August. Each site had some shade and privacy depending on location. The exterior sites on our loop had a great western view to see the sunsets. The water level of the reservoir was very low and some campers were trying their luck at fishing. The have a couple of stores a few miles outside the camp with limited supplies. The roads are well maintained gravel and the sites all a bit uneven if you have a trailer or van. We took the dirt road southwest to exit the park. This was a mistake the road is very rough and requires a high clearance vehicle and 4x4 after rain. We were pulled over by local reservation police who were looking for poachers. It made for an interesting morning. I would give this a try if you need a short stay site on you way somewhere
Really loved this spot. It was windy and tree coverage was limited but we found an awesome spot for the weekend towards the end of the road. There’s lot to explore on foot and we hit the Great Sand Dunes National Park about 45 minutes away on our last day out here. The water, hiking, breathtaking views, and wide expanse to post up camp was great. Next time will bring a 4 wheeler. PSA: pack it out, it was heartbreakingly prevalent here.