This is a great park if you have an RV; otherwise, regular camping might be a bit rough as the grounds are very prickly. There are stickers galore and not truly pet friendly, even though you can bring them. The lake is nice; however, they need more docking sites. This park is packed during the holidays and there is not an on call person to pay to enter. It’s an honor system. The little store of the main road does sell fishing permits and worms. Plus, there’s a Dollar General that’s close.
Free, pack-in pack-out site with vault toilets, picnic tables and fire pits. The Rim campground is perfectly nice, but if you can manage it roll on down the rocky, rough dirt road to the canyon campsite. We wanted to stay at the bottom, but decided not to risk getting stuck down there given that snow was coming in overnight (my 2wd is not snow-proficient, especially on steep roads).
Seemed to be mostly other climbers at the site, and lots of dog-friends. Really beautiful, quiet place, though beware you likely won't have cell service at the camp or anywhere near (including in the town of Roy).
Such a nice place. Park ranger is friendly. Showers clean and well kept. Pullmthrymu sites, water views. $14.00 day for full hook ups! Bargain!
I saw this site when traveling though the Route 66 corridor and wanted to check it out so naturally what did I do first? Look it up online to see what the story was and if it was a true RV only park. Sometimes I will still go check out a place even if they don't let tents stay just so I can have an idea of what is out there for RVers like many of my followers and like my future self. This one was pretty comical from the perspective of what you see is what you get.
Just in case thee are any questions they have a little paragraph on their website that says:
"We do not have a pool, playground, game room, picnic tables, laundry, showers, or restrooms. No pitch tents allowed."
Yep pretty much that says it all. If you want a place to park and plug in they have you covered but anything more you are pushing it. And so just to see what that meant I had to go check it out. Pretty much the same attitude was expressed by the front office as the paragraph I attached. When I explained my purpose for my visit they were a little more friendly and started to explain on what they do offer.
Those offerings include wifi and cable along with full service city utilities. It is a first come first serve parking structure so they park you accordingly and line everyone up as they arrive so you don't really have a spot selection. This is a pass through type establishment, although if you do get their humor and like the cost and parking they do offer discounts for extended stay.
After speaking to the owner, which is always onsite I honestly didn't know what to think, I think the concept is good, the pricing is fair and very comparable to other sites, but I don't know if the mass herding of RVs is my style.
There are a few pros to staying here however:
- You are close to the action of Route 66 so you can check out all the options, museums, shops and signature stops.
- Close to the highway access so getting in and out of Tucumcari is pretty simple from this stop.
- If you can get through the crass humor of the owner they are pretty friendly in way of suggesting interesting places to stop.
While I usually am pretty sad when I find a site which does not welcome tents, this spot was actually quite nice to check out and I feel had I been able to enjoy it a bit more I could have rated it higher. So why a 3?
I always keep my eye out as a travel blogger for sites which might interest my fellow traveler or followers and I have a lot of questions about equestrian camps because people like to travel for rides and such. I also am constantly asked about RV sites which are large enough for big rigs to easily navigate around instead of being crushed.
This place fits both of those needs really well!
Visually, it isn't much I must say on the outside, mostly because there isn't a ton of vegetation, but it is kind of in the desert so that can't really be held against them. It is the perfect destination for a good trail ride, which is actually what this place is designed to do.
So what does set it apart for someone like myself though who isn't interested in trail rides? The clubhouse!! It is visually probably one of the best clubhouses I have found. Bright bold colors, a pool table, fun paintings and a staff which is so friendly.
Then did I mention it is part of a Wildlife Refuge area? Yep, so if you are like me and LOVE to see nature at its finest this place checks off a lot of boxes. If only it could check off the tent site box it probably would have been the perfect blend of nature an nearby Route 66 to me.
Check out their working camper program it is pretty cool, the camp host was telling me just a little about it and it was very appealing.
Sure if you are there for the trails, Route 66 might seem an after thought but there are some really amazing preserved spots just in town that you will love if you like a bit of history.
Traveling the old familiar Route 66 time and time again I have found so many stops to enjoy. I try to make it a point to check out new places each time I pass to get a full perspective of what this strip of highway has to offer. Not always will you be able to stay in a classic roadside stop, but when you can get within throwing distance of one you have to jump on the opportunity.
The grass here is semi green the spaces are large enough to not be on top of your neighbor and the staff is friendly. I like that they have a grassy tent area with the signature KOA feel in the picnic structures and while you are in a semi desolate looking space, you feel that the area has a sense of community with a lot of retro trailers and rvs passing though on the same mission as you.
This seems to be an older KOA so some of the amenities, while nice are not as up to date as other campgrounds. I noticed this mostly in the playground, and while I am perfectly happy with the see-saws and older swing sets which remind me of my own childhood, I am sure to newer parents used to all things plastic and padded this is a nightmare waiting to happen.
The pool is not large but perfectly sized for a small group and is gated to protect it from being used by just anyone at the camp during any non-specific type of hour. It is, like at many KOA camps, seasonal so if you are wanting to take a dip, might call in advance to make sure you aren't there when it isn't open. The one thing that was a little strange to me was the height of the fence, a little tall and made me think they ave had issues with fence jumping previously, then again maybe it is just an extra precaution for insurance.
Nights here are pretty quiet and if you can get past the appearance of chainlink surrounding the property you have an amazing New Mexico sunset only a short distance from the old Neons of Route 66.
The sites themselves for tents come in 3 basic types, standard grassy sites with no improvements, pull thru sites with water and electric and group sites known as the tent village. The prices vary depending on type of site and location and for tent village I will recommend booking well in advance online because I tried on three different sets of dates and it always said NOT AVAILABLE. Average cost of camp however is between $28 and $35 before tax.
- Opt for a site further from the road because traffic can be a bit loud along the road side of this campground.
- Checkout is at 11 a.m. make sure you are aware of this because otherwise you are subject to an additional days charge at any KOA camp.
I stayed at the North Campground in the park and it was great. The bath house was recently renovated and very clean. The only downside to the park was that the tent pads we rock and gravel making it very difficult to stake a tent. Each site had a covered picnic table and a charcoal grill. There was easy access to drinking water and there was an access road to the lake close by.
Multiple camp sites for primitive camping with flat areas for tents, and each site has a fire pit, sturdy table, and space for parking. The campgrounds also have clean brick & mortar bathrooms without running water; all for free! This campground is first come first serve so reservations aren’t necessary. Pretty secluded area that is mostly vacant during the week days, and mostly visited by climbers. Both upper rim and lower canyon campsites are fairly close to some great boulders and there’s plenty of hiking to do.
This area is still pretty unknown to the mass public so crowds aren’t an issue, which is really nice, but the canyon is overflowing with awesome boulders for climbing so it’s only a matter of time until it starts to become more popular.
This is a nice campground, but if you can go to the bottom of the canyon please do! It's a relatively mild 2-mile road that any stock SUV, Subaru, Rav4 etc can do, and probably any sedan when it's dry.
If you look at other reviews or videos of this location some say that trailers are not allowed on the road to the bottom. Officially as of April 2018, they were not recommended. I was in a Expedition with an 8' pop up and it was no problem….just for reference.
The sites are nice and spaced out, nice pit toilet and a couple of horse paddocks if that is your thing.
Be aware there is NO WATER at all and no trash service, so pack it out!
See my review of the Mills Canyon Campground for more info!
This is a great location. Getting there you are driving through the middle of NM ranch land and slowly the topography starts to change as you get closer, and it is very cool!
The road down the canyon is about 2 miles and any stock SUV, Subaru or the same can make it when it's dry. But, if it's wet be careful, the mud is super slippery….just take your time! You could probably even do it in a sedan as long as you aren't too low to the ground.
If you read other reviews or see videos on YouTube you may hear that trailers are not allowed on the road down. As of April 2018 the warning at the top say not recommended. I was in a Ford Expedition with an 8' popup trailer (probably 11' with the tongue) and it was no problem. I wouldn't take a 5th wheel or a huge camper down there, but smaller trailers are ok. The sharpest turns are near the top.
The campground is very nice, the 12 spots are spread out, two nice pit latrines, tables, fire pits, and charcoal grill stands. THERE IS NO WATER except for the river, and no trash service, so pack it out!.
The valley is gorgeous and you can see the ruins from the old homestead….be sure to stop and read the info signs on the way down, it's a very neat story
I went at the end of April, the days were great and the nights were cool, I can see how it would get very hot in the summer. There is some shade but be sure to bring an easy up or something.
The first river crossing is a concrete bottom, the second is river bottom but not too deep, the third one is much more rough and very wide, use common sense. Lots of opportunity for hiking and biking.
Hunting is allowed so don't be surprised if you hear shots during hunting season. We saw several turkeys and deer. The signs say bears and cougars are in the area as well.
I think there are fish in the rive but we didn't get any. There is a lot of 'grass' in the water to be prepared to get snagged.
Take a good map with you and explore some off the roads in the grasslands area that take you to the rim of the canyon, it's a great view.
I drove from Denver, about 6 hours, and it was worth the drive. Highly recommended.
There is also a campsite on the rim if you don't want to venture down, and they have some horse paddocks you can use.
As we drove around the first more populated side of the lake the tent sites were not what we were looking for, good sites close to the water but the view was blocked by the trees. As we looked around we noticed there was South side so we decided to check it out. Wow!! The tent campsites were more secluded and the view of lake was gorgeous. They have electric hook ups, developed w/o electric. There are several little loops to check out with a vault bathroom close by.
This is a great place to hang out on the weekend in Eastern New Mexico. The water is great and it's pretty clean lake. When the wind kicks up it can get pretty rough but overall nice. The grounds are well taken care of as well. I would recommend staying on the South side of the lake if you like it quiet, you can also find more "trees". Try to keep your elevation low because the wind always blows in New Mexico.