Cory D.
Baltimore, MD
Joined June 2018
A place to sleep near the gunks

This isn't a fancy campsite and has no amenities. There is a small(10 car) parking lot and a trail that runs thru 80 acres of forest. Camping is allowed anywhere 150ft from the trail. Normal LNT rules apply. Bugs are relentless. Many climbers stay there for access to the gunks.

Camping in a guys back yard

If the AAC gunks campsite is full, this is unfortunately your best option if you want to camp near the gunks. you are about a 20 minute drive to the gunks from here. Mike is a unique character. Not a rude guy, but can be a little direct and harsh at times. he wont take any $h!# from anyone so dont break the rules or try to get away with sneaking people in. you pay per person. $15 each.

you are basically camping in this guy's back yard, so dont expect any feeling of being in nature. you are also right next to the road and will hear some traffic. Showers and bathroom are decent. nothing special. campsites have their own fire ring.

Ranger review : Matador Beast28 at Sam Pryor Shawangunk Gateway Campground

Campground Review:

The campgrounds are pretty basic, but have everything you need. It is mainly a rock climber campground, so this may not be the best choice if you want a campsite to drink and party at. All of this happens, its just a little earlier in the night! Most go to sleep relatively early with a full day of climbing ahead of them. That being said, the climbing community is pretty friendly and the campgrounds have eliminated fire rings at each site and opted for one, communal fire pit to encourage more social interaction. There is a pavilion near the fire ring with sinks and bathrooms with pay showers. They are kept relatively nice. There is also another "comfort station" with sinks and vault toilets near the other side of the campground. Most of the campsites are drive-up sites, but there are a few hike-in sites(like we stayed in the first night) where the Matador Beast28 Technical, Packable backpack was great for hiking in some clothes and campsite necessities. The second night, we stayed at site 31(drive up) and I recommend that as it is near the comfort station and back enough from the road and other sites that you have some space to yourself.The view of "the trapps" 300 ft cliffs from the campsite is amazing. Please be aware that, although the website says they are open in March, they will not open if there is snow on the ground. We found out the hard way on a previous trip.

This is the closest campground to world renowned rock climbing in "the gunks" and also offers many other outdoor activities including some great hikes and rock scrambles, swimming holes and waterfalls. People travel from all over the world to rock climb here. Most are experienced climbers and go on their own, but there are guide services in town if you're looking to get into the sport. There is also a ton of great hiking. Bonticou crag has a pretty intense rock scramble to a great overlook and hosts some great cross-country skiing trails in the winter. The Mountain House Resort Property(you have to pay) has some great hiking including "the lemon squeeze." The town of New Paltz is only a ten minute drive away and offers some great options for food. Mexicali Blues, Mcgillicuddys, and huckleberry are all very different places to eat in town, but they're all great in their own way.

Pros :

  • Near world class hiking, rock climbing, mountain biking, swimming holes and waterfalls
  • clean, well maintained
  • near New Paltz, NY (food, antiquing, outdoor stores)

Cons :

  • No fire pits at campsites
  • not open all year

Product Review :

As a Ranger for The Dyrt, I get products to test from time to time - for this trip I tested the Matador Beast28 Technical, Packable backpack. I used this pack for getting gear to and from our hike-in campsite, as a day pack for a short hike, and as a climbing pack for getting my gear to the cliff.

My first impressions were that the pack was well made with solid materials. It also looks great and, although not waterproof, seems like it would hold up to some pretty solid rain before letting any water in. The main compartment zips most of the way down, making it easy to get to gear, even if it was packed in the bottom of the pack and the small, zipped lid compartment is great for a few small items you need quick access to(headlamp, phone, snacks). There was also a front stash pocket that I kept a small towel and my belay gloves in, It was nice to have but wont hold much. The gear loops on the outside of that pocket were nice for a few extra carabiners and hand sanitizer. The water bladder compartment and securing straps worked great and the hose routed relatively well through the pack and down the loops in the shoulder strap. If you have a large mouthpiece on your hydration pack, you may have some trouble feeding it through the pack.

As for the fit, I loved the way this felt and the straps adjusted to fit me very well. Im 6'4" and many packs of this size end up being too small for me. that was not the case with this pack and there was almost no load shifting while climbing or hiking. The compression straps were a nice touch.

I was a little confused about the size of the side mesh pockets when I first got the pack, as they are not even close to big enough for a water bottle. Im guessing that, since it already has the hydration compartment, they viewed this as an opportunity to keep this pack's profile a little smaller/tighter and I really appreciated this. I kept a few cliff bars, headphones, and a buff in there and it was nice that the pocket was tight enough that the items felt secure.

There are only three things I didn't love about this pack:

  1. It doesn't feel like it holds 28L. Maybe I need to do a better job packing it, but for reference, my Outdoor Research drycomp summit sack(27L) clearly held more gear than this pack.
  2. On a hot day the pack does nothing to get air between your back and the pack and this leads to some uncomfortable sweatiness that just wont dry until you take the pack off. I frequently use the Black Diamond Bullet11 pack and it does a much better job of getting back ventilation in a small technical pack.
  3. It doesn't seem that there is a simple way to attach trekking poles to this pack. I thought the gear clips on the compression straps would work for the pole tips, but that wasn't the case with the BD, REI, or Komperdell poles I tried.

Overall, this is a great pack that I will use for cold weather day hikes, climbing, and travel. Big thanks to Matador for putting so many features into such a packable pack!

Beautiful campground on independence pass!

We stopped here after a late drive from golden, CO. independence pass was beautiful! The site is on the left as your are driving from independence pass to Aspen and could be missed if you arent paying attention. There;s some really nice(but hard) rock climbing just before the campsite as well.

Campsite was right next to the Roaring Fork river and we saw tons of wildlife, rafters, and fly fishing. Sites were pretty basic, but worked. the fire ban was on, so no campfires but we could use our stoves. Vault toilets, running water and great hiking trails nearby!

Great access to climbing in a beautiful area full of cliffs

We stayed here because it was close to shelf rd rock climbing areas. Very basic, almost primitive campsites. There are 16 Individual campsites that are $7/night and accommodate 8-10 people. group campsites are $14/night and accommodate up to 20 people. All sites are first-come, first-served. The campsites include picnic tables, fire rings and tent pads. Fire ban is currently in effect.

There is an exhilarating drive on on lane dirt road through the canyons just past the campsite. so amazing, but be careful! one wrong move could send you and your car over the cliff!

climbers trail to "the gallery" climbing area starts bw sites 9 and 10

This place is amazing!

Its about a 2 mile hike in, but its a great, easy hike and the campsite makes it totally worth it. The views of Maroon bells at crater lake are unbelievable. There is wildlife everywhere. We saw many mountain goats, mule deer, and other critters. Its a primitive/backcountry site, so no amenities. There are 11 total marked sites and theyre pretty far apart. site 1 is very close to crater lake and the first you run into when approaching from maroon lake. site 11 is past the lake and near the base of maroon bells. we used this as basecamp for summiting 14ers maroon peak and pyramid peak. Bear canister required but can be rented cheap at ute mountaineering in aspen.

nice enough and close to clear creek canyon

We stayed here because it was close to where we were climbing(clear creek canyon) but this place doesnt really give you any feel of being in nature. There are wooden fences around the campsite and you can hear noise from the road constantly. The campsite itself seemed clean and well run. bathrooms were nice for a campsite. had coin pay showers/multiple stalls. no fire rings. old/beat up picnic tables.

Beautiful views and just enough amenities!

One of my favorite campsites! We pulled in late night and were able to find a site(it was a thursday). The self pay system was easy and convenient. the campsite was small but nice with a great picnic table and fire ring. The current fire ban in that area meant no campfire, but the stars were amazing. You have a great view of Mt elbert and the twin lakes. There are also hiking trails down to the lake and vault toilets dispersed throughout the campground.

Family/group/RV centric campground

We used this in the offseason as is was one of the only ones in the area that stays open for most of the year. This is not a primitive/secluded campground if you are looking to get away and spend some time in nature. It would make a great group/family glamping campsite as is has all of the amenities, including playgrounds, a pond with a "beach" and golf cart rentals to get around.

great access to views and rock climbing!

While I wish the campgrounds were a little closer to the visitor center, there are trails that lead you to great overlooks, hiking, and climbing all over the place. There are electrical hookups, and running water/showers. If youre willing to do a little hiking, there's a great old kiln you can visit and actually crawl inside of!

easily accessible near a great waterfall!

This camp ground easily accessible. Store, Bathrooms, and running water are very close. Seemed very family friendly. Some of the campsites are super close to a creek and its worth trying to get one of those! these sites are walk in, but there are some drive up sites in other areas. Crabtree falls and the AT-the Priest shelter are very close!.

worth the hike!

We went for the solar eclipse so the entire area was packed with at least a hundred people. There is one main campsite the the top that is amazing. It has a flat area(hard to find here), fire pit, and amazing views. There is a spring that is only a short hike away.

also, this campground is listed on this site as being boat in??? Thats very incorrect. it takes a pretty serious hike to get here!

amenities tucked in the woods

This is a great car camping experience that still gives you the feel of being in the wilderness.

there are 100 sites and some can be reserved ahead of time. sites have tent pads, fire ring, picnic table and grill .

There's a great trail that follows a creek adjacent to the campgrounds. drinking water and flush toilets available. There are no showers on premise, but we jumped in that creek to clean and cool off after a day of hiking.

primitive but beautiful

great primitive campsite that has undergone major restorations and preventative measures to reverse the damage from huge camping crowds of the past. no fires, but there are two privies and a really nice spring near the campsites. there's also a large group site if youre with a crowd. The best part is the Annapolis Rock cliffs. they offer beautiful views and all kinds of single pitch rock climbing! There are also two bear poles. one near the beginning of the campsite trail and one closer to the spring

gunks climbers campground with some amenities

great climbing community campground. one communal campfire. no rings at campsites. running water, sinks, showers, bathrooms. some walk in sites. some drive up.

this is the closest legal camping option to the trapps/mohonk preserve. there are discounts for being a member of the aac or mohonk preserve.

great wilderness experience near dc and balimore

great sites(50)with many options from car camping to short wilderness sites. fIre rIngs, tent pads, running water, flush toilets and showers nearby. owens creek runs alongslide many of the campsites and adds to the outdoors experience. great access to trails. wolf rock and chimney rock were my favorite.

family friendly glamping

had to stay here for a climbing trip in the offseason when other sites in the park were closed. definitely glamping with people all around. seems like a fun time for a family.

they have a pool, pillow trampoline, playground, basketball court..

drinking water, showers and flush toilets are available if you're tent camping. there are also cabins and rv spots available.

great for climbers and others alike

Big climber campground with showers and campus board in season. still allow access out of season but showers are locked. one general use firepit, not individuals.

beautiful setting, average campground

very basic campsite but the views are amazing. It might be more fun to pack your gear on a boat and find canyonside beaches to camp on for free!

tons of amenities and close access to great trails

This is a glamping site! coin operated showers, camp store open during the day. This is a much bigger campsite than the others in shenandoah and you should reserve spots a week or more in advance. This site generally has more RVs and people than the others.