Hayley K.
Pro
Denver, CO
Joined July 2016
Former outdoor guide who loves traveling and exploring new and quiet places. Year round camper.
Great for RV stopovers but that's it

We were trying to find something before the sun went down and stopped here, but ended up moving on as they didn't have tent sites that we were interested in and we wanted a bit more seclusion. I was able to grab some info though. 

About the park: This is a large RV park along the San Juan River between Farmington and Bloomfield. There are over 100 dry camping sites. 574 RV spaces with electric and water hookups.The sites don't have tables or fires pits. Each of these sites is 21’ by 41’. There is a dump station on site.  There are a lot of sites on the river. Security rides thru 24/7. Lots of activities happening at the fair and close to town. Showers and restrooms are by fair buildings so they are a little walk away form the sites, hence the "prefect for RV's".

Perfect Hidden Gem when visiting Bisti Badlands

Access to the Angel Peak Scenic Area is off US Highway 550, 15 miles south of Bloomfield on County Road 7175. Follow the gravel road along the canyon rim for approximately six miles to reach the campground. It is important to note the gravel road may become dangerous in bad weather. 

First of picnic areas is a mile down a gravel road. Many RV's seem to be using this for boondocking. I don't blame them, but try and keep them open for day trippers if possible. The Picnic areas are on the rim of the canyon. The campground is 6 miles down the same road.

 Three picnic areas and a campground are located along the canyon rim overlooking Angel Peak and the Kutz Canyon badlands. Three picnic areas(Sage, Castle Rock, and Cliffs), containing seven developed sites, are located along the rim road. Each site has a shelter, tables on a concrete slab, a gravel pathway, and a fire grate. Trash cans are located in all three picnic areas. There are vault toilets available at both Sage and Cliffs picnic areas. Bring your own TP and these are BLM sites and not well maintained in the Winter. No electrical hookups or water is available.

Angel Peak Campground has nine sites available for tent camping. They each have picnic tables on a concrete underfoot, gravel pathways, and fire grates. Picnic shelters are located at three campsites; two with single shelters and one with a double shelter that seems to be a great spot for larger groups. Two accessible vault toilets and trash receptacles are in the campground. 

There is a nature trail that heads though light brush and along the rim to a beautiful bench that overlooks the incredible canyon.

Next to a small creek and secluded.

We stopped here after we found that all the sites along the Kern were full. It is just North of Johnsondale and just South of the National Forest. Easy driving access to Trail of a Thousand Giants, Moro Rock, and views of the Needles. 

We camped out under the stars just after sundown and got up right after Sunrise. No one else camp out near our spot. The road is littered with turn offs for easy and free dispersed camping.

Closest bathrooms are either on the Trail of a Hundred Giants (there is a campground there too but it is closed in Winter) or down in Johnsondale.

Expensive but beautiful views

We loved our stay here for a birthday trip! The sites are large and can fit multiple tents. There are picnic tables and fire pits. It seemed like it should have been packed but I think the price and ease of arrival keeps people away. 

Easy walk down to the "town" of Two Harbors for a Buffalo Milk drink or across the island for views on the South Side of the Island. This is a great place to stay for the microbrew fest every year on the island. 

You have to reserve on Reserve America. The sites are pretty expensive and charge by the person. $27-$29 (Winter- Summer pricing) for each person with a $10 reservation fee. You can only stay a total of 10 days and will need a camping permit to do so. You also need to have a boat ticket to take the ferry over and back. Book early if you can, especially during the Summer. You can also rent gear for the trip too if you are traveling to the island without gear. Pricing is on the website.

First to Review
One of my Favorite Backcountry Overnights

If you are looking for a challenging hike, beautiful views, and complete seclusion…this is it. 

The landscape is rocky so you will need to be careful when setting up your tents and also be aware of any fire dangers or restrictions in the area. But there is a nearby stream for water replenishment and and easy hike down to Jennie Lake or Rowell Meadow. 

Lots of open space for star gazing at night. You will need a permit for an overnight here but camping itself is free.

Secret Mountain Escape in the middle of SoCal

I love this park. It is beautifully maintained, has showers, lots of manzanita trees, and large boulders to play on. The fire rings and trash cans are emptied regularly. There is a lot of Raccoon activity in town so keep your food secured. If you are up for it, you can visit the Raccoon rescue in town too. Maybe meet a friend like Fred (see picture). 

You are nestled in the middle of the town with easy walking access to shops, restaurants, and the nature center. The nature center is lovely for a smaller mountain town and can give you in depth information in regards to the local flora and fauna. 

The sites are large and flat. Surrounded by sweet smelling pines too, which makes life even sweeter. There is tons to do nearby in addition to the town sites. Tons of hiking trails, scenic views, mountain lakes.

So full of tourists it might as well have been Disneyland

We got stuck here on a pass down the Colorado River due to severe wind for a night. The only redeeming thing about this site is that if you wake up for sunrise you will be rewarded with stunning colors. 

There is a water fun park, bars, and RV campers surrounding you as well as reeds on all sides of the water so it makes it difficult to work on any water skills in the outlet.

Secret Ranger Campground

This is a private canyon that is only used by the park rangers and morning horse rides. Hence its name. It is blocked off by a gate but it can be accessed if you help with the Christmas Audubon bird count over the holidays. 

There is a pit toilet and picnic areas with a flat ground area for tents. Not much flat parking space for RV’s and campervans though. There are also two fireplace areas and grills for cooking.

Backcountry Perfection

Jennie Lake is part of the Jennie Lakes Wilderness area between Kings Canyon and Sequoia National Park. You will start at either Rowell Meadow or Big Meadow trailheads. Along the trail you can camp at Weaver Lake, Jennie Lake, Jo Pass, or Rowell Meadow. 

You will need to gain a backcountry permit to do this trail and make sure you know of updated water sources and filtration systems. 

It's about a 7-14 mile trek depending on which way you decide to go. Poop out pass is no joke.

Group Camping Only

This is a group campground. You will need 10-60 people to reserve it and may be reserved up to a year in advance. The sites are large and there are pit toilets and garbage. Easy access main roads and within 10 mins to Ryan Mountain, Geology Tour Road, and Lost Horse Mine Trails. 

No cell service, no water, and no firewood collecting on site. Because it is group camping and it’s reservation in advance, you have the luxury of knowing if there is another group coming and having plenty of space between sites. 

There are 6 sites total in the campground. It was really quiet when we were there in early Spring.

Party Time

Camp 3 is a good location if you can book it quickly outside of the Summer months. We usually always camp here in May and since that is right before Memorial day when the campgrounds all open for the season it is usually pretty nice to be able to be in a quiet spot to hit the river and far enough away from town to be barely out of cell service but still close enough to hit up the brewery when you want. 

There are pit toilets that are well maintained, the camp hosts work really hard to accommodate all people. This is one of the more covered campgrounds going up the river so if you want shade then this is the site for you. 

The River next to the campground is also easily accessed and great for all levels of play. 

There is group camping as well here. It is a bit more open and not as well shaded. There is also easy access to climbing routes on rock formations nearby and access to trails nearby.

Tall Trees and Trails

One of the easiest accessed and most beautiful campgrounds in the state and it is literally just outside the city. Campsites are well maintained and under beautiful and huge trees. The bathrooms are well maintained and the camp host was incredibly nice! 

It was lovely to wake up in the morning and not have to go far to spend time in Point Reyes or Mt. Tamalpais. We got lucky and had a quiet spot but this campground was really popping at the other end. 

Being that it is so close to the city, I would avoid this spot on major weekends or holidays. But middle of the week and not during the Summer is ideal. 

Lots of hiking and biking usually but the bike trail is under construction now.

Surrounded by American History

This area is BLM and land in trust of Friends of the Inyo. You can set up camp but you need to make sure that you are on proper land and not on private property. 

It is easy access to Surprise Canyon, Middle Field, and some of the remaining mines in the area. We were there for a service trip so we were deconstructing roads created by careless people in off road vehicles that take advantage of the land and don’t follow the rules of protecting the environment. It was cold during our stay and we work up to snow on the mountain tops and frost on our tents in the morning. 

No facilities and the closest town is not super close, so bring everything with you. If you are careful when you wander around you may find native rock art form when the area was a lake shore. You will also find prospecting poles in the area, feel free to pull those out and clean up the site when you see them.

First to Review
Glamping at it's finest

We were here for a local event so we were able to do some nearby hiking and drinking at the incredible local Olive Mill across the road. 

You can rent airstreams, campers, cabins, and all the glorious camping alternatives. It is a bit pricey but if you are looking for an alternative to tent camping (which you can't really find in Phoenix, this works great!)

Many of the campers come with FULL amenities..including netflix. You can usually fit up to 5 people in the campers so it's not that bad if you are breaking it down by the group for an event. They are retro fitted with fun decor and comfy accommodations. Many come with showers or tubs installed in the trailers too.

Great stopover for long roadtrips

This is an AMAZING and easy stopover on the way from Colorado to California. It is within an hour of Hurricane and a little over an hour from Vegas. 

It is a perfect water stop on hot days. The camping is only $8 per site. They are open to the elements but on a long drive it is a welcomed sidetrack to be on. 

There are semi clean bathrooms, trash, covered picnic tables and water access. It is off the main highway so there is a tiny bit of noise but the landscape more than makes up for it with it's red beauty and lovely water fun! I haven't seen a ranger here in the 4 times i've stayed but the self pay station is self explanatory. 

Update: The recreation area is closed for right now due to construction but will reopen soon.

Camping for Nearby Lake Access

We camped here when we had a permit to fish at nearby Christmas Tree Lake. Christmas Tree Lake is a beautiful little lake nestled in the White Mountains of Arizona on Apache land. It boasts some amazing fishing for the native trout species- the Apache trout. The fish are stocked, so it may not be a true experience for some but most of the access to the native fish in their native habitat is restricted or non existent to protect these beautiful creatures. The lake offers paid access on a day to day basis. A total of 25 permits per day are offered to keep fishing pressure in check. But these permits are non refundable so don't reserve too early. 

Permits and information can be found on the website but customer service can be difficult. Camping is available on a first come basis at Hawley Lake which also offers great fishing and beautiful scenery. Be aware that I did experience some free range cattle snooping through the camp at 2am which was a bit unexpected. Also, being in the mountains, it was pretty cold at night. 

The area we camped in was open and the roads were well marked. Campsites were situated near fire rings with only the occasional picnic table. There were four pretty well maintained portable toilets near our camp as well. Be sure to review the rules and regulations on the website as some areas are off limits and to make sure you have all the proper permits for fishing and/or camping.(State and local licenses required for fishing)

First to Review
Serene Solitude...and horse poo

Hiking Through Saguaro National Park in the late Winter is now my favorite past time. You get the feel of Spring but the look of Summer. Between the higher elevation changes in scenery and the lack of people on trails, this is one of the best spots to hit up if you want to get away but don't have the ability to handle super cold weather. 

Douglas Spring is a little over 6 miles from the trailhead and it is super popular usually so reserve your backcountry permit fast! You can have up to 6 people on your permit and there are three sites available at the top. It's only $8 per campsite in the park but there is NO vehicle access, so you will need to hike into any camping you need and ONLY camp in designated areas. 

Bring lots of water, there isn't much water available near you, contrary to the name. The trial is also pretty open and not much shade, so early Spring and Fall are your best bets. 

This trail is pretty heavily populated by horse riders so wear shoes that you don't mind sidestepping manure in.

Hard to find but close to National Monuments

This dispersed camping area was incredibly hard to find. I ended up at Pipe Springs National Monument and got specific directions from the ranger there. Here are his words, "5 miles East of Pipe Spring National monument on 389, Torowepe rd. goes south. It's a dirt road. Check the road and count the cattle guards. You can't camp between the 2nd and 3rd cattle guard because it is state trust land but between the 3rd and 4th cattle guard is BLM. Right after the 3rd cattle guard is a fence and there is a large open area to the right. You will need to get off the main road and gets quieter the farther you get off the road." 

There is cell phone service but it is spotty.  It is a washboard dirt road but passable most of the year. 

Once we got out there we didn't see anyone, which was lovely. The main reason for the low rating is the difficulty of finding it. The ground was also very rocky and not many places to park a large RV, just car camping or small campers. 

There were also a lot of cars driving down that road and a lot of off roading that happens out there so be prepared to hear motors. 

It is really close to Pipe Spring national Monument and Navajo Monument if you want to take some afternoon trips to visit the monuments.

Lava Flow Gallery

We wanted to visit Sunset Crater and we found this campground just across the street from the crater. 

In addition to being able to see this beautiful sunset cone, there are underground lava flows everywhere in this area. We were able to chat with a ranger and explore one (wear layers, it is COLD in them). 

The campsites are large enough for a group of people (8 people) and they have wheelchair accessible camping and picnic tables. 

There is water on site and they have flush toilets in clean bathrooms. We didn't spend much time at the campground itself due to all the exploring we wanted to do, but it worked great and was very quiet for our crew.

Perfect Location to Explore the Canyon

This campground is right next to the Rim walk and village so it is the perfect basecamp for heading into the canyon. 

There are bathrooms, firewood, separated sites, multiple loops, and large sites. We were able to do a group camp here multiple times. Feb, May, and October. 

Be prepared for wildlife and crazy weather though. It snowed in May and was 80 degrees in October. There is always a constant flow of people coming in and out of the park so it was nice to have a bit of quiet in the campground just knowing what was on the other side of the trees. 

The bathrooms are well taken care of and if you are missing anything you can hit up the general store to grab it…including ice cream after a long hike. This campground is perfect for the new camper. It has EVERYTHING you may need. 

The Grand Canyon shuttle is really helpful for traveling to Hermit's gulch quickly bit otherwise they designed this campground great for getting around easily. 

I would advise booking as far in advance as you can get! During Winter months the hiker/biker sites aren't available but normally they are $15. During the Winter months the tent sites are only $18 and are usually available last minute. Summer costs jump up to about $50 per night.