You will be a bit off the beaten path at this site, but it will be worth it the second the sun goes down on a clear night. It is one of the darkest spots in the country and the stars will take your breath away. You need to bring your own shade, but every place you want to explore is a short drive away.
This campground is very convenient when rafting the Arkansas. There is not much shade, but the spots are big and the restrooms are very well maintained. This site is very unique and great for children as there is a tunnel from the campground to the river and lots of great information for kids and adults about the history of the area and the plants and animals. It tends to be a bit loud at night being so close to a major roadway but the breeze that blows through the canyon takes the edge off the heat.
This is a hidden gem. We were evacuated from our camping spot in Northern New Mexico due to wildfires and set out for a new spot. Exhausted from driving, we pulled into this campground. It is clean, well maintained and the dog got a kick out of doing a bit of swimming. There is unique topography and enough to explore for a night or two.
If you are headed to Mesa Verde, stay inside the park at Morefield. The campground is isolated, yet close to a store, showers and pet care. Some sites lack shade but most are very large.