Cool Colorado camping at its best

Overall, a fantastic campground near the top of Independence Pass.  We stayed in the developed campground, not one of the 22 dispersed sites that line the road down towards Grizzly Creek Lake.  This is small campground with 7 sites, we stayed in site #6. All sites are first come, first serve.   A big avalanche took out the trees at sites 1-4 so they don't have much cover currently, though a stream runs behind every site.  At the end of July, temps got down into the 30s at night so you may not miss the trees as much as you'd think.  There is about a half mile of gravel road to get here.  Not too difficult, but going further down the road to the primitive sites and lake is helped with high-clearance.

Our site was very large with plenty of choice spots for tents.  Our two big tents took up only a small part of the space.  Plenty of trees for hammocks as well.  Firepit, bear box and picnic table rounded out the amenities.  You can also set up down by the river and listen to the river all night, although during the day you'll get the occasional people fishing along the bank.  We never saw bears, but often woke to new claw marks on the trees so make sure to keep a clean campsite!

Campground had a daily ranger visit (very friendly) to maintain the bathrooms and garbage cans.  Everything was clean and orderly while we were there.  Pit toilets were well-kept and had good ventilation during our COVID-summer visit.  The Grottos and Devil's Punchbown were in easy walk of the camp along the river. This did seem to draw some day parkers in the center circle of the sites but everyone was polite about sharing. At night, campground was silent with the few sites separated so far apart.

Overall, an excellent place to stay!

Kayaker’s Delight

We tent-camped for two nights in Loop C, site 87 in early June 2020.

This is a beautiful state park in water-lover’s paradise on the eastern shore of Maryland. The entire campground was very well kept and run, even though we were there just as it was reopening from the COVID crisis. There are three loops for camping. “A” loop has very public sites with roads, parking, day use areas (playground, store, observation tower, ramps and docks) all nearby. “B” loop is fully electrified so popular with trailers and RVs, though the sites are nice and very usable for tents as well. “C” loop is mostly without power so has a higher concentration of tent camps. The park store and visitor’s centers were both closed, and check-in was by telephone from our site (cell service was fine). Camp staff was excellent.

The sites are vary in size but are a bit tight, especially since they ask you to keep everything on the gravel area. We have a fairly large tent (REI Kingdom 6) and, combined with the van, it would have been a tight fit to get another tent or car into the site. On the loop near the water (where we were), the sites were also somewhat close together. It gives the campground a bit of a social feel since you’re all fairly close, but the 10 PM quiet time was well-respected and there was more of a family than a party atmosphere. The sites on the roads leading into the loops have a bit more isolation. Overall, it still had a peaceful feel and the full-height trees provide ample shade. Bathrooms were well-kept with good, private shower facilities and there was easy access to fresh water spigots sprinkled throughout the sites. I read a lot about bugs here and we didn’t find them very bad. At sunset near the water, the biting flies could be annoying but they didn’t seem to affect the sites which are wooded (like ours). I suspect as summer progresses, they get worse.

The park has well-marked kayaking trails. Normally you can rent kayaks from the park, but since they were closed, we used Kayak Crisfield. Kayak Crisfield met us at the marina with all the paperwork and made it an easy alternative. At the end of the day, we just left the boats there and called to let them know. The water trails have a big variety from large channels to narrow marsh routes and bird watching is excellent. There’s a beach that’s an easy 1-mile paddle away with lots of room to spread out and have a private space to yourself. Allow yourself some time to explore since it is easy to accidentally head down dead-end channels, but the kids loved that part of it. You’re also in a part of Maryland with many other nearby boating spots and if you bring your own boats, you won’t get bored in a week.

Overall, this is a great campground where we’ll return. I knocked one star off just for the size and closeness of the sites but the rest of the experience was fantastic.

Hidden Gem in Utah

This is one of my favorite campground in the entire country.  Whoever designs and maintains it really understands what campers want all in a setting that lets you have classic Utah views while camping.

We were in the basin campground.  The campsites themselves range in size and ours (#23) was roomy but in a part of the camp loop where we were surrounded a bit by the road. There is good spacing between sites and some low trees for shade and a visual break.   If you have big tents, you'll definitely want to scout out the best site.  Some of the outside ones had a short walk-in (30 feet) but almost looked like camping out in the desert.  No-see-ums in July were bad around breakfast and dinner time but went away the rest of the day.  Off-season, we didn't see any.  Temperatures went into the 40s in July which made for very nice sleeping after the heat of the day.

The showers are maybe the most notable difference- neutral woods and rainforest heads create and almost spa-like setting. Considering how many Utah campgrounds have no showers at all, this is a great break if you're on along trip in the area. Outside the bathrooms is a nice dishwashing sink.

The campground is set in a basin, surrounding about 270 degrees by low Utah mountains.  There are a few interesting hikes right in the park and also lots of low clambering on the rocks for kids.  It is remote enough to have great night skies with clear milky-way views.  We used this as base camp for Bryce, which is about 40 minutes drive away.

First to Review
Have the prairie to yourself!

This is a primitive campground in the American Prairie Reserve.  It seems to be a relatively unknown place and we were the only people in the campground for the night (there are 6 tent sites and 7 RV).  It was about 40 miles of high-quality gravel road to get here.  Near the campground, there is a research HQ for the reserve which is not open to the public and otherwise we didn't see anyone else the entire time.  

Tent sites are walk-in and and on platforms, which you are required to use.  This means if you have two tents like us, you'll need two sites.  You tie the tents down to lashing points on on the side of the platform.  Each site has a fire pit, picnic table and there is a community covered picnic area and fire pit as well.  Free firewood is available next to the toilets.  There are vault toilets and non-potable water sources in the loop.  The walk-in is only about 15-50 yards, depending on the site.  From the campground, there is a small auditorium and nature trail available.  Bugs were pretty bad the night we were there, so we didn't try much of the nature trail.  

Everything felt new and almost unused, like the campground had just opened.  The toilets were only okay in cleanliness, the main reason I took off a star.  It was a fantastic experience for the kids.  A buffalo herd roamed the area and even through the campground at night and in the morning.  Prairie dog towns were all over.  It was one of our most memorable camping experiences but definitely come prepared since nothing is available on site or nearby.  Many of the roads in the preserve are in pretty primitive shape so 4WD is recommended to get around the preserve, but you won’t need it to access the camp site.  We had a big windstorm come through during the night, so lash down carefully!

Cub Creek Lake Campground #1

We stayed in Cub Creek Lake Campground #1, spot 12, on June 19, 2019. We sleep in two big tents and had originally reserved a spot in campground #2 which from descriptions was more aimed at tent campers. But after pulling into loop #2, we were able to switch our reservations to Loop #1 since #2 looked nearly abandoned with sloped sites and poor pad space. Our new campsite was great and had lots of room for our two big tents and and plenty of parking for our van. Nearby campers (mostly RVs) were spaced far enough away and the camp host was friendly and helpful.

Because of the season, it was hot and humid at night and we had a huge series of thunderstorms come through. The site drained well as well as the entire campground and next morning walking around the well-maintained trails and foot bridges over the lake was pleasant and dry. It looks like a big facility with a lodge and some cabins available on the other side of the lake. Would definitely recommend this site and this loop. Only reason I take a star off is because of the poor state of loop 2 and the lack of a dish washing station, but overall this is a great camp area!

Wonderful Park on the Water

We stayed at Beech Point campground at site #12 on June 20, 2019. This was a huge campsite with lots of room for our two large tents. It was set back on its own point out into the lake, so our tents were surrounded on three sides by water. The campground was not very crowded on a Thursday night so even pulling in late we still could choose from a few great sites. We were right across from the swimming area which had a sandy wade-in. It was hot and humid at night but still reasonable for sleeping. Sites were very spread out so we didn’t hear the hum of nearby RV A/C units.

Bathrooms and showers were organized in banks of 4 private shower/bath combos and were clean and well-maintained. We didn’t see a camp store on-site (just a gift shop with a few scattered camp supplies) but the visitor center had very helpful rangers. The only real lack for facilities in the camp was a dish-washing station. You can get to the main Mississippi River from the park, but it is about 20 mins drive from this campground.

The visitor center offers a drop-off service for SUPs and we woke up the next morning with the boards dropped right next to our van. There is a small boat dock in the campground - only for carry-able boats since there is no ramp and about 5 steps to negotiate. The lake is smallish but filled with coves to explore and abundant wildlife to see.