Susan L.

The Dyrt Pro

Dallas, TX

Joined August 2019

Camper, hiker, cycler, paddler, nature lover

A very special place

Wow!! It’s an amazing hairpin turn drive down into the canyon. Awesome views on the way! Make sure to stop at the CCC overlook at the visitor center for photos and make your text or calls here, because here’s no cell service in the canyon, at least not for Verizon. I followed a large class A into the canyon and they were able to make it down.  I stayed in the Hackberry Camp area.

Nice space between the sites, mostly level with electric and water. 2 dump sites near this campground. So much  wildlife and the hiking is spectacular. Hackberry campground is near several trailheads (Givens, Spicer, Lowry trail and Upper Comanche). 

Make sure to check out the yurts for a real glamping experience.

This truly is the land of enchantment!

Perfectly located on a picturesque a beautiful lake with the Sangre de Cristo mountains as a backdrop. The drive into the park isn’t that impressive, but it just makes me more appreciative of the beauty of this place, which is set behind several RV/trailer parks. The campground is small with ample space between sites. Each site has a gravel pad, covered picnic table set on a concrete pad and with a view of the serene and pristine lake. There’s a pier and boat ramp, a day use area and an office/store. The campground gate closes at night, with an on site ranger. 

Awesome wildlife in the area. The deer would come by every evening and the prairie dogs were constantly entertaining. There’s a hiking trail worth checking out too.

This was the perfect place to spend the Fourth of July holiday. The parade in Eagle Nest was perfect small town America! Must see in the area is the Vietnam Veteran’s Museum, the Cumbres & Toltec railroad and nearby Chama and Angel Fire.

Amazing Carrizozo Lava flow camping!

This BML maintained campground is like new! There are no reservations, so it’s first come. An iron ranger for payment is at the entrance, but there is also a nice ranger on site who drives around the campground in a ute. I camped in a pull through site a few up from the entrance, but there was very little road noise from Highway 380, which is a beautiful drive. Most camp sites have electric, paved pads, covered picnic tables and fire rings. RV dump is also on site. Camping with electric is $18 and Dump station costs $15. It also costs $6 to take a shower. I didn’t visit the bath house, but like everything at this campground it looked maintained.

The highlight for me was the location, the experience of camping next to this extraordinary geologic site, and the 3/4 mile Malpais Nature Trail that offers a boardwalk style hike through the lava flow. 

Quiet camping with distant views of White Sands Missile testing area, Little Black Peak and amazing stars!

Excellent trail head boon docking

This National Park is a gem for its rugged beauty and isolation. The “campground” is a paved parking lot conveniently located at the head of several trails in the park. The parking lot can accommodate cars up to larger RV’s in the pull through spots. There are envelopes located in 2 different locations. The kiosk by the restrooms are for the campground and the kiosk by the trail head are for the trail. You have to pay for access to the trails, but if you pay for camping, then you’re good. When I camped here there was a park ranger on site. There are also tent camp sights adjacent to the parking lot campground. Quiet camping under beautiful starry skies with awesome hiking!

Groovy self camping in the parking lot

I reserved via Hipcamp to “self camp" in the gravel parking lot for $20/night. No hook ups, but generator use is allowed. Campers also have access to the on site facilities which include showers, potable water (not to fill tank), hammocks and grounds.

No shade in the parking lot and very dusty. Actually was there when a dust storm occurred. Unreal! For a quick stopover and to visit Marfa, this was okay. I recommend checking out the Marfa lights viewing area for dry camping. Also check out downtown Marfa and the iconic Hotel Paisano.

Shady and the price is right - FREE!

Headed east from west this was a great stopover on the way to Davis Mountains. Quiet park, visited by locals and the city maintenance folks. It seems they keep their equipment on the property next to the park. Things are very quiet at night.

Lots of mature pecan trees which makes for great shade, but watch out for widow makers. No hookups, but the sites are mostly level and some are located with a view of the Llano river. The park to the south of the river is positioned to catch nice breezes. There were folks swimming near the spillway. I saw two water spigots in the park, but there is no electric or dump facilities. There’s a disc golf course and some spots have a covered picnic area. I had Verizon cell service.

Clean campground in a great location

Love Alpine with its street art, food trucks, quaint downtown and history. Hiking up to see the desk on the grounds surrounding the Sul Ross campus is just one fun excursion. Also, the Big Bend Museum and Kokernot Field. 

The campground is set on the outskirts of Alpine and has pine trees around it. Unfortunately most sites that I saw don’t have much, if any, shade. That being said, there are lots of plusses for this campground. The staff is great, the site I was in was level and had full hook ups, the campground laundry is excellent and there’s also a community recreation room.

Good rates for a nice stopover in a great location in Big Bend country with a pet park, gift shop, pool/playground and cabins.

Wilderness wonder!

This State Park in the Big Bend area is remote and for me this is part of the wonder. Just getting here is an adventure and worth every mile driving into the park. It’s amazing that the CCC were able to build such an amazing lodge in this isolated and beautiful part of Texas. 

Site 47 has water and electric and was mostly level with wonderful shade, which is a rare commodity in this campground.  This site has a grand old cottonwood I was able to fit my RV under. 

I had no cell service (Verizon) even with a booster and when I needed to make contact (due to an RV mechanical issue) I had to hike the Lodge. Others who had ATT were able to get service when near the shower houses/restrooms. Not a big deal if you don’t need it. 

Lots to see and do in this area. Make sure to see the hoodoos and visit Ft. Davis and the Davis Mountain Observatory. Also nearby Alpine and Marfa.

Texas hill country gem

This state park is usually full and booked far in advance for a reason. It’s beautiful! Lots of upland pine and hardwood bottomlands with history. You can hike in the footsteps of those who traversed the Camino Real and visit the commemorative mission built by the CCC in 1934 to remember the original 1690’s mission.

As far as the campground, when I visited one section was closed due to a sinkhole situation that took out part of the road. Perhaps this section had larger spots available, but from what I could see, there aren’t many spots available for RV’s larger than 24 feet. I have a 24’ Class C and reserved site 3, which the park website lists as accommodating this size. I managed to squeeze in, just barely and the site was so sloped that I couldn’t level and had to move. Fortunately, there was one spot remaining. The RV sites have electric and water.

Hiking is great and make sure to check out Fire tower Hill, Sentry Pine, the CCC bathtubs and the Camino Real.

Unique Texas state park

I arrived after a storm hit the area and had to wait until the park team cleared downed trees from the park roads. They did an efficient job. Stayed in Squirrel Haven campground with 30 amp and water hookups. Site 44 was level. There’s a good amount of space and cover between campsites. Dump station in the campground. 

The restrooms were clean. I didn’t use the showers. 

Highlights for me are the hiking and kayak trails in this park. Also, the lake itself with its cypress trees and Spanish moss. This is such a beautiful area. The park itself is older, but I find that’s part of it’s charm. Definitely worth a visit.

Great value for water & electric!

This is a county operated park located in Oxford, Kansas which is a few miles east off I 35. So it’s a convenient layover, especially considering the cost! If you don’t use the electricity it’s only $3.50 and if you choose to hook up to the electric, which is located on utility poles, then it’s $10 per night on the honor system. There’s a box next to the bath house where you leave your cash payment.

The park is very well kept and has a lot to offer with disc golf course (be aware that the course runs through the middle of the camping area), a playground, group picnic shelter, a basketball court, and a newer shower/bath house. This is only open between April 15th and October 15th. Water is available to fill your tank and there is a dump station on site too! At site 50 the water was next to the site, so if no one else is camping it could be a direct hook up. When I stayed there were only 2 other rigs here. 

There are no specific designated sites, at least that are clearly designated. Just take the road into the park and then look for the poles which hold the electric boxes. You can pull into the grassy areas next to one of these. I was concerned about the ground being soft because it had just rained, but I had no problems in my 24’ class C rig. 

Oxford is a small town, but across the main street from the park there’s a gas station/quick mart store and supplies are there. This is a fantastic peaceful spot with great night skies and the price is right!  Let’s keep it our secret.

Quick stopover

This was a quick stopover due to bad weather coming in. A daily vehicle park permit is required and when this is added in to the cost, it’s a bit pricey for what it is, but the Recreation Area has a lot going for it. Check the photo of their brochure for camping pricing. They go by Electric Plus, electric and basic. 

There are 7 sandpit lakes in the area that offer fishing. Lakes 5, 6 and 7 offer handicap accessible piers. Lake 7 has the swimming beach. I was camped backed up to Lake 4 at site 57. This site wouldn’t accommodate anything longer than 26’. It was also right next to site 58, so it would be great for 2 families looking to camp together, but otherwise, not so good. The site wasn’t level due to erosion, which was pretty significant. 

The area has beautiful, mature cottonwood trees. One of these was right at site 57 so there was lots of shade. Also a picnic table and fire ring. Electric h/u, but no water. Need to fill up prior to camping. I didn’t use the dump station or the bathrooms so can’t comment. 

There’s a bike trail that goes to the Fort at the historical park. I didn’t have time to check this out, but would like to next time I pass through.

Awesome hiking!

Factoid: When I stayed here I learned that the Nebraska National Forest is manmade! It is the largest hand planted forest in the US. it felt like a green oasis in the “desert" of Western Nebraska!

I spent 3 days hiking in this Forest and enjoyed every minute on each trail. This area has such differing geography. I’d begin the hike in the Forest, climb up to the ridge and catch views all the way into the vast, flat Buffalo National Grasslands area. 

My home base was in Chadron State Park where I camped. The park itself has 6 miles of hiking trails which connect with several other trails in the Nebraska National Forest. The video is a section of the Black Hills Overlook Trail in the National Forest. A definite must! There was evidence of old wildfires on the western slopes, but otherwise the lodgepole pine trees were beautiful. Steamboat Butte Trail is another good hike.

Chadron State Park is located in the Nebraska National Forest off Hwy 385 south of the town of Chadron which has a Walmart for supplies.The park has pretty much everything: a fishing pond, A trading post for basic camp supplies and some food, swimming pool, seasonal horseback trail rides, archery range, tennis court, disc golf, sand volleyball, horseshoe pits, softball field, playground, AC/heated cabins, group camping with a group lodge,  and campsites with 30 amp HU, no water so fill up at the bathrooms and there’s a dump station on site. 

The site I was in was level, but there was no shade. Shade trees are sparse in the area where I was camped. It was quiet and the stars were great at night, and made for a good home base from which to hike in the Nebraska National Forest.

Location, location, location!

This campground is operated by the Crazy Horse Foundation and is located just down the road from the Monument. I could watch the Monument laser light show at night from my campsite here, with binoculars! I rode my bike to the monument and saved the parking fee. Got in for $1. 

The location was perfect for me. The campground is adjacent to the Michelson Bike Trail with direct access down the hill through a gate. Michelson is a beautiful rails to trails project. The campground is also literally next to the Crazy Horse Monument and only a few miles from the town of Custer as well as close to all the other Black Hills attractions.

The staff are friendly and everything is clean and well kept. Gravel roads in are good, but the wooden bridge over the bike trail from Hwy 385 gave me pause. I was wondering what the weight limit might be… The laundry room was excellent. $2 per wash and per dry as I recall. Nice pine trees for shade, a fire pit and picnic table are provided for each site and FHU's. 

The only minor quibble perhaps is that sites are close together, at least where I was parked and the tradeoff for easy access  is highway noise. 

The good: great wifi and for full hookups $27.50/night was a steal after paying much higher prices for less services at other stops along the way. There are stables next door too if you want to ride. So much to do in this area. 

This is a great home base! I’ll definitely return.

Humbling and awesome place!

As others have said in so many words, Wow!!  If the stark beauty of this place doesn’t blow you away, the wind might! The sheer force of it was humbling. 

This is a dispersed camping site located on a ledge overlooking the Badlands. This configuration makes for some serious winds which are evidenced in the rock that’s been sculpted in the area. 

The location is about 6 miles south of Wall, SD, but make sure to get the GPS coordinates.  The drive into the dispersed camping area is on a gravel service road which was doable for my 24’ class C (see video), but I took it very slowly because there are rutted areas. This spot is convenient to lots of attractions in the area. Many folks with toads would safely leave their RV’s during the day to go and sightsee. 

My favorite memories:  the hiking and star gazing! 

My not so favorite memory: while stargazing in flip flops something bit my big toe and drew blood. It was the screech heard round SD! NOTE: Wear closed toed shoes and don’t park too close to the edge.

Convenient camping near Sioux Falls

This Recreation Area is large and  located off the Sioux River, which was slow flowing when I visited. It’s not the most picturesque river I’ve seen, so if you’re looking for that look further. However, because it was slow moving it made for a nice round trip paddle. 

Easy access from 90W, not much road noise and close to the town of Brandon for supplies. 

There’s a fantastic disc golf course complete with a creaky suspension foot bridge that spans the fiver. 

Great hiking and biking trails too. I hiked the Valley of the Giants trail, which earns its name because of the many old, “giant” oaks in this river bottom area. It’s an easy hike with one slight incline/decline, but the loop was curtailed by a giant felled oak tree.  The path was completely covered and no matter which way I tried I couldn’t see the trail it had become so overgrown. Sadly it seems that this has been the fate of several the the Giants, perhaps due to the river flooding.

The campground has gravel pads. My site backed up to the river but there was a bushy berm and the bike/walking bath between the site and the river. No problem to access the river though because there are little paths worn through the bushes. Lots of trees for shade and good space between sites. There’s electric but no water at site. Fill up by the restrooms or before you come. Picnic table and fire ring with grill connected. Fire ring is on a cement pad. I’d never seen that before. 

There are also  cabins for rent and when I was there the restrooms looked clean and functional.  Picnic shelter and gazebo are on site as well as the Bergeson’s Homestead. It’s always nice to see history being preserved like this! When I’m passing through this area again, I’ll revisit this recreation area.

Popular campground

Perrot has it all: hiking, biking, paddling and camping and that makes it a popular place in the summer. It was totally booked the weekend I stayed here. Site 23E was not the best due to the location of the electric pedestal which was more set up for tent camping than an RV, but made it work, although it required an extension to the power cord. The electric power was also running low and the RV AC wouldn’t work. Fan only due to watts/volts varying. Site was also parallel to the campground road so there was road noise. There are much better sites in the 91E-95E section of tall pines!

Sites that were located on the water, were next to swampy, green algae type ponds. I can only imagine what the mosquitoes were like at those sites. Site pads are dirt and grass. Not easy to level. 

Now for the good! This area is beautiful. Awesome bluff views of the Trempealeau and Mississippi rivers and definitely worth the hike up for them. The Great River State Trail head is located in Perrot and this is a must do if you like cycling on the rails to trails. The ride into quaint Trempealeau is enjoyable and not too strenuous. Make sure to check out the ice cream place that is located in the old caboose. Kayak and canoe rentals are available in the park as well. This is a paddler’s paradise, just be ready for the current and follow the water trail. 

Also, a heads up: I was surprised that there is a daily vehicle pass required and this costs $8/day in addition to the usual camping fees.

Supreme suburban camping!

This gem of a campground is run by the Cook County Forest Preserve District and the care they have for it shows! There are pavilions, air conditioned/heated dining hall, shower building, restrooms (seriously the cleanest I’ve ever seen, even the ceilings were cleaned!) and cabins, along with tent sites and 5 RV sites, 2 of which are paved. The other 3 are gravel pads. They all have electric and the camp hosts will pull the hose over to the site in order to do a water fill up. This makes it very convenient to refill.

I was visiting family in the city and surrounding suburbs and felt secure staying here as well as leaving my RV in this campground. There is a gate that is closed at 10pm every night and opened again in the morning. The campground is centrally located to the major roads (Quentin/NW Hwy) and about 10 minutes from the Palatine Metra train station. So there is the smallest amount of road noise, but after rush hour I didn’t notice it.  It's a short trip to get groceries or whatever you need in Palatine, but there’s also a little camp store.

The campground provides easy access to hiking and bike trails directly in the park and they go for miles and miles. This was a highlight for me, along with the butterflies and fireflies that put on a beautiful show. There are so many wildflowers everywhere!  I almost wasn’t going to review this place because it’s that special and I’d love to keep it all to myself. It’s not easy to find a place to camp this close to Chicago, let alone someplace really great!

5 stars with a caveat

This is a beautiful state park, but hopefully you won’t have the same experience I did with the electric hookup. I stayed here right after the fourth of July and because of the heat over this holiday weekend and a completely full campground, the electricity couldn’t meet the demand and a transformer blew. By the time I arrived the transformer was repaired, however the pedestals in the section I was supposed to stay in had a problem. I was supposed to stay in site 27, but after 3 attempts to get power at 3 different sites, number 24 was the winner and this was a great site! The campground hosts were fantastic in resolving the situation as well.

Site 24 is huge and level with a picnic table and fire ring. Electric but no water at site. The site is totally private on one side because of a lake inlet and there’s a large back area right on the lake. The gravel pad is located right near a large, old bald cypress. 

This park has multiple public use areas, 2 campgrounds, boat launches, fishing piers and a beach. I didn’t use the public restrooms because they were closed due to Covid-19. I was able to get internet with Verizon. 

This state park felt like it was dropped into the middle of cornfields and made for a fun drive. The sunset views and stars were awesome!

Worth the trouble to get there!

My GPS took me on an interesting route to this campground in a torrential downpour. That being said, once I arrived, it was worth it. 

Site: 23  in B Loop - water and electric H/U,  treed and enough room to open an awning if needed, gravel pad needed some leveling, but not extreme. This is an end site so there wasn’t anyone to one side. However, to the other side was a neighboring site with little privacy and enough space to allow for any visitors to the site next door to park. This site also backs to the lake which is nice except that people would park their boats on the shore and walk through the site at which I was camped. This was a first for me. I’d choose a site on the back of this loop. Site 31 looked great! These sites are also on the lake, but the shoreline doesn’t allow for boats to park. All sites have picnic tables, fire rings and a BBQ. 

The bath house was in a separate building from the restrooms. I wish more parks would have this arrangement. Showers were clean and a good size. Flush toilets were also clean.

Amenities: This Corps of Engineer campground has so much going for it. Sandy beach, playground, picnic area with common fire pit. Boat launch (not much parking) but that limited the number of boats that could put in at the campground. No wake area in the lake around the campground so it was quieter. Nothing against boaters, just FYI.

The standout for me is the trees! Forests of hardwoods and pines with a campground tucked into a little lakeside cove. I really enjoy COE campgrounds. 

What drew me to this campground was the location. One of the trailheads to the Lake Ouchita Vista Trail is adjacent (about a 10 minute walk). This hike was a standout for me! I’ll be back to hike the other leg which is the Carlton Trail. True to its name, I actually found crystals in one of the springs!