Surprise River Gorge in Iowa

Comfortable and scenic park in Iowa with forested trails, gorge, and natural water features amidst the farm fields and rolling hills.  Campground sites are well spaced and mostly level, many with shade and decent privacy.  Mix of hookups for different needs; access to water and trash was easy.  The bathrooms were a bit dated and unclean when we visited, but not terrible.  Good cell coverage in the area and we could do work and school with our Verizon Hotspot.  Beware of the raccoons!   They were not aggressive from the standpoint of approaching us, but they were brash in approaching camper and supplies after dark, and they were a constant presence at the dumpster.  Do not leave food out!  Deer and other small game/wildlife seem abundant.  Trails were poorly signed, but the park is relatively small and getting lost or wandering does not have bad consequences; you'll find where you wanted to go without too much trouble.

Comfortable safe stay near Interstate 70

Context:  I would not rate this campground 4 stars for destination camping, but I would like folks to know it is a great stop-over.  Typical trusted KOA cleanliness and quality.  Full hookups, some shade and nice grounds for kids and pets.  Friendly staff, wifi was good enough for online school; 4g cell coverage, cable too if you are set up in your rig.  Good health protocols during CV19.  Clean bathrooms and sites.  Camp grills, but no fire pits (it can be windy, but this campground's layout offers some blocking particularly to the south end).  After crossing Kansas from east to west, this is a great stop-over.  Also, if leaving Colorado late traveling west to east, same benefit.

Nice FS campground, but close to noisey Hwy 191

First, stars docked for road noise; the campground is split by Hwy 191.  Otherwise, well maintained clean basic campground with good tables, fire pits, drives and pads.  Vault toilets, well water spigots throughout, no electric.  Accommodates most rigs, probably best for small to medium trailers, RVS, and of course all tents. 

Great for traveling through or base-camping a couple days to recreate in Gallatin Canyon.  Recommend nearby Lava Lake Trailhead for a short but moderately challenging hike (elevation gain) to an alpine lake.  There are many trailheads in the area accessible by car.  Near Bozeman, and Big Sky Resort with multiple guiding services for fishing, rafting, horseback riding.  No real cell service.  Reservable through recreation.gov.

Comfortable Montana Camping between Yellowstone and Big Sky

Red Cliff is a large comfortable campground with a few electric sites; water is onsite at a well so fill bottles or onboard tanks to take to your site.  Sites are reservable through recreation.gov.  Many sites have shade most or all of the day, and they are not too close together.  Many sites are on the Gallatin River, an excellent fishery and pleasant location.  Many sites will accommodate large rigs, but small to medium trailers and RVs/camper vans are the norm. No cell service.

Vault toilets are well spaced and clean, no plumbed bathhouses.  Many recreation sites and opportunities are nearby and this is the closest campground to Big Sky Town and Resort which has grocers, breweries, shopping, restaurants, and a hospital.  It is still amidst wilderness, though adjacent to Hwy 191.  BEAR SAFE FOOD STORAGE IS REQUIRED BY LAW.  Bear boxes are provided at many sites, or lock up your stuff in a hard-sided vehicle.  You may see elk, deer and bear.

There is a great onsite trailhead for hiking and horseback riding.  The Cliffs themselves are developed for rock climbing with bolted sport routes from 5.6 up to 5.11 and 5.12.

This is a clean well-kept FS campground.

Mountain-like Park in Southern Indiana

Wonderful park, easily mistaken for Appalachia!  Variable site options for all sizes of vehicles and modes of camping.  Well-staffed and well-maintained.  Easy access from the Interstate south of Indianapolis and worth the diversion for travel camping (as we did); certainly worth it for a regional destination.  Toilets and bathhouses of varying age and quality, though the ones we experienced were excellent!  Camping is on a ridge or plateau with trails and roads descending from campground levels.  There are many activities and even paid horse guides/rides.  The mountain biking is excellent, with purpose built trails for beginner to expert (flow, berms, rollers, jumps…).  The north entrance is through a covered bridge with a 9 foot clearance and 3 ton limit!  Otherwise, use the easily accessible west entrance, just a few miles "around the corner."

Urban Camping with walkable access to Manitou and Garden of the Gods

Review is in the context of urban camping.  This park is nestled in cottonwoods and willows of Fountain Creek nearly in downtown Manitou Springs.  It is walkable to the Manitou historic and tourist district and to Garden of the Gods Park.  Facilities are little dated and shabby, but clean and reliable.  There is some road noise from Manitou Ave, but not too bad.  The price is a little high, but worth it for the access.  Many sites are shaded for large parts of the day, though all are very close.  I reserved one star for price, tight spacing, and minor upkeep issues.  Staff is very friendly and helpful, IMO.

Dry Camping in a Wilderness Setting

Snowbank is an excellent off-the-grid semi-developed and hosted FS campground.  Spacious and private sites better for small RVs, trailers, and all tents.  Clean vault toilets, bear-proof storage boxes, and plenty of community water spigots.  Decent picnic tables and fire rings at each site.  No hookups to my knowledge.  The campground is on recreation.gov and sites are reservable.  Access to a great trail and FS road from campground, other hiking nearby.  Also, a 20 minute drive to Chico Hot Springs Resort and Day Spa (food, bar, soaking).  Expect to see wildlife, and this is grizzly country so proper food storage and best practices are required by law.  No cell service.  Excellent spot before or after visiting Yellowstone.

A SW Montana Favorite

Great park and campground popular with locals for a quick getaway, and ideal for travelers between Yellowstone and Glacier National Parks.  Yes, it is on a bench above a river valley and below higher sage and juniper covered foothills.  It can be windy, and it can be hot and sunny in the summer.  Locals find it a great early and late season destination for these reasons.  The trails also dry out/stay dry early and late making it a hiking and mountain biking destination when the higher mountains are snowy or muddy.

The campground itself has great facilities, and manicured lawns (good since this is rattlesnake country), but little to no natural shade.  Clean restrooms and clean vault toilets.  Small visitor center at the highway entrance and second visitor center for the cave entrance at the top of the mountain (foothill).  Summer brings intermittent ranger programs. I reserved a star for wind and lack of shade, otherwise it’s great camping.

P.S. spotty cell coverage!