Archive | RV Park & Campground Reviews RSS for this section

Lake Arrowhead State Park, Wichita Falls Texas

Lake Arrowhead campground

A panorama of 4 images of the campground circle where we camped – we were the only campers there for awhile!

Lake Arrowhead is about 20 minutes outside of Wichita Falls Texas (my hometown), and a great place for boating and fishing. The area is in the middle of a years long drought right now though, and the lake is sadly very low, too low to dock a boat, so if you’re goal is simply a quiet campsite with no crowds, this is a good time to go. There is a boat dock in the park, but it’s currently closed. There’s also a public beach for picnics and swimming, and a fishing pier. The park has a tackle loaner program where you can borrow stuff you need to go fishing, and no license is required to fish in any Texas state park.

Prairie Dog Hole in Campsite

Prairie Dog hole is almost as tall as the bench on the picnic table!

The campground is nice, there are lots of prairie dogs throughout the park, and lots of holes in the sites so be aware of where you walk! It’s fun to watch them. There’s also a prairie dog town in the park, but I guess some of them decided to move out of town into the campsites. I don’t blame them! The sites are located on different circles and areas based on if you’re tent or RV camping and if you need water, electricity, etc. There are no sewer connections but there is a dump station and 30 & 50 amp power is available. The site we had, #37, was very level, we didn’t need much leveling at all so setup was a breeze. We also had a pull-through site, but not all are pull-thrus. We had a large site that included a picnic table under a shelter and a fire ring. Getting in/out with the rig and toad was easy. A 20-minute drive to town to visit the folks makes this a great place for us, and cheaper than a hotel in town. There are bathrooms and showers available, but we didn’t use them. The camp host is an Airman stationed at nearby Sheppard AFB. He said he’ll be there for about 2 years, and works his park duties around his military duties. He’s very friendly and does a good job keeping the campgrounds orderly, trash emptied, etc. He appeared and welcomed us to the park within minutes of our arrival.

The sites are surrounded with mesquite trees and another type with red berries (not sure what they are). The only downer in the sites is the ground is covered with burs – not as bad as stickers – but they will stick to your feet and pet fur, and get all over your rig. We were constantly taking shoes off and on as we went in/out to keep the carpet clean, even with a large 13” outdoor rug.

Our Campsite

Figures, we arrive in the middle of a drought and bring lots of rain with us. This is our campsite in the deserted campground.

As a astrophotographer, I’m always interested in the night sky. While Wichita Falls does put out a lot of light, you can still see the stars from your campsite. If you point your camera away from town and above the horizon, you’ll get a decent shot of the night sky.

Pleiades over Lake Arrowhead

Not a bad night sky shot, facing away from town and above the horizon! The little constellation is Pleiades

  • $20.00 a night, cheaper than a hotel
  • 20-minutes from town
  • large campsites
  • prairie dogs entertain you!
  • Covered picnic tables
  • Fire rings
  • Level sites
  • Paved pad
  • Free dump station

CONS:

  • Water level is very low
  • Burrs all over the ground
  • No sewer connection

Chaco Culture National Historical Park (Chaco Canyon) Gallo Campground

Chaco Culture National Historical Park isn’t exactly easy to get to, but it’s worth the drive. Do not depend on your GPS! Many of the roads coming from the south are 4-wheel drive roads. Follow directions from the Chaco website, the roads are clearly marked as well. Located 21 miles off of US 550, the route includes about 18 miles of rough, dirt roads. It’s not impassible for rigs, but be sure and fasten everything down. The roads are washboard and small ruts, be sure and slow down to 5-10 MPH, and you’ll get there just fine – expect a bumpy ride! We kept the Jeep connected on the way there, but decided to not hook up until after the rough road on the way out. It’s much easier without the toad. There’s a large pullout on the right just before entering US 550, that’s where we hooked the Jeep up before hitting the road again. It might be a good idea to contact the park before heading up, just to get an update on the road conditions – especially if there’s a chance of rain. You will cross a dry riverbed, which can flood in rains. Be sure all your windows are completely closed – otherwise, your rig will be covered in dust. It will probably be so anyhow.

Check-in was a piece of cake. I had online reservations so it was just a matter of paying entry fees. Mr. Cornucopia has worked there over 20 years, and is a wealth of knowledge. There’s also a lady who has been studying the petroglyphs since the ‘80s. I forget her name, but she has evening talks weekly. I wish we’d been there when her talks were scheduled.

BE SURE and fill up your fresh tanks with water before leaving the visitor center! The only water in the campground is non-potable. There are no hookups in the campground, but there is a dump station. Our site (#15) was relatively level – we didn’t even bother to put down the leveling jacks. We had a beautiful view outside the back window, and also upon walking out the door. Our Sprint service was non-existent while there – plan to not have contacts with the outside world while there. If you’re lucky, you can get a call out – at times, we did manage to get out with one bar. There are restrooms in the campground, but no showers. Be sure to take enough food and water with you. Nothing is available in the campground, and it’s a LONG drive back to the store. There is a picnic table and fire pit at each site, but that’s it. NO shade.

Our campsite
Campsite 15 at Chaco Canyon

View across the campground
Campground at Chaco Canyon

The ruins within the campground

Chaco Canyon Ruins in the Campground

Beautiful tall canyon walls surround the campground. There are two ruins right there – Gallo Cliff dwellings, built between AD 1150-1200, under these walls within the campground. Walk the trail around the perimeter of the campground, and look for the petroglyphs. Start at the community fire pit, and walk all the way over to the tent areas. They’re not marked, and I wouldn’t have seen them if the petroglyph lady hadn’t told me about them when I checked in.

Petroglyph depicting a T-Shaped door, and a photo of the T-Shaped door

Petroglyph showing a T-Shaped Door T-Shaped Door in Pueblo Bonito

I have only one disappointment from my visit to Chaco Canyon. Designated an International Dark Sky Park, and bragging on their site to be one of the best places in America to stargaze, I was looking forward to getting out and shooting some amazing night sky photos. Sadly, we were restricted to the campground after sunset. The park closes then, and all the trails, sites, and the loop road are all off limits. There is nothing I can do (legally) outside of the campground after sunset. Why brag about the night sky, if you don’t let your visitors enjoy it? I did leave a comment card as I left.

Moonscape, shot late at night from inside the campground
Window To The Sky

Despite the rough roads, no utility or electronic connections and restrictions after sunset, Chaco is such an amazing place that I’ll put this on my “must return” list. I’m not sure if we’ll bring the rig back, but I do own a tent. We spent two nights there, but it wasn’t near long enough to explore as much as I’d like. If you’re short on time, Pueblo Bonito is a MUST see.

Pueblo Bonito panaroma, shot from the overlook trail (Highly recommend this trail!)

Pueblo Bonito from Chaco
“The Door” obligatory photograph
Doorway To The Past

PROS:
Beautiful scenery
Cool ruins and petroglyphs right in the campground
Scenic loop
Two trailheads right inside the campground
Dump station
Water for tanks at visitor center
Pueblo Bonito
Pueblo Bonito Overlook Trail
Chipmunks 🙂

CONS:
Nobody is allowed outside the campground after sunset (a HUGE con)
Very rough road to get into Chaco Canyon
Dusty
No shade in campground
No Hookups
No Showers
No shade

“Chip” looking for treats
What's in Here?!

Canyonlands RV Resort and Campground, Moab Utah

Canyonlands RV Park is in the middle of Moab, Utah on the main road, within walking distance to downtown, restaurants, shops, and a grocery store. Moab is a popular, congested destination – and right next door is an ATV shop for rentals, etc. Many of the campers have Jeeps, 4-wheelers, and motorbikes so it can get pretty noisy and busy in the campground, especially on weekends. Be careful when you pull into and out of the campground. There’s a pretty big dip on the edge of the road, and our levelers dragged as we went through. I saw several cars bottom out because they didn’t slow down.

Canyonlands Campground

The campground is very congested, especially around the reception office. This can be a problem when new arrivals park their rigs in front to check in – there’s no other place for them to park. Traffic coming in/going out of the campground can be noisy if you’re in a site near the office like we were. The sites are all pull-ins, and are very close together. There’s not much extra room in your site to park a toad, so we parked our Jeep very close to the side/rear of the rig, just to get it out of the road. Many people didn’t bother getting their vehicles out of the road, making it tough to get a rig through the grounds. The sites are concrete pads, and are relatively level.

Canyonlands Campground

Full hookups are available, as well as cable and free Wi-Fi. The cable worked pretty good and we had lots of channels. Wi-Fi can be slow at times. I had to call the company for Internet when we first arrived; they reset the towers because the Internet speed was almost non-existent. Often, I’d lose my Internet connection. It worked find for basic email – but I did manage to upload a photo or two, as long as I kept the files very small and did it early in the morning before everyone else accessed the net.

There are many trees in the campground, which provide a lot of shade. Each site has a picnic table. Be aware that branches can blow out of the trees during windy conditions! We were sitting outside in our chairs when a small branch came down and landed right between us. Luckily neither of us was hit.

Canyonlands Campground

The campground has a convenience store onsite that sells gas, propane and typical convenience store things. They have an onsite laundry and a heated pool. There is a car wash nearby.

Everything in town that you’ll need is within walking or biking distance. Arches National Park is only about 15 minutes up the road. While the location is nice, because of the noise and congestion in the campground, I doubt if I’ll stay here again. If you decide to stay here, be sure you don’t get a spot up by the entrance/reception office – try to get one closer to the back. Do NOT let them put you in site #41, unless you like the hustle/bustle/noise of the entrance/exit of the park. The one positive about this site is it’s close to the pool.

PROS
Convenient location
Pool
Laundry onsite
Gas Station onsite
Shade
Picnic Tables
Full Hookups
Cable TV

CONS
Crowded
Congested, especially at the entrance
Small sites
Noise
Wi-Fi sucks

Goulding’s Campground at Monument Valley

 

Guildings Campground is just a few miles up the highway from Monument Valley. Check-in is easy; the hardest part is finding a place to park your rig while you go inside. Not a bad place to stay, but the sites are packed pretty close. You will be saying “hello” to your neighbors during your stay! The campground itself can get congested, especially if there are a lot of campers with large RVs. Be sure you get your toad out of the road when you get in your spot! There were a few sticking out while we were there, and they were in the way of people trying to drive through. Spaces are assigned according to your rig size, if you’re towing a vehicle or not, or in a tent. Smaller RVs without toads were packed into one area (lots of rentals were here.) The larger rigs with toads got the center spots with pull-through sites.

Checkin Office at Gouldings Goulding's Campground in Monument Valley

The site itself was relatively level, although there was a gentle slope towards the front, right of the rig. Putting a couple of blocks under the tire seemed to fix it. The sewer dump was in a weird spot – way at the back of the drive, while the electric was up in the middle. We had to park the rig towards the back of our pull through spot to stay close to the sewer drop. It was a little awkward, but it worked. If your sewer hose will go backwards behind your rig it will be fine – ours only goes forward and to the side. Full hookups include sewer, electric, water and cable. They offer free Wi-Fi, but even their website says that they don’t have high speed Internet. Reception to Wi-Fi is crappy, to put it mildly. IF you can get a connection, it’s good for checking email, and that’s about it. Forget about sending/uploading photos or large files. Just plan on being without and anything you manage to get will be a pleasant surprise. I think your connection is better, as you get closer to the reception center. We have Sprint cell coverage, and we got spotty coverage. 3G was non-existent and we did manage to keep a few bars to make phone calls.

Goulding's Campground in Monument Valley

There is an onsite laundry and showers right at the campground. Guildings also has a grocery store, convenience store, car wash, and restaurant right up the road near their hotel. Nothing is cheap here, but there’s nothing else nearby, other than the restaurant in Monument Valley. They have an indoor pool right next to the reception center, but we didn’t use it. There is a post office about a block up from the campground entrance. Gouldings offers Monument Valley tours, but beware if you don’t want to get stuck on a ‘safari truck’ that seats 20.

Monument Valley Post Office

There is an onsite laundry and showers right at the campground. Guildings also has a grocery store, convenience store, car wash, and restaurant right up the road near their hotel. Nothing is cheap here, but there’s nothing else nearby, other than the restaurant in Monument Valley. They have an indoor pool right next to the reception center, but we didn’t use it. There is a post office about a block up from the campground entrance. Gouldings offers Monument Valley tours, but beware if you don’t want to get stuck on a ‘safari truck’ that seats 20.

The view from the campground is very nice, canyon walls surround you, and there’s a nice view down into Monument Valley from the end of the campground drive. There is a nice hiking trail (hard to find) in the camp, which leads to a pretty arch. Ask at the reception desk; don’t rely on their crappy map to find it.

View of Monument Valley From Gouldings

If you’re staying at Monument Valley and you want hookups for your RV, then Gouldings is your only option for now. The old campground inside the park has been taken over by The View hotel, and now has a few cabins and dry camping spots – it reopened four days before we arrived. They’re working on electric and water, so soon they will have RV hookups inside the park! Keep checking the Monument Valley website.

Oh! And on your way, be sure and stop at mile marker 13 just north of the entrance to Monument Valley for the iconic “Forrest Gump” shot. This is the place where he finally stopped running.

Forrest Gump Monument Valley View

Pros:
Hookups
Close to Monument Valley
Great views
Hiking trail in camp

Cons:
Crowded
Crappy Wi-Fi

San Felipe Casino Hollywood RV Park

The San Felipe Casino Hollywood is located right in the middle of Albuquerque and Santa Fe, just off I-25, exit 252.  The location is perfect if you’re visiting both cities, or if you’re traveling from Albuquerque up to the four corners area along Hwy 550.  If you’re in this general area and need a place to stop for the night, this is perfect!  This is our third visit here; the first two were just stopovers between home and Colorado.  This trip we’re visiting Albuquerque and Santa Fe, so we spent four nights here.  I’ve compared prices in expensive Albuquerque, and this no frills RV parking is a bargain, unless you’re looking for a campground with campfires, lakes, playgrounds, etc.  In that case, this might not be the place for you.
San Felipe RV Parking
The RV lot is simply a large parking area with plenty of spaces for large rigs.  Each hookup area can accommodate two rigs with electric boxes on each side of the slip.  Someone parked in our area last night, despite empty bays elsewhere, and there was enough room between the rigs (at least their door wasn’t facing ours.  A dirt and gravel lot, spots are pretty level, electric hookups have 50, 30, 1-20 & GFCI outlets.  RV parking rates are $20.00 per night, it used to be 10.00, but they’ve doubled since last summer, still cheaper than staying in Albuquerque.  There are no water or sewer connections, but there is a water spigot at the dump station to fill your water tanks.  Dump station is free if you pay for overnight parking, $10.00 otherwise.  There’s a meter at the station to pay with credit card, cash or token. This machine is something else new; it wasn’t here when we were here last summer.  The area is patrolled by Pueblo security.  Check-in is easy.  Simply find your spot and park.  Go inside the casino and tell the staff at the customer service desk (right in front of the door as you walk in) your spot number.  They’ll send the security folks out to unlock your electric meter.  Usually it’s unlocked before you get back to your rig.  Wi-Fi is free, and we didn’t have many problems picking it up in our rig, we were surprised.  We were able to access many local TV channels without even raising our antenna on windy days.  We don’t have satellite TV.  Our Sprint network picked up decent signals.

San Felipe RV Parking Dump Station

There’s a 24-hour travel center in the compound, right next to the RV lot.  Cheap gas, snacks, a smoke shop (cheaper than buying them off the Pueblo.  They have a pretty good restaurant in the travel center (I like the Pueblo Taco, and breakfast burritos are very good).  There’s also a buffet in the casino that serves brunch and dinner.  We’ve eaten there once and we weren’t impressed.  Grab a breakfast burrito or go for dinner at the travel center instead, or just fix something in your rig.

San Felipe Pueblo Travel Center

There’s not a lot to do here, if you’re not interested in the Casino, but Albuquerque or Santa Fe are only 30 minutes in either direction.  If you do happen to see horses nearby, consider yourself lucky for seeing WILD horses.  These are not tame/broken horses.  If you have time to kill, and want some New Mexico history and culture that not everyone can experience, and absolutely NO crowds, I highly recommend a PRIVATE Jeep tour with New Mexico Jeep Tours. Tell Roch that Mel sent you.  I’ve been out with him three times now, and he is well worth his price – you’ll see wild horses, petroglyphs, ghost towns, fossils and scenery up close and personal.  He is a wealth of historic, geological, and cultural knowledge.  His tours are on private land, not the Pueblo, and it’s amazing!

Wild Horses Petroglyph

Pros of San Felipe Casino:

  • Outside of town
  • Not crowded
  • Right off I-25
  • Cheap gas – with big rig friendly pumps
  • Good food
  • Free water and dump for customers
  • Great location if you’re headed between Albuquerque and Santa Fe
  • Nice people
  • Inexpensive
  • Patrolled by Pueblo security

Cons:

  • Out of the way if you’re not headed between Albuquerque and Santa Fe
  • Nothing to do if you’re not into casinos
  • No water or sewer hookups
  • Can get dusty if it’s windy
  • No shade
  • No picnic tables
  • Stickers – be prepared for them if you bring your dawg

Bottom line – this isn’t a “destination” but it’s great for a stopover or staging spot if you want to visit Albuquerque and Santa Fe.

I’m New Here

Thanks for stopping by! I’m still figuring out what I’m doing. Please be patient while I find my way around.
My plans are to write blogs about our RV road trips, to include info on the campgrounds and areas that we visit as well as photos.

Please check back and follow me!