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Old 05-28-2007, 01:43 PM   #1
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Western United States Camprounds

Hello to all,
I am new to the forum, hopefully this is posted in the right location. We are about to make a trip with our children out west (from Arkansas). We are planning on being gone about 4 weeks and are looking for suggestions on scenic campgrounds that might have availability on relatively short notice. Our general itenarary is Santa Fe, Grand Canyon, Disneyland, CA coast LA to SF, Yosemite. From here it depends on how everyone is holding up if were doing ok then up to Redwood NP and Olympia NP and accross to Glacier NP and home. If not then going to have to come up with a plan b. If anyone has suggestions that are not included on this list I would love to here about them.
Thanks,
Greg
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Old 05-28-2007, 04:38 PM   #2
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Welcome to the forum, Greg, and best wishes for a GRAND sounding tour of the West! I'm sure you know about the tried and true big camp guides put out by Good Sams and other camping groups. One of my favorites beyond these is a series from A Falcon Guide called Camping Montana. . .or it could be Idaho or other states. Falcon books are always good travel sources and these camping guides offer very informative descriptions of sites, suitability, nearby recreation, area maps, and so on. These will not be your KOA type campgrounds but scenic, off the road (often forest service) places. These might be useful, depending on the kind of travel you enjoy. Visit the travel section of your local book store and you may be amazed at all the info you find! ~G
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Old 05-28-2007, 04:50 PM   #3
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We are from the Santa Fe area. I know that there are only a handful of campgrounds near Santa Fe and they tend to book up for the summer way in advance. For an alternate, try the KOA in Las Vegas, NM. It is a nice drive to Santa Fe and the camp ground is nice and peaceful.

We went up the CA coast last year. It is difficult to find a campground in the San Francisco area. We stayed in Navato - looked great on the internet - but in actuality, it was a very tight squeeze to park and really no more than a parking lot with a lot of full time residents (seems common in CA). You may have to stay a ways out of San Francisco to get a nice spot.

Have fun!!
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Old 05-28-2007, 09:04 PM   #4
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When in AZ, you might want to consider Lo Lo Mai, in Page Springs. It's a great spot. A little oasis in the desert. It makes a great base for wandering around, with a nice home to come back to. About 2 1/2 hours to the Grand Canyon, (How much time do you really want to spend there w/ the crowds.)Sedona 10 min., Cottonwood 10 min. (shopping), and several Native sites close by. A good base for a few days. I've spent a good deal of time there over the years, and always left happy. (My family has a membership.)

On weekends it fills up with members from Phoenix, so it may be tough getting a spot. During the week it should be a piece of cake.

And welcome to the forums...........

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Old 05-29-2007, 07:22 AM   #5
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Black Canyon near Santa Fe

Has anyone stayed at Black Canyon near Santa Fe? I believe it is a national forrest campground. If you have what were your thoughts?
Thanks

By the way Georgia thanks for the recommendation on the Falcon books, I will look for those today
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Old 05-29-2007, 09:05 AM   #6
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We have stayed at either Black Canyon or at the sister park which is in the immediate area, I can't remember exactly which one. For all purposes, they are in close proximity to each other. What I remember is the dirt roads in the campground were terribly steep and pulling my Excella 25 up them was a white knuckle experience and required some serious technical driving to get up them. The roads were so steep that traction was a big issue! You had to get a good run at the steeper sections or you would loose traction in the middle and have to back down and make another run at it. There was a section set aside for RV's with (I think) 8 spaces with electricity. It was still steep, but at least the roads were asphalt. Both campgrounds are set at the bottom of deep valleys between mountains and don't rank too high or our list of good places to camp.

When we visit Santa Fe, we prefer to stay at Cochiti Lake at the Corps of Engineers campgrounds. It's about 30 miles south of Santa Fe off the road to Albuquerque. There are many many campsites, some on the east side of the lake and some on the west side. The campsites aren't fancy, but they are nicely spaced out and they're out in the open as opposed to deeeeeep in the woods at Black Canyon.
May I suggest you go from Santa Fe to Bandolier National Monument which is a little outside Los Alamos. It is a fantastic experience and they do have a campground. From there go to Durango, Co. and spend a day walking about and shopping in this very unique town. In level of uniqueness, it is a little like Eureka Springs but with a western flair. From there, go to nearby Mesa Verde National Park near Cortez, Co. to see the Indian cliff dwellings. It is a place you will never forget as it is one of the most spectacularly beautiful places on earth! From there, go the Canyon de Chelley at Chinle, Az. There is a free campground with room for about 90 rigs at the entrance to the Canyon de Chelley National Monument. I've never seen the campground (no elec, but water is available) more than about 50% full. Entrance to the National Monument is free and the Canyon is easily enjoyed in a day of driving and sightseeing. Again, it is spectacular even though it is one of the best kept secrets of Arizona! From Chinle, you can easily get back to I-40 and on your way to the Grand Canyon.
If you visit the Napa Valley/Sonoma area, may I suggest you stay at the Lake Sonoma Corp of Engineers campgrounds. They've had drinking water issues so you have to be self contained, but there's lots of unused campsites and the scenery is great! There is no elec or water.

Many of the campgrounds, especially the national parks, where you are going do not have electricity, so may I suggest you bring a generator like a Honda EU 2000 to run the microwave, hair dryers, etc. and to top off the batteries.
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Old 05-29-2007, 02:10 PM   #7
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Thanks

Bob,
Thanks for the great suggestions and the advice on Black Canyon. We look forward to exploring. Also, thanks for the advice on the generator, I am about to purchase 2 of the EU 2000's so that we can run our air also.
Thanks again,
Greg
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Old 05-29-2007, 03:20 PM   #8
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Olympic Nat'l Park

Hi Greg -

Most of the campgrounds in Olympic National Park are first come, first served so that might work out well for you if you can arrive early in the day. There are also state parks in the vicinity - some take reservations and you can check availability online. It's a beautiful park with lots to do - I especially recommend hiking at Sol Duc and driving up to Hurricane Ridge. Good luck and happy travels!
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Old 05-29-2007, 04:30 PM   #9
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Thanks Mel

Mel,
Thanks for the suggestion on Olympia NP. That is one we would really like to see. How about the rain forrest section of the park?
Thanks Again,
Greg
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Old 05-29-2007, 05:06 PM   #10
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The Hoh Rain Forest is beautiful, and there are a couple of short trails that are worth taking - Spruce Nature Trail and the Hall of Mosses. Both start at the Hoh visitors center. I love hiking there!
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Old 05-29-2007, 05:52 PM   #11
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Thanks

Mel,
Thanks for all your help!
Greg
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Old 05-29-2007, 07:46 PM   #12
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It sounds like you have a great plan A.
Our biggest trip this year will be taking in Olympic, Ranier, and Redwoods. We'll be staying in Camp Cushman just outside of Olympic, and in Jedediah Smith Redwoods park when we go to the Redwoods. A lot of things in, or around national parks will fill up quickly if you don't get reservations.
When are you planning your trip?

Charlie
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Old 05-30-2007, 02:31 PM   #13
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Friday

Charlie,
We are heading out Friday.
Greg
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Old 05-31-2007, 09:25 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ghaag
Charlie,
We are heading out Friday.
Greg
We'll be going in early July ourselves. I've honestly never been to Washington, or the Redwoods. We based our reservations from book ratings, and recommendations. It's an area that I've always wanted to visit, and I'd think it would fit in naturally on your long trip. If this is your first trip out west I think it's wise of you to focus on the national parks. Anything else I could think of would also require some driving once you left Yosemite, so I don't think I could recommend anything for a plan b that would shorten your journey.

If you plan a future trip I could give you some nice tips from Colorado, and Yellowstone is a must.
Charlie
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