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Old 12-30-2020, 08:40 AM   #1
2020 Globetrotter 25 FBT
 
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Heading to NM & AZ in January & February

Last year we went to Florida for four weeks. We had every campsite booked up ahead of time. This year we are heading southwest. New Mexico and Arizona with a stop in Big Bend TX on the way home. This time, no reservations anywhere.

From what Iím reading NM is pretty closed up due to Covid, and higher altitude so temps are colder. We prefer boondocking in National Forest Service CGs, but like state parks also. Stay in HH spots while getting from point A to point B.
So what are your opinions on the best way through NM to avoid snowy passes etc.? Any good stops to make in Jan/Feb? I have cousins in AZ so we will be in Tucson area for a few weeks. Hopefully we can find boondocking sites around there.
Then over to Big Bend. I might try to see White Sands on the way over. I hope to find some spots around BB to camp also. I think the National Park CGs are all closed.
We have been careful in regards to Covid for the last year, and have avoided it. We plan on continuing with as many precautions as we can.

Any tips or advice is greatly appreciated. Iím not familiar with NM at all. Iíve been to BB four or five times and love it down there. Have been to AZ several times, but never camped there. Hoping for warmer weather than Missouri. Donít necessarily need 80s as I donít really want to have to run AC.
Thanks,
Jeff
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Old 12-30-2020, 04:42 PM   #2
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Just posted this in another thread:

ďWe are in south New Mexico now and trying to do the national parks. All BLM lands since we crossed into the state are closed and the state parks do not allow out of state peeps. RV parks are required to stay at 25% capacity.

Needless to say, we are cutting out NM trip short and heading south for Texas tomorrow. Will have to revisit this state when they relax restrictions.

Just check prior to traveling to see what requirements exist. Best of luck!Ē

We were in Saguaro NP in Tucson last week. Good dry camping close by and enjoyed our hikes there. In February/March, the cacti should be starting to flower. We are already planning on heading back there. Before that we came from the vegas area and between vegas and pheonix is Lake Havasu which has the London Bridge. In January there is a balloon festival. Sounds like this year is canceled but visitor center is still expecting people to show up just not as big.

Temps are still cold overnight but nothing close to freezing. Day time temps around 65. Have fun!
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Old 12-30-2020, 04:58 PM   #3
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NM state parks are closed. Some BLM CG's are open (Valley of Fires). Check on Campendium and make phone calls to confirm if sites are open. There are boondocking options as well. Try Gilbert Ray in Tucson.
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Old 12-31-2020, 06:30 AM   #4
2020 Globetrotter 25 FBT
 
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Thanks for the info. I was afraid NM would have to be abbreviated, or skipped entirely. Might be a good spring or fall visit, if Covid declines. We want to visit southern UT as well.
Thanks for the recommendation of Gilbert Ray, and Saguaro. It will surely be warmer there than Missouri. Just hoping to stay out of ice and snow storms on the way there.
Thanks again.
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Old 12-31-2020, 06:50 AM   #5
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The winter weather, from the Mississippi River to California can be quite unpredictable. As a welder in Abilene, Texas, said in December 1995, when he was repairing a failed hitch weld on our first cross-country trip:

"If you don't like the weather today, come back tomorrow."

Expect fickle weather all the way IMO.

Check out the January line graph at the bottom here for Albuquerque NM -- average low temp around 32F, with many forecast daily lows below that:

https://www.accuweather.com/en/us/al...weather/349680

Santa Fe [higher] is of course lower:

https://www.accuweather.com/en/us/sa...weather/329558

Average daily low around 24F.

For any location, you can get a fairly accurate 6-day forecast from the following NWS resource, which is updated in real time, as the actual weather data comes into their system.

https://forecast.weather.gov/MapClic...Type=graphical

These predicted overnight low temps in Santa Fe would "discourage" camping IMO.

Also, with the new variation of Covid-19 already popping up in random places in the US, making reliable travel plans will probably become more difficult, as local municipalities may feel the need, proactively, to clamp down on travel IMO.

Happier New Year!
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Old 12-31-2020, 09:38 AM   #6
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I would recommend the Verde Valley Area.

Dead Horse Ranch State Park is nice 3200 elevation on the Verde River

LoLo Mai in Page Springs is on the Oak Creek River. 3200 feet

Rancho Sedona RV Park is nice, hard to get into. 4100 feet

I keep my 30' Globetrotter at Sedona View RV park. Off Highway 260, 6 miles from Cottonwood. Lots to do in Cottonwood, Jerome, Camp Verde, Clarkdale. 3500 feet. Full hook ups and beautiful view.

Most National and State Campgrounds are closed thru March. Dead horse is an exception.

Also in Tucson there is Catalina State Park just north of town. I've stated there and loved it.

If I can help let me know. I live in Phoenix.

Jim
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Old 12-31-2020, 12:48 PM   #7
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Not much to add. Catalina SP in Tucson should be booked solid, but call periodically for cancellations (or simply look online); possible availability in their ďRingtailĒ section for boondocking. Iím sure Lazydays KOA has some openings due to lack of Canadians, should you wish to pay.
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Old 12-31-2020, 01:52 PM   #8
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We live in Tucson and I do a lot of hiking in the area so here goes with a few notes:

Most of Arizona is state or federal land, and dispersed camping is allowed on just about all of it.

South east of Tucson you can Boondock in the Dragoun mountains primarily on the west side near Council Rocks, where Geronimo met with the calvary, or Sheepshead Rock on the south end. Take Middlemarch Road east, just before entering the old west town of Tombstone.

You can also Boondock in various places around Gardner Canyon down Highway 83 towards Sonoita, and just outside of Madera Canyon south of Tucson.

Another great Boondocking spot is in the Happy Valley area on the east side of the Rincon Mountains, near Miller Creek. There are a couple of short water crossings along the way but nothing big or deep.

North of Tucson you could head to Freeman Road turn to the east and travel a few miles. There’s a great spot out in the middle of the desert where the Arizona Trail crosses the road and there’s a giant parking lot. Awesome place to camp as there is hardly ever anyone there except maybe Sasquatch, one of the Arizona Trail angels.

Another Arizona Trail Boondocking spot in found at Tiger Mine Road, just north of the town of Oracle.

It can be a bit rough, at least for the first 3 miles, at Reddington Road between the Rincon and Catalina Mountains. Be advised it is a narrow road but it has several spots where you can pull off and Boondock and be away from the madding crowd.

There is also a spot at Ajo Way and San Joaquin roads just west of Tucson. It’s a fairly popular spot characterized by an unusually tall hill right at the intersection of the roads. Everyone there is dry camping on I believe BLM land.

Are you aware that you can camp on many Arizona State Trust lands, not all of them, however, you need a permit to do so. The permit is available for a small fee online. You’ll need to print out the actual paper version of it so you can put that inside your vehicle.

In New Mexico all state controlled lands are closed, but I believe national forest and most BLM land is still open for dispersed camping. I would use a camping app to figure out which campgrounds are most likely to be open if you want a campground. Otherwise I’d look for some back roads and places to just pull off. Google maps or Google earth might be useful for that type of search.

This past summer we dry camped up in the Carson national forest Although the elevation may be too high this time of year. We also camped at El Morro Rock National monument where the campground is open but unmanned.
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Old 12-31-2020, 05:18 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GettinAway View Post
Last year we went to Florida for four weeks. We had every campsite booked up ahead of time. This year we are heading southwest. New Mexico and Arizona with a stop in Big Bend TX on the way home. This time, no reservations anywhere.

From what Iím reading NM is pretty closed up due to Covid, and higher altitude so temps are colder. We prefer boondocking in National Forest Service CGs, but like state parks also. Stay in HH spots while getting from point A to point B.
So what are your opinions on the best way through NM to avoid snowy passes etc.? Any good stops to make in Jan/Feb? I have cousins in AZ so we will be in Tucson area for a few weeks. Hopefully we can find boondocking sites around there.
Then over to Big Bend. I might try to see White Sands on the way over. I hope to find some spots around BB to camp also. I think the National Park CGs are all closed.
We have been careful in regards to Covid for the last year, and have avoided it. We plan on continuing with as many precautions as we can.

Any tips or advice is greatly appreciated. Iím not familiar with NM at all. Iíve been to BB four or five times and love it down there. Have been to AZ several times, but never camped there. Hoping for warmer weather than Missouri. Donít necessarily need 80s as I donít really want to have to run AC.
Thanks,
Jeff
This is probably not a good time for NM visit. I live near SF and really everything except essential stores...grocery, hardware, pharmacy have severe restrictions. No Museums, very limited indoor dining and baby it's cold outside!, lots of beautiful scenery to see but you'll be pretty limited for any kind of hookups....many private campgrounds close for the winter season.
Someone already said State Parks are closed to out of state visitors and those , we have 54!, are some of our best locations. Try us another time.
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Old 12-31-2020, 11:18 PM   #10
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Since you are planning to camp in Southern AZ in January/February be aware that the average day/night temperatures are 66/42 for Jan and 70/45 for Feb. Air conditioning should not be an issue of concern. Be aware that these are averages and it can be much colder or warmer in any given year. Should you choose to leave the Tucson basin (2400' elevation) to camp in other areas of Southern AZ be aware that you will climb in elevation heading south and east the temperature will drop about three degrees per thousand feet of elevation gained. So if you decide to leave Tucson and go visit Bisbee (worth it) you will gain 3000' in elevation and drop about 10 degrees in temperature. Nighttime temps in southern Az can easily drop into the 20s during the winter months. I am attempting to prepare you, not dissuade you. Here is a link to the Coronado National Forest Recreation web site.



https://[URL="https://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/coronado/recreation/camping-cabins/recarea/?recid=25428&actid=29"]www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/coronado/recreation/camping-cabins/recarea/?recid=25428&actid=29[/URL]


This will provide you with information on camping in Southern AZ on Forest Service lands. If you have questions call the District Office phone numbers for the campgrounds that interest you. My personal favorite is Sunny Flat Campground on the Douglas Ranger District. It is at 5200' and in a canyon so, possibly colder than you may be interested in camping this time of year, but like Bisbee, worth it.


Here is a link to the BLM Bureau of Land Management web site for southern Arizona that may be of use to you for planning purposes.


https://www.blm.gov/office/gila-district-office



Others who have responded have provided quality information. Contact the Forest Service and or BLM by phone or email and get your questions answered. If you need help, reach out.
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Old 01-01-2021, 07:23 AM   #11
2020 Globetrotter 25 FBT
 
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Thank you Hikingsolo, A Stone, BandaraBob, and Rootbeer 2024, very helpful! Definitely looking more in the Sedona/Camp Verde area for part of the trip! Will probably look at mostly boondocking. Maybe a few nights in an RV park. Peter, thanks for the weather info. I look at the Weather Channel App a little too much already
Highfeather, I’ll definitely just be passing through NM on this trip. Big Bend TX got a bunch of snow yesterday.
Last years Florida trip was a bit more predictable weather wise..
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Old 01-01-2021, 08:16 AM   #12
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We have some great State Parks in Arizona. Dead Horse, Picacho Peak, Catalina and Kartchner Caverns are on our A list. There are also regional parks in the Phoenix area and Gilbert Ray in Tucson.
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Old 01-01-2021, 05:58 PM   #13
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According to their website, White Sands near Alamogordo is open. It is well worth a visit. Largest deposit of gypsum on the planet and just amazing. We stayed at the KOA in Alamogordo which is a great KOA.
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Old 01-02-2021, 05:48 AM   #14
2020 Globetrotter 25 FBT
 
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Originally Posted by azflycaster View Post
We have some great State Parks in Arizona. Dead Horse, Picacho Peak, Catalina and Kartchner Caverns are on our A list. There are also regional parks in the Phoenix area and Gilbert Ray in Tucson.
Thank you. Iíve been looking at AZ state parks for a few weeks. Just sort of skimming as we havenít really finalized our plans. Are there reservable sites? Is it call in only? Seemed like first come first served. Any tips for getting into a site?
Thx again.. Also, I wasnít even thinking about bringing fly fishing gear. How is AZ fishing in Jan/Feb?
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Old 01-02-2021, 05:58 AM   #15
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Arizona State Parks have an online reservation system like most other states. Fishing varies by location, but wintertime is mostly trout fishing. Dead Horse has several fishing ponds while Roper and Patagonia have lakes.
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Old 01-02-2021, 09:27 AM   #16
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I just noticed the post for Quartzsite. Looked it up. Hundreds of thousands of RVs. I think I’ll be staying as far away from Quartzsite as I can. I’m sure it’s fun, but just maybe not this year.
I’m reading first come first serve on the state park CGs. I’ll keep looking.
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Old 01-02-2021, 10:11 AM   #17
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Quote:
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I just noticed the post for Quartzsite. Looked it up. Hundreds of thousands of RVs. I think Iíll be staying as far away from Quartzsite as I can. Iím sure itís fun, but just maybe not this year.
Iím reading first come first serve on the state park CGs. Iíll keep looking.
https://azstateparks.com/reserve/
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Old 01-03-2021, 06:18 AM   #18
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Thx. I found it earlier. Surprisingly there are some openings. This time of year, in Florida, there are no openings. We are not bringing the kayak or float tubes, so I’ll leave the fishing gear at home. I’ve also found lots on NFS CGs. Most seem to be first come first serve for sites. Looks like lots of choices. Also, looking at the weather, it seems likely we will be below freezing at night. Could be why there are more available sites. Sixties during the day sound great to me though.
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Old 01-03-2021, 09:45 AM   #19
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There is fly fishing wader style in Oak Creek canyon. The river is shallow. I did it in March with great success. Might want to research it. Oak creek is north of Sedona from 1 mile to 12 miles. Beautiful country.
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Old 01-04-2021, 08:09 AM   #20
2020 Globetrotter 25 FBT
 
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There is fly fishing wader style in Oak Creek canyon. The river is shallow. I did it in March with great success. Might want to research it. Oak creek is north of Sedona from 1 mile to 12 miles. Beautiful country.
Thank you! Will check into it.
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