Welcome to our (very personal) reviews of the campsites we have visited. If you arrived here from a link on our travel blog, Semi-True Tales of Our Life On the Road, you can click here to read all of our campground reviews.

If you would like to know more about me, or contact us, click on "Who are We?" (to the right). For more information about what you can expect to find in these reviews, click on "About These Reviews". Finally, a note about the photos: hover your cursor over a photo to read the caption, or click the photo to enlarge it.

Sunday, November 30, 2008


Our Opinion: Rave. This park, with its huge sites and wonderful amenities, is open to Escapee members only. Click here for more information on the park and the Escapees RV Club.

Date of Stay: November 28 though 30, with several earlier/longer visits in prior years.

Weather During Stay: PERFECT! Lows in the mid-40’s, highs in the low to mid 70’s and nothing but sunshine.

Site Description: Like all the sites here, the lot is huge and level. On this trip, we are in site 527, one of the less developed sites: FHU (and basic cable), a concrete patio, a couple small trees, dirt surface, and a storage unit (belonging to the lot owner) Nice view of the surrounding hills across the street.

Great amenities here: beautiful outdoor swimming pool and two spas, small fitness room, large library, kitchen, a pool room, and hobby rooms. Workshop available. Several laundry facilities scattered around the pack. Recycling. The “Ranch House” is available by reservation for private parties.

Rate: FHU (50 amp) sites are $20.00 daily. Boondocking (limited to 7 days) is $5.00 per day. Limit 28 days, per calendar year, including boondocking. Escapee members or guests only.

Phone/radio/TV: Verizon cell service used to be very spotty here, but with a new Verizon “tree” cell tower, the problems are solved. 5 bars on our phones and the aircard, even in the boondocking area. Our TV satellite works fine here; very few sites would have obstructions. Very basic cable included in site rental fee. If you are lucky, you will pick up an NPR signal (try 89.9); I mostly used our satellite radio instead.

Elevation/Landscape/Terrain: The park is on gently rolling terrain at 2,100’, in steep, arid hills. Lots of mature landscaping in the park, along with some ponds and fountains - very pleasant. Fantastic view from the swimming pool!

Lighting/Noise: Subdued night lighting in most of the park (I’m not sure about the sites near the clubhouse). Very quiet.

Favorite Sites: This is a large park with huge sites. “Favorites” aren’t really an issue, as “visitors” can only stay on sites that members have put into the rental pool. First come, first served.

Hiking/Walking: Walk the perimeter of the park for 5,000 steps, a little over two miles - or hike in the arid hills surrounding the park.

Comments: This is a co-op park, owned by Escapee members who buy into the co-op for a long-term site. We like this park so well that we are on the waiting list. Nice place to winter. Temecula (17 miles away) has restaurants and shopping. Lots of wineries in the area. Palm Desert (Palm Springs area) is about an hour to the east. Golf nearby.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008


Our Opinion: Recommend. Typical urban RV/Mobile Home Park - but with fantastic owners.

Date of Stay: October 22, 2008 through end of January, 2009.

Weather During Stay: Started with a heat wave, but we expect it to cool to sunny winter weather as the weeks go by.

Site Description: Like all the sites here, our site is tight. When a mobile home was moved out, two RV sites were added in the same space, long but skinny. 50 amp FHU and a small patio of pavers set in gravel. There are several trees (including palms) in the park and patches of grass. Roads are paved and sites are either gravel (like ours) or concrete. 70 RV sites; 15 mobile homes sites (and it appears these are converted to RV sites as mobile homes are pulled out).

Clean restrooms and a large laundry room on site. Sufficient dumpsters and recycling bins. There is a small Mexican food/taco stand in front of the park for a quick bite, and newspaper vending machines (LA Times plus two local dailies). A very convenient and inexpensive bus system stops right next to the park for trips to Loma Linda and LLUMC or downtown Redlands - and points beyond.

Rate: We are paying the special “medical” rate: $515 per month for 50 amp FHU, plus an extra $24 per month for cable (optional). The daily rate is $38; weekly, monthly, senior and medical discounts are available.

Phone/radio/TV: Verizon cell phones work pretty well here, though they occasionally drop the signal. The Verizon air card is more spotty, sometimes on Broadband, other times on a slower speed. Our TV satellite works great here - no obstacles in our site - and we also went for the cable TV for local stations. Local NPR is available on several stations, including 91.5 FM.

Elevation/Landscape/Terrain: This small, flat park is located on a busy road in a valley at about 1,600’ elevation. I am amazed to see that there are still orange groves around here! Near views are of other RV’s and older mobile homes; far views are palm trees and mountains. We are next door to a school, with open land behind and on the other side.

Lighting/Noise: Night lighting is fairly unobstusive, just a bright light here and there, nothing shining in the bedroom windows. Although the interstate is just a block away and we are on a street that carries a lot of traffic during the commute, we are able to sleep with the bedroom windows open at night (until the commute begins in the morning). Not bad for an urban area.

Favorite Sites: There doesn’t seem to be a whole lot of difference in the spaces. We are about halfway back in the park, and appreciate being back from the road.

Hiking/Walking: Sidewalks going in both directions from the park, a flat walk. WalMart and Food 4 Less are a short walk away. LLUMC is 3 miles away and would be a reasonably pleasant walk in good weather.

Comments: We are here so Odel can get medical treatment at Loma Linda University Medical Center. Mission RV Park is the closest RV park to LLUMC, and the nicest within a reasonable distance. The owners are GREAT and really work to keep the park friendly, well maintained, and quiet. They offer a discounted rate to LLUMC patients and give them first priority when making reservations. We recommend it if you need to stay in this area. Trader Joe’s, Costco, Target, chain restaurants and fine dining all within a 5 mile radius. Very convenient location.

Sunday, October 19, 2008


Our Opinion: Rave. This has been a favorite stop for several years.

Date of Stay: Our most recent visit was 1/29/2009. This review was written for our stay in October, 2008, one of several over the past 4 years.

Weather During Stay: October: Warm/hot and sunny during the day, cool at night. Late January: sunny and very mild during the day, cool at night. Click HERE to see flooding during another stay.

Site Description: We have been in backins and pull-throughs in both old Loop A and new Loop B. We prefer loop B (all the sites in this loop have 30/50 amp E and water) for the spaciousness of the sites and the exceptional restroom/shower facilities. All sites are fairly level, most are very long and big-rig friendly. All sites and roads are paved. About half the sites are back-ins; the rest are long pullthroughs. Each site has a heavy-duty picnic table.

Loop A is the old loop. Sites on the south side are dry, sites on the north (around 20 sites) have W and E. Clean restrooms are centrally located, and trees are scattered throughout the loop.

Loop B is the big new loop, with 75 large W and E sites. The restrooms, with showers, are the nicest we have ever used. There is a “family” restroom/shower we have used together, very roomy and comfortable. The great showers make it much easier to stay for an extended period without a sewer hookup.

Rate: $20/night for 30/50 amp E and water. No sewer hookups. $15/night to drycamp. Two large dump stations are conveniently located.

Phone/radio/TV: Aircard on broadband. Cell phone signal good. Local NPR on 91.5. TV on antenna is iffy - only the local CBS affiliate comes in clearly. No obstacles for satellite TV.

Elevation/Landscape/Terrain: This flat, desert campground is at 2700’ elevation. Native trees are scattered throughout, providing a bit of shade. The arid, rocky, Santa Catalina Mountains tower over the campground - beautiful views.

Lighting/Noise: Very quiet, very dark.

Favorite Sites: When available, we pick a perimeter back-in site, facing north or south depending on the season. Most sites here are very nice.

Hiking/Walking: Fantastic. Hikes of all lengths and difficulty. The hiking and views are the big draw for us here.

Comments: Catalina State Park is just north of Tucson in an upscale, quickly developing area. In the park, you feel as though you are quite remote from the city - we have seen a Gila Monster and a family of Coatamundi here - but dining and good shopping (including Trader Joe’s and several great grocery stores) are within a few miles. We were surprised to see that a signal has been added at the park entrance on Oracle Road (been needed for a long time), and that a new shopping area with a WalMart is going in across the street!

Thursday, September 25, 2008


Our Opinion: Rave. We love coming to this lovingly developed and maintained desert park.

Date of Stay: We have stayed here half a dozen times over 4 years. This stay began 9/23/2008, and we plan to be here a couple of weeks.

Weather During Stay: Highs in the mid-80’s, low’s in the 50’s and 60’s. Some windy days. Lots of sunshine.

Site Description: Queen Mine RV park is a large, level, graveled circle, perched high up on the side of the open pit copper mine that dominates Old Bisbee. The 25 FHU sites (30 amp), all with cable TV, are all back-ins, lining the outside of the circle, facing center. Generally, motorhomes park in the sites on the west side, facing the view to the east, backed up to a mountain; 5th wheels with large rear windows park on the east side, their view windows facing Bisbee or the red mountain to the east. Great views - the top photo shows old Bisbee from the RV Park.

Low rock walls and plantings of native plants and trees have transformed this gravel lot into a cozy refuge. Above the Queen Mine museum and tours, it almost feels remote… but it is a short walk down the hill into charming, funky, old town Bisbee. The small office building (bottom photo) houses a clean laundry room and restrooms. Trash and can recycling is near the entrance. A covered picnic table outside the office makes a pleasant spot to socialize, and a small dog walk hugs the driveway.

Rate: Passport America rates ($13/night includes electricity) are in effect until the end of September. After that, the nightly rate is $28; weekly rate is $165. No SKP discount any longer (ownership has changed recently).

Phone/radio/TV: Verizon signal is strong here, and the aircard is on speedy Broadband. WiFi is available at no extra charge, though we haven’t tried it. About 30 channels on cable TV; no obstacles for satellites. Radio in this part of the state is crummy - no local NPR (hooray for Sirius!). NOAA weather radio does not get a signal here.

Elevation/Landscape/Terrain: A level RV park at 5300’ on the side of a deep, defunct copper pit mine. Wonderful views of deep red mountainsides and the Victorian buildings lining the steep canyons of Old Bisbee.

Lighting/Noise: Subdued night lighting is unobtrusive; very quiet.

Favorite Sites: Since we travel in a motorhome, we like the sites that back up to the hillside, where we face east. Second photo shows our motorhome in site 6.

Hiking/Walking: Walking up Tombstone Canyon, though Bisbee to the underpass, is about 4 miles round trip. Wandering through the streets of Bisbee is fun, too. Lots of good hiking in the area, but all the hikes require a drive.

Comments: Finding the way to the park can be tricky. If you have Passport America, check out the useful map in the PA book. We unhooked our towed the first time we came up here to check it out, as the road and route can be confusing.

The Bisbee Natural Food Coop is a short drive away, Safeway is a little farther. A good golf course (with its own inexpensive, friendly RV park) is in Naco, 5 miles away. Eat at Rosa’s for great Italian food, CafĂ© Roka for expensive and delicious fine dining, Bisbee Breakfast Club for delicious (and large) breakfasts and lunch.

Monday, September 22, 2008


Our Opinion: Recommend. If walking/hiking is a priority for you, this is a great stop.

Date of Stay: Our third visit was Sept. 20 through 22, 2008. We also stayed twice in January/February of 2008. This photo was taken on this trip, when Justin's was virtually empty.

Weather During Stay: HOT! Highs in upper 90’s; lows in uppers 60’s. In winter, days are mild and nights are chilly.

Site Description: All 125 sites at Justin’s are unusually large for a commercial park, a big plus for us. Most are very level and most are back-ins, though there are some pull-throughs in the front row near the road. All are FHU with 50 amps. All are covered with a small rocks/huge gravel that is rather uncomfortable to walk on (Luna hates it). Saguaros and native landscaping scattered around. Roads are paved, which really helps keep the dust down here in the desert.

The “front” (south) section of the park is set up in standard rows of side-by-side sites and is slightly higher than the “back” (north) section. This photo is site 65, in the south section, taken in January of 2008.

Sites in the north section are arranged around a “golf course” (check out the third photo) - a large dirt area with 8 raised mounds, each covered with green outdoor carpeting sporting a cup and flag. We would fear for our windshield if we saw someone tee up! This area has been planted recently with native plants, and has a small pond - it will be very appealing when it matures, but the “golf course” seems pointless to us.

The single dumpster, up front by the entrance/exit, is often overflowing in snowbird season. Laundry, a clubroom, and a pickleball court round out the amenities.

Rate: In winter, we paid a weekly rate of $153, which included our electricity - around $22/night, a great deal for “high season” in/near Tucson. For this stay, well before the arrival of the snowbirds, we paid the Passport America rate of $13/night, which included our electricity (AC’s running almost constantly in the heat). Spaces in the north section are a dollar or two higher per day than in the south section.

Phone/radio/TV: Verizon works well here, including the aircard. No cable TV, but nothing to block a satellite signal. Local stations available on TV antenna. There is a local NPR station, but I forgot to write down the number. NOAA weather radio had a signal.

Elevation/Landscape/Terrain: Though I forgot to check, I believe the elevation is around 2,500 ft - which is why Tucson is cooler than Phoenix. The park is mostly flat; one small elevation change between “front” and “back” sites. Views here are fabulous, even when the park is full. Near views are of rigs in the park and surrounding native plants. Distant views are of beautiful, arid mountain ranges, including well-known Gates Pass, covered with Saguaro cactus.

Lighting/Noise: Low lighting is unobtrusive at night. We stay in the “back” (north) section to avoid the road noise on San Joaquin Road. Residents in the nearby neighborhoods head to work early, and the sound of their vehicles stands out in the otherwise still mornings. Also some noise (not bad) from neighborhood dogs, livestock, and coyotes in the desert.

Favorite Sites: We pay a dollar or two a day more to stay in the north section, at the back of the park, ringing the “golf course”. The views are spectacular and the sites feel larger since you have no one directly behind or in front of you. Motorhomes like the row facing the mountains across the “golf course”; 5’ers choose the row adjacent to the desert. We were in site 7 on this trip/; this photo was taken when we stayed in site 6 in February, 2008.

Hiking/Walking: This is where Justin’s (and Desert Trails, next door) shines. Trails start on the north side of the park and head into Tucson Mountain Park. It is possible to hike into Saguaro National Park (long hike). The Sonoran desert here is gorgeous, and there are geocaches hidden around, too. Trails are well developed and marked. What a great amenity!

Comments: If only it was easier/quicker to get into Tucson! We come back to Justin’s (and Desert Trails, before Justin’s opened), again and again for the wonderful desert hiking, the great views, the beautiful sunsets… but complain each time we decide to go to Tucson! The nearest big grocery store is about 20-25 minutes away. The traffic on the “easy” route to Tucson (Ajo Highway) can be a real bear, so we usually take the beautiful but winding Gates Pass Road. The drive to just about anywhere we want to be in Tucson is at least 30 minutes; longer to Costco or Trader Joes.

Friday, September 19, 2008


Our Opinion: Rave. This is what a desert RV park should look like: huge spaces, raked gravel sites, native landscaping. Passport America discount, too!

Date of Stay: September 18, 2008

Weather During Stay: High around 85, low around 50.

Site Description: Huge, level, adjacent to a large native plant garden. 50 amp FHU with 49 channels on cable TV. This desert park has an upper and lower level - our site, 49, a large pull-through (we didn’t even unhook) was on the top level, one of a ring of deluxe sites surrounding a garden area..

This park has added 40 spaces since we last visited 3 years ago, bringing the total number of spaces to 70. The new spaces are as large and lovely as the old, with 2 additional garden areas. Although we didn’t use or inspect any of the amenities, there is a large laundry, exchange library, patio with grill - probably all as impeccably kept as the rest of the park.

Rate: I don’t know the regular rate. We paid the Passport America rate of $19/night. A chat with a neighbor revealed very reasonable monthly rates.

Phone/radio/TV: Great Verizon reception; aircard on Broadband. No obstacles for satellite TV, and cable was included with our site. Free WiFi available, but we didn’t use it. I was not able to find a local NPR station, a surprise. No weather channel on the NOAA radio, either.

Elevation/Landscape/Terrain: This park is on a little slope, with an upper and lower level, at 4,530’ elevation. The park is surrounded by native shrubs, and beautifully landscaped with small evergreens and native plants. Views are of neighbors, gardens, and surrounding shrubs, with mountains in the far distance.

Lighting/Noise: Low night lighting throughout the park; very quiet at night.

Favorite Sites: Any of the large sites around the gardens. The only site we would avoid are thos along the street and the interior rows. Any number ablve 41 would be good. We especially liked 44 and 47.

Hiking/Walking: Walking around the park is pleasant, but great walking is found just across the street in Elephant Butte State Park on the shore of huge Elephant Butte Reservoir.

Comments: This immaculate, beautifully landscaped and maintained park is a wonderful oasis. We’ve stayed here 3 times and have always been impressed with the park and super-friendly staff. Maybe someday we will use it for more than an overnight!

Friday, September 12, 2008


Our Opinion: Rave. If you are looking for a convenient, urban park in Santa Fe (and willing to pay the price), this is the place.

Date of Stay: September 11 through 17, 2008

Weather During Stay: Sun and clouds, highs in the low 70’s, lows in the upper 40’s.

Site Description: This is a small, urban RV park in the front section of a 55+ mobile home community. We are in site 20, one of 22 “premium” big rig sites, a wide, level, graveled site with a concrete pad, parking for our car, and a picnic table. 50 amp FHU with cable TV.

The RV section of the park is fairly small and extremely well maintained, with a small, clean, swimming pool, small community building with pool table and library, dog walk area, and sufficient trash disposal. Laundry is open 24/7. Lots of large shade trees. The entire park is surrounded by an abode wall, spacious and very visually pleasing for an urban park. The office staff is extremely helpful and friendly.

Rate: We paid the weekly rate: pay for 6 days, get the 7th free, which worked out to $32/night. Pretty steep for us, but we wanted a convenient spot and this is it.

Phone/radio/TV: Verizon service is good here, phones and aircard. We have around 20-25 channels on cable TV, and our TV satellite works here. NPR is available on 89.1 and 89.9. Free WiFi is available.

Elevation/Landscape/Terrain: This is a flat, shady park at 7,300 ft elevation. Views are of neighboring rigs and trees.

Lighting/Noise: Night lighting is typical for a commercial park, “streetlight” type lighting that is brighter than necessary or desirable, but we‘ve seen worse. Noise is typical for an urban park on a busy commercial street, but not excessively annoying in our middle-of-the-park site with our windows open at night. I would avoid the sites in the front of the park, along the road.

Favorite Sites: The “premium” sites all are very large, long and wide. We would be pleased with any of them.

Hiking/Walking: Not much space for exercise in this small park, though a few loops through the mobile home section would be better than nothing. The park is located on a wide, busy, commercial thorough-fare with sidewalks; lots of traffic rushing by.

Comments: We are pleased with this park. We wanted to explore Santa Fe from a convenient location, and the park is better than we anticipated. Santa Fe has a good bus system, easy to navigate and inexpensive ($1/day for seniors). The bus stops right outside the park for a 25 minute trip to the plaza. Albertson's, Best Buy, Target, Borders and the usual companion stores are a few blocks in the other direction, within walking distance.

Monday, September 8, 2008


Our Opinion: Neutral. The prettiest commercial park in Taos has both positives and negatives. Small, mellow, funky, with a lively, friendly host constantly working on improvements - of which many are needed. No cell phone or aircard service, and the free wi-fi doesn’t extend to many of the sites. See Comments below.

Date of Stay: September 4 through 10, 2008

Weather During Stay: Highs in the upper 70’s, lows in the lower or mid 40’s.

Site Description: We are in site 40, on the far end of the center row. The 40 grass and dirt sites are level and sufficiently wide for comfort, with maybe a dozen sites in a center row (the only area suitable for big rigs) surrounded by shorter sites around the perimeter of the park. Our site faces a cute, small “common area” with tables and chairs under a patio cover, a small outdoor kitchen, a campfire circle and small fountain.

A laundry room is available, and we peeked into the restrooms. Like many of the on-site buildings, I’m glad we don’t need to use them! A dumpster provides plenty of space for trash collection. The overall feeling of the park is funky, mom-and-pop, much loved by seasonal guest who return each summer.

Rate: The posted rate is $30/night for 30 amps; $35/night for 50 amps. I can’t imagine who would pay that! We chose this park, sight unseen, because it sounded decent in reviews and the weekly rate is $125/week for 50 amps - under $18/night.

Phone/radio/TV: NO VERIZON service here! No phone, no aircard. Very fast WiFi is provided free, but does not reach to at least half the sites, including ours. TV satellite works. Local NPR on 88.7.

Elevation/Landscape/Terrain: The park is located in narrow Taos Canyon, next to the Rio Fernando de Taos, at 8,350 feet elevation. Unlike the other Taos RV parks, located in the open, high desert, this park has a “mountain” feel. The campground is long and narrow, with a high, heavily forested mountainside as it’s southern boundary - some of the campsites have been carved out of the hillside. Plenty of trees and shade, a blessing in summer. Views are of the mountainside, trees, wildflowers and neighbors. I feel uncomfortably closed in, but many campers would welcome the shade and coolness.

Lighting/Noise: It is completely, totally dark at night. Though the park is close to the road that carries traffic up Taos Canyon (part of the famous “Enchanted Circle“ loop drive), traffic noise is non-existent after dark.

Favorite Sites: Site 40 is nice, on the far end. Big rigs need to be in the center row. Smaller rigs will fit in any of the perimeter sites.

Hiking/Walking: A trail circumnavigates a small pond at one end of the park, and a short “nature trail” climbs the side of the hill. Neither is long enough for exercise, and the narrow road up the canyon is not safe for walking. Hiking is available nearby. Drive around 4-5 miles back to historic old town Taos for pleasant walking.

Comments: We would not be likely to return. Verizon phones/aircard don’t work here, inconvenient during a week-long stay, and the narrow canyon feels too closed-in to me (Laurie) - but these things would not bother many campers.
This is a funny little place… funky buildings that need updating and a few rigs that appear to be housing of last resort for the occupants. Yet the energetic host and the park owner work tirelessly to improve the spaces and have good reason to be proud of the comfortable, useful, “common space” they have created. Some spaces are neat and tidy, with appealing landscaping; others are occupied by a van pulled in close to a tarp-covered tent. In spite of the borderline buildings and some of the rigs, the overall feeling is safe and secure, cool and shady. If you don’t care about cell service or Internet in your rig, and you can stay long enough to take advantage of the reasonable weekly rate, this might be a good spot for you. It certainly is the prettiest of the 4 commercial RV parks we visited in Taos.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008


Our Opinion: Rave. Incredible beauty, but big rigs beware: you will fit in very few sites.

Date of Stay: September 1 through 3, 2008

Weather During Stay: Cool days (low 70’s), breezy, sunny, night time lows in the 40’s.

Site Description: Most of the 88 sites in the two loops of this older campground are small, suitable for tents and small RV’s. Roads and sites are paved. We are in site 35, one of very few that will accommodate our size. No hookups. Pick your site carefully for views or privacy. The views of the dunes from Loop 1 are a little better than the views from Loop 2.

Very clean restrooms with flush toilets. Water available near restrooms. Dump station positioned for arrivals or departures, along with dumpsters, recycling and an air compressor so 4-wheelers can refill their tires as they some off the sand road.

Rate: $14 per night per site; we paid $7 with our Golden Age Pass. There is a separate fee for entry to the park, $3 per person (waived with a Golden Age Pass).

Phone/radio/TV: Verizon phones and aircard work here thanks to a new cell tower. No obstruction for our TV satellite, though it could be a problem in a few of the shadier spaces. Couldn’t find a local NPR station. We didn’t put up the TV antenna.

Elevation/Landscape/Terrain: The campground is at 8,200 feet, on the side of a hill. Many evergreens provide shade without obscuring the view. Fantastic views of the dunes to the east and the Sangre de Cristo peaks to the west.

Lighting/Noise: Very dark, very quiet, very nice. Brilliant stars.

Favorite Sites: We lucked out with site 35, one of very few that works for a motorhome our size.

Hiking/Walking: Wonderful hiking, either on the dunes, beside the dunes, along the flank of the mountains or up to Mosca pass.

Comments: We hadn’t heard of Great Sand Dunes National Park until this summer, and we are SO glad we came. The dunes are sublime, the campground lovely, and the soaring Sangre de Cristos a fabulous backdrop. Another wonderful National Park.

Saturday, August 23, 2008


Our Opinion: Recommend. A pleasant, reasonably spacious, well-managed RV park near town.

Date of Stay: August 21 through August 28, 2008

Weather During Stay: The usual high mountain summer weather. High’s in the 80’s, lows in the 40’s. Sun, clouds, showers…and a major thunderstorm complete with flash flood warning.

Site Description: 34 sites are arranged in 3 rows in this small, scenic, commercial RV park. All sites are pull-throughs and long enough for big rigs. Each has a bit of green grass and a lovely little clump of aspen trees. Our row (the back row of three rows) has 50 amps; the other two rows have 30 amps. Most of the sites in the 50 amp row are rented to seasonal visitors from Texas.

Sites are reasonably level, and we are able to find a gap through the trees for our TV satellite. Picnic tables are scarce, about half a dozen for the park. Two or three tiny cabins are available for rent.

Rate: We paid $192.50 for a one week stay (weekly rate) - $27.50/night.

Phone/radio/TV: Verizon phones have 2-3 bars, sufficient for calls. Aircard has 3-4 bars of Broadband speed. Excellent local NPR on 88..5. Many rigs have their TV antenna up, we didn’t bother. Park brochure says you can get 2 stations. No cable TV, no internet access (free internet is available in town, less than 2 miles away).

Elevation/Landscape/Terrain: A somewhat sloping park at 7,900 ft in a high, wide, mountain valley on a small bluff above Grape Creek. Local views are neighboring RV’s and the rolling green pastures and cattle of area ranches. Distant views to the east are of the Wet Mountains. The spectacular Sangre de Cristo range, 5 miles to the west, dominates the landscape.

Lighting/Noise: Very quiet, just the lowing of cattle at feeding time and the whisper of the aspen leaves. Unfortunately, the park has one streetlight right in the center, which is on all night. Fortunately, we are no directly under it. The stars would be fantastic if the light was turned off!

Favorite Sites: Any of the 50 amp sites in the back row. All sites face east, so a 5th wheel with a back living room would have a spectacular view of the Sangre de Cristos in this row.

Hiking/Walking: Not a lot here in the little park, but good hiking is not far away. The nearest trailhead to access the Rainbow Trail (a gently undulating trail above 9,000 ft that stretches at least 100 miles along the east side of the Sangres) is about 12 miles away.

Comments: This is an enjoyable park a few miles south of an interesting (though tiny) town in a beautiful location. It appears to be the only RV park in town. Good boondocking is available at De Weese Reservoir, not far from town on the northeast side.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008


Our Opinion: Recommend, if you are willing to pay the high price. We would “rave” about this lovely state park if the fee structure was more equitable

Date of Stay: August 18 through 20, 2008

Weather During Stay: Typical summertime mountain weather - cool nights, sunny mornings, clouds and thundershowers in the afternoon.

Site Description: We are in site 4, with a great view of Pikes Peak out our front window, forest to the left and a meadow to the right (second photo). The roads and all of the 132 RV sites are paved. Most sites are back-ins, with some pull-outs and a few pull-throughs. All have 20/30 amp electric. All have picnic tables in good condition. No water at sites, but you can fill your tank at hose bibs scattered through the loops.

Most sites are large enough for larger rigs, but you need to keep an eye on tree branches and positioning. Sites are generally level, but some are way too sloped to level a motorhome. Deluxe dump station for arrival or departure. Several comfort stations, with pay showers. Large visitor center (top photo).

Rate: The rate for camping is $18/night. If you want to make a reservation on the internet, add another $8 per reserved period (not per night). To that, add a day use fee of $6 PER MOTORIZED VEHICLE. If you have a trailer, you pay a day use fee for your towing vehicle. If you have a motorhome and tow a vehicle, YOU PAY $6 per day per vehicle ($12 per day for the two), even though you will be camping in one vehicle and driving the other, no different than a trailer and towing vehicle. So, we paid $18/night to camp, $12/day for our vehicles, and $8 for a 3-day reservation, a total of $98, or over $32 per day for a site with 30 amp power, no water, no sewer.

Phone/radio/TV: Verizon phone is working on 2 bars. Aircard is working on 1-2 bars, sometimes broadband, sometimes slower. Local NPR is on 90.5 (not the clearest signal). Nothing is blocking our TV satellite. Several campers had their local TV antennas up.

Elevation/Landscape/Terrain: The state park road climbs a steep hill to a ridge top, so the land falls away on both sides of the campground, which is at 9,600 feet. Lots of trees, several meadows. Most hikes are down-and-up, not easy strolls.

Lighting/Noise: Quiet and dark. Wonderful.

Favorite Sites: We like the Peak View spur (bottom photo), with views of Pike’s Peak and plenty of privacy (only 5 sites on the spur). Sites 4 and 2 work best for us; site 5 would not work. The sites in the Conifer Ridge Loop don’t have much privacy, but some have good views (41 and 42). The farthest loop, Grouse Mountain, is much more heavily forested - shade, but no views. Most of the pull-outs and pull-throughs are along “Revenuer’s Ridge”, the ridge road that links the camping loops/spurs.

Hiking/Walking: Miles and miles of hikes in this huge park.

Comments: This is our second stay here - it is a great park that receives heavy use due to the proximity to the urban areas of the front range - Denver and Colorado Springs. Don’t bother coming without a reservation during the summer vacation season. Like all Colorado State Parks, the price is high, and the extra fee for both motorized vehicles strikes us as very inequitable and annoying. We were visiting a friend near Colorado Springs, so paid the price for the proximity, beauty, and cooler high altitude. Watch out for mice here.

Monday, August 4, 2008


Our Opinion: Rave. Large sites, reasonable price, friendly management make this a winner

Date of Stay: July 31 through August 17, 2008. We liked it so well that we returned August 28 through August 31.

Weather During Stay: A wild mix, typical of high mountain summer weather. Heat, sun, clouds, thunderstorms and a few chilly mornings. A cold wave moved in for the last three days of our stay: rain, rain, rain. Snow on the high peaks.

Site Description: We began in site 19, then moved to site 29. Because this used to be a mobile home park, the sites are twice the size of other commercial parks in the area. Many have a mature trees; all have some watered grass, a small concrete patio, and a picnic table.

There are around 50 spaces for RV’s, with 12 mobile homes still in the park. Don’t expect manicured green lawns - the park has a somewhat rustic, “country” feel - they don‘t call themselves a resort, and they are not. Roads are dirt (and dusty); sites are gravel and nicely leveled. 50 amp FHU. Laundry, showers, sufficient dumpsters, and the owners live onsite. They seem to cater to longer-term stays (mailboxes are available), and an older crowd; we didn’t see any children.

Rate: $25/night for FHU. Weekly rate is $160 plus tax; monthly rate is $375 plus tax and any electric use after the first $30. Stay 2 nights or more and get 10% off for cash or check. We paid around $22/night for our 18 night stay - a bargain for the area.

Phone/radio/TV: Verizon phones have a good signal; aircard on broadband most of the time. Local NPR on 89.9. No cable TV, but our satellite has a clear view. A couple stations are available on TV antenna, including Colorado PBS. WiFi is available through TengoInternet, but we used our aircard.

Elevation/Landscape/Terrain: A gently sloping park with trees and patchy grass at 8200’ elevation. View are of other rigs and nearby mountain peaks.

Lighting/Noise: Night lighting varies from site to site. In site 19, night lighting was unobtrusive - in site 29, a “streetlight“ reflects off the bedroom side of the rig, but it didn‘t keep us awake. No traffic noise at the back of the park, where we stayed, but the front sites would have highway noise. Dirt bikers used some nearby dirt roads and jumps from time to time - an infrequent annoyance.

Favorite Sites: Site 33 looks best to us for afternoon shade, but 29 must be the largest site. 30 is nice, too.

Hiking/Walking: A loop or two around the park is pleasant in the morning, but you need to drive to find a walk of a mile or more. We walked the Barbara Whipple trail 2 miles away in Buena Vista when we weren’t doing one of the many gorgeous hikes in the mountains.

Comments: This was a gem for us. “Homey” seems like the best description; nice big sites with folks relaxing outside their rigs, very mellow yet well-managed with the owners always around. The rate is less than ANY of the other RV parks in the area, yet the sites are twice the size of the usual commercial park. Opportunities for outdoor recreation and sightseeing are unlimited. When we return to this area, we will call in advance to reserve a favorite site for a nice long stay. 866-399-8107 and www.fourteenernet.com/valleymobilepark.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008


Our Opinion: Recommended, if you are willing to pay the price.

Date of Stay: July 27 through July 30, 2008

Weather During Stay: Typical high mountain summer weather: highs to the mid 80’s, lows to the mid 40’s, with clouds and occasional rain in the afternoon/evening. Wonderful.

Site Description: Our site, 27A (bottom photo), was huge, with a great view out the front window. Roads and sites are gravel. Lots of variety in the sites. Plenty of trash barrels.

The park has two levels - big rig friendly sites on the top level, with 30/50 amp FHU, level, wide, long (third photo). The lower level has lots of tent sites, a playground, and a couple of dozen electric-only sites - all under huge shade trees on the bank of Chalk Creek (second photo).

There also are 3 nice cottages with fabulous views (top photo), nice bathhouses, laundry, and a pleasant office with a small store (they sell ice cream, t-shirts and RV supplies).

Rate: With taxes and no discounts, we paid $38.75/night - much more than our usual, but it seemed reasonable for such a nice place at the peak of the summer vacation season.

Phone/radio/TV: Verizon phones worked well, but the aircard was very slow. However, the park has blazing fast, free WiFi. No cable TV, but no obstacles on the upper level sites for satellite RV dishes. Local NPR on 89.9.

Elevation/Landscape/Terrain: Elevation is 7750’. Upper level is flat and open, with good views of trees and mountains; lower level is forested with creek views.

Lighting/Noise: Quiet at night; lighting is unobtrusive.

Favorite Sites: Though our site was long, level, and wide, it was in the middle of the action. Next time, we would ask for a site from 1A to 8A.

Hiking/Walking: The park is large and the walking pleasant, but you need to drive to get in a long walk/hike. There are great hikes very nearby.

Comments: If you want to stay in a campground in this area (Buena Vista/Nathrop/Salida) in the summer, you need a reservation - it is a beautiful and popular area. We met friends here, on their recommendation. Very nice, well managed park, with a high tariff in keeping with the time of year and location.

Sunday, July 27, 2008


Our Opinion: Neutral. We have stayed here twice, and like it - but there are other nice commercial parks in the area, too.

Date of Stay: July 21 through 26, 2008

Weather During Stay: Typical summer weather in the high Rockies - warm days when the sun is out, frequent stormy clouds in the afternoon, and some rain. Cool nights.

Site Description: Because we wanted to extend our stay here beyond the one night we had planned, we had two different sites. Both were long and level, with neighbors very nearby on both sides. Site 81 was a 50 amp FHU with cable, facing directly west. Site 95 was a 30 amp E/W site (no sewer or cable TV) with nice shade, facing north.

Roads and sites are gravel. The 100-site park is well maintained, with pretty patches of lawn and flower gardens, plenty of trash containers, a nice office with small store, lots of park activities, friendly staff. As commercial parks go, this has a lot going for it, but the sites are very narrow. Neighbors chatting outside sound as though they are in our living room.

Rate: We paid $33/night for site 81, the 50 amp FHU. Site 95, the 30 amp E/W, was $26/night. We really appreciated the staff working to squeeze us in over the busy Fri/Sat time period after our plans changed. This park participates in Passport America, but not during the peak summer season.

Phone/radio/TV: Good cell signal for the phones. The aircard worked quite well, mostly on Broadband. Wi Fi is available (free, I believe) but we didn't use it. Some TV stations on antenna, but we used the satellite dish. Local NPR on 89.9.

Elevation/Landscape/Terrain: This is a flat, nicely landscaped commercial park at 8,100’ elevation. Views of nearby neighbors, trees, and distant 14,000+ foot peaks.

Lighting/Noise: Site 95 was darker and quieter at night than our first site; neither had obtrusive night lighting. We slept with the windows open and were not bothered by any traffic noise.

Favorite Sites: Not a lot of difference in the sites, other than the utilities and orientation. Pull-throughs are long side-by-sides, with the utilities between rigs, very close to each other, so we preferred the back-ins.

Hiking/Walking: Not much around the park - just the loops. We drive a few miles to a park on the east side of Buena Vista, right on the Arkansas River, where trails abound. Great hiking in the mountains in the immediate area, too.

Comments: We appreciated how friendly and helpful the staff is here. The park is very well maintained. If the sites were half again as wide, I would highly recommend this park. However, we intend to return to Buena Vista in a week, and made a reservation at another of the commercial parks - less expensive with sites twice the size of the sites at Snowy Peaks.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008


Our Opinion: Recommend. This is an easy stopover spot when passing through the Denver metro area. No shade, though.

Date of Stay: July 19th and 20th, 2008

Weather During Stay: HOT. Near or at 100 both days with lows in the 60’s.

Site Description: We were in Site 2, a long, dirt and gravel site that sloped from back to front see middle photo). Sites at the fairgrounds have E and W only, not FHU, but there is a dump station on site (though difficult to maneuver into and it is kept locked). All sites but 3 are 30 amp only, and in full sun, so not good for a hot day (top photo)! Sites 1 through 6 are set apart from the main group of RV sites, closer to the entrance. Here, three boxes service 6 sites, each box with a 50 amp outlet and a 30 amp outlet - so 3 of the 6 sites get to use 50 amp at any one time. We were one of them, which is why we put up with the sloping site. Great restrooms with private, combination lock, showers are available.

Rate: $20/night includes use of the dump and bathhouse.

Phone/radio/TV: This is a metro area. Verizon phones worked great, aircard worked great, TV antenna pulled in local stations. NPR of 90.1. Nothing to obstruct TV satellite dish.

Elevation/Landscape/Terrain: Jefferson County Fairgrounds is very roomy, with rodeo rings and lots of horse-related stuff going on. Enter off a frontage road along a busy freeway. Views are of other rigs, large expanses of mowed lawn and picnic tables, cars rushing along in the distance, interesting mesas, distant city lights. Somewhat rolling terrain. Elevation is 5,900’, a bit above Denver.

Lighting/Noise: Traffic noise is noticeable at night with the windows open; took awhile to fall asleep but didn't wake us up. Lighting was not intrusive.

Favorite Sites: Any of the 3 50 amp sites in summer, but we would take a standard 30 amp in the more level section if the weather had not been so hot.

Hiking/Walking: One loop around the fairgrounds is over a mile and makes a pleasant walk.

Comments: Call ahead to availability and to get the phone number for the on-site maintenance person who has to come to unlock your power and water when you arrive. We have stayed here several times when we are stopping in Denver only long enough to have service work done or stock up. It must be becoming more well known and used, as there are now two campground hosts on site. Costco, Safeway, Whole Foods and all the standard stores are within a short driving distance. Golden is a cute town with a good Farmer’s Market on Saturday (or is it Sunday?). There often are interesting activities going on at the fairgrounds.

Saturday, July 19, 2008


Our Opinion: Neutral. Here, you get what you pay for - and what we valued was 50 amps of electricity on a very hot day.

Date of Stay: July 18, 2008

Weather During Stay: HOT.

Site Description: Reasonably sized 50 amp FHU. Level, gravel (the really big kind) pull-through. No table, no trees, no grass, no amenities other than bathrooms - pay a $2 key deposit and you can use ‘em.

Rate: $16.25 per night.

Phone/radio/TV: Good Verizon signal; aircard on Broadband. Local NPR on 89.9. No cable TV. Nothing to block TV satellite. We didn’t put up the TV antenna.

Elevation/Landscape/Terrain: Flat gravel parking lot at 4,100’ on the outskirts of town. Views are of “edge of town” businesses, a row of houses, and other rigs.

Lighting/Noise: A train in the distance didn’t bother us. Typical residential and RV neighbor noise. Lighting was not intrusive.

Favorite Sites: We are in site 13. No favorites; all 22 sites are similar.

Hiking/Walking: We didn’t do any, but you would be able to walk along a sidewalk into town or to the river.

Comments: We stayed here one night 1 of a 3-leg road trip. We picked Torrington based on the distance we wanted to drive. We also had a tire leak repaired at a neighboring business, Olsen’s Tires. We didn’t need amenities, didn’t want to pay for any. The place worked fine for us.