Adventure Stories

The 25 Best Campgrounds of The West

After camping at over 600 campgrounds in his Lance Camper, Ralph Goff picks his favorite 25 BLM, USFS, and NPS campgrounds across the American West.  Most are under $10.  Many are absolutely free.  Thank you, Ralph!

25 Best Campgrounds of the West

Ten years ago today, we interviewed Ralph Goff (aka Ramblin’ Ralph) about his then new website,  From his 2001 Lance 845 truck camper, Ralph was systematically checking out every BLM, USFS, and NPS he came across, and documenting the quality of the campground on his free website.  Naturally, we were huge fans.

After a decade of first hand truck camping research, Ralph’s campground online directory has blossomed and expanded to include over 600 campgrounds throughout The American West.  For fellow truck campers looking for a real guide to BLM, USFS, and NPS campgrounds, you’re in for a serious treat.

And then we had to ask the inevitable question:

“So Ralph, you’ve been to all these campgrounds.  Well, which campgrounds are the best?  I mean, if you had to pick the top 25 campgrounds, what would they be?”

We almost felt guilty even asking Ralph the question.  It smacks of the absurdity of the, “Who makes the best truck camper?” question we get asked at every rally we attend (hint: nobody does).

Then again, we asked for Ralph’s personal opinion, not an empirical analysis.  As he reveals, he prefers mostly free or low cost USFS campgrounds away from people, without hookups, and offering resplendent views.  Add close by fishing opportunities and you have one happy Ralph.

If you need hookups, look elsewhere.  If you don’t like being off the beaten track, keep going.  But if you’re a jolly boondocker who loves extremely affordable camping away from humanity, Ralph’s information is like a big pile of amazing falling from the sky and landing on your future truck camping life.

We should all write Ralph a thank you note.  Here, I’ll get us started:

“Dear Ralph.  Thank you for visiting so many campgrounds and documenting your experiences for free on the internet for us all to benefit from.  You are straight up ridiculously awesome.  Thank you, Ralph!” – Sincerely, the truck camping community

Crater Lake, Oregon, Ramblin Ralph

Above: Ramblin’ Ralph at Crater Lake National Park, Oregon

TCM: You’ve been to over 600 campgrounds in the last 11 years of truck camping.  How did you go about picking your favorite 25?

Ralph: I looked at my blog,, and searched for the term, “very nice”.  I included that phrase to help me remember the better campgrounds that I’ve visited.  From that list, I selected my 25 favorites.

When I arrive at a campground, I take a picture of my site right off the bat.  I then put that picture and my campground notes in my blog.  I try to photograph the campground so people can see what it’s like.  For example, if there are a lot of trees or if there’s a lake I try to capture that.  I like to camp by lakes or streams.

Campground On Flat Tops Scenic Trail Colorado

Above: Campground on Flat Tops scenic trail in Colorado

As I walk around the campground, I take notes; the number of sites, if the sites are level, if there are toilets available, and the price.  Along with the campground photographs and information, I’ll often include pictures of the previous travel day.

Near Haines Jct Yukon Canada

Above: Near Haines Junction, Yukon, Canada

TCM: That information is a big help to fellow truck campers.  Where did you get the idea to start a website and document each campground?

Ralph: I started my website the first year I traveled.  That’s when Gordon ran across my site in 2007.  I already had a website for the music part of my life, so I knew how to build a website.  I wanted a place where my kids and friends could see where I had traveled.  It’s become a little more sophisticated as time went on.

For the first several years I traveled, I also kept a written notebook.  I wrote notes about the people I met, musicians I jammed with, neat places I discovered, and interesting things that happened along the way.

Owl Canyon Campground Near Barstow California

Above: Owl Canyon Campground near Barstow, California

I go to some of the same destinations every year.  In the summer, I always visit my cousin in Dillon, Montana, and then come back to California.  I try to go a different route than the previous year, but I have been so many times that I can’t always take a new route.

A View of the Eastern Sierra Mountains near Bishop CA

Above: A view of the Eastern Sierra Mountains near Bishop, California

TCM: Do you always seek out new campgrounds?

Ralph: Unless there’s a campsite I really, really liked, I like to go to new campgrounds.  It also boosts the count on my map, but that gets harder every year.  This year I added thirty-five campsites and I was surprised at that.

In my GPS I’ve stored every campsite I’ve camped at.  When I get in an area, I can look at saved locations, and it will show me the nearest campsites that I’ve been to before.  It even shows me the date I was there.  From that date I can go to my blog and look at the description.

Ione Ghost Town Nevada

Above: Ione Ghost Town, Nevada

TCM: You mainly go to United States Forest Service (USFS) campgrounds.  How do you find the USFS campgrounds you’ve written about?

Ralph: I was originally using an AAA book.  When the internet progressed, I came across my go to website for campgrounds;  It has thousands of government campgrounds that are national, state, and local.  Sometimes even cities will have campgrounds listed on the website. gives you the GPS coordinates.  It also gives you the number of campsites and the elevation.  Since I travel during the summer, I prefer staying at high elevation sites to stay cooler.  My highest campgrounds have been at around 9,500 feet.

TCM: Since you are traveling in summer, how do you find these US Forest Service, national park, and state park campgrounds during high season?  We’ve had bad experiences with campgrounds being full, like on the Beartooth Highway in Wyoming in early July.

Ralph: I had the same problem you did on the Beartooth Highway.  So, I drove down the main road, looked for a dirt road, and boondocked.  It’s national forest in there, so you can dry camp off dirt roads.  I do that every now and then.

Near Gardiner, Montana

Above: Near Gardiner, Montana

When I’m at my campsite, I plan where I’m going to be the next night.  Maybe once or twice a year I have gone to a US Forest campground and it has been full.  I normally leave the campsite at 10:00am and get to next one between 4:00 and 5:00pm.  People on vacation are trying to maximize travel time, so they don’t get in until it’s dark.

Maybe I’ll average 100 miles a day.  I’ll stop at a town and eat lunch so that I don’t have to have much for dinner.  I do my sightseeing as I drive for the day.  I might end up at a well known place for sightseeing and spend more time there.

If a campground is full, there are usually a lot of forest service campgrounds clustered together, so I can usually go to the next one.  I can only remember one time that I went to three of them and couldn’t get in.  They all were closed, so I had to go to a motel.

If it’s the weekend, and I’m near a big city, I will arrive on Friday and stay two days.  Then, I take off for my next destination on Sunday.

Carrizo Plain - California

Above: Carrizo Plain in California

TCM: How much of your camping is boondocking like you did on Beartooth Highway?

Ralph: Not much.  Most of my camping is in formal campgrounds.  I’m over 62, so I get half-price off any US Forest Campground.

When I get out of California and get into Idaho and Montana, the forest service campgrounds are often less than $10 at full price.  Sometimes they are totally free.

Utah camping beautiful red rock

Above: Capitol Reef National Park, Utah

TCM: That’s a great deal.  Most of the campgrounds you’re at are probably dry camping.  In your 2007 interview you said that you had a 125-watt solar panel and a second battery in front of the wheel area.  Have you made any other upgrades since then?

Ralph: Almost all US Forest Service Campgrounds have no hook-ups.  Over the years I have run into a few that have electric.  But, for me, I don’t need it.

I still don’t have an air conditioner or microwave.  I have the 125-watt solar panel and, if I stay only two or three days, I don’t have a power problem.  The only real upgrade I’ve done since 2007 is the addition of LED lights for the lights that I use the most.

East of Gabbs, Nevada

Above: East of Gabbs, Nevada

TCM: We love our 160-watt solar panel, two Group 31 AGM batteries, LED lights, and 600-watt inverter system.  It’s not perfect, but it’s close.  What keeps you going year after year?

Ralph: Visiting friends and family, and the overall truck camping experience keeps me going.  I usually hit the road the first week of May and stay in California until after Father’s Day.  During that time I may be camping, visiting friends, or my kids near San Francisco.  After Father’s Day, I take off for Montana.

The route varies every year.  Recently I’ve been spending the last two weeks in August visiting my cousin.  We go fishing and I stay through Labor Day to beat the crowds.

Then, I go back to California and get there late September/early October.  I need to be back by early October for my granddaughter’s birthday.  Then, I might go out again and I’ll be back to my winter home by early November.  That’s my year.

TCM: I notice on your map that all of the places are out west.  Do you plan on truck camping out east?

Ralph: I like the western part of US.  The farthest east I’ve been is the Black Hills of South Dakota, Mount Rushmore, and Badlands National Park.  I don’t like the heat and humidity, so I stay west for the high altitude.  The more altitude, the less heat and humidity.

Ramblin Ralph fishing

Above: Ramblin’ Ralph fishing in Alaska

TCM: That’s very true.  What are your plans for the next 10 years?

Ralph: I’m 75 years old.  I’m hoping to get a few more truck camping years in.  What I’m finding out is that my old body can’t deal with the minimal amount of work necessary to clean up and load the camper.  It’s getting harder and harder as I get older.

On the other hand, buying my truck camper and doing what I am doing was one of the best decisions of my life.  I’ve had 108,000 miles of fun.  The camper still has everything I need and I’m going to keep going for as long as I can.

Ramblin’ Ralph’s 25 Best Campground Picks
*Prices do not include the Golden Age Pass discount and are from the date listed below.


Beaverdam Campground (USFS)
Divide, Montana
8/21/16 – 8/22/16

Beaverdam Campground, Wyoming

From Divide, Montana, go nine miles north on I-15, and then six miles west on good gravel Divide Creek Road.  Elevation is 6,500 feet.

This campground has fifteen gravel sites on level land.  There are two well separated loops, with a picnic area between them.  Shade is best in the first loop.  Sites also on the road between the loops.  There is no highway noise here, since you’re six miles from it.

I heard a little ATV activity on an adjacent dirt road that leads to some boondocking – per a Forest Service person I talked to.  There are vault toilets.  It’s a real deal at $5.

I had a very private site the first night and then I found out about the second loop.  I switched to it the second night.  I sat outside during the day and played bluegrass music from my iPod and small speaker.  I also picked some on my mandolin.  There were no complaints.  A chipmunk did keep coming over to my chair.  I don’t know if it wanted to hear better or was expecting a snack.

Yikes, low of 25 degrees Fahrenheit on the second night!

Lonesomehurst Campground (USFS)
West Yellowstone, Montana

Lonesomehurst Campground, West Yellowstone, Montana

This campground is seven miles west of West Yellowstone, Montana on US20, then 3.5 miles north on Denny Creek Road.  It’s paved except for last mile with washboard gravel.  Elevation is at 6,700 feet.  Bye, bye Idaho.  Hello Montana!

There are twenty-seven gravel sites that are rather close together on level land.  It is sparse or no trees at many sites.  The campground is on an arm of the beautiful Hebgen Lake.  About ten sites are lakeside, some with a spectacular view of the lake (lucked out and got one!).  This was my third time here.  The price was $16.

On the way here, I revisited the very interesting Johnny Sack Cabin in the Island Park area of Idaho.  It was built in the 1930s by one person using primarily hand tools.  Incredible craftsmanship!

East Bank Campground (BLM)
Wise River, Montana
8/15/14 – 8/16/14

East Bank Campground, Montana

This campground is eight miles west of Wise River, Montana on Highway 43.  Elevation is at 5,700 feet.

There’s about nine gravel sites on level land alongside the beautiful Big Hole River.  The back sites have less noise.  Vault toilet.  No trash service.  There’s a boat launch ramp and day use area adjacent to the campground.

East Bank, Montana fishing

One of the most beautiful views you’ll see in Montana from there.  Had rain for the third night in a row.  The price was $0.

I have fished here many times.  Fished two short sessions and caught just one, but a nice one.  It was a 14-inch rainbow fish on a dry fly.  I talked to others who hadn’t done very well here or nearby.


Stoddard Creek Campground (USFS)

Stoddard Creek Campground, Idaho

This campground is twelve miles south of Montana/Idaho state lines on I15.  Then, travel one mile west on the campground road.  Elevation is at 6,300 feet.

This is a very nice campground in a heavily wooded area.  There are twenty-four sites (including one group and some doubles), split between two levels.  Some sites paved and others gravel or dirt.

Well developed sites, with parking, eating, and tent areas nice and level and boxed in with wood.  I’m on the hilltop level.  There are many long sites for large rigs.  It’s very handy to get to I15 with only very slight truck noise.  The cost was $10.

I have been to this campground four times.  In 2016, I was the only one in the upper level besides the campground host.

Cottonwood Campground (BLM)
Challis, Idaho

Cottonwood Campground, Challis, Idaho

This campground is sixteen miles north of Challis, Idaho on US93.  Elevation is at 4,700 feet.

Cottonwood Campground scenery, Idaho

This is probably the nicest BLM campground you’ll find.  There are 14 paved sites nestled in cottonwood trees on level land.  It’s a beautiful location beside the Salmon River (many sites right by it).  There is some highway noise, but the campground is below the level of the highway which reduces it.  I was also here in 2008.  It is still $10.

Riverside Campground (USFS)
Ashton, Idaho

Riverside National Forest Campground, Idaho

This campground is fifteen miles north of Ashton, Idaho on US20, then a little over a mile east on the access road.  Elevation is at 6,100 feet.

There are fifty seven sites (some gravel, some paved) in three loops.  Loop A has sites on the beautiful Henry’s Fork River with limited shade.  B and C loops have more shade (C the most).  It’s far enough from the highway for no noise.  This is my third time here.  The cost is $15.

Riverside Forest Service Campground, Ashton, Idaho

On the way here I visited the impressive Mesa Falls on the Henry’s Fork River.  Don’t miss it if you’re in the area.


Belle Fourche Campground (NPS)
Devils Tower, Wyoming

Belle Fouche Campground, Wyoming

This campground is at Devils Tower National Monument.  Elevation is at 3,800 feet.

This is a nice campground with 30 gravel sites in two loops on level land.  All sites are pull-throughs that parallel the campground’s interior road.  The Belle Fourche River encloses the campground, but it’s not really visible from the sites.

Belle Fouche, Devils Tower, Wyoming

There are lots of tall, leafy trees for potential shade.  It’s about a two mile drive to the visitor center at the base of the tower.  I think the place filled the night I was here.  There are flush toilets.  The cost was $12.

I took the one and a half mile trail around the base of the tower the morning I left.

Porcupine Campground (USFS)
9/4/15 – 9/6/15

Porcupine Campground, Wyoming

This campground is thirty-two miles east of Lovell, Wyoming on US14A, then about two miles north on NF13 (good gravel road).  About eight miles of US14A is very curvy and steep at a 10-percent grade.  Elevation is at 8,800 feet.

This is a very nice campground with sixteen gravel sites (two tent only) on level land.  The sites are well developed, large and well apart.  There are plenty of pines for shade at some point in the day.  There is a nice meadow view from some of the sites.

Sites in the front will get a bit of road noise from passing vehicles, including ATVs.  The Medicine Wheel archeological site is only a few miles away.  It required a three mile round trip hike at almost 10,000 feet, so I didn’t take it.  There are vault toilets.  The price was $15.

Porcupine Campground USFS Wyoming

I had to leave first site after one night due to a reservation.  However, as I was driving out I passed a site that just vacated.  Am I lucky or what?  A hail storm came in the second afternoon and the low that night was 26 degrees Fahrenheit (40 degrees in camper).  Brrrrrr!  It was only 40 degrees at noon the next day with sunny skies.

Porcupine Forest Service Campground, Wyoming

I’d love to have a small cabin with a view like I had out the back door of my camper at my second campsite here.


Loup Loup Campground (USFS)
East of Twisp, Washington
7/20/16 – 7/21/16

Loup Loup Campground, Washington

This campground is about thirteen miles east of Twisp, Washington on WA20.  Then, travel a little over a mile northwest on paved forest road.  Elevation is at 4,100 feet.

There are twenty-six gravel sites on two levels.  Twenty sites are on the upper level in a single loop.  The rest are on the lower level, which has no loop and a restricted turn around area, which is best for tenters and small RVs (like me).

There is a scattered stand of tall conifer trees for moderate shade and very few bushes for site privacy, but the spacing is usually good.  It is convenient to the highway, but far enough away for barely noticeable noise.  The campground host said usually very few are here.  There are vault toilets.  The price is $12.

I liked it here so much I stayed two nights because it is very peaceful.  I was in the lower level with only one other camper the first night and no campers the second night.  The upper level had about five sites occupied.

Winthrop, Washington near Loup Loup Campground

One the way here, I visited Winthrop, Washington which is a touristy town with a western theme.  There were quite a few people in town mid-week.

Ohanapecosh Campground in Mt. Rainier National Park (NPS)
Mt Rainier, Washington

Ohanapecosh in Washington

This campground is eleven miles northeast of Packwood, Washington on US12 and WA123.  Elevation is at 2,100 feet.

This is a mega campground with 180-plus sites in eight loops with tall trees, which gives the campground lots of shade.  The sites are farther apart than the typical National Park campground.

The beautiful Ohanapecosh River flows through  the front end of the campground.  Free dump station and flush toilets.  The cost is $20.

Ohanapecosh campground near Mt. Rainier

I drove through the park today, from the west entrance to this campground.  I lucked out with partly sunny skies and saw some beautiful views of Mount Rainier from the Paradise area.


Trillium Lake Campground (USFS)
Government Camp, Oregon
7/8/16 – 7/9/16

Trillium Lake Campground

This campground is 1.7 miles east of Government Camp, Oregon on Highway 26.  Then, go right on paved Forest Road 2656 for 1.4 miles.  Elevation is at 3,200 feet.

This is a really nice campground!   There are about 60 paved sites with excellent privacy from heavy vegetation between sites.  It is beside a nice little lake with no motor boats.  There is a fantastic view of the impressive Mount Hood from the fishing dock at the southern end of the lake.  The cost was $22.

It rained on and off during the day and night.  I was last here in 2009.

North Fork John Day Campground (USFS)
North of Sumpter, Oregon
7/2/13 – 7/5/13

North Fork John Day Campground Oregon

This campground is twenty-five miles north of Sumpter, Oregon on Highway 220 (CR24 and FR 73).  Elevation is at 5,200 feet.

There are thirteen gravel sites, plus some walk-in tent sites and a group site on level land.  There are lots of medium-sized trees, but some sites get a lot of sun.

The campground is next to the very clear North Fork John Day River, designated Wild and Scenic.  The trail into the wilderness starts at the campground.  I was here in September 2011 when it was a lot cooler and there was less water in the river.  The price was $8.

On Wednesday the heat wave finally broke.  The inside of my camper only got up to 90 degrees Fahrenheit versus 100+.  I was on the verge of renting a motel room for the night.  The Friday night low was 29 degrees!

Sutton Creek Campground (USFS)
Florence, Oregon

Sutton Creek Campground

From Florence, Oregon, take US101 N about five miles and turn west on Sutton Road.  The campground is about half mile.  Elevation is 100 feet.

Very nice campground with 80-plus paved sites on level land in four loops.  About twenty campsites have electric.  There is good site privacy due to spacing and bushes between sites.

Sutton Creek Campground, Oregon coast

A site is more likely to have lots of shade than lots of sun, due to plenty of Oregon greenery.  There is a small creek inside the campground.  A trail leads to some Darlingtonia carnivorous plants, but I didn’t take it.  There are flush toilets. The price was $22.


Tuttle Creek Campground (BLM)
Lone Pine, California
5/26/16 – 5/29/16

Tuttle Creek Campground, Lone Pine, California

This campground is five miles southwest of Lone Pine, California via Whitney Portal Road and Horseshoe Meadow Road.  Elevation is at 5,100 feet.

80-plus dirt sites, well apart, on sloping ground.  Zippo significant shade.  Vault toilets.  Beautiful view of the Eastern Sierra mountains and the Owens Valley.

There’s a very small creek in the campground that’s stocked with trout.  It’s just several miles away from the highest point in the Lower 48; Mount Whitney at 14,494 feet.  The cost was $5 at the dump station and $5 a night.  This was my fourth time here.

Yay, I’m back to camping and in my favorite part of California for recreation; the Eastern Sierra.  I have been fishing this area for almost 45 years.

I visited the very interesting Museum of Lone Pine Film History on Saturday.  If you’re interested in old cowboy movies, you’ll enjoy it.  They made many movies in this area.  It was a bit breezy here a lot of the time and got warmer each day.

Dimond O Campground (USFS)
Near Yosemite, California

Dimond O RV Campground in California

This campground is just before the northwest entrance to Yosemite National Park on CA120 take paved Evergreen Road north for six miles.  Elevation is at 4,300 feet.

It’s a very nice campground with thirty-eight paved sites in a beautiful setting of tall trees of various types.  There is a small stream nearby.  It’s very handy to the northwest entrance of Yosemite.  I was here five years ago (my first year of ramblin’).  The price was $21.

Dimond O camping fog

At night it rained like the dickens.  I heard the next morning that Tioga Pass in Yosemite at 10,000 feet got closed from the storm.  I just made it in time!


Ward Mountain (USFS)
Ely, Nevada

Ward Mountain Campground, Ely, Nevada

This campground was seven miles southwest of Ely, Nevada on Highway 6.  Elevation is at 7,300 feet.

This is a very nice campground with well developed and equipped sites.  There are thirty gravel sites on level ground in two widely separated loops.  Plus, there is one other area with about twelve sites.  There are two group areas as well.

There are plenty of pinyon pines and junipers.  There is some slight highway noise, but it’s not bad.  There is less noise in Loop B because it’s farther from the highway.  There are various trails nearby.  This was my fourth time here.  The cost was $8.

Thomas Canyon Campground (USFS)
Near Elko, Nevada
7/6/15 – 7/7/15

Thomas Canyon, near Elko, Nevada

To get to this campground, go about 20 miles southeast of Elko, Nevada on NV227 then eight miles on FR660.  It’s in the Lamoille Canyon of the Ruby Mountains.  Elevation is at 7,500 feet.

There are 40 paved sites on level land in three loops.  There are lots of aspens and a nice creek flows through campground making music.  There is good privacy and some shade in most sites.

Absolutely spectacular scenery is 360 degrees all around.  If you think Nevada is all desert, you’re wrong!  There are lots of hiking trails in the area.  There are vault toilets.  I got a primo site with the creek behind me!  The cost was $17.

Lamoille Canyon near Thomas Canyon Campground in Nevada

I highly recommend visiting this area, even if you’re not camping.  It’s beautiful!  Be sure to drive about five more miles past the campground to the end of Lamoille Canyon Road for more beauty.

On the way here I visited the very interesting California Trail Interpretive Center near Elko.  And we think we have it tough these days.


Maple Grove Campground (USFS)
9/9/16 – 9/10/16

Maple Grove Campground in Utah

From Scipio, Utah on Interstate 15 take US 50 about fifteen miles south and then go west on Maple Grove Road.  Watch for the campground sign.  Follow the paved road about four miles to the campground.  Elevation is at 6,400 feet.

This is a nice campground with about twenty paved sites, plus three reservation group areas with multiple sites.  There are a variety of primarily leafy trees, including (who’d a guessed) maples.  The campground is on sloping land with sites well apart.

Maple Grove campground, Utah flowersThere are fancy red brick vault toilets.  A small creek runs through the campground.  The campground is at the base of a tall, scenic red rock bluff.   It is well away from the highway, so it’s very peaceful here.  The cost is $15.

Several people arrived after I did and it got a bit noisy.  Saturday around noon I looked for another site and found one away from the noise and on the creek.  Yay!  This was my third time here.  I saw a family of turkeys again.

Stillwater Campground (USFS)
South of Evanston, Wyoming in Utah

Stillwater Utah National Forest Service Campground

This campground is thirty-one miles south of Evanston, Wyoming on Highway 150.  Elevation is at 8,500 feet.

This is nice campground with about nineteen gravel sites on level land.  The Bear River (small at this point) runs alongside the campground.  A mix of conifers and aspens provide some shade to most sites.  Sites are usually well separated.  The interior dirt road is rather rough. There are vault toilets.  The price is $18.

Stillwater Campground, Utah

I lucked out and got a great site.  It was large, not close to any neighbors, and had a nice view of the river.

I was in this area in 2013 and wanted to visit it again.  Highway 150 is loaded with USFS campgrounds and boondocking spots!


Kelly Flats Campground (USFS)
West of Fort Collins, Colorado
8/1/08 – 8/2/08

Kelly Flats forest campground in Colorado

This campground is thirty-six miles west of Fort Collins, Colorado on Highway 14.  Elevation is at 6,600 feet.

Finally a decent campground again!  Actually more than decent; very nice.  I pulled in just as someone pulled out (campground was full) and got a primo spot.

There are thirty dirt/gravel sites along the very nice Cache La Poudre river.  There are pine and aspen trees and lots of other green stuff.  The river noise masks out most of the highway noise.  I even caught a few fish!

My last Colorado camping for this year.  I’ll miss it!  It’s a beautiful state.  The price was $17.

Stillwater Campground (USFS)
Granby, Colorado

Stillwater Forest Service Campground in Colorado

This campground is about nine miles northeast of Granby, Colorado on US34.  Elevation is at 8,300 feet.

This is a big campground with 120-plus well developed gravel sites on hilly land.  Bring your own shade, since there are hardly any trees.  However, the view makes up for it!

Stillwater, Colorado sunset

Many sites look out across beautiful Lake Granby with mountains on the other side.  Unfortunately, the trees aren’t all green due to that dern beetle, but the view is still very scenic.

It’s free for campers to use the dump station.  There are flush toilets.  The price was $22.

New Mexico

Black Canyon Campground (USFS)
Santa Fe, New Mexico
7/17/08 – 7/19/08

Black Canyon USFS campground, New Mexico

This campground is seven miles northeast of Santa Fe, New Mexico on Highway 475 (Hyde Park Road).  Elevation is at 8,400 feet.

This is a very nice campground in tall pines.  There are thirty-six paved sites in hilly terrain.  It’s one of the nicest USFS campgrounds that I’ve been to.  It was just rebuilt two years ago.  It even has low flagstone walls at the campsites.  I visited an old high school buddy that I hadn’t seen in thirty years while here. The price was $10.

Valley of the Fires Campground (BLM)
West of Carrizozo, New Mexico
7/15/08 – 7/16/08

Valley of Fires Campground, New Mexico

This campground is four miles west of Carrizozo, New Mexico off Highway 380.  Elevation is at 5,200 feet.

It’s a very nice campground in a beautiful high desert setting.  There are mountains in the distance alongside a lava flow bed with a walking trail.  It has nice shaded picnic tables.  There are twenty paved sites.  There were quite a few small flies that liked to get in my ears.  It was nice and peaceful at night.  The price was $12.


Bonito Campground (USFS)
North of Flagstaff, Arizona

Bonito Campground, Arizona

This campground is sixteen miles north of Flagstaff, Arizona on Highway 89 and two miles east on NF-545.  The campground is across the road from the Sunset Crater National Monument Visitor Center.  It is well off the highway for peace and quiet.  Elevation is at 7,100 feet.

It is a nice campground with forty-four paved campsites that are spaced apart.  It’s on mostly level land with plenty of tall pine trees for shade.  The ground is volcanic gravel.  There are flush toilets. The price was $22.

Bonito Campground drive through Arizona

This was my fourth time here.  Much of the drive had a beautiful view of red rock bluffs.  It sure was windy though.  I had to work to keep my rig in my lane.

North Rim Grand Canyon Boondocking Site (USFS)
9/12/13 – 9/13/13

North Rim Grand Canyon Boondocking Site

This is not a developed campground and it’s north of the entrance to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon.  From AZ67, about half mile south of the road to the De Motte Campground, turn east on NF610.  In about a mile, take NF611.

Follow this road past the East Rim trailhead until you see the small NF611V road sign on the right; about 6 miles from AZ67.  Elevation is at 8,800 feet.  My highest campground in 2013!

North Rim Grand Canyon campground view

Wow, what a boondocking spot!  I got a $10 million dollar view (inflation you know).  I’m parked about thirty feet from the east edge of the Kaibab Plateau.  It drops off fast here.  I’m guessing I can see thirty or more miles.

The Colorado River carved Marble Canyon is about ten miles away.  There is room for one other camper nearby, but I’m the only one here.  There are other spots along the same road.  I was talking to a guy in the parking lot at the North Rim and he told me about this area.  You can’t beat the price at $0.

I visited the North Rim today.  There are plenty of great views!   I took the half mile Bright Angel Point walk.

To see more of Ralph’s recommended campgrounds, visit his website at

Ralph Goff’s Rig
Truck: 2006 GMC 2500HD, Short Bed, 4×2, Extended Cab, Single Rear Wheel, Gas
Camper: 2001 Lance 845
Tie-Downs/Turnbuckles: Torklift
Suspension: Air Bags and Torklift Stable Loads
Gear: Spare tire on carrier on front of truck


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