Arizona Campground Reviews

Here you will find reviews of campgrounds in which we have stayed in the state of Arizona.

For details on how we choose a campground and our review criteria, go to our Main Campground Reviews page.

The reviews you find here will be from most recent to oldest since the older the review, the less relevant it may be. The "Overall Rating" is on a scale of 1 - 10 with 10 being the best.

Also, you will notice that each listing shows a corresponding "Journal Site" number. This refers to when our stay occurred in our journey and the number on the Map Of Our Travels on our daily Journal. By going to our Journal for the dates indicated in the review, you may be able to find out more about the campground and the area - but no promises. :)



Direct Links To Arizona Reviews Below

SKP Saguaro Co-Op Park, Benson, AZ - September 2009

Holiday Palms RV Park, Quartzsite, AZ - September 2009

Prospectors RV Resort, Lake Havasu City, AZ - September 2009

Cottonwood Campground, Canyon de Chelly National Monument, Chinle, AZ - February 2009

Dead Horse Ranch State Park, Cottonwood, AZ - February 2009

Alamo Lake State Park, Wenden, AZ - February 2009

Bureau of Land Management (BLM) 14-Day Camping Area, Plomosa Road, Quartzsite, AZ - January 2009

Picacho Peak State Park, Picacho, AZ - January 2009

Gilbert Ray Campground, Tucson Mountain Park, Tucson, AZ - January 2009

Patagonia Lake State Park, Patagonia, AZ - January 2009

SKP Saguaro Co-Op Park, Benson, AZ - November 2008

Roper Lake State Park, Safford, AZ - November 2008

Crystal Forest Gift Shop, Petrified Forest National Park South Entrance, Holbrook, AZ - November 2008




Journal Site 130: SKP Saguaro Co-Op Park - Overall Rating: 8

Dates: September 30, 2009 - October 1, 2009
Location: A few miles off of I-10 in Benson in southeastern Arizona. About an hour east of Tucson.
Our Site: 250
GPS Coordinates: 31.94358N, 110.2912W
Reason Selected: Good stopping point on our way from northern California to our 2009 Rally in Kerrville, TX. This was our second stop at this park. We were in Site 270 before and stayed through the winter holidays. See the
SKP Saguaro Review below for the rest of the review.

SKP Saguaro Co-Op


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Journal Site 129: Holiday Palms RV Park, Quartzsite, AZ - Overall Rating: 6

Dates: September 26, 2009 - September 30, 2009
Location: Southwest Arizona in Quartzsite right off I-10.
Our Site: 13, one of the overnight pull-through sites
GPS Coordinates: 33.66538N, 114.2235W
Reason Selected: Hadn't planned on staying in Quartzsite at all on this trip. However, we had a brake problem on our fifth wheel and had to limp in to somewhere. This seemed to be the best option of the RV parks at the time. It was 104 degrees, so the traditional Quartzsite boondocking wasn't going to happen. :)
Setting: Big, flat RV park that sits between I-10 to the south and Business 10 through Quartzsite to the north. Not our cup of tea at all, but at least they threw in some palm trees. :)
Guidebooks: No factor.
Big Rig Friendly: Plenty of room for the overnight pull-through sites. It looked a little tighter in the back section where there are permanent rigs.
Hook-ups: Full hook-ups with 50-amp.
Laundry: There is a laundry, but we didn't check it out.
Price & Discounts: Nightly rate is $25 plus tax. They do have a 10% Good Sam Discount on the nightly rate. The weekly rate is $150 plus tax. The monthly rate is $270 PLUS metered electric March - October and $350 PLUS metered electric November - February.
Other Factors: The website tells you pretty much everything you need to know on one page. Satellite was no problem at all. We were here in the off-season, so we saw very few people and the office wasn't open very much.
OVERALL RATING: 6 (out of ten)
This RV park is another one where we would have never planned to stay. It certainly served its purpose while we waited for rig repairs in the 100-degree heat. But we wouldn't stay there again unless it was another emergency and just as hot. For what it is worth, it did seem better than all the other RV parks in town. :)

Holiday Palms RV Park


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Journal Site 128: Prospectors RV Resort, Lake Havasu City, AZ - Overall Rating: 6

Dates: September 25, 2009 - September 26, 2009
Location: Far western Arizona about 15 miles south of I-40 on the Arizona/California border at Lake Havasu. A few miles west of U.S. 95 on the north side of Lake Havasu City (the north end of London Bridge Road).
Our Site: CA 10
GPS Coordinates: 34.56087N, 114.3708W
Reason Selected: Total screw-up on our part. We missed a turn to our intended destination and ended up in Havasu City. Prospectors was the only RV park with a sign on I-40, so we basically chose it from that as we were ready to get off the road.
Setting: We didn't stay in the "resort" section, so I can't give it much of a review other than to say it certainly wasn't anything special as far as the setting goes. We just stayed overnight and were in a gravel parking lot with hook-ups. It was far enough away from U.S. 95 and the town to be reasonably quiet, but there wasn't really any "character" other than the entrance sign and the office which seemed to be remnants of an older park.
Guidebooks: No factor.
Big Rig Friendly: Pretty much. I didn't see anything that would be a problem.
Hook-ups: Full hook-ups with 30-amp electric in the gravel parking section. Full hook-ups with 50-amp electric in the "resort" section.
Laundry: The website shows a very nice laundry facility, but we didn't check it out.
Price & Discounts: We paid $17 - not sure why. :) They do accept Camp Club USA half price discount, but we didn't have that. I guess he was just being nice as we they weren't busy and we were just overnighting. The normal rates are $28 - $34 plus tax with lower range in summer and higher range in winter. Weekly rates range from $185 - $200 plus tax, and the monthly rates range from $300 - $405 PLUS metered electric. The overnight gravel sites where we were are slightly less.
Other Factors: The website is pretty good. Looks like the facilities are nice for snowbirds, but we didn't really check anything out. Satellite was no problem at all.
OVERALL RATING: 6 (out of ten)
This RV park is not one we would have ever planned to stay. I'm giving it a 6 based on the gravel parking lot where we parked. The "resort" part may deserve higher due to conrete pads, 50-amp service, and amenities, but it didn't look appealing enough to us to make a return trip. P.S. There is a great little hole-in-the-wall Italian restaurant called Angelina's Italian Kitchen in the old part of town - definitely worth a visit. :)

Prospectors RV Resort


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Journal Site 119: Cottonwood Campground, Canyon de Chelly National Monument - Overall Rating: 6

Dates: February 20, 2009 - February 23, 2009
Location: Northeast Arizona. About three miles east of U.S. Highway 191 in Chinle, AZ.
Our Site: 19
GPS Coordinates: 36.14839N, 109.54130W
Reason Selected: Side trip to visit Canyon de Chelly National Monument on our way to our camphosting duties at Arches National Park in Moab, Utah.
Setting: Lots of campsites squeezed into a fairly tight area. Not very attractive in winter due to dormant vegetation. Would be better in spring/summer/fall with the numerous cottonwood trees. The section with the most trees was closed when we were there. The largest sites sit across the road from the maintenance yard, so the views are not good at all. Also, the monument and campground sit within a Navajo reservation, so there is housing on the way to and around the campground.
Guidebooks: No factor.
Big Rig Friendly: Not really. It's easy to get to the campground with a big rig, but the turns within the campground are very tight and there are only a few big rig sites. We were able to get a site that fit our fifth wheel, truck, and Jeep primarily because it was winter and there were few other campers there.
Hook-ups: No hook-ups! There are restrooms with flush toilets, but no showers, and there is a dump station. However, the dump station is closed in winter months. There is a water spigot in the middle of the campground, but would take quite a bit of hose to take on water. The locals bring jugs to fill up with water at the campground spigot.
Laundry: None
Price & Discounts: Free! The best thing about the campground.
Other Factors: The Canyon de Chelly website has virtually no useful information about the campground. Satellite could be an issue depending on your site with the numerous cottonwood trees. Restrooms were adequate and actually cleaner than I thought they would be. With the poverty in the area and the numbers of locals coming to the campground to fill up with water or just to hang out, the campground didn't feel as secure as most other public campgrounds we have visited. We didn't have any problems, but we felt the need to keep things locked up more than usual.
OVERALL RATING: 6 (out of ten)
This campground certainly was not one of our favorites. We could imagine it being better with more campers and in other seasons. But with no hook-ups at all, very few big rig sites, and the concerns about security, we can't give it a very high rating. We did push it up to a 6 because it is free and because it is the most convenient camping for visiting Canyon de Chelly National Monument which is definitely worth the trip.

Canyon de Chelly National Monument


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Journal Site 118: Dead Horse Ranch State Park, Cottonwood, AZ - Overall Rating: 7.5

Dates: February 11, 2009 - February 20, 2009
Location: In Cottonwood in central Arizona off Interstate 17 between Phoenix and Flagstaff. About 12 miles west of I-17 at Exit 287.
Our Site: 87 in the Cooper's Hawk Loop
GPS Coordinates: 34.76123N, 112.0164W
Reason Selected: Decided to make this a stop on our way to Moab, UT for our March 2009 camphosting duties. In addition to the park itself and the adjacent Verde River Greenway State Natural Area, we selected this park for its convenience to Sedona and other area attractions that could be visited on day trips. Also, there is a Super Walmart where we could stock up on supplies for our workamping in March/April.
Setting: There are actually four campgrounds at Dead Horse Ranch. The Quail Loop is the oldest, smallest, and one with the most shade. The Red-Tail Hawk Loop has several back-in sites out in the open high desert, but that loop was closed when we were there. The Blackhawk Loop is for tents only and is also in the open high desert with good mountain views. We stayed in the Cooper's Hawk Loop which is between the Red-Tail Hawk Loop and the Blackhawk Loop. It has a combination of back-in and pull-through sites out in the open with good mountain views. All loops are away from main road and are quiet.
Guidebooks: None used.
Big Rig Friendly: No problem for any rig, but the Cooper's Hawk Loop is clearly the best for the largest rigs.
Hook-ups: 50/30 amp electric and water. No sewer hook-ups, but there are two nice dump stations conveniently located on the way in or out.
Laundry: None.
Price & Discounts: $19. Or $12 if you choose to not hook up to electric
Other Factors: No problem with satellite. Volunteers were pleasant. Website is pretty good. Bathrooms with showers were fairly nice.
OVERALL RATING: 7.5 (out of ten)
Dead Horse Ranch is convenient to lots of attractions and near Walmart without feeling like you are in town. We stayed longer than expected. However, the sites, especially the pull-throughs are a little too close together. They are side-by-side and don't allow much room to sit outside. If not for that, I likely would have bumped this campground up to an 8. Also, I think we would have enjoyed the park itself and the Verde River Greenway a little bit more in the spring/summer/fall.

Dead Horse Ranch State Park


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Journal Site 117: Alamo Lake State Park - Overall Rating: 7.5

Dates: February 6, 2009 - February 11, 2009
Location: The middle of nowhere in southwestern Arizona. About 40 miles north of Wenden, AZ; Turn left off U.S. HWY 60 in Wenden and keep driving to the end of Alamo Lake Road.
Our Site: B19
GPS Coordinates: 34.23253N, 113.5813W
Reason Selected: Chose it for its seclusion as we started northward from Quartzsite toward our camphosting duties at Arches National Park in Moab, Utah.
Setting: Desert setting among Arizona Mountains overlooking the beautiful Alamo Lake.
Guidebooks: No factor.
Big Rig Friendly: Yes. Because Alamo Lake is a popular fishing lake, the sites are designed to accomodate RVs and boats. The road from Wenden to Alamo Lake has no shoulders which gives it the illusion that it's not very wide, but it is okay.
Hook-ups: 19 sites with full hook-ups and 50 amp electric; Several more sites with 50 amp electric and water but no sewer; Dry camping sites are also available
Laundry: None
Price & Discounts: $23 for full hook-ups; $20 for electric and water hook-ups; $12 for no hook-ups in the developed campgrounds; $10 for dry camping with no facilities other than chemical toilets.
Other Factors: No problem with satellite; Friendly rangers; Bathhouses are old and that makes it tough to tell exactly how clean they are - not up to the standards of other Arizona State Parks we have visited
OVERALL RATING: 7.5 (out of ten)
The campgrounds aren't particularly special except for a row of sites in lower Campground B that back up to a wash and overlook the lake - we had one of those sites. Actually, the dry camping sites without facilities have some of the best views. But the peacefulness and the overall views are pretty hard to beat. This is a great place to come and relax away from crowds and noise. Your cell phone may not work though - a plus for some. :)

Alamo Lake State Park


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Journal Site 116: Bureau of Land Management (BLM) 14-Day Free Camping Area, Plomosa Road, Quartzsite, AZ - Overall Rating: 7

Dates: January 20, 2009 - February 6, 2009
Location: In southwest Arizona north of Quartzite; Plomosa Road is off of AZ Hwy 95 about 6 miles north of I-10; Our site was about three miles east on Plomosa.
Our Site: N/A - Park wherever as long as there are no signs saying you can't
GPS Coordinates: 33.766N, 114.176W
Reason Selected: We were invited to join the Montana Owners Club for boondocking in Quartzsite. We had wanted to see it for ourselves, but were more comfortable joining folks that knew what they were doing.
Setting: A bunch of RVs scattered throughout the desert on lava rock-type surface. Mountain views in all directions.
Guidebooks: None used.
Big Rig Friendly: No problem for any rig or combination of vehicles.
Hook-ups: None! That's part of the point. :) However, there are trucks that will come to you and pump out your wastewater tanks for $20. You can also have water brought to you. In Quartzite, there is a place called the RV Pit Stop where you can take on water, dump, and get propane.
Laundry: None.
Price & Discounts: Free!
Other Factors: No problem with satellite. :)
OVERALL RATING: 7 (out of ten)
We both wanted to experience Quartzsite and test our boondocking skills. I had heard that it was extremely dusty and windy. Perhaps we were lucky, but it wasn't nearly as windy or dusty as I expected. Quartzsite is boondocking made easy. If you want to try it, hook-up with someone you know and go do it. Solar panels help, but they are by no means necessary. We would definitely park in the same place and do Quartzsite again.

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Journal Site 115: Picacho Peak State Park - Overall Rating: 8

Dates: January 18, 2009 - January 20, 2009
Location: Right off of I-10 between Tucson to the southeast and the intersection of I-10 and I-8 to the northeast. Hard to miss the prominent Picacho Peak. :)
Our Site: ???? - No site numbers in Loop A, the no hook-ups loop
GPS Coordinates: 32.65369N, 111.4176W
Reason Selected: Wanted to check out this state park and do some hiking on our way to Quartzsite, Arizona.
Setting: The three campground loops sit between the Picacho Peak mountain range and I-10 in the desert. The natural desert setting is wonderful and the interstate is far enough way to be a nuisance, but not a deal breaker for the campground. Loop A has the most distance between it and the interstate, followed by Loop B, and then Loop C which gradually gets closer.
Guidebooks: None used.
Big Rig Friendly: Plenty of room for the biggest of rigs; Some of the largest, most spread out sites we've encountered in a state park.
Hook-ups: No hook-ups in Loop A; Loops B & C have 20/30/50 amp electric, but no water or sewer hook-ups. There is an easily accessed dump station on the way out.
Laundry: No laundry facilities
Price & Discounts: $12 in Loop A; $20 in Loops B & C; Prices are $10 and $15 in the summer
Other Factors: All sites offer easy satellite access; Arizona State Park websites give good descriptions of facilities; Bathhouses were very clean with great showers; Good variety of hiking.
OVERALL RATING: 8 (out of ten)
We really liked this campground and its natural setting. I almost gave it a 7.5 due to the closeness of the interstate. The roar of the traffic is noticeable, especially at night. But the size of the sites and the distance in between them bumped it back up to an 8. We hope to come back sometime in the spring when the wildflowers are blooming - the photos I've seen are gorgeous during that time.

Picacho Peak State Park


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Journal Site 114: Gilbert Ray Campground, Tucson Mountain Park - Overall Rating: 8

Dates: January 13, 2009 - January 18, 2009
Location: On the west side of the Tucson Mountains, 13 miles west of Tucson, Arizona.
Our Site: 25, H-Loop
GPS Coordinates: 32.21901N, 111.1441W
Reason Selected: Wanted to visit the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum and Saguaro National Park on our way through Tucson. This campground is part of a county park and is just a few miles from both those attractions.
Setting: This campground is carved out of the Sonoran Desert. There are native plants, including saguaro cacti, througout. It looks like it has been landscaped until you notice that the surrounding desert looks the same. There are great views of the Tucson Mountains to the east and distant mountain views with beautiful sunsets to the west.
Guidebooks: None Used.
Big Rig Friendly: The road getting to the campground is fairly narrow, somewhat curvy, and has lots of significant dips. Take your time. The main campground road is nice and wide, but things can get a little tight in the loops. The biggest loop, Loop A, is often closed until the other loops fill up. There are plenty of sites big enough for larger rigs, but some of them can be a challenge to get into, especially in H-Loop.
Hook-ups: 130 sites with 30-amp electrical hook-ups only; No water or sewer hook-ups, but there are numerous water spigots scattered throughout to fill fresh tanks; In fact, there are so many spigots, you can usually fill your tank after you park if you have enough hose; There are two nice dump stations, but they are strangely located in the back of the campground on their own loop
Laundry: None.
Price & Discounts: $20; The website says $10 for non-electric hook-ups, but there is a sign at the campground that says ALL RVs must pay the $20 per night regardless of whether you use electric or not.
Other Factors: It's a self-pay campground and we didn't deal much with the staff. The one lady we met that was marking departure times on tickets was very nice. Website is sparse, but it does show a good overhead view of the campground. Though not mentioned on the website, there is sign that says there is a 7-day maximum stay - don't know how strictly that might be enforced. There are bathrooms with flush toilets that were decent, but there are no showers. Satellite is not a problem.
OVERALL RATING: 8 (out of ten)
We loved the natural surroundings and we felt our site (25 in the H-Loop) was one of the better ones for privacy. There are lots of nice sites in the A-Loop, but you can't count on it being open. Another great site for privacy is #26 in the C-Loop, a large pull-through with nothing but desert out your door. The convenience to the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum and Saguaro National Park is a plus. This campground is a wonderful option near Tucson yet with the feeling of being out in the middle of the desert - which it pretty much is. :)

Gilbert Ray Campground, Tucson Mountain Park


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Journal Site 113: Patagonia Lake State Park - Overall Rating: 7.5

Dates: January 8, 2009 - January 13, 2009
Location: About 20 miles northeast of Nogales off AZ Hwy 82 in southern Arizona.
Our Site: ???? - non-electric sites aren't numbered
GPS Coordinates: 31.49586N, 110.85410W
Reason Selected: The state park is adjacent to the Sonoita Creek State Natural Area and we wanted to check out both for possible future volunteer jobs. Also, we always like to see as many state parks as we can for future reference.
Setting: The non-electric sites are treed, but sites are rather close togethr. The electric sites are more open and spread out better with trees and vegetation separating them from Patagonia Lake. Lake views are limited and probably more so when all the trees and shrubs have all their leaves.
Guidebooks: None used.
Big Rig Friendly: The road to get to the park is wide but has some sharp curves and steep grades. Not really a big problem if you take your time. The biggest problem is if you want to park in the non-electric sites. There are sites that are big enough, but low hanging branches prevent getting to them or backing into some of them. We backed out of our loop to avoid low branches we would have hit on the way out. It's not as big an issue for the electric sites, but those are more popular and the best sites are usually taken. Still, many of them would require skillful maneuvering.
Hook-ups: Electric sites have 50-amp and water hook-ups. Non-electric sites have no hook-ups but there are centrally located water spigots to take on water. No sewer hook-ups but a convenient dump station.
Laundry: None.
Price & Discounts: Electric sites are $22; Non-electric sites are $15. If you happen to have a boat and want to camp in a tent, there are several "boat-in" camp sites along the lakeshore.
Other Factors: Satellite access is fine but could be an issue in many of the non-electric sites. Arizona State Parks websites are pretty good about describing their facilities. New bathhouses were very nice by state park standards. Volunteers give two or three lake tours and there are scheduled bird walks and other programs. The Sonoita Creek State Natural Area provides good hiking and birdwatching. Also, half of the lake is no-wake which makes it great for paddling. There is a well-stocked store at the marina within the park.
OVERALL RATING: 7.5 (out of ten)
We loved Patagonia Lake. The lake and the sunsets were beautiful and the birding was very good, even in the winter. I wish I could give it a higher rating, but the campgrounds are just not as nice as I would like. There is a water treatment facility and boat ramp in one loop, and a water system facility in another loop that took away from the setting. Add that to the closeness of the sites and the low-hanging branches, and we just couldn't rate the campground any higher - and we had one whole loop to ourselves while we were there. I can't imagine getting through the non-electric loops if the campground was full. If we had managed to snag one of the better electric sites in the loop that didn't have service facilities, we might have rated it higher, but I doubt it. With that said, we are looking forward to a return trip someday and hope to get a volunteer position in the future. :)

Patagonia Lake State Park


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Journal Site 112: SKP Saguaro Co-Op Park - Overall Rating: 8

Dates: November 25, 2008 - January 8, 2009
Location: A few miles off of I-10 in Benson in southeastern Arizona. About an hour east of Tucson.
Our Site: 270
GPS Coordinates: 31.94408N, 110.2917W
Reason Selected: Escapees RV Club allows us acces to various parks across the country. We enjoy the family-like atmosphere, especially during the holidays. We decided to spend Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years at this park and take advantage of the monthly rate.
Setting: Several rows of close but large RV sites most of which have casitas and landscaping. It is a co-op and people buy lifetime memberships and live on the sites. Fortunately, there is pretty strict management and enforcement of rules to keep things looking nice. There are good views of the Dragoon Mountains to the east, but it is really just a huge RV park that doesn't have the natural setting we prefer.
Guidebooks: None used.
Big Rig Friendly: Plenty of room for all size rigs. The sites are 75 feet wide and the roads are wide and paved.
Hook-ups: Full hook-ups with 50 amp electric, water, and sewer
Laundry: Nice on-site laundry with several washers and dryers.
Price & Discounts: Rates are for Escapee Club Members. Nightly $15.50 plus tax and metered electric; Weekly - $93.00 plus tax and metered electric; Monthly - $280 plus tax and metered electric; Dry Camping - $5 per night with three night maximum
Other Factors: Easy satellite access and staff was very friendly as you would expect at an Escapees park. Website is pretty good. Loads of activities in the large, wonderful clubhouse. Easy access to interstate, post office, Safeway, and Walmart.
OVERALL RATING: 8 (out of ten)
This type of "campground" is not really what we look for. However, the family-like atmosphere and activities are a nice change of pace for the holidays. You can't find much to complain about regarding the facilities. The monthly rate is hard to beat, but the metered electric is a bit costly and can be surprising when you check-out if you aren't careful.

SKP Saguaro Co-Op


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Journal Site 111: Roper Lake State Park, Cottonwood Campground - Overall Rating: 8

Dates: November 15, 2008 - November 25, 2008
Location: Eastern Arizona just south of the town of Safford off U.S. Hwy 191.
Our Site: 14 & 16
GPS Coordinates: 32.7551N, 109.7066W
Reason Selected: Looked like a nice, warm stopping point on our way from Petrified Forest to Benson, AZ for the holidays.
Setting: Two campgrounds sitting on 30 acre lake with mountain views. The campgrounds themselves don't have a lot of beauty, but they are set up so that you can enjoy views of the lake and/or mountains. Most sites are out in the open, but there are a few with trees or desert shrubs.
Guidebooks: None used
Big Rig Friendly: Nice big sites in most cases. The sites are plenty large, but some can be a challenge to get into for the biggest rigs.
Hook-ups: The Hacienda Campground has water and 20/30 amp electric. The Cottonwood Campground has water and 20/30/50 amp hook-ups. No sites have sewer, but there is an easily accessed dump station on the way out of the park.
Laundry: None
Price & Discounts:$16
Other Factors: The Arizona State Park websites are pretty good at giving information on camping. However, the website for Roper Lake does not indicate how many sites are reservable and how many are first come, first served. Bathrooms/showers were very nice and clean. Satellite was no problem. Really a beautiful, small state park, that is convenient to a good-sized town with plenty of restaurants and a Walmart.
OVERALL RATING: 8 (out of ten)
We really enjoyed our stay at this campground. We planned on 3 or 4 days and stayed 10. Our first site, #14 is the best in both campgrounds. However, it is a reservable site and we didn't have reservations, so we had to move. There are 6 or 8 non-reservable sites with great views, so we quickly snagged one of those when it came open. By the way, there is a decent public golf course that's just a few miles from the campground. Sites can only be reserved by calling the park directly, but many of the better sites are non-reservable. There aren't many reasons to be in Safford, AZ, but we are sure glad we went out of our way to visit. There are some nice nature opportunities in the area and we'd go out of our way again to stay there.


Roper Lake State Park

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Journal Site 110: Crystal Forest Gift Shop - Overall Rating: 5

Dates: November 13, 2008 - November 15, 2008
Location: Eastern Arizona on U.S. 180 about 19 miles southeast of I-40 Exit 286. The exit is about halfway between Flagstaff, AZ and Gallup, NM.
Our Site: 4
GPS Coordinates: 34.7927N, 109.8909W
Reason Selected: Free camping at south entrance of Petrified Forest National Park.
Setting: It is basically a gift shop parking lot with a wide open, flat field between it and the national park. Though it wasn't bad while we were there, I imagine the wind can be pretty wicked.
Guidebooks: None used.
Big Rig Friendly: Plenty of space for rigs of all sizes.
Hook-ups: There are a few 30-amp electric sites, but there are no water hook-ups, there is no place to take on water, and there is no dump station.
Laundry: None
Price & Discounts:Free parking unless you use the electric hook-ups which are $10 per night
Other Factors: No website. Looked like one abandoned RV. Gift shop attendant was very nice - she even offered to pick up some groceries for us while she was in town. There is a bathroom inside the gift shop during business hours, but no bathrooms or showers dedicated to the RV parking. Satellite internet/TV are no problem.
OVERALL RATING: 5 (out of ten)
I ordinarily wouldn't rate a parking lot like this a five. But, if you are self-contained and don't use the electric hook-up, it is free and really convenient to the south entrance of Petrified Forest. Keep in mind that most people use the north entrance to the park where the main visitors center is located. But the friendly staff (much nicer to me than the gift shop across the road that also has parking), convenient location, and price make it deserving of a 5 if your sole intent is to visit the Petrified Forest for a day or two.

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