We had planned to stay as many as two nights at this campground. Since there was some question as to the status of electrical hookups here, we did research until we found positive confirmation on Arizona State websites. Since a reservation wasn’t possible, there was no need for us to actually contact the park. Confident that the campground now had electrical hookups, we were only concerned that we would arrive only to find it had no vacancies so we made contingency plans accordingly. On the appointed day of our trip, about an hour before sunset, and with the temperature still hovering around 114 degrees Fahrenheit, we arrived at the apparently abandoned visitor’s center to be greeted at the front gate by a piece of paper indicating that the campground indeed had _no_ electric hookups. We entered and found not another living soul, save for the campground host (who of course, had a full hookup), and, a couple that had just drifted in to assert free use of the bathrooms. We inspected the campground and the sanitary facilities hoping to find some sort of silver lining. After turning on two control valves in the bathroom in an attempt to get water, I had to conclude that there wasn’t even running water. One of the drifters pointed out that I had overlooked yet a third(!) valve which needed to be turned in order to get the water to flow. Hoping to get some encouragement from the host, we knocked on his trailer door to ask him if he thought it would be all right for us to run our quiet generator during the night so that we could operate our air conditioner. We felt it was a reasonable request since there was no one else in the campground that could possibly hear our equipment! His initial retort was that there _was_ someone else staying at the campground. I asked if he was referring to a closed up and abandoned tent trailer we had seen. I noted that the owners had apparently parked the padlocked tent trailer and then de-camped to a motel! His concluding comment was that the patrolling park officer would kick us out in the middle of the night if we ran a generator. At that point, we decided we would be stupid to remain there, considering the oppressive heat, so we drove to nearby Fountain Hills and camped in my sister’s driveway (at least there was a full hookup!). The biggest letdown concerning this park has to be the attitude of its associated personnel -- not just the host who was happy to get rid of us but also to all the state employees who allow incorrect information to persist on state websites. Obviously they knew something was wrong because they posted the sign at the gate. There was no authority there to take ownership of the bad condition of the existing facilities; absence of necessary policies or facilities; nor the downright incorrect information that they are willing to let people rely on. Subsequent research revealed that there _had_ been a plan to add electrical hookups at the Lost Dutchman and Lake Havasu Campgrounds but that these projects were delayed temporarily (…or perhaps permanently). The campground is certainly well located for its namesake park and for a number of other commercial; natural park; and offroad attractions. Ordinarily, I would give the campground my highest accolades on this point but, in this case, it is not like there aren’t a hundred other commercial and government campgrounds nearby that are actually comfortable. So, I feel justified in giving this campground a big fat “zero” in this category. As for the look and feel of the campground, it’s hard to deny that there isn’t a lot of potential for a first-class site but it is just so rundown that I can’t award it more than an average score. The infrastructure to be found is so rundown and so many necessary facilities for this climate are lacking, that I feel I must score it as below average in that category. I would give the campground an average score for big rig accessibility but I have to point out that most of the suitably large sites that I saw were marked as closed, for no apparent reason. Given that observance, I feel I’m being generous to even let that average score stand. If someone wanted to stay at another government run campground instead of a commercial campground, in the area, I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend the nearby Usery Mountain Recreation Area (about 15 road miles from Lost Dutchman) or the McDowell Mountain Regional Park (about 43 road miles from Lost Dutchman). Both are operated by the Maricopa County Department of Recreation. The $20 or so rates are a bargain compared to the facilities currently offered at Lost Dutchman. Obviously, if I had awarded the Lost Dutchman Campground its full due based on the attractions in the area, it would have gotten a somewhat higher score but three stars are already too many. Don’t think about staying here unless you are prepared to go somewhere else as a result of your possibly unfavorable inspection. I wouldn’t even give much credence to what you might _read_ about this campground without you personally confirming it onsite.
I feel proud to be the first to bring this campground to the database. It is a gem that I stumbled upon quite accidentally. While it is not particularly new, this campground is not presently in any other database, as far as I know. The campground is in Cruzville at mile marker 16, a few miles west of the continental divide. Cruzville is between Aragon and Reserve, New Mexico, on State Road 12. Cruzville’s map coordinates are: Lat: 33.80722, Long: -108.66472. While the facilities and the look and feel of this campground are just on the high end of ‘average’, the campground is nestled between the Apache-Sitgreaves NF and Gila NF which is some of the most beautiful country in America. This area merits the qualification of ‘destination’ and the Apache RV Park is the best-appointed facility in the region for exploring it. But its clean spacious bathroom and laundry facilities also make it a convenient overnight spot for any trip between this region of New Mexico and Arizona via NM, SR 12 or nearby US 180, both in the heart of Catron County, New Mexico. About 80% of the land in Catron County is in the public trust and, with about two square miles to every resident, it is a back country paradise. The base price of our full hookup site was $20. On top of that was a little less than $1 of taxes minus a $2 AARP discount. See the website for current qualifying discounts. Our spacious site had wild flowers in bloom along the perimeter and there were humming birds congregating around feeders before they headed south for the winter. I think I saw as many humming birds there in one day than I’ve seen in my entire life. The park roads and sites are paved with large chunk blue stone gravel. Access for big rigs is outstanding with all sites 60’ long and 40’ wide. Every site is wired for both 50 and 30 amp electrical service. Each site is wired for telephone but service is only available though a contract with the local telephone company. The current managers of this campground, ‘Bruce and Joanie’ are great people and I had a good time talking with them. They are knowledgeable about the area and a good starting point for finding adventure. But the high score the campground earns is not another case of a reviewer falling in love with the management. This is a rare full-hookup campground that happens to be a good value in a beautiful area so you can be sure that I will get back there as soon as I can. Save me a site!
I consider this to be the best RV park in my repertoire. The first time we went to this campground, we had been headed to the park across the Interstate that I had decided upon, after researching all the possibilities in the neighborhood from the vantage of the Internet. When we got there, the office was closed (well before closing time) without any after hours check-in instructions in evidence; there were street people hanging around out front; and the fulltime residents kind of stared at us like we were from outer space. We finally tracked down the manager who was busily engaged in a little ‘afternoon delight’. Seeing how he didn’t even want to come to the door and because this park was not measuring up to my expectations, at all, I invoked the ‘three strikes and your out’ rule. We jumped back in the truck and headed across the Interstate to the American RV Park. I’ve been happy about that turn of events ever since! The American RV Park is the rare ’10’ in my book. I’m even reluctant to review it since I’d rather keep the best to myself. Our full hookup, concrete pad, site cost $29 (under $31 after taxes). We also make a point of partaking in the complimentary continental breakfast served (8am to 10am) next to the office whenever we are there. Besides recouping a few dollars on coffee, waffles, and pastry, we usually meet lots of interesting people. No less interesting are the staff that have always been friendly and helpful to me beyond the call of duty. Most of them are working campers so there is a lot of turnover. We also use the campground’s free WIFI from our RV. You might need an entry code for the WIFI (inquire at the front desk when you check-in). The office has a gift shop and sells a very few groceries and RV supplies. There is also a new Camping World on the other side of the Interstate. The separate men and women’s sanitary facilities are marble tiled and, along with the laundry, are always in great shape. There is a nice little pool under the New Mexico sun and a clubhouse. The close proximity of the itinerate sites that we use to the Interstate has never been a problem for us. We have a pop-top truck camper but I don’t recall ever hearing noise from the traffic. I think the roadbed of the interstate is below the surrounding ground there so that probably attenuates the sound somewhat. The campground is attractive and resplendent with mature shade trees. Albuquerque is an interesting city so there are lots of attractions within range of the American RV Park. This park is our preferred base of operations for the greater Albuquerque area and is a good value to boot. The park’s asphalt roads are laid out in a grid near the Interstate so it is no challenge for big rigs to get to the park or move around inside. Note that Albuquerque, normally a civil town, becomes decidedly uncivil during the Balloon Fest when demands surge and prices around town skyrocket. Expect to suffer accordingly.
The high ratings this campground gets are a testament to the friendly and attentive staff. The downside is that the only thing that the campground has going for it is the intersection of two Interstate highways. There are not really any attractions in the area. Those attractions to be found out on the periphery are well enough serviced by their own local campgrounds. We were delayed arriving at this planned stop because of a severe weather front and the traffic blockages left in its wake. When we finally got to the campground, it was dark and raining moderately. The manager was just leaving the office for the night but spotted us arriving and reopened for us. The total for our full hookup site was $27.50 but the manager gave us a discount of $1.50 - - not because we were entitled to any established offer but just because he was trying to be nice! I would have been happy if he had let us find the site ourselves but he took off on foot in the pouring rain to guide us. The friendliness and attentiveness of the staff member restored my optimism, which had been faltering up to the point of our arrival and due to the stresses of the day. The campground is in a hardwood forest and borders a lake. The facilities are a bit outdated in appearance but the maintenance level seemed to be high. The indoor areas seemed to be perfectly clean despite the bad weather outside. During the trip, one of our RV seat covers got wet because of the bad weather. I went to the campground laundry to use a dyer. The room and the equipment were clean and well maintained. The dryers were bargain at twenty-five cents for about a half-hour of drying time. The accessibility for big rigs is average. Conforming to the woodsy terrain, the road network is unpredictable in its meanderings and seasoned with the odd obstacle. You might also find the access road to be a little rough. I think the previous scores for this campground are inflated, considering what is there, but the campground has serviceable facilities and a staff with a great attitude. All of which is delivered at a fair price. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend this campground and I look forward to staying there again in the future.
This campground is an oasis on the prairie but with a challenging access road. It is located down in a canyon, 5.5 miles south of the Interstate on U.S. 281. The fee we paid included the site and an electric and water hookup. We didn’t have to pay a park day-use fee in order to camp. This campground gets a rather low rating from me but that is largely due to the below average attraction of the region as well as my perception that the campground has below average accessibility for big rigs. This small state park is interesting enough but there really isn’t anything else of interest in the region. The best thing going for the campground is that it is not too far off of the Interstate. When we arrived, there were quite a few other campers there as well as a huge party in progress at one of the picnic shelters. The office was already closed for the evening and we just proceeded down into the canyon to pick out a site for ourselves. While we were eating dinner, a park employee showed up and collected the fee. There was no guidance at the office location with regard to after-hours arrival but the fee taker said we did right by helping ourselves to a site. There is really no reservation system for Oklahoma State Park campgrounds. The party in progress may have been the cause of the sorry state of the sanitary facilities but I suspect that their maintenance is always a low priority. The facilities were worn out but we were happy to have warm showers and the condition of the sanitary facilities was hardly insurmountable (and such details are not factored into my numerical ratings). The park is above average for government operated facilities in that it offers showers (which are included in the site price) and hookups. Unusually hard rains in prior weeks had spread quite a bit of red clay throughout the canyon. There didn’t appear to have been much effort to try and clean it off the park roads and pathways. The park headquarters and campground office is up on the canyon rim and features a small gift shop but does not stock any supplies of interest to campers. The park staff was friendly but otherwise average. The canyon is a green and pleasant oasis compared to the prairies above. It features some hiking trails and rare plants. While we saw large rigs camped down there, be advised that the access road down into the canyon is very steep and winding. I had to put our F-250 in the creeper gear to get us back out. I feel that other reviewers, here, have understated the challenge for big rigs. I've seen campgrounds pilloried in reviews for much less challenging access. Once you get down there, it is pretty spacious and the road layout is easy enough to negotiate. You might want to consider leaving any ‘toads’ in the parking area up on the rim to shorten your ‘train’. If I found myself needing a campsite while in the vicinity of this park, I wouldn’t hesitate to stay here again.
We stayed two nights at this campground and found it to be a "gem". The natural beauty of the surrounding area, as well as the situation and appearance of the campground, is above average. If you get tired of the desert terrain, the campground has a small, irrigated lawn! While the campground doesn't have facilities that are particularly sophisticated, when compared to other full-service government operated campgrounds, the current high state of maintenance makes for an extremely pleasant stay. Even the most basic facilities can be great if they are conscientiously maintained. The pleasant conditions at this campground are largely due to the considerable efforts of the current managing Park Ranger and his staff. Be sure to visit this campground before they drop from exhaustion! The campground host raked our site before our arrival. This is a program that was instituted in the last year and the effects are very "Zen"! Despite the heaviest rainy season in over a decade, they had the asphalt-paved campground loop and site pads completely cleared of silt. If the campground wasn't pleasant enough, the Kodachrome Basin State Park is a stunning natural resource, so, don't forget your camera. We did not pay an additional amount over the campground fee for Park entrance. According to Park insiders, this was because we had a pre-paid reservation ($8 per reservation). Generally, the State DNR policy seems to be camping fee as well as entrance fee, upon arrival. There are a few good sites for big rigs but some of the longer sites are on slopes. I would just give this campground average marks for big-rig accessibility due to the trees, slopes, and big-rig unfriendly turns. Do some research to make sure you will have a suitable site. The camp store is run as a concession. It provides just basic necessities but the operator is very knowledgeable about the area. I toured one of the rooms in the Park's motel behind the store, also operated by the concessionaire, and found it to be a very good value at about $80 per night. Several water points are scattered around the campground but tend to be about 25' from the pavement and might be effectively blocked by other RVs. There is a very accessible water point, as well as a new wash-up basin, near the parking apron for the sanitary building. The water storage and supply system was recently overhauled and is from a good, clean source. The roads from Cannonville to the Park, as well as the principal roads in the Park, are paved. Note that the other road approaches are unpaved and should probably be considered inaccessible by big-rigs. Plan on using a smaller vehicle for access to the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument via the Cottonwood or Skutumpah Roads. The weather didn't cooperate fully while we were there (during the local rainy season) but rain showers we experienced were light and brief. When we were outside, lightning was occasionally more of a concern than wetness. Even so, I hardly remember being marginalized because of weather. The overall experience was just so rewarding. I'm looking forward to returning. Save me a space!