Dead Horse ? Point State Park & Canyonlands National Park

Dead Horse State Park

No trip to Moab is complete without a visit to Canyonlands National Park and what better way to explore the area than a stay on the edge of the canyon at Dead Horse State Park.

Canyonlands National Park

Dead Horse Point State Park is 32 miles from Moab. One of the most spectacular state parks in Utah since it rest 2,000 feet above a gooseneck in the Colorado River where an ever-changing landscape unfurls. Immense vertical cliffs meet with canyons carved by ice, water, and wind creating a visual masterpiece. This is a must do region to camp, explore and most definitely visit

Campgrounds at Dead Horse Point State Park
Amazon Launchpad Holiday Gift Guide

We stayed at the new Wingate campground that contains thirty-one (31) campsites, twenty (20) of which have electrical hookups that support RV or tent campers. The temperatures was over ? at the end of July when we visited so being able to run A/C helped with our enjoyment.

Overlooks within Canyonlands

Each campsite ? has a metal shelter over the picnic tables. Water is not available to fill up RV’s.  The closest town to fill up is in Moab. We were able to run a hose from the bathroom facility and fill up GG on site but come prepared. There are flush ? toilets and dish washing stations around the campgrounds.

This site contains paid advertisements. By clicking the links it does not cost you any extra money as the seller pays Travelswithgg a referral fee. We will never place any links without 100% satisfaction of a product we use.

Traveling across the country is challenging enough to not have to worry about ones drinking water. We carry with us the Berkey water filtration system which we consider one of the best on the market

How did Dead Horse State Park receive its name? Legend has it that nefarious cowboys corralled wild mustangs on the tip of the mesa and then fenced off the neck with branches and brush. The cowboys picked the best mustangs and left the rest of the horses trapped on the point, without water, leaving them to die. Ghosts horses are said to roam the Plateau; however, we did not see any.

Dead Horse Point Overlook

Must do within Dead Horse State Park.

Dead Horse Point Overlook. It is incredible! The road through the park ends at small parking lot for this viewpoint. From here, you can look out across a stunning landscape filled with buttes and mesas. The best view is looking southwest from overlook. From here, you can see the gooseneck of the Colorado River with Canyonlands National Park in the background.

Dead Horse State Park offers multiple hiking options

If you are planning to hike in the area, be sure to bring proper shoes, sunscreen and drinking water.

The East Rim Trail is 2 miles long, one way, if you hike from the Visitor Center to Dead Horse Point Overlook. The views from this side of the mesa are nice but we thought the West Rim Trail was more spectacular.

The West Rim Trail is 3.5 miles long, one way, if you include the short detours to Shafer Canyon Overlook and Rim Overlook. It starts at Dead Horse Point Overlook and ends at the Kayenta Campground.

There are many more overlooks and canyon hikes available that should not be disregarded.

Dead Horse overlooks

Biking trails are abundant throughout the park and stargazing ? is off the charts. Mountain Bikers will love the new Intrepid Trail System at Dead Horse Point. With slickrock sections, looping singletrack, sandy washes, and incredible scenery, the Intrepid Trail System provides a great taste of what Moab mountain biking is all about.  In 2016, Dead Horse Point State Park was recognized as an International Dark Sky Park. This is one of the best places near Moab for stargazing and night sky photography

Fun Fact: In the movie Thelma and Louise in the finally scene our protagonist are cornered by the authorities less than 100m from the edge of the Grand Canyon. However, anyone familiar with the Grand Canyon might realise that the ending wasn’t actually filmed there. Director Ridley Scott filmed the famous last scene at Dead Horse Point State Park in Utah.

Mesa Arch in Canyonlands Has been greeting the sun for thousands of years

Outside the gates of Dead ? Horse State Park resides one of the treasures in the National Park System. Canyonland National Park is one of Utah’s Mighty 5 and in my option an underrated park that should be on your todo list. On the surface, a drive through the park reveals stunning views and great hiking possibilities.

Money saving tip: Buy the annual national parks pass. The cost is $80. If you plan on being in any of the National parks more than three times you will save money. The pass will also allow you access to the National Monuments and sometimes discounts in the National Forest ?. There’s also discounts for seniors which can be applied against camping threw out America. Other discounts apply so please read the eligibility they can save you more money. We estimate we saved over $600 in park fees. 
All you need to know about Access America

Views looking through Mesa Arch – Highly recommend this 1/2 mile hike

Pro-tip: The real beauty in this park lies in the back country and can not be seen via car ?.

Consider some back country adventures

4 Wheel Drive adventures

Island in the Sky offers the best opportunities for sightseeing by car. The overlooks along the 34-mile roundtrip scenic drive are perched 1,000 feet above the surrounding terrain, providing spectacular views of the canyons below as well as the other districts. Plan on spending at least an hour in the park in order to drive out to Grand View Point. You will need more time to enjoy additional overlooks or explore some of the short trails.

The scenic drive at The Needles continues 6.5 miles past the visitor center, ending at Big Spring Canyon Overlook. Along the way are several pullouts for short hiking trails, viewpoints, and a picnic area. Graded gravel roads lead to Cave Spring and the Elephant Hill trailhead, where there is a second picnic area. The Elephant Hill access road provides the best view of The Needles from a car.

Unpaved road adventures
There are hundreds of miles of unpaved roads in Canyonlands, providing access to various campsites, trailheads, and viewpoints in the park’s backcountry. Most roads require four-wheel-drive. These roads range in difficulty from intermediate to extremely technical. Research your route thoroughly before attempting these roads.

Quick link to Dead Horse Point State Park Campground Website

Unpaved roads lead for hours of backcountry fun

Boating options

Backcountry and river permits may be obtained online. Overnight permits must be requested online at least two days before start of trip. 

The Colorado and Green rivers have played a significant role in shaping the landscape of Canyonlands, and seeing the park from the bottom up affords a unique perspective. Above their confluence near the heart of Canyonlands, the rivers offer miles and miles of flatwater perfect for canoes, sea kayaks and other shallow-water boats. Below the confluence, the combined flow of both rivers spills down Cataract Canyon with remarkable speed and power, creating a fourteen-mile stretch of Class III to V whitewater.

Canyonlands is famous for its mountain biking terrain, particularly for the 100-mile White Rim Road at Island in the Sky. The Maze also offers some multi-day trip possibilities, though the logistics and roads are more difficult (for the support vehicles, not the bikes). Several of the four-wheel-drive roads in The Needles travel up wash bottoms and are unsuitable for bikes due to deep sand and water.

Island in the Sky

  • The 100-mile White Rim Road loops around and below the Island in the Sky mesa top and provides expansive views of the surrounding area. Bicycle trips usually take three to four days. Overnight and day-use permits are required.

The Needles

  • Elephant Hill Road is one of the most technical roads in Utah. You’ll experience steep grades, loose rock, and stair-step drops. No water is available at the campsites. Overnight and day-use permits are required.
  • Colorado Overlook Road is a moderate road. It can be sandy for mountain bikes.
  • Deep sand, deep water, and quicksand are common on the Peekaboo/Horse Canyon and Lavender Canyon roads. These roads are too sandy for mountain bikes.

The Maze

The Maze offers similar terrain to White Rim Road, but the roads are more technical.

Hiking adventures in the back country

Much of Canyonlands is undeveloped land, and the park has become an increasingly popular destination for backcountry travel. You will need a permit for all overnight trips in the backcountry. During the spring and fall, permit availability is highly competitive. If you plan to visit Canyonlands during peak season, you may have to reserve your permit up to four months in advance.

The Needles is the most popular backpacking destination in the park. You can access most trailheads with a two-wheel-drive vehicle. You may find water seasonally in many of the canyons east of Chesler Park.

Permits are required for all overnight trips into the backcountry. During the spring and fall, demand for permits is very high. If you plan to visit Canyonlands during peak season—especially during spring break (March)—you may have to make a reservation four months in advance.

Most places to camp in the Needles are named campsites in designated locations. All of these campsites require campers to carry out all solid human waste in an approved portable toilet system or human waste disposal bag. In areas where there are no established campsites, backpackers can camp in at-large zones that can be reserved also. Campsites in the Salt Creek area require the use of approved hard-sided food storage containers (e.g. bear canisters).

Drone flying around Dead Horse Point State Park Campground

Products we love ❤️

Hiking Goblin Valley State Park

Introducing the goblins

Goblin State Park should be on everyone’s todo list if traveling through southern Utah. You will not be disappointed with a visit to this park.

Goblin Valley State Park

Journey to this strange and colorful valley, which is unlike any other in Utah. The landscape, covered with sandstone goblins and formations, is often compared to Mars. Explore the geology, and camp among the nooks and gnomes. We spent several hours hiking ? within the 5 acres of these strange structures. Unfortunately, we did not camp within this State Park.

Goblin Valley State Park is a showcase of geologic history. Exposed cliffs reveal parallel layers of rock bared by erosion. Because of the uneven hardness of sandstone, some patches resist erosion much better than others. The softer material is removed by wind and water, leaving thousands of unique, geologic goblins. Water erosion and the smoothing action of windblown dust work together to shape the goblins.

This site contains paid advertisements. By clicking the links it does not cost you any extra money as the seller pays Travelswithgg a referral fee. We will never place any links without 100% satisfaction of a product we use.

Traveling across the country is challenging enough to not have to worry about ones drinking water. We carry with us the Berkey water filtration system which we consider one of the best on the market.

We were traveling from Moab to Capital Reef National Park. Our plan was to stop ? for several hours to explore. Rookie mistake. If we could have a do over, we would have camped ? within Goblin State Park for two or three nights. The Star gazing at night should be worth the price of admission.

Upon arrival we would have set up camp and hiked to the goblin’s Lair and all over goblin valley. Family fun can include a game of hide and seek or tag in, around, and on top of these structures.

Amazon Launchpad Holiday Gift Guide

On day two, we would wake up early and outside the gates of Goblin Valley is the Little Wild Horse ? Bell Canyon trail. The trail is an 8 mile loop slot canyon which I have been told is best hiking clockwise to witness the canyon at the end. The trail is dog friendly if on a leash and the hike is considered moderate so come prepared with lots of water and proper foot wear.

Exploring different paths through the valley

If you can do a third day consider rappelling into Goblin with a guide or do it yourself if your experience level will allow.

Goblin Valley State Park

This incredible park cost $13 a car ? load for day use. This is a bargain for the good times we had and we only spend several hours hiking the trails. Wish we could have stayed longer. The park is about 40 miles from Capital Reef National Park and 50 miles from Canyonland National Park making it a perfect stop ? when planning to conquer the Utah Mighty Five.(Zion,Bryce, Canyonlands, Arches, and Capital Reef National Parks)

Quick link to Goblin Valley State Website

Drone flying around Goblin Valley State Park

Devils Garden Campgrounds & Arches National Park

Double Arch

Arches National Park boast of the most arches in the world ? with over 2,000 and the Devil’s Garden campground is located 18 miles inside this marvelous park. The campground is situated among natural sandstone arches and fins in a desert atmosphere.

Devil’s Garden campground

Devils Garden contains 51 campsites that are available for reservation (Including the two group sites and one accessibility site), offering visitors a great opportunity to stay overnight in a unique national park. We highly recommend staying inside the park. Roads and parking spurs are paved, allowing smooth access for all types of travelers.

A campground host is located on-site. Flush toilets and drinking water are provided, and campsites contain picnic tables and fire rings. The park does NOT have dump stations, or electric, water, or sewer hook-ups for RVs. There are also no showers.

Money saving tip: Buy the annual national parks pass. The cost is $80. If you plan on being in any of the National parks more than three times you will save money. The pass will also allow you access to the National Monuments and sometimes discounts in the National Forest ?. There’s also discounts for seniors which can be applied against camping threw out America. Other discounts apply so please read the eligibility they can save you more money. We estimate we saved over $600 in park fees. 
All you need to know about Access America

This site contains paid advertisements. By clicking the links it does not cost you any extra money as the seller pays Travelswithgg a referral fee. We will never place any links without 100% satisfaction of a product we use.

Traveling across the country is challenging enough to not have to worry about ones drinking water. We carry with us the Berkey water filtration system which we consider one of the best on the market

The campground is forested with mixed stands of Utah juniper and pinyon pine. Flowering prickly pear cacti, yucca and other desert wildflowers dot the landscape, offering vivid color to the surrounding red rock desert.

Amazon Launchpad Holiday Gift Guide

Towering spires, fins, and balanced rocks complement the arches, creating a remarkable assortment of landforms in a relatively small area. The park is within an arid, high desert environment with hot summers and cold winters.

Pro-Tip: At ? sunset we found large groups of people climbing the rocks and watching the sunset over Arches National Park. Be careful cause if you slip it’s a doozy of a fall. Some campers climbed the rocks but we found a path that did not require mountain climbing ??‍♀️ skills to get to the top. Now prepare for an amazing night sky as the light pollution from Moab does not effect stargazing. ?

Sunset over Devil’s Garden campground

We did have a storm blow lots of sand through our campground ⛺️. We did not see any rain but we were covered in a fine red dust for the next few days. We did have a beautiful double rainbow even with no rain.

Even the storms are incredible in Arches National Park

If you are planning to hike in the area, be sure to bring proper shoes, sunscreen and drinking water.

Activities with pets are very limited at Arches. You may not take a pet on any hiking trails. You may have your pet with you in the campground, and at pullouts along the paved scenic drives. You may walk your pets on roads or in parking lots, but they must be leashed at all times when outside a vehicle.

Walking through an arch is believed to bring one luck.

Our favorite hike was to the Delicate Arch
To get to Delicate Arch, it is a 3-mile round trip hike with 480 feet of elevation gain. This hike, plus time to view the arch, takes most people 2 to 3 hours. The National Park Service describes this hike as difficult. A word of warning, this hike can get busy and once you reach the arch you may have to stand in line to have picture taken inside the arch. Not up for a walk then you can pull over and view the arch from the overlook;however, bring binoculars to really get the best view.

Fun fact about Delicate Arch. The arch is the most widely recognized landmark in Arches National Park and is depicted on Utah license plates and a postage stamp commemorating Utah’s centennial anniversary of admission to the Union in 1996. The Olympic torch relay for the 2002 Winter Olympics passed through the arch.

Quick link to Devil’s Garden Campground Website

Park Avenue overlook

Fiery Furnace Hike

This area of the park was closed when we attended, but when we return this is a must do guided tour within Arches. What can you expect? Everyone attending a Fiery Furnace hike should be aware of the challenging nature of the terrain and properly equipped for current conditions, including temperature extremes. During these physically demanding hikes, you will walk and climb on irregular and broken sandstone, along narrow ledges above drop-offs, and in loose sand. There are gaps you must jump across and narrow places that you must squeeze into and pull yourself up and through. In some places, you must hold yourself off the ground by pushing against the sandstone walls with your hands and feet.

Drone flying around Devils Garden Campground

Silver Queen Campground & Maroon Bells ?


Our drive from the Rocky Mountains towards Utah would not have been complete without a stay at Silver Queen ? Campgrounds within Maroon-Bells. The road through the Rocky Mountains National Park is called the Old Trail Rd. Wow! ?  This is a must do within the Rocky Mountain National Park. The journey takes you to views over 12,000 feet, boardwalks, and through an alpine tundra.  Multiple overlooks will take your breath away and numerous hikes along the way for those seeking more adventure. 

Old Trail Rd. through the Rocky Mountains National Park is a must drive

While driving towards Utah, we chose a stop ? to take advantage of the beauty of Maroon-BellS located just 10 miles west of Aspen or 16 from Snowmass up Maroon Creek Road into a glacial valley. The 14,000-foot peaks (fourteeners) called Maroon Peak and North Maroon Peak, truly epitomize the beauty of the Rocky Mountains.

The campground sits at an elevation of 8700 feet, allowing campers to experience warm summer days and cool evenings 

The reflective lake at the base of these mountain amplifies the surroundings that is impossible to capture on film.

Maroon and North Maroon

Pro tip: if the roads are open (Snow) and your vehicle ? is less than 36 feet, we highly recommend taking the scenic byway called Independence Pass into Aspen. You will not be disappointed; albeit, this road is not for the faint of heart. Narrow roads and no guard rails in sections can be a little hair raising.  We had no issue with our tear drop trailer.

Silver Queen Campground has five campsites available for advanced reservation. We took a chance and received the last fist come first serve site for the night. Great ?  deal for $15 a night, this campground is able to accommodate tents, trailers, and RVs.

Amazon Launchpad Holiday Gift Guide

Sites are equipped with picnic tables, vault toilets, food storage lockers (bear boxes), campfire rings and drinking water. Electrical hook-ups are not available; however, water is available at common locations.

Horses are not allowed in the campground. Be bear aware as we did have an encounter with a bear ? that was a little close for comfort. Thank goodness a nearby camper warned us a bear was coming our way.  The bear was attracted to Robins cooking ? and wanted to join us for dinner.  Luckily I had the car keys ? and hit the ? button.  This was enough to scare the bear away.  Always remain vigilant when camping as we are the visitors. See the video below.

Maroon creek runs through the campground

Maroon -Bell has many hiking ?  trails provide access to plenty of photo-worthy scenes in the White River National Forest, including hypnotizing wildflower fields, abundance of wildlife (if the crowds are not to big), and quaking Aspens ?

Views of 14,018 foot Pyramid Peak within the iconic Maroon Bells Sc

If you are planning to hike in the area, be sure to bring proper shoes, sunscreen and drinking water. Dogs are welcome on the trails (and are allowed on the RFTA bus from the Aspen Highlands to the to the Marroon Bells), but they must be kept on a leash.

Maroon Lake Scenic Trail 
This easy 1-mile round-trip trek starts at the parking area and follows the circumference of the lake; keep an eye out for the active beaver pond. We sat for an hour and watched the beavers.

Maroon Creek Trail
Start at the outlet of Maroon Lake and travel along Maroon Creek to encounter alpine meadows, aspen forests and rocky slopes. This 3.2-mile one-way trail is an excellent place to spot wildlife such as mule deer, red fox, bighorn sheep, porcupines and a variety of birds. We just did not have enough time to do this trail.

Hiking the Maroon Lake scenic loop

Crater Lake Trail
This 3.6-mile round-trip trail rewards hikers with breathtaking vistas of bushy Aspen woodlands and Crater Lake. Start at the Deadly Bells Kiosk from Maroon Lake Trail and be prepared for a steep and rocky ascent, cooler temperatures and spontaneous thunderstorms.

Quick link to Silver Queen Campground Website


If you do NOT stay in the park then you may need a reservation and be required to bus.

Because the natural landmark is so popular, there is restricted access to the area during the summer and fall. Autumn is an especially dreamy time to visit, when the Maroon Bells are cradled by cloud-speckled blue skies and golden-hued aspen groves. The best way to see the Maroon Bells is to take the public bus operated by the Roaring Fork Transportation Authority (RFTA) and visit mid-week when there are fewer crowds. The bus operates between 8am to 5pm from mid-June through early October.

Reservations are required this year to visit the Maroon Bells Scenic Area by personal vehicle or shuttle. 

The road will open on June 8, 2020 and reservations can be made for personal vehicles until June 27 for $10/vehicle fee.  

Starting June 28, visitors will be required to use the RFTA shuttle service between the hours of 8am–5pm. The fare will be $15.95 for all reservations. Personal vehicles ($10/vehicle) will still require reservations before 8am and after 5pm. 

Park your car at the Aspen Highlands parking structure (free for the first 30-minutes, then costs: .5–3 Hours: $10, 3–8 Hours: $15, 8+ Hours: $30). You can also take RFTA’s free Castle/Maroon bus to Aspen Highlands from Rubey Park Transit Center in downtown Aspen.   

For Maroon Bells reservation questions, please call 970-930-6442 or email [email protected]

Bear next to our camp site

Drone flying around Silver Queen Campground

Meditate to stream running past Silver Queen campgrounds ⛺️

Olive Ridge Camp Grounds & The Great Basin, Rocky Mountain NP

Do not forget to explore the Wild Basin

We wanted to explore the Rocky Mountain National Park. What a phenomenal place! On day one, our goal was to hike the lower part of the Rocky Mountain National Park called the Wild Basin. Do NOT skip the Wild Basin because the hikes are first rate. Due to the Covid pandemic, we were forced to purchase admission tickets in advance. Do not go to the Rocky Mountain National Park unless you have these tickets or they will not let you enter until after 5. We chose a campground about a mile outside the entrance to the Wild Basin called Olive Ridge Campground ⛺️ within the Roosevelt National Forest ?.

There are 56 sites that will accommodate tents, campers, trailers, and RVs and most of the sites have full to partial shade and outstanding tree emersion. Picnic tables, fire grates, and vault toilets that are kept clean, and trash services are provided. 14-day stay limit. There is no hook-ups, dump stations, or showers. We had no cellphone ? serve at this location. All campsites with a tent pad have a bear locker.

The views of this raging stream are seen throughout this hike

Olive Ridge Campground is part of the forestry service. We truly love the USDA forestry service and try to camp in their campgrounds if the opportunity presents itself. This campground offered no electricity and no potable water ? so plan accordingly. The camp host was so friendly and helped us acquire a first come first serve site for two nights. We were told moose had been seen in the campgrounds but we did not observe any. The campgrounds are close to the road but noises at night was not an issue and we were hiking during the day. The campground is about 30 minutes from Estes Park making exploring this city and other entrances to the National park very convenient.

Robin crossing one of the multiple bridge crossing in the Wild Basin

The Wild Basin offers multiple hikes that we wanted to do on our first day in the Rocky Mountain National Park. Calypso Cascades is a moderate 3.6 mile hike to one of several waterfall destinations including Copeland Falls. This waterfall gets its name from the purple Calypso Orchids that bloom along the banks.

Quick link to Olive Ridge Campground Website

Mueller State Park

The hike is along a raging stream. Depending on the time of year and water flow. The good news is you can stop anywhere along the trail and turn around and come back if you feel too exhausted. If you’re feeling adventurous we encourage you to continue hiking to the Ozuel Falls which will add a few more miles to your hike and also change from moderate to strenuous hike. We decided to stop at the Cascades because this is the first hike we were attempting at close to 10,000 feet. It was kicking our butt.

Wild Basin Rocky Mountain National Park

While in the area, do not miss the drive on the Old Trail and a visit to the alpine lakes (Bear Lake and etc) within the Rocky Mountain National Par.

Enjoy the sounds of the Wild Basin

Drone flying around Moraine Valley

Mueller State Park

Elk Meadow in Mueller State Park

Our travels had us going through Colorado Springs and we found a gem of a campground in Divide, CO. This park was a win, win with 5,121 acres of mountain meadows, aspen and conifer forests ?, and wildlife ? with a bonus of 50 miles of scenic trails. We enjoyed one of 132 campsites or 3 deluxe cabins, all nestled in a forest setting. The sites were a little packed in tight; albeit, with great views of Pikes Peak ⛰ it was acceptable. We recommend the Conifer Ridge campsites and the even numbers ie 28,30,32,34,36,38,40,& 42

Conifer Ridge Campground views of Pikes Peak

There’s no lake at Mueller, so water recreation is out. Although there are a few ponds to hike to and family had their small children fishing in the dragonfly pond. Facilities include: the amphitheater, cabins and yurts, campgrounds, camper services building, dump station, horse trailer parking, picnic sites, playground, showers, & a visitor center.

Camp fire and relaxing ?

We did not hike any of the trails inside the park but all appeared to be well maintained. Keep in mind you are almost at 10,000 feet ? so altitude sickness ? is a reality to anyone like us, used to living at sea level. We did watch the sun ? rise at Elk Meadow but saw no elk until two walked into our campsite ? later in the day. The park was ideal for a day road trip to Colorado Springs, Manitou Springs, and Pikes Peaks which is all less than 30 miles away.

Quick link to Mueller State Park Website

Mueller State Park

The city of Divide, CO is located just miles away from the park and is charming. The city received its name due to the way the water ? runs from its location. The water enters the town and divides to the north, south, east, and west. The town motto is Center of the Known Universe. How can you not love a city with a motto like that.

Deer walking around campsite

While in the area, do not miss the more than 1,700 plant and insect species immortalized in rock at the Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument. Also nearby is the former mining town of Cripple Creek, now booming with visitors and residents testing their luck at the many casinos in town.

Jemez Falls Campground,NM

A short walk from the camp ground or drive up to see one of New Mexico’s largest waterfalls.

Jemez Falls Campground is located in a stunning Ponderosa Pine ? and forest meadow environment. The campground elevation is 7,880 feet above sea level ?. We visited in July and experienced warm days and cool nights.

We were traveling through Santa Fe (which we will review later) and chose Jemez Fall campground to explore Bandelier National Monument (we will review later) and hike the trails in the Santa Fe National Forest. The Valles Caldera National Preserve along the Jemez Mountain Trail National Scenic Byway made this an ideal location to enjoy ? New Mexico.

The campground contains 51 overnight tent and RV/trailer campsites. There is paved access from the highway and paved internal roads to individual campsites. There are no RV hook-ups at the campground. Drinking water ? is provided from spigots conveniently located throughout the campground. Vault toilets provide basic sanitation needs. A campground host is on duty during the summer camping season and was very helpful to advise about the hikes and visiting the falls.

Sites at Jemez Falls Campground

Jemez Falls is located in Santa Fe National Forest, near Jemez Springs in the Sandoval County of New Mexico. Many people who visit Jemez Falls say that this is the most stunning waterfall in New Mexico. The unique thing about this waterfall is there is no development close by and many people feel like they are lost in nature, but in a good way.

The height of Jemez Falls is 70 ft. with a healthy flow of water cascading down. The hike to the waterfall is about 1/2 a mile round trip and a great way to relax to the sounds of the rushing water.

The trails are great for all levels of hikers, with a few different viewpoints along the way. We spoke to our camp host and decided to do the 5 mile hike to McCauley hot springs.

Hiking the McCauley Hot Springs from the campground ⛺️

We recommend staying in the campground and you can begin this hike from behind campsite 28. It adds a little extra mileage but the walk through a meadow of flowers ? is worth the extra steps.

We hiked from the Jemez Falls Campground to McCauley Springs Hot ? Springs. The hike was a little under 5 miles and was all down hill on the way to the Springs. So on the way back it is all up hill.

Protip: one may skip the hike and park at the road and walk a short distance to reach the spring… but who wants that.

McCauley Hot Springs

We packed a lunch and our bathing suits and once we arrived at the springs we ate and soaked in the waters for a little over an hour. The water was comfortable; albeit, once you exit the chills will run through you.

The reason we believe Jemez Falls Area is such a great location is because if you’re visiting Santa Fe… the Jemez Mountain National Scenic Trail byway will relax you as you climb into the clouds, the Valles Caldera National Preserve will amaze you as you wind through the mountain and valleys, the hikes are breathtaking, and a grand waterfall in New Mexico to dazzle you… We loved Jemez area and look forward to coming back.

Quick link to Jemez Fall Campground Website

Hiking around Jemez falls

This is one of those places on earth where you receive total tree immersion.

Hiking in the Jemez Falls Area

Flying a drone through a ponderosa Forest ?

Drone view through a ponderosa Forest

Palo Duro State Park

Warning this picture can not grasp the magnitude of Palo Duro

The Grand Canyon of Texas! We highly recommend this park or if you are traveling in the heart ❤️ of the panhandle of Texas this is a must see with views of the second largest canyon in the country. Visit Palo Duro Canyon State Park; experience the canyon’s rugged beauty and enjoy its colorful history. We enjoyed our stop at the Visitor Center with a fascinating stories about the canyon and a great place to beat the heat. The Visitor Center sells books, pottery, jewelry and more. Looking ? for souvenirs, snacks, and meals at The Trading Post on the canyon floor. The Trading post claims the best burgers ? in Texas. We did not try. Sorry can give no advise.

So far this year, the Lighthouse hike at Palo Duro has been our #1 hike of the year. It is considered a moderate 7 mile out and back trail. We read and watched youtube videos on the lighthouse hike to get tips and we are glad we did. We started the hike at 730 am. Pro tip: In July, the temps get hot fast. When we finished hike it was 103 degrees. I will say it again start early. The trail head is easy to find. We recommend bringing a lot of water. The park recommends a gallon per person. If you start early, I do not think you will need this much water ?.The walk into the canyon is impressive with the sun just coming up over the rim. Be careful a 4 foot diamond back rattle snake ? was crossing the path ahead of us. The snake did not seem to notice us so we stood back and watched him crawl in the desert.

Hiking the Lighthouse trail

The hike is relative flat until the last 1/4 mile scramble to the top. You can sit at picnic ? tables if you are not up to finishing but the rewards to get to the top are incredible. We watched younger adults go even higher and hang their legs off the ledge of cliffs for selfies. We don’t recommend. Why not bring a lunch ? and enjoy the views for a while. You have earned them.

Brave souls going beyond the hike

Explore the canyon by ? foot (bring lots of water), mountain bike, horse or car. The drive around the canyon was rewarding with views of the rim. This is more than 30 miles of hiking, biking and equestrian trails. Camp, geocache, study nature or bird watch. During the summer, enjoy a performance of TEXAS Outdoor Musical.

Choose from campsites with water and electricity, tent sites, equestrian sites, or backpack camping areas. Beware in the summer is gets hot ? with temps at 115 when we visited in July. Stay in one of three cabins on the canyon’s rim or four Cow Camp cabins on the canyon floor. Rent one of our pavilions for a wedding, reunion or meeting.

New to Palo Duro Canyon: Glamping (luxury camping)! Each glamping site is fully furnished with air conditioning, luxury rustic furnishings, refrigerators, microwaves, coffee makers, games, bicycles, gas grills and gas fire pits, covered porches with rockers, porch swings, and much more. More information on glamping at Palo Duro Canyon.  

Hiking Lighthouse Trail

Take a virtual tour with our Interactive Trails Map.

Trails and backpack campsites may close due to wet weather or poor conditions. Contact the park, or check our Facebook page, for trail status.

Horseback riding 

Ride on trails through 1,500 acres set aside for horseback riding. You can also share two other trails with hikers and mountain bikers.

  • Bring your own horses (original Coggins papers required). Park your trailer at the equestrian campground. Bring a water bucket for your horse.
  • Take a guided tourOld West Stables on the canyon floor leads tours for the whole family to Timber Creek Canyon. They also offer souvenirs and a snack bar. Reservations required; call (806) 488-2180.

TEXAS Outdoor Musical

TEXAS Outdoor Musical runs Tuesdays through Sundays in the summer at the Pioneer Amphitheater in the park. Watch the stories, struggles and triumphs of early settlers. The family-friendly show has singing, dancing, fireworks and lots of Texas humor!

Come early for a barbecue dinner on our covered patio.

Deer walking through the campground ⛺️

A quick history lesson.

The canyon was formed by the Prairie Dog Town Fork Red River, which initially winds along the level surface of the Llano Estacado of West Texas, then suddenly and dramatically runs off the Caprock Escarpment. Water erosionover the millennia has shaped the canyon’s geological formations.

Notable canyon formations include caves and hoodoos. One of the best-known and the major signature feature of the canyon is the Lighthouse Rock.

Quick link to Palo Duro State Park Website

Palo Duro

Drone flight around Palo Duro Camp Ground

Brady Mountain Recreation Area


Brady Mountain is a located on Lake Ouachita (the clearest lake in Arkansas) and features 74 campsites BUT no water ? at the campsite. There is Potable water located through out park but you may have to walk a distance since many do not work so plan accordingly. The sites offer concrete table, fire ring, pedestal grill, lantern post and shade available. Amenities include flush toilets(bathrooms are clean but no soap), showers, boat ramp, playground, hiking trails, pavilion, picnic area, amphitheater, trailer dump station, swim ??‍♂️ beach, fish cleaning station, handicap accessible site (# 59). 50 amp sites available.

Campsite 39. We recommend staying in the B loop.

This is a beautiful park and campground if you are planning on visiting the south side of Lake Ouachita. The campground is just 20 miles or so, west of Hot Springs, Arkansas so a visit to the magical Hot ? Springs National Park for a soak in the Springs is recommended. There are plenty of trees for shade and plenty of things to do, including some of the best hiking trails on the lake. The swim beach is a very nice touch to the campground and can be used for day-use as well.

Swim area at Brady Mountain Recreation Area

Arkansas’s largest lake, Lake Ouachita offers 40,000 acres of clear(well if the sun is hitting correctly you can see 8 feet but not clear), clean water surrounded by the scenic Ouachita National Forest. We were recommended to rent a boat and find Hotel Island ? which has caves that one can explore. Swimming, skiing, scuba diving, boating, kayaking, and fishing are enjoyed here. Bream, crappie, catfish, striped bass, and largemouth bass can be caught in open waters or quiet coves. Choose from a wide variety of day-use areas and overnight accommodations. 

Quick link to Brady Mountain Recreation Area Website

We carried some low country South Carolina shrimp ? with us and a bag of ceasar salad ? to make a nice light meal after a day on the lake. Sometimes after a day in the heat this easy meal hits the spot.

Shrimp ceasar salad

John W. Kyle State Park, MS

Sunset at Sardis Lake

John W. Kyle State Park is located on scenic Sardis Reservoir just one hour from Memphis. The historic campus of the University of Mississippi (Ole Miss) is just 25 miles away, making John W. Kyle State Park the perfect spot to spend a football ? weekend; although, we are not “Ole Miss” fans the town of Oxford was incredible to drive through before arriving at the campground. Next..First and foremost, finding this park was like finding a needle in a haystack. My navigation ? system took me to the cabins at John W. Kyle State Park. Which is NOT anywhere near the camping ⛺️ area. If you cross the dam you have gone to far; albeit, the drive over the dam was impressive.

Campsite at John W Kyle State Park

The majority of the camping area was destroyed by storms in 2020. Most of the camp sites were closed. My concern is the park appears to be in great need of TLC. The bathroom ? were not clean and no hand soap ?. Really during a pandemic, no soap? We loved the site itself but spay down as the tick problem is very bad.

Large bass floating near surface

John Kyle State Park offers Mallard Pointe Golf Course, group camp facilities, fishing and boating on Sardis Lake and the lodge offers a large ball room, and dining room that will accommodate 96, suitable for family reunions, banquets, and luncheon meetings. We do not plan to revisit this park again.

Victims of the dogs of Sardis

We walked to the edge of the lake and a large bass were visible floating near the surface. The campsite does have stray dogs ? looking for scrap food. The canines stole Robin’s Flip-flops so do not leave items out overnight.

Other area attractions:

Downtown Oxford.

Quick link to John W. Kyle State Park Website

Drone flight over Lake Sardis