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Old 10-19-2020, 01:33 PM   #1
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Name: Rick
Trailer: 1978 Scamp
Posts: 6
Winter camping in Southwest

We are Scamp owners interested in trying a trip southwest (from Missouri) in December or January. We would need electrical hook up and functioning bathrooms since we don't have toilet/shower in the Scamp (only port-a-potty). Would love to set up in the 4 corners area but know it could be dicey depending on weather. Are there any great, year round campgrounds in that area you would recommend? We've only stayed in the midwest so far, so not sure what the best resources are for finding campgrounds along the way and out west. Thanks.
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Old 10-19-2020, 04:28 PM   #2
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Name: Jon
Trailer: 2008 Scamp 13 S1
Posts: 11,991
The Fourcorners area is high elevation desert averaging 5-6000’. It can be quite cold, well below freezing at night, for much of the winter. The Arizona portion is all tribal land with few campgrounds. There are campgrounds in Flagstaff, Williams, and Tuseyan. I don’t know if they keep their facilities open all winter.

The Sonoran and Mojave Deserts in southern Arizona and California, respectively, would be better places to spend the winter. Campgrounds tend to book up early, especially Jan-Mar. Developed campgrounds tend to be concentrated around Phoenix, Tucson, and the Colorado River corridor. Check out Arizona state parks as well as Maricopa and Pima county parks.
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Old 10-19-2020, 06:40 PM   #3
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Name: bill
Trailer: 2013 Escape 19
The Mountains of North Carolina
Posts: 4,152
Big, big fan of St George, UT. Close to Zion, one many other sites in southern UT. We have been there the last two winters.

Check out Snow Canyon, State Park, in St George. They have a handful of hookup sites, its the off season, so they usually have plenty of room. St George is a nice town, plenty to do there. Several nice hikes in Snow Canyon SP by the way.

We gave winter in FL a try, then AZ. Finally we realized St George was the place for us (in the winter, hotter than heck in the summer!). Yes, the weather is not as good as FL or AZ. But its better than here.

We were even able to come back via I-40, went diagonally through NE AZ through Jacob's Lake. Snow piled high on both sides of the road, but the pavement was dry.

Lower elevation than the 4 corners area, not as warm as southern AZ of course. St George is in the desert, so its usually dry.

Watchman Campground in Zion also has electric hookups. A little cooler than St George.

Be sure to visit Kanab, and sign up for the lottery to hike the Wave! We were fortunate and got drawn to hike in February 2020.

The biggest challenge with St George is getting there. Two years ago, we had to cross the USA on I-10, all the way to Phoenix, before we worked our way north through Las Vegas (some backtracking). Then in 2020, we were able to go I-70 all the way, VERY UNUSUAL!

You really have to watch the weather very carefully, and be open to changing your route. We stayed in Golden, CO a couple of extra days waiting for conditions to improve on I-70. Colorado DOT has cameras all over I-70, with real time road conditions and video. I would definitely NOT plan on taking I-70. I-40 may be OK, may not. It changes rapidly. Be FLEXIBLE on routing! Give yourself extra time to adjust your route.

The west is ALL about elevation. High elevation = cold weather, possible snow, etc.

Here's the "trick" to getting drawn in the lottery to hike the Wave. First, they draw every day, in the winter the drawings are Monday through Friday. The drawings are for the next day, so Friday's drawing is for Saturday, Sunday and Monday (triples your chances!), But wait, it gets better! Pick a Friday before a Federal Holiday, like MLK birthday, and the drawing is for FOUR days: Saturday, Sunday, Monday and Tuesday. Only ten hikers are drawn per day. People from all over the world travel to do this hike. And if one entry is for 6 people, and another is for 4, then all ten spots are gone.
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Old 10-20-2020, 10:06 AM   #4
Name: Bob
Trailer: Bigfoot
Posts: 43
Consider Leesburg Dam St Park, just north of Las Cruces, NM. Lots of sun, things to do, shopping and dining nearby. NM state parks are a good deal as opposed to many state parks.
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Old 10-20-2020, 02:30 PM   #5
Name: Ramona
Trailer: Looking!
Posts: 57

Ibe been wandering in the Southwest the last several weeks. EVERYTHING on Native American lands is CLOSED due to covid. And I mean everything. Just travelled from Moab to Chile to Prescott, the night time temps are 30-40s but due to drop lower in the next few days as a cold front comes through. Most state parks have now gone to online reservation system only (which of course adds another fee!), and many are booked up. New Mexico State parks may still be shut down. If you are unable to boondock, I would highly suggest you reserve all your travel nights before you leave. Most forest service campsites are dry camping only. Big difference this year from last year, for sure! Good luck!
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Old 10-24-2020, 11:37 AM   #6
Name: David
Trailer: 1973 Boler 1300
British Columbia
Posts: 57
Leasburg Dam State Park is only open to NM residents. I suspect that is the case for all NM State Parks and, perhaps is true for other States too. British Columbia, Canada is not encouraging residents from other provinces to camp in our provincial parks, most of which are closed for the season.

Canadian snowbirds with RVs are mostly unable to winter in the Southern USA and many are heading to coastal BC and Vancouver Island, which have the mildest winters in Canada.

Welcome to a winter with covid-19!
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Old 10-24-2020, 11:39 AM   #7
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Name: Leslie
Trailer: Casita
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NM State Parks Update

New Mexico state parks are closed to non-NM residents for the foreseeable future. Attached (I think!) is the press release that announced this. Check their website for updates.
Attached Files
File Type: pdf ParksOperationalUpdateOctober162020.pdf (168.6 KB, 4 views)
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Old 10-24-2020, 12:55 PM   #8
Trailer: 16 ft Casita
Posts: 73
Southwest camping

All state campgrounds in New Mexico are closed to out of state campers and if you want to stay any where in the state you have to stay indoors for 14 days.
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Old 10-24-2020, 02:02 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by johnlochbuie View Post
All state campgrounds in New Mexico are closed to out of state campers and if you want to stay any where in the state you have to stay indoors for 14 days.
Ive read this as well.
My understanding is that we, from out-of-state, are permitted to travel through New Mexico on our way to another state. Does that sound right?
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Old 10-24-2020, 02:11 PM   #10
Name: Shirley
Trailer: Escape 21, formerly Casita SD
Posts: 62
Watching with interest!

We are also from Missouri and would like to spend time in the Southwest, although looking at next year. Taking note of the advice here to start planning ahead! This year we plan to spend late winter/early spring in the Texas Hill Country and hang out long enough to see the bluebonnets.
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Old 10-24-2020, 10:27 PM   #11
Trailer: 16 ft Casita
Posts: 73
Southwest camping

That is correct you can travel through New Mexico they will not stop you just because you have out of state plates.
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Old 10-25-2020, 03:07 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Leslie in Arizona View Post
New Mexico state parks are closed to non-NM residents for the foreseeable future. Attached (I think!) is the press release that announced this. Check their website for updates.
At the web site (emnrd.state.nm) if you click on reservations, it says nonresidents can not make camping reservations until at least Nov. 13. And you should check back periodically to see if that date gets changed.
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