Camping places along I-40?
Replies: 7 - Last Post: Nov 13, 2012 8:43 PM Last Post By: sydney527
Nov 13, 2012 8:35 AM
Camping places along I-40?My best friend and I are planning a road trip from western Kentucky to LA in the summer. We'd like to do a lot of camping rather than staying in hotels along the way. Does anyone know any good cheap/free places to camp along US 60 in Missouri, and/or 1-40 in Oklahoma, North Texas, New Mexico, and/or Arizona?
Nov 13, 2012 8:51 AM
1Lonely Planet publishes a very comprehensive USA guide. The information you have requested is in there.
Buy it. You will need it on your trip.
Nov 13, 2012 9:35 AM
2Just about any national forest or national grassland is fair game. Just follow a likely forest road until you find a pre-existing camp site that you like. (That's the only general restriction - that you don't tear up the forest trying to make a new site.)
Switch from satellite to 'map' view and look for green areas. Most of these are some sort of public land where you can find a site.
Flagstaff is nice and cool.
An easy-to-reach site: Go north on 89 to Sunset Crater NP. At that intersection, turn LEFT, away from the park, and follow the road a few hundred yards to a 'T.' Pick a direction and start looking for secondary roads that will take you to one of dozens of campsites. The whole area is quite pleasant. If you turn right at the T, you can drive quite a ways up into the mountains.
Edited by: geo_nerd
Nov 13, 2012 2:07 PM
3Ozark National Scenic Riverways has excellent camping in eastern Missouri near US 60. In Southwest Oklahoma there is Red Rock Canyon State Park near I-40 and Palo Duro Canyon State Park near Amarillo, TX near I-40.
Edited by: clarkcoan
Nov 13, 2012 2:53 PM
4Along your route there are millions of acres of federal public lands on which you can camp for free anywhere that isn't posted "no camping." But, you must be self-contained (camping gear, food and water). These areas also have hundreds of developed campgrounds where you can camp for small fees, usually from $5 - $15 per night EXCEPT for National Parks which are more expensive.
These lands include: National Forests, National Monuments, National Parks, Bureau of Land Management lands, Bureau of Reclamation lands, National Wildflie Refuges, Army Corps of Engineers campsites (usually along major rivers) and a smattering of National Scenic Areas and National Recreation Areas.
You can get maps showing all these lands for free from the Department of Agriculature or Department of Interior.
Then, there are hundreds of state and local campgrounds along your route in each state. Get information from each state's outdoor recreation departments (e.g. Dep of Parks and Reacreation, ect).
For example, highway 60 in Missouri passes through the Mark Twain National Forest. I-40 doesn't go through Texas, it gos through Oklahoma to the north. In Oklahama I-40 passes near the Black Kettle National Grasslands. In New Mexico, it passes through the Cibola National Forest and in Arizona it passes through Petrified Forest National Park, the Kaibab National Forest and Lake Mead National Recreation Area.
In general, the further west you go, the more federal public lands there are.
So, load up the old beater with an ice chest full of bacon and brewskies, throw in your camping gear, and head west young man.
Nov 13, 2012 3:20 PM
5Correction to my reply. Many public lands may also have postings saying,"camp only in designated areas" which means you can camp in specified campgrounds only (typically in National Parks).
Also, you'll need a National Forest and/or BLM parking pass - costs about $35 and allows you to park anywhere in National forests and BLM lands.
Nov 13, 2012 4:02 PM
6There are a number of State Parks with campgrounds in eastern New Mexico that are not right on I-40, but a short detour away. Villanueva State Park is particularly nice. Seemingly every little town has an RV park or private campground that will accept car or tent campers.
West of Albuquerque, El Morro National Momument is interesting and has a campground. The Cibola National Forest has areas north and south of I-40 between Grants and Gallup, and these areas are generally open to free, primitive "at large" camping, there are also several designated campgrounds. Bluewater Lake State Park also has a campground.
As you cross into Arizona, you'll mostly be on Navajo Reservation land, and camping is restricted. There are private campgrounds along the way, but nothing very inviting. South of Winslow a short distance is Jacks Canyon, a popular rock-climbing area that has a free, informal campground. Near Flagstaff and Williams there are a multitude of camping options, from free to moderately priced, and anywhere from right in the city to out in the forest a ways (but still a quick drive to town). If you think you'll be spending time in the Flagstaff area, I can elaborate further.
Nov 13, 2012 8:43 PM
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