Without a doubt, the Southwestern part of the United States offers some beautiful and diverse wilderness areas that make for superb camping destinations. So here are some camping go-to sites that you cannot miss.
Datil Well Recreation Area Campground – Bureau of Land Management (New Mexico)
The Campground was established along the historic hoof highway, which was the site of the largest cattle-drive in American history. The well was used by the cowboys as they moved down the trail, and is still an active well. You can still see the hoof prints that have turned the trail into a moonscape. The Mountains surrounding the camp are teeming with wildlife, and at night you truly feel like you are in a vast western wilderness. Coyotes yip and howling in the distance and on a clear night you will see more stars than you have probably seen in your life. While in the area do yourself a favor and stop in Pie Town, New Mexico and get some delicious homemade pies.
Goblin Valley State Park – Utah State Parks (Utah)
Other than having one of the coolest names a park could possibly have, Goblin Valley state park is a fantastic camping destination. It lives up to its name, and when you are there you will truly feel like you are in a valley that belongs to Goblins with its twisted and strange looking rock formations. It is otherworldly there and with plenty to see and do you will want to stay a while. Scenic trails, endless places for photography (you cannot take a bad picture there) and lots of fun side activities like throwing a Frisbee from one formation to a friend standing on another. In the backdrop, you can see mountain ranges and hills making for a wonderfully scenic location. Do book early, it’s popular and the sites fill up FAST.
Grand Canyon National Park – National Park Service (Arizona)
What list about some of the best places to camp in the Southwest would be complete without mentioning the Grand Canyon? Going to visit the park is obvious and everyone should at least once in their life. So do yourself a favor, slow down and camp there. The Grand Canyon is something that cannot be explained in words or in photographs, you simply have to experience it on your own to truly understand what it is like, and one cannot do that quickly. There are endless networks of trails, interpretative centers, and self-guided tours that will keep you busy, and seeing the Grand Canyon first thing in the morning when all the colors are illuminated by the bright morning sun, it is truly breathtaking and is only equaled by the stunning sunsets.
You cannot choose a bad place to camp in the Southwest, these are just some of the greatest locations that stand out as a “must experience” location in the beautiful southwest. Have fun out there and stay safe, remember failure to plan is planning to fail!