Monday, June 25, 2012

Mesa Verde National Park – Morefield Campground

After driving all day Sunday, stopping here and there, I finally settled on Mesa Verde National Park to spend the night on Sunday.   

We stopped at Durango to see if we could overnight at the Walmart or Home Depot, but they both said no. It's a city thing.  I need a short ladder, but I'll wait for a Walmart that allows O/N parking to buy it.  So, I checked my Atlas and on-line info and it was onward to Mesa Verde National Park. We got here around 5 pm.

Morefield Campground is within the park, and has tons of campsites.  You can make reservations, but according to the website, there are always campsites available.  All the sites with hook-ups were taken or reserved, but that’s okay, because I didn’t want h/u. The sites are all very natural, no concrete or cleared areas. There are a lot of trees and grasses and low bushes, which I'm sure keeps the dust down.  I like the feeling of the campgrounds.

The website said the dry camping sites were $20, but the price went up this year, and the site I was on had not been updated.  The daily one-half price with tax was $14.63 with my Federal Golden Age card. 

We kind of did the check-in backward.  They have a nice system that I didn't know about.  First we came in and drove around a few of the loops and found a site that wasn’t reserved or taken and it was perfect.  I looked around for a place to pay, you know, the little posts with envelopes?  There were none.  I asked a neighbor up the road how they paid, and they said you need to go to the store and check in, pay, and they give you a piece of paper with your name and check-out date and you put it on the campsite number post.  Once you have the paper, you drive around and find your campsite. So if you decide to come here, go to the Moreland Campground Store first to check in and pay.

So I drove back to the “store” and paid for three nights.  They have a grocery store with food and also souvenirs, shirts, all that stuff.  There is a café, free showers for people camping here, and a coin-operated Laundromat.  There’s an evening program every night at the Amphitheater, and an all-you-can-eat pancake/sausage breakfast every morning between 7 and 10 am for $7.95 I think she said.  There are some nice trails, but Katie isn't allowed on the trails.  That's okay, at this elevation just walking around our loop is enough for me.
The Volunteer checking me in said there is a Momma Bear in the park with her two year-old cubs.  Also several coyotes have been sighted and they have already lost one dog.  I’m going to keep a tight rein on Katie, that’s for sure!  I've lost my Bear Bell that used to be on Katie's leash, but my whistle is attached, which was also suggested.  If I see the bears, I hope it's from the inside of The Palms!

I think we're going to enjoy being here.  The sites have a table and b-b-q pit, which you can’t use with the extreme fire situation going on in the state, actually in the area.  People are not allowed to even smoke outdoors, they have to smoke inside their car or RV.

Here's our site:

This path goes from our site to one of the restrooms:

View out the dinette window:

On our way here, I could see weird looking clouds in the distance, and as we got closer I realized those were clouds with smoke under them.  We went through an active fire zone with emergency vehicles parked on the side of the road and a helicopter over the nearest fire dropping water or fire retardant.  Flashing signs said “Do not stop for the next 5 miles.”   

There were lots of fires along the way, a couple that were spewing a lot of smoke and some that looked very small, just starting.  Some dark thick smoke, some white smoke. It was kind of scary, and then we were through it.

As we climbed the mountain to the Mesa Verde Park Entrance, there was a huge canyon between us and the fires, which were very visible from the road up to the park. 

I was told the smoke is going in the other direction so it shouldn't bother us here in the park.  I hope they are able to put the fires out soon.

I was able to update my Verizon tower access signals, but the coverage here in the park is minimal. One of the brochures I was given says there is no cell service in the park.  As I was driving around I was able to get one or two bars, though, that were soon dropped.  The Morefield Campground Store has free Wi-Fi, and I saw some people sitting at tables with their computers.  The volunteer said it’s not very good, but I will be able to get e-mail, and I’m sure I will be able to also upload my blog posts. 

So far so good, I like it here and plan to stay the full three days. Katie and I need to relax for a while and not worry about driving.

HEY, I just realized (last night when I wrote this) that I was getting 3 Verizon bars in this campsite if I put my tethered phone next to the window - we might even extend our stay!

From Me and Katie, I hope you have a nice Monday!  :)


  1. I really enjoyed Durango, took the little train into Silverton. THAT was an adventure on that little track. OMG!!!
    We really enjoyed Mesa Verde too even bought a great warm jacket there in the store..on sale.
    Enjoy..stay safe. And keep an eye on little Katie.

  2. I saw Mesa Verde for the first time last year-- very neat park! If it starts getting too hot there and you need higher/cooler elevation, definitely do the loop from Cortez to Telluride/Ridgeway/Ouray/Silverton/Durango. I think it's the most fabulous mountain scenery in the entire U.S.!

    There are numerous forest service campgrounds along that loop, and also some really nice BLM free spots around Silverton -- one popular boondocking spot is only a mile or so west of Hwy 550 about 2 miles north of Silverton on the road leading to a FS campground. Great Verizon coverage there! But there are also some really nice boondocking spots east of Sliverton near the old townsite of Eureka that are nice (no cell coverage though).

    Have fun!

  3. We did almost your exact route last year (NM to Mesa Verde to Dolores...and then up the mountain to Lizard Head Wilderness). Bit scary with the fires tho!

    If you go to Dolores there's a nice Forest Service campground there (with electric if you need it for the heat) and then up on the mountain is a GORGEOUS Forest Service campground (Cayton) signal there tho'. Feel free to check out my blog of the area for more ideas (search on Mesa Verde and you'll get a good spot to start). Ive got all the campgrounds in there too.


  4. well glad you got signal..and hope they have the fires under control soon...enjoy your stay..and yes keep Katie close...

  5. Glad you're safe from the fires. Thanks for sharing all the photos. You and Katie stay safe, there.

  6. It's a strange feeling to be so close to forest fires. Look out for Mama and Baby bears!

  7. Just discovered your blog and subscribed. I love the photos travel commentary.


  8. This looks to be a neat place. Hopefully, we will be able to enjoy it in the future.

  9. Pretty site! Nice photos

    Something wrong with your fish, tried to feed them but they seem stuck in the corner.
    Just sayin'


  10. so glad that you are safe from the forest fires..the fires make our local news here in Vancouver, BC!..big fires big news!

  11. My mother and I tent camped in Mesa Verde about 12 years ago and we loved it. If you get the urge to sightsee, I highly recommend Cliff House (guided tour, take your water bottle) or one of the other cliff dwellings. It's definitely on my list of places to revisit. Enjoy your stay! We also drove the entire San Juan Skyway, which I don't think I would recommend for RVs, although we did see some.

  12. We were thinking about going to Mesa Verde after we leave Durango. Isn't it pretty ho there, too?

  13. Keep a close eye on that cutie Katie! She's too precious!

    Looks like a nice campground you found.

  14. Enjoying your blog and tales of Katie!
    Sometimes I'm not sure what state
    your in. As you can tell we are not well traveled, south of the
    Scottsdale area of Arizona.
    Flying, yes. lol
    Any chance you will go into Colorado? We have never been there either but it sounds wonderful.
    Keep up the good posts ! :)

  15. Haven't heard from you in a few days.
    Everything OK?


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