Travel 823 miles from Tucson, Arizona, to the White River National Forest, in Colorado for beautiful wilderness landscapes and excellent RV camping opportunities. Take Interstate 10 north from Tucson to Phoenix, then Interstate 17 north to Flagstaff, followed by Route 89 north to Route 160, then east to Route 191. Continue on 191 north to Crescent Junction, Utah where you will pick up Interstate 70 east to exit 140 and take the Gypsum Creek Road south to the White River National Forest in Colorado.
Tucson is just north of the US/Mexican border, situated in the scenic Sonoran Desert. The city showcases the beautiful desert features at the Tucson Botanical Gardens, the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, and the Children's Museum Tuscon’s Sense of Place. Take in some night sky wonders at the Kitt Peak National Observatory or Fred Lawrence Whipple Observatory while in the region, or enjoy fine dining and shopping opportunities in the city. The 3.9 mile SunLink Tucson Streetcar runs through the downtown area and is a great way to explore this urban area!
Explore the Tucson Mountain Park and the Saguaro National Park which are located just outside the city, to experience the desert beauty first hand. There is some backcountry camping in Saguaro National Park or RVers will find serviced sites and amenities at Tucson Lazydays KOA.
Head north to Phoenix on your journey, and stop at the Arizona Falls, located at G.R. Herberger Park. The site is open 24 hours a day, with onsite parking available from 5:30 AM to 10 PM.
The site features three waterfalls, a shaded viewing area, and a pedestrian bridge to really get a great view of the historic Salt River Project waterfall. The falls are formed by a natural 20-foot drop on the Arizona Canal, where a restored hydroelectric plant generates clean electricity from the natural power of the surging waters.
The site was developed in conjunction with the Phoenix Art Commission, and a footbridge connects the north bank of the canal to the viewing platform where visitors are surrounded by water on three sides, in what is referred to as the “water room”. Here you can sit on large boulders and hear the sound of the rushing waters. Visitors to the site can even view antique gears from the historic hydroelectric plant through the sheets of water.
While traveling up Interstate 17, veer off to the west on Highway 179 through Sedona and take 89 A north to the Cave Spring Campground or backtrack on 89 A from Flagstaff. The campground is located in the amazing Oak Spring Canyon in the Coconino National Forest and is open from April to October annually.
RVers will find 84 primitive campsites. There are no hookups, but there are picnic tables, and a fire ring and grill at each site and the campground has restrooms, shower houses, and drinking water supplies. Units up to 36 feet can be accommodated. Campers can fish in the spring that flows through the canyon, and enjoy the hundreds of miles of trails over diverse terrain, with red rock canyons, winding forested parts, and a climb up to the summit of Mount Humphries. Keep an eye out for wildlife; there are over one hundred species of mammals, amphibians, and reptiles, and some of the best bird watching opportunities you will find anywhere.
Continuing north on Highway 191, you will pass through Blanding, Utah, home of the Edge of the Cedars State Museum. The site features a Pueblo village, which was once inhabited between 825 and 1225 AD by the ancestors of the region’s contemporary Puebloan peoples. At the village site, you can climb down a ladder to enter a kiva which is 1000 years old or view the largest collection of Anasazi pottery in the area. There are special programs for adults and children, as well as archaeological and art exhibits.
Stroll the short paved interpretive trail lined with outdoor sculptures and native plants on the grounds. Reproduced rock art panel murals line the walls of the museum, and visitors can also view a Chaco-era great house The museum is open all year round, Monday to Saturday from 10 AM to 4 PM. Exhibits include a unique macaw feather sash from 1150 AD, rare Horse Rock Ruin baskets and turkey feather baskets. You can view a “Visible Storage” laboratory space through a glass wall and learn about how people uncover the archaeological finds in the region.
As you turn onto Interstate 70, near Grand Junction, Colorado, you will pass just north of the McInnis Canyons National Conservation Area, a Bureau of Land Management property which has several campgrounds. Not all campgrounds are appropriate for RV camping; however, the Jouflas Campground has dry camping sites that are vehicle accessible and can accommodate RVs up to 30 feet in length. The campground is located in Rabbit Valley and is available free of charge. Eight of the campground sites have picnic tables and fire grates, and there are toilet facilities situated in the campground.
The conservation area occupies 193 square miles of high desert canyon landscape. Admire the geological wonders in the wilderness area such as the second largest arches in North America at Black Ridge Canyon Wilderness. The Old Spanish Trail also runs through the region, and there are plenty of great desert hiking opportunities. The region known for its fossil finds, so keep an eye out for discoveries, but do not disturb any fossils, instead report them to BLM officials!
You're only 46 miles from your White River National Forest destination when you pass through Glenwood, Colorado. Visitors passing though may want to stop for a dip in the Glenwood Hot Springs. The hot springs and resort here have been operating for over 130 years!
Stay the night at the resort with its many amenities or visit for a day and enjoy the reputedly healing waters at the hot springs. There are 15 minerals found in the water here, excellent for soaking away aches and pains, improving circulation, and eliminating toxins. The soothing mineral waters here are great for relaxing in, and the pool here is the largest in the world, as long as two city blocks. There is also a kiddie pool with a fountain that provides hours of entertainment for little ones. In addition to the pool facilities, the resort provides a spa, shopping, and dining opportunities.
Arriving at your White River National Forest destination, you are in for recreation, fun, and fantastic camping spots! This park is the most visited recreation forest in the US, with 10 million visitors a year. The campgrounds are well forested with plenty of shade and privacy and a view of the majestic mountains.
There are thousands of miles of hiking trails to explore, 12 ski resorts, and rivers and lakes for water sports, fishing, and boating. Campgrounds are open from May to October and offer reservations.
Visit the Gore Creek campground with 25 RV sites, that accommodate units up to 35 feet in length, or try the Bogan Flats Campground on the Crystal River which accommodates 40-foot units with 35 sites. The Redstone Campground has 37 sites and a 30-foot limit, and offers water and electric hookups. The Redstone Campground also has flush toilets, hot showers, a playground, basketball court, and horseshoe pits. The Chapman Campground is the largest camping area, with 83 RV-friendly sites that accommodate RVs up to 30 feet in length on the Fryingpan River.