NFS Campground Review – McPHEE Campground, Dolores, CO
A relaxing forest service campground right on the Trail of the Ancients in Soutwest Colorado.
- Site Quality = 3.5/5
The sites are generally very decent with a few slight dings. On the positive side everything is paved with easy access, good separation and a complete selection from full hookups (30Amp/water/sewer = 5 total sites) to electric (30Amp) to nonhookup. Many are suitable for big rigs. Sites have a nice “sitting area” with picnic table and fire-pit. Only slight dings are that some of the sites are rather uneven and shade is sporadic (it can get hot in summer). Also, no real views from the campground except in the tenting sites
- Facilities = 3.5/5
Quite nice facilities here. There are several (very) spacious flush toilets plus multiple water spigots and an on-site dump station. Supposedly the place normally has showers too, but these were not open for 2011 season. The campground has a ½ mile scenic hiking trail (Can Do Trail), plus nearby boat ramp.
- Location = 4/5
This is a great location to visit the Trail of the Ancients. You’re only a few miles from the Anasazi Heritage Center and ~8 miles from Dolores. The setting is also nice being on a ridge with views of McPHEE reservoir from the Can Do hiking trail. My main ding is that there’s no access to walk by the water. The slopes into the reservoir are very steep with no trails or real “shoreline” to speak of.
- Pet Friendliness = 4/5
This is totally pet friendly as all forest campgrounds are. My only dings are that there is only a small hiking trail at the campground itself (½ mile), with very little hiking around anywhere close. Also there’s no real way to access & splash in the water.
Overall Rating = 3.75
BONUS ALERT = Walk to a 360-degree view of water, mesa, plains and mountains!
Summary: McPHEE is a very relaxed campground set at 7,400 feet on a ridge at above McPHEE Reservoir just 8 miles or so west ofDolores,CO. It’s got paved sites and roads throughout and has the advantage of offering a full selection of sites from full-hookup to tenting. Overall the sites are nice with good separation and spacious “sitting areas”. The only dings are lack of significant shade (it really does get hot in summer), some sites are uneven, plus there’s no real view of either the reservoir or surrounding area from the campsites. On the positive side the ½ mile on-site Can Do trail offers a short walk to spectacular 360-degree views of the entire area including the reservoir, Mesa Verde, the northern mountains and even into theFour Cornersarea (it’s definitely the highlight of the campground). Also, the campground is in a prime spot to explore the Trail of the Ancients. My only disappointment was there is no real way to enjoy the water if you haven’t got a boat. The slopes into McPHEE reservoir are steep with no trails or shoreline to speak of. So, unfortunately it was look, but no splash for us. It’s a lightly visited campground and we enjoyed our stay, but will probably search for something with more hiking next time we come back.
Extra Info: Good Verizon signal here. Sites cost $25/night for full hookup (30Amp/water/sewer = 5 sites only), $20/night for electric and $15/night for non-hookup. 71 sites on 2 loops, with 24 electric. Group area available. Approx 70% of sites are reservable, with other half first-come, first-serve. On site dump station.
NOTE/ All my pictures are from Pinon Loop, but the sites on Juniper are very similar.