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City of Rocks State Park

Camping Among the Monoliths
  • CampingBotCampingBot January 2011
    Originally posted in the old review system on 02/28/2009 by highz

    The City of Rocks State Park campground is spread throughout the tuff monoliths that give the state park its name. Campsites are hidden around and among the rocks. You could have someone in the campsite next to you and never see them. All of the campsites have a picnic table and grill and a level place to park or pitch a tent. There are a limited number of sites with electric hookups, but they are grouped together in an area near the visitor's center and a little away from the rocks. Water is available at a few different locations, as are restrooms. The visitor's center has displays on the geology, biology and history of the region. Hot showers are available at the visitor's center as well. You can hike among the rocks as well as out to a vista point where you can see the whole "city". Dogs on leashes are welcome.

    I visited in January, and a few hardy tent campers were there, but most were in self-contained RVs, or in my case, a pop-up truck camper. Lows were in the mid-twenties, so the camper's propane heater was welcome. There were plenty of empty campsites available. Word has it that the busy time is around Easter.

    If your timing is good, you may get to join in a star party. The park has an observatory nestled in a clearing in the rocks, which is opened to the public on occasion by volunteers from the National Public Observatory. The skies are wonderfully dark and great for stargazing. There's definitely an astronomy theme at this park - all the campsites are named after constellations. I stayed in Corona Australis. There is a north "suburb" rock cluster that I was amused to note had its campsites named after the northern circumpolar constellations. Geek humor, I guess.

    All in all, I wound up enjoying City of Rocks more than I thought I would. It's a small park, though, and you might run out of things to explore after a few days. It makes a nice stopover on your way to or from the Gila National Forest and Wilderness.