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Review:  Morefield Campground at Mesa Verde National Park

Review: Morefield Campground at Mesa Verde National Park

By avatar  Stacy
Posted On 02/20/2019 17:27:41
Trip Date 10/18/2018  

Camping | Hiking | Colorado | Mancos | Camping in Mesa Verde National Park | Morefield Campground | U. S. National Parks | RVing in Colorado | Where to Camp near Cliff Dwellings

In our quest to see more of the country in which we live, our westbound RV trip took us into southwest Colorado where we spent two nights at Mesa Verde National Park. Although the camping fees were on the high side based on the included amenities, there is something said for convenience - and that's why we chose Morefield Campground.

If Mesa Verde National Park is on your bucket list, take a look at this post for a review of our camping experience just before the season was ending. We'll provide an overview of the amenities, a brief description of what there is to do in the park, share our favorite RV sites plus include a few pictures.

Campground Amenities at Morefield Campground

Morefield Campground at Mesa Verde National Park is managed and operated by Aramark. The camping season runs from mid- April through mid-October with limited off-season camping available for 7 - 10 days before and after the season. During 2018, the season closed on October 18 (the day we checked out), and services were beginning to shut down during our stay.

Entrance to Mesa Verde National Park

Entrance to Mesa Verde National Park

Morefield Campground, located inside the national park (less than 5 miles from the entrance), has group camping areas in addition to 250+ campsites spread out among loops:

  • sites 1 - 138 designated for tent camping;
  • the 15 full hook-up sites plus a combination of sites for small tents and campers are among sites 139 - 222; and
  • sites 223 - 395 are available for tents, pop-ups and RVs.

All of our time in the campground was spent in the Ute Loop where all that we saw was clean and appeared well cared for, even as the camping season was ending. While the two ladies bathroom stalls in the "comfort station" were clean, we didn't have the opportunity to see the men's facilities (nor the showers in the camp store building). The campground is located in a canyon of oak trees and reportedly is filled with blooming wildflowers during the spring. Although we didn't see any during our stay, wild turkeys apparently roam through the canyon as well.

"Comfort Station" in Ute Loop at Morefield Campground

"Comfort Station" in Ute Loop at Morefield Campground

Aramark advertises Morefield Campground as a "full service village", yet we did not get to take advantage of the services offered due to our end of season stay. The only time that we spent in the store was at check-in and unfortunately it was not the best experience. I got the impression that the employees were unhappy that their jobs were ending as the season ended and they therefore had negative attitudes, gave curt responses to questions and were, quite frankly, rude. Because of our less than positive experience, I had no desire to return to browse through the groceries, camping supplies and souvenirs, nor to tour the laundry and shower facilities. If we do return in season, I hope to try out the all-you-can-eat pancake breakfast at the Knife Edge Cafe.

As far as things to do during a stay at Morefield Campground, there are plenty of options right in the park. With over 5,000 different archaeological sites and 40+ miles of roads on which to get to them, you can easily spend a day, several days or much more exploring Mesa Verde National Park. Some of the many options include:

  • hiking on the extensive trail network (the trailheads of some popular scenic hikes are actually in the campground);
  • exploring the many cliff dwellings;
  • tours which include visits to Ancestral Puebloan historical sites; and
  • ranger led evening presentations (offered between Memorial Day and Labor Day).

Signs posted throughout the camp loops provide an abundance of historical information which can even make your time in the campground an educational experience.

Explore and Learn in Morefield Campground

Explore and Learn in Morefield Campground

At the $40.00 nightly rate for full hook-up RV sites at the tail end of the 2018 season, the camping cost for our two nights totaled $84.16 including all taxes and fees. (Rates have since increased to $45.00 per night for full hook-up sites and $33.00 for "dry sites" plus taxes and fees.) The additional per vehicle fee for entrance to Mesa Verde National Park is now $25.00 for up to seven days (waived for those with a valid National Parks Pass).

Campsite Amenities at Morefield Campground

While RVs are welcome at Morefield Campground in both sites with full hook-ups and more primitive sites, the campground does not allow RVs in excess of 46 feet in length. Reservations are recommended for those wanting one of the 15 coveted full hook-up RV sites (water, electric and sewer). If you're happy with one of the many RV or tent "dry" sites, reservations are accepted however not required. When making an advance reservation, a deposit for the full amount of the first night (including taxes and fees) is required. The remaining balance is due upon check-in.

For anyone who is considering camping in the few off-season days that the campground is open, fees must be paid separately and cannot be paid until the season ends. All off-season camping is primitive and available only on a first-come, first-served basis.

During our visit, all campsites that we saw appeared clean and included either a fire pit or barbecue grill (or both) and a picnic table. The roads through the camping loop where we stayed were paved and both tent pads and RV parking sites were gravel. For RVers choosing to dry camp, the park does have dump stations available at no additional cost.

We made our original reservation just under three months before our arrival. Due to a glitch in the online system, reservations were not being accepted for the final night of the season so we had to call in to add the additional night. (We spoke to Jill on the phone and she couldn't have been more helpful!) Upon our arrival at the camp store to check-in, we were assigned site 157 in the Ute Loop for our two night stay.

Back-in parking at our relatively level site was very easy, and since we had reserved a full-hook-up site we had on-site 30-amp electric, water and sewer as expected. Site 157 has a picnic table and a nearby grated fire pit. Although there are lots of trees in the camping loop, our site had no nearby trees to provide shade nor to hang our hammocks.

Site 157 in Morefiled Campground at Mesa Verde National Park

Site 157 in Morefiled Campground at Mesa Verde National Park

Site 157 in Ute Loop at Morefield Campground

Site 157 in Ute Loop at Morefield Campground

Warnings about bear sightings and how to prevent them are prevalent in the park. From a review of policies at check-in to bear-proof dumpsters and signs posted on picnic tables, we couldn't say that we hadn't been warned! (While I would have loved to see a bear from a distance, the only "wild" animal sighting that we saw while in the campground were some deer.)

Bear Warning on Picnic Table at Morefield Campground

Bear Warning on Picnic Table at Morefield Campground

Wildlife in Morefield Campground

Wildlife in Morefield Campground

We had no cell or data service with either Verizon or T-Mobile nor any broadcast TV reception during our stay. We were able to access the free WiFi offered by the park and found the speeds to be mediocre.

We were among the last few campers to leave from our loop and we could definitely see that park services were being shut down for the season. We actually left a day earlier than we had originally planned for a number of reasons:

  • we would have had to move from our site to a primitive site (we knew that we would not have services, but did not realize we'd have to move);
  • it was easy and didn't cost us anything as, even though we tried, no one would accept our money for off-season camping; and
  • after the negative experience that we had at check-in, we decided to consider leaving early, but only if we felt like we had seen enough of the park.

A Very Loud POP Sound!

At the time that we were staying at Morefield Campground, we had owned "RV There Yet?" (our first RV) for about 1 1/4 years, so we are still pretty new RVers. Just after setting up for our stay, we were inside the RV relaxing when we heard a loud POP. It sounded like it came from underneath the RV, so we ran outside to try to determine the cause of the sound.

Scott immediately realized that when he turned on our water, the water input selector was on "tank fill" versus "city water" mode. He immediately flipped the selector valve, but soon there was water flowing out of the sealed bottom of our RV. Ugh! It was almost dark, it was cold and we were on the road with another four weeks of travel planned before returning home.

Although it was impossible to diagnose the issue at the time, what we realized was that with the water input selector in tank fill mode, the tank overfilled and eventually something popped. Even though we had a water pressure regulator, the pressure and flow was too great so we either broke a fitting or busted the water tank. Figuring out the problem was going to mean taking apart the RV which would have to wait. We just hoped that we had water connections at the campsites we had reserved for the remainder of our trip!

Favorite Campsites at Morefield Campground

Although the Morefield Campground map is not detailed like most other maps of camping areas, we did make notes on our most and least favorite sites within the Ute Loop:
  • our favorites were the odd numbered sites in the 149 - 159 range;
  • we were happy with our site (157), and noticed that other sites nearby were very similar and we would be pleased with any of them:
  • site 186 has a wide flat open parking area on top of a hill; the fire pit is not too close to where an RV would be parked and the location of the site is near enough (yet not too close) to the restroom; and
  • in addition to some being too short to accommodate our 33 foot trailer, sites in the 170 - 180 range as well as 190 - 200 range are all on a steep hill making them more difficult to back-in to.

Entrance to Ute Loop at Morefiled Campground

Entrance to Ute Loop at Morefiled Campground

Hiking at Mesa Verde National Park

There are a number of hikes throughout Mesa Verde National Park including hikes in both Weatherill Mesa (2 - 2.5 miles round trip; closed during winter) and Chapin Mesa (0.5 miles to 2.4 miles round trip and open year round as long as the park is open). Located right inside Morefield Campground are three trailheads:
  • at 2 miles round trip and leaving from Apache Loop (in the northwest corner) is Knife Edge Trail;
  • beginning near the amphitheater parking is the 2.2 mile round trip Point Lookout Trail; and
  • Prater Ridge Trail is a 7.8 mile round-trip hike that begins in the campground's west end.

Additionally, there are plenty of other places within the boundaries of the park to get some exercise and see some pretty cool sites. There are shorter walks to overlook points, ranger-guided hikes through cliff dwellings, bicycle trails and so much more.

Cliff Dwellings at Mesa Verde National Park

Cliff Dwellings at Mesa Verde National Park

Mesa Verde National Park

Check back in the coming weeks to see our recommendations for 10 Things to See in One Day at Mesa Verde National Park. We'll include a step by step itinerary for how to make the most of your day including where to drive, recommended hikes, cost and more.

Also, check back this weekend to read Big Boom in our RV Fresh Water Tank! (and What We Did), a follow-up post to the loud pop that we heard during our stay at Mesa Verde.

Camping in Colorado

If you are asked for recommendations for camping in Colorado, what's the number one place on your list, and why?

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Review:  Morefield Campground at Mesa Verde National Park

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Created On 02/20/2019 15:57:34  
Updated On 02/23/2019 08:27:34
Scheduled On 02/20/2019 17:27:41
Posted On 02/20/2019 17:27:41
Last Editor Stacy
Location  Morefield Campground, Mancos, CO, United States
LinkId  ColoradoMorefieldCampground
StoryId  1550696254682


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