Camping means different things to different people, depending on their experience.
For some it could be finding a rugged, out-of-the-way spot with no amenities on state or federal land. For others, it could be using a developed site within a state park. And others might be more interested in private, more-luxurious surroundings akin to glamping.
But whatever one’s tastes, thedyrt.com not only provides information about all varieties of camping sites across the U.S., but using a decade’s worth of user reviews, has compiled top-10 spots in the country’s various regions, with three places in New Mexico landing on the 2022 Best Places To Camp in the South/Southwest.
Sierra Vista, a dispersed camping site near Las Cruces within the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument; the currently closed Rio Chama Campground near the confluence with Rio Gallina near Abiquiú Lake; and the private Gila Hot Springs Campground near the Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument north of Silver City.
“We looked at the reviews and ratings from our own community since 2012 on what our community thought were the best places to camp,” said Sarah Smith, The Dyrt founder.
The website and associated app has generated more than 30 million annual camper visits with four million user-generated reviews, photos and tips for U.S. campgrounds.
The three New Mexico campsites stood out for various reasons, she said.
Sierra Vista actually represents a growing trend related to the virus outfall, Smith said.
“The absolute beauty of it and I think that the whole idea of dispersed camping has become much more popular among campers in our community, as well,” she said. “We’ve see campgrounds become so busy in the last few years and it’s getting harder and harder to get reservations.”
So being able to simply find a spot that looks intriguing and set up camp has become more attractive.
“In dispersed camping, when you know you can just head out and once you cross into that land, Bureau of Land Management of National Forest Service land, you have the opportunity to find your own place to camp,” she said. “And that’s become much attractive to people now. It actually doubled in our report in just one year from 2020 to 2021.”
Gila Hot Springs Campground offers the grandeur of the landscape coupled with upscale facilities, Smith said.
“When I grew up, the idea of going to a private campground would have seemed kind of odd to me,” she said. “Camping was something you did out in the national forest and state parks, but more and more of these private campgrounds are available and people are doing more glamping. Plus, you can’t beat hot springs.”
Although the drought and severe fire danger has led to the temporary closure of the Rio Chama Campground snuggled up against the river, it certainly is a site to visit when it reopens, Smith said.
“It’s just mystical,” she said.
Using The Dyrt is lot like scrolling the web for an Airbnb or other vacation site, said Kevin Long, site CEO.
“When you’re getting an AirBnB, you want to see pictures, reviews, you want to see what you’re getting,” he said. “That’s what The Dyrt does with campgrounds. We make it easy for people to find the right camping experience.”