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Gilbert Rey CG -- Christmas availability?


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Gilbert Rey CG in Tucson does not take reservations. I am thinking of heading there around Dec 22 or so and staying a week.


How likely is it that I will find a space -- or is it chock-a-block full even at Christmas?


(Any space will do -- I will be in my 4Runner tent camping unless I have found a small trailer by then.)



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I have checked Catalina SP and all they have are the $30 night spaces with 50 amp electricity - which is overkill for a tent and over budget unless an emergency.


Another question: how about the Moab area? All the BLM and Arches (in winter) are FCFS, so any insight on where I might find availability at the end of December?


Yes, I know I *should* have thought this through and made reservations long ago but I didn't know until last week that I would be traveling at this time.



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Since you're tent camping there's a chance of you getting into Gilbert Ray. They have 5 sites specifically for tenters or you can use one of the other 130 sites at a cost of $10. You could fit in one of the least desirable (size-wise) sites because you'd only need a very small one. The RVs will head for the bigger sites.


Another possibility in Tucson would be Molino Basin campground on Mt. Lemmon Rd. at 4370' EL. It's unique in that it's closed right now but opens for its season in November. It's a winter month campground. It's in the Coronado Nat'l Forest. It has 37 non-electric sites @$10. Here's a link:




I just looked at Catalina's site and their non-electric Ringtail Campground doesn't open until Jan 15 through March 31.....strange. It's $15.


If you're not set on the Tucson area, another possibility is Chiricachua Nat'l Monument south of Wilcox, AZ. It had a very pleasant campground for small RVs or tents. It's an awesome park with some very nice hiking trails. That is more out of the way from a city and it would be cooler temps so I really don't think many will be there at that time. Check it out online.


Regarding the Moab area, you'd be guaranteed finding a site there as it will be cold the end of December - not a prime time for tenting.


Good luck finding your spot.

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My guess is you will find an open site at Gilbert Ray...but then I'm not the one with nowhere to go if I'm wrong. It's a great campground. If you arrive early to middle of the week, you should not have a problem. Be aware that it can be quite cool that time of year...

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Thanks for the additional campground suggestions. Much appreciated! I will check them out, and think more about how my schedule is shaping up. It is pretty loose right now. The best bet might be to try for Gilbert Ray in the morning early in the week, and have a backup somewhere within a couple hours' drive if I strike out.


Now add to the planning mix the Xscaper's Convergence in Quartzite Jan 15/16 and I end up with a very weird route! Of course, Quartzite tent camping might not be viable, what with a tent not being self-contained. But I digress ....


Gilbert Ray is wonderful -- I spent a week there tenting camping in November 2006. Good bike riding in the national park, and good access to the ASDM and San Xavier del Bac (which I hope to see some day without scaffolding!)


Cold -- unless there is heavy snow -- isn't a problem.



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