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Camping spots near Arizona Sky Village?

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#1 gcs111

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Posted 19 November 2012 - 02:45 PM

I am looking for a dark site for camping near Portal Arizona. I see a RV site called Rusty's RV Ranch that says it caters to astronomers. I also looked at three other camping sites... Idlewild, Stewart and Sunny Flat. Anybody been to these places? Some of the pictures of the camping sites didn't show a clear horizon...Rusty's looks better in that respect. Thanks for any info...Gerry

#2 Adam Taylor

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Posted 19 November 2012 - 03:33 PM

Chiricahua National Monument. About 25 miles away. Has a 29' vehicle length limit.

#3 vsteblina

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Posted 19 November 2012 - 11:24 PM

We did not camp at Rusty's but did stop and buy an ice cream at their store. They have nice, large sites.

It does have a great horizon. Wind might be an issue.

We were not there at night, but they seemed aware about the light issue.

There are FS campgrounds up from Arizona Star Village, but none had a good horizon.

Check with BLM. You can camp anywhere on Forest Service and BLM lands unless specifically banned.

Be aware of illegals crossing the border from Mexico. I talked to a friend that was working on the forest fire a couple years ago outside of Portal. They were crossing though an active fire area at night. It is a mess on the border. Be careful, for that reason a developed campground might be the best place to stay.

#4 Mike Wiles

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Posted 19 November 2012 - 11:54 PM

I am looking for a dark site for camping near Portal Arizona. I see a RV site called Rusty's RV Ranch that says it caters to astronomers. I also looked at three other camping sites... Idlewild, Stewart and Sunny Flat. Anybody been to these places? Some of the pictures of the camping sites didn't show a clear horizon...Rusty's looks better in that respect. Thanks for any info...Gerry


Gerry, I can't offer you any good advice on where to camp, but I can tell you not to camp at Sunny Flat. It's an amazing campground and a great place to take in Cave Creek Canyon and the Chiricahua mountains, but trees and high canyon walls don't make it at all conducive to astronomy.

Don't hesitate also to look across the state line in New Mexico around Rodeo, NM. It's every bit as dark there....Rancho Hidalgo and Granite Gap are both on the east side of the giant valley that encompasses all of that inky dark goodness.

Mike

#5 gcs111

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Posted 20 November 2012 - 05:38 AM

Thanks to all....As two of you said the FS campsites aren't the best for astronomy due to trees and blocked horizons so that helps me not waste time there. I will think about Chiricahua Natl. Mon. as it's open to all. Not sure how easy it would be to camp at Granite Gap and Hidalgo as they are private ventures to lease/sell land to astronomers...like what Arizona Sky village did. Gerry

#6 S.Boerner

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Posted 20 November 2012 - 08:52 AM

I was in the Chiricahua NM Bonita Canyon CG many years ago, but if memory serves, it was in a pretty deep canyon with tall trees. I don't think you'd get much in the way of sky from the CG. Diving further up the to the end of the road and one of the picnic areas would probably get you a better view of the sky. The CG is about 5200' while the three picnic areas are about 6800'.

#7 Edward E

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Posted 20 November 2012 - 10:10 AM

The AZ sky Village is on the East side of the Chihuahua's, on the West side is the Tucson Amateur Astronomers Association (TAAA) Chiricahua Astronomy Complex (CAC for short). Here is the website about CAC with contact info CAC. You might be able to make arrangements to use the RV parking site and telescope pads (assuming you have a telescope).

#8 Chucke

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Posted 20 November 2012 - 03:09 PM

Try some of the local B&Bs. There are many of them to cater to the the birdwatchers. A couple of years ago from the front yard of a B&B in Rodeo, NM ( a couple of miles east ASV) I saw M81 naked eye. The take away is the entire are is ver dark and you don't nexessarily need to camp unless you want to.

Chuck






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