McCrystal Creek Campground


4.00 out of 5
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Campground Description

Contact: US Forest Service (
Posted by: Jeff Barber on February 9, 2006
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    Campground Activities

    Fishing at McCrystal CreekHiking Wildlife viewingHuntingHorseback Riding Historic site ---Ring Place Ranch. Self-guided trail to a pioneer cabin startsat the campground entrance.

    Campground Amenities

    60 campsites for tents and trailers Tables, fireplace, toilets.6 campsites for horse campersWater from creek not recommended for drinking.14 day length of stay limit;Pay CampgroundOpen May to October

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    Reviews of McCrystal Creek Campground

    Reviewed by Guest on July 18, 2010

    (3 out of 3 members found this review useful.) Reply to Review
    We camped at McCrystal Creek on July 8 and 9, 2010. The roads in from either Cimarron (east) or Costilla (west) are your basic gravel-on-washboard, 20-mph forest service roads, although some of the high-elevation road from the western side is a bit better. We got one of the three campsites that looks out on a pleasant meadow, with the creek at the bottom, a treed mesa across the way, and some rocky peaks in the distance. The other campsites are wooded, without much view. A few campsites were occupied on our first night. More were taken on the next night (a Friday) but perhaps two-thirds stayed unoccupied. There were corrals for many campsites and there were a number of horses there. Standard vault toilets, no water.

    Widespread red penstemons attracted chirring hummingbirds, but there weren't many other birds. Lots of chipmunks. The other wildlife of note was a large bear that spent most of our first night in the rain pulling apart the bear-safe trash receptacles about two campsites away, with continual loud clanging. The host wired the receptacles closed the next day, and we did not hear the bear that night. We kept our tent food-free and odor-free, with our cooler and food covered in the car, and were not eaten.

    A short interpretive hike across the road to the Ring family homestead was informative and interesting, but we were disappointed in the campground's signature hike, a several-mile trail to the collapsing McCrystal cabin. The trail rose gently through an undistinguished forest and a pretty meadow, but the mountain views were distant and there were lots of cattle around, including some bulls who were not so happy to share their territory. We got more enjoyment from a dayhike along the Comanche Creek while driving out to the west. Didn't see an elk the whole time in Valle Vidal, although, when driving in from the east, there was a lone bison among the cows visible beside the road.
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    Reviewed by Marksfam on March 26, 2008

    (6 out of 6 members found this review useful.) Reply to Review
    I LOVE the Valle Vidal and McCrystal Creek Campground. Where else can you hike for days without trails, watch elk and bison, and still have a comfortable and clean campground to come home to? While it can get almost full at times, if you pick your days carefully you could be the only ones around! Horses are easily accommodated here, but tent campers like us are just as comfortable. No potable water here, but with these views and surroundings, I'll happily bring my own!
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    Camping Recommendations

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    McCrystal Creek Campground 4.00 out of 5 based on 2 ratings. 2 user reviews.

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