This was my second trip to Morefield campground. This trip I spent 5 nights tent camping here. Great setting, quiet, and perfect for setting up a camping home-base for exploring the park:
The campground is large, reservations can easily be made online, but you select your sight after you check in.
There are two loops dedicated to tent camping. Some sights are teeny, others are large. Some sights have no shade, others offer shade. With some patience I cruised around the tent-loops and found a site able to accommodate my 8-man tent and rain fly over the picnic table.
Be weather aware: July and August are monsoon season - it regularly rains in the afternoon (bringing wonderful cooler temps). Mesa Verde is a large area - but it withstands 100 lightning strikes per day during this part of the summer. So don't let the dramatic electrical storms catch you by surprise. Arrange your tours in the morning before the afternoon heat and storms blow in. (When you turn off the highway to drive up to Mesa Verde there is now a large museum before the entrance where you buy your tour tickets - the campground is located about 4 miles further into the park after the entrance station where you must pay a fee to be in the park)
Choose your site carefully: The first site I selected showed signs of poor drainage that I stupidly ignored. While I was setting up camp it began to rain - the area filled up like a swimming pool. I pulled the stakes and relocated my tent to the available adjacent site. Happily, my tent dried quickly in the sunshine after the rain stopped - benefits of a dry arid climate. The bright side was I found out the water issue BEFORE I completed setting up my tent.
Bathrooms: Bathrooms with toilets and sinks with running water (not 'vault toilets' or 'pit toilets') are located conveniently around the campground. There is no hot water in these bathrooms - and no soap or paper towels provided. Bathrooms were regularly cleaned - so there was ample toilet paper and the garbage cans were regularly emptied.
Showers: Hot, free showers are located up by the camper services building. The showers are located in individual rooms with door locks - and are clean, but a bit dated. Each shower room has a long bench and two hooks on the wall. Don't let the old coin fed mechanisms located in each shower throw you - the showers are FREE.
Water: There are spigots for fresh water located outside the campground bathrooms. There are also two water 'stations' and dumping stations just outside of the campsite areas for campers.
Laundry: There is a laundromat next to the showers. Washers are small, Dryers are ginormous. There are tables and chairs to sit at while you wait - and you can plug in and charge your devices while doing your laundry. There is a change machine so you can get quarters for the machines.
Cooking and Doing the Dishes: It's bear country - you're required to put all food things into your car when you're not at the site. If you leave things out - parks staff will confiscate and fine you. There is a large double sink located in the laundromat. This is where I was advised by camper services to do my dishes. Kind of a pain...but it's bear country, so....
Camper Services main building offers souvenirs, basic food and camping supplies, and ice. Tip: Load up on ice before heading up into the park to camp. The ice at Camper Services will run you twice the price.
Restaurant: There is a restaurant next to the camper services store. You can get an all you can eat pancake breakfast for $7. They've also got a breakfast burrito and a few other options. Coffee has free refills if you hang onto the cup. They offer a range of lunch/dinner options from about 11 am to 7pm - burger, hotdog, etc. The food is fine - not great - just fine. The dining area is a roofed open area - which offers shade, but is a bit chilly in the morning.
There are other restaurants located further into the park. I dined at the Farview Terrace for lunch or dinner on three occasions. There's more variety for food at Farview Terrace - and you can sit inside. Food was moderately priced.
Cell and WiFi: WiFi is located throughout the campground. Signals come from antennas located on the bathrooms. There is also WiFi located at camper services building and Farview Terrace and the meet-up area on Wetherill Mesa. There is no cell service in the park...with the exception of the two scenic pullouts on the way up to the Mesa.
Gas: There is a gas station located at Camper services. It offers the economy grade gas. If you're driving a car with a high performance engine that requires high octane premium gas - fill up before you get to the park. If you need to fill up during your stay - the community of Cortez is a 20 minute drive from the campground. (don't forget to get more ice while you're in town!)
Campground Activities: Campground has an evening program at 9 pm in the amphitheater on the northwest part of the campground (if the weather is nice). The program is different each evening. It's an easy walk from the tent loops (look at the map). Don't forget your flashlight - and bring a towel to wipe the afternoon rain from the seats.
Cliff Dwelling Tours: Tours are ranger-led, and reservations must be made in advance at the main museum building at the entrance to the park. The campground is about 20 minutes from Far View Terrace - the crossroads to the various areas. The journey takes you through a tunnel, and up a windy mountain road past several breathtaking overlooks. Once you're up on the mesa the road is fairly flat.
I took two tours this trip - Balcony House and Long House - both the first tours of the day. Each tour was $5. They suggest you show up 10 minutes prior to the tour start - and make sure you bring WATER!
Balcony House is about 45 minutes from the campground a strenuous tour - lots of climbing - some shimmying through a narrow passageway, and an interesting crawl through a tunnel.
Long House is located out on Wetherill Mesa. The Museum staff told me the drive to Wetherill was an hour and 45 minutes from the campground. Um - no - it wasn't that far. I allowed two hours - and was an hour early. It's a twisty mountainy road. Allow some time for traffic if you're going later in the day. I snacked and finished my coffee and walked around the area while I waited for the tour to start. In 2011 tours to Long House involved taking a trolley to the site. Not anymore - now you walk from the meet-up area down to the site - and then descend into the cliff dwelling area. Overall it's about a 2 1/2 mile walk. Temperatures soar in the afternoon - I strongly suggest doing the first tour of the day - and if you're feeling energetic - there are a number of other things to walk around and see on Wetherill Mesa after your tour is complete. There's a basic snack bar at the meet-up area - and bathrooms. Dog walking and biking are permitted around Wetherill Mesa.
Elevation/Altitude: Morefield Campground is at 7800 feet. Far View Terrace Cafe is at 8050 feet. Altitude bothers me - I felt a strong urge to nap in the afternoon - difficult because of the heat. I opted to doze in my camp chair with a book in the shade of my dining fly. Make sure you use sun screen and drink lots and lots of water. I thankfully remembered to pull out my old camelback backpack - loaded that up with water (and ice!) - and it served me well.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC