How to get notified when campsite becomes available on recreation.gov

My friend John was planning to go on a bachelor trip to Chisos Basin in Texas and asked me to look into finding a campsite for a few days in March 2019. Every site that we were interested in was reserved.

So I did some digging and I’ll describe how I got notified about the days and campsites that I was interested in and finally got a site for all 3 nights that we stayed.

First I went to the campsite availability page e.g.

Then opened up the network tab on the Dev console in chrome and found the api for the availability:

https://www.recreation.gov/api/camps/availability/campground/234038/month?start_date=2019-03-01T00%3A00%3A00.000Z

Notice the 2 variables in that url are the camp ground and the month that we care about.

Then I made an account on http://wachete.com and paid $9.90/month for them to watch that url for changes every 10 minutes.

I only selected the dates and locations that I cared about and the loop and site so that it would only tell me when those change

Finally I installed the wachete app and waited for a notification.

I ended up overbooking because better options became available so I just cancelled the other sites which costed $10 per cancelled reservation. In the end it made the trip way better to have the optimal campsite instead of having to drive our RV into the site each morning or search for a parking spot in the unreserved RV spots.

Here is what the wachete setup looks like:

Willy Hardy is a Data Scientist at Red Hat

Willy Hardy is a Data Scientist at Red Hat