If you’re taking your RV to Steamboat Springs, Colorado, and you want to stay in or near the town, you don’t have too many choices in RV parks. This led us, on our recent trip, to stay at Steamboat Campground. The main draw for us was the free bus into town – this was an amenity that no other RV parks in the area could match. We made our reservation based mainly on that.
Now, when we made the reservation, the office staff was straight forward with us, and told us that they only had a couple of their least desirable sites left. We’d be parking on grass, without a sewer hookup, and near the highway. It didn’t sound that inviting, but the $45 price tag for a night in a resort town was not too bad, so we went ahead.
The office was open until 10pm, but even with that, we managed to roll in late. (We always seem to roll in late… ALWAYS.) Fortunately, they have an easy self-checkin procedure and we found our way to our spot with no difficulties. To avoid waking any neighbors, we didn’t even hook up – we just crashed.
When we awoke the next morning to check out the park, I looked around and realized that this might have been an occasion where I would have rather been a tent camper. Here’s what I mean. This was the view from our RV site.
And this is the tent camping area.
You see what I mean.
Other than a quick look around, we didn’t explore Steamboat Campground much that first morning. We were eager to get up into the mountains hiking, which we did. The free shuttle is nice, it stops directly in the campground, and it took us straight up to the mountain. We chose hiking for the day, but there are lots of other fitness fun activities in the area. Lift-served mountain biking is available, and we also saw horseback riding and all kinds of recreation opportunities on the Yampa river. There’s no excuse not to get some activity in while you’re here, and to have a lot of fun doing it.
We hiked up the mountain and rode the gondola back down. By the time we caught the free shuttle back to Steamboat Campground, we were pretty tired. But we weren’t so tired that we couldn’t have a look around.
The campground had all the amenities you might expect from a full service campground. There was a laundry facility, restrooms, showers, and an outdoor kitchen for the tent campers. The facilities were all there, but I wasn’t too impressed. They seemed a little run down. Maybe they just didn’t live up to the beautiful surroundings, but I was a little disappointed. For example, the showers… yes, it was summer, and the campground was full, but they were a little too dirty for us. We elected instead to shower in our Class B.
I give them points for some of the amenities though. They rented these recumbent tricycle things there in the office. I don’t think I would have taken one on the road, but it seemed a good way to let kids blow off steam. They also had mini golf and a pool. Even though we didn’t use them, we like to see them at campgrounds because they provide additional choices for active recreation. The more choices you have, the more likely you’ll find one you like.
Then, there was this strangeness: I was not able to get our RV level on our first grass site. We saw several empty sites, and went to the office to inquire about moving to something more level. The folks in the office did let us move, and – to their credit – they did not charge us any more for the upgrade (the new site had sewer). But they wouldn’t let us move to the large, level, gravel sites. They said they were saving them for late arrivals… Not late arrivals with reservations, mind you, just anyone who might show up after the park closed. I was tempted to check out and re-self-register myself after they closed, but I didn’t. Anyway, keep it in mind if they tell you you’re getting a bad site and you’re feeling lucky…
This is the “upgraded” site we wound up with.
To sum it up, if I were coming to Steamboat Springs, I would definitely stay here again. The free shuttle alone makes up for any shortcomings. And some of the facilities are nice extras. But I couldn’t help but be a little disappointed in the “feel” of the place. I had a vision of what I was looking for in Steamboat Springs, and in the end, Steamboat Campground just felt like a crowded, kind of dirty, camp.
Unless, of course, you’re staying here in a tent…