Registering for any site means stopping at the main ranger office. We waited while a line of people rented pontoon boats, canoes and kayaks. We found site 6 in Silva Campground to be nicely set apart.
Silva is wooded and has more seclusion than the other camps. River campground has campers right in a line with no shade around them. Silva was good for us.
Some sites are close together- perfect for a small group. Others are open and along the road. 6 was carved out of the woods- we felt immersed in the forest. One set of 4 vault toilets serves this campground. Water can be found in a couple locations. Our site had full sun during the day so our screen tent saved the day.
A variety of hiking trails are here. Some are used by bikes and horses too. Rock Island is a short drive away and we hiked on Sylvan Island there. Many people are here for fishing.
We didn’t like the large family gathering at the site across from us. They disappeared as soon as the rain came but there was a lot of activity going on. Some of the picnic areas would be perfect for these moments but they didn't move to them. We still enjoyed our stay.
Squeezed between the slough and the road, a campground awaits. Close enough so that one side of your campsite is against the road. The sites were not mowed super recently so the greenery was about 6” tall in spots. Evidence of recent rain was found in the small ruts in the one roadway. There are no trails or even a sidewalk by the road.
This campground isn’t that enticing but it’s nice to know that there are options if everything else is full. On Labor Day weekend there weren’t any campers - this was enough to send us further down the road. Loud Thunder is just down the road and might be a preferable place.
We did see people parking in the day use lot and launching their boats for a morning of fishing.
I’d like to start by saying the staff is wonderful. They’re very friendly and kind.
However, The bathrooms could really benefit by some simple tuneups. In order to run the shower, one must hold down a rusty slimy chain. The floors are also very porous, which would make them very difficult to clean (hence the filthy floors)
Also, there were some other campers playing loud music which was annoying. It was not bad enough for us to make a fuss (we only stayed one night), so I have no idea how that might have been handled by staff had the need arisen.
This is a group only campground. You also need to reserve this- it’s not one you just show up to. There is a big open field with 2 covered picnic table areas. Each one has 2 tables in it. A standout feature might be the 2 huge fit pits. They each have a nice wood ring that is perfect to sit on for some evening storytelling. One set of vault toilets is off to the side.
One drawback is the amount of prickly pear cacti. It is everywhere! There are some free areas to set up a tent but definitely watch where you walk. This camp is also in a clearing so there’s no shade except by the edges.
Another option is Pine Campground which is just down the road. There are also individual back country sites that you can backpack to.
The natural area has some great hiking (the ranger recommends the green trail). There is also hunting and fishing here. A horse campground around the bend means you might encounter some on the trails.
This is a nice area set aside from all other campers but it’s in the open and those cacti are a pain.
This is the campground for horses and their riders. Tie up posts are in each campsite along with picnic tables. The campground is one loop so the inner ring of sites are almost like a group site setup. The outer ring sites are more private and up against the woods. A set of vault toilets is commonly located. Along with garbage cans there are multiple spots to pile manure. There were a couple sites occupied the first night but it emptied out on Saturday.
Most trails in this natural area are accessible to horses. Trails head out from camp. The longest being almost 15 miles. Hiking and hunting also happen here so keep an eye open on the trails. If you have an energetic horse that you want to work hard, head into the yellow loop. The ranger said it tires everyone because it’s steep hills of sand.
Across the road is a spot for day use riders to park their trailers. There were a bunch parked when we passed it.
This is a hidden gem and worth giving a chance.
This is a hidden gem! We camped immersed in a pine forest. Can you smell that fragrance? This is a nice size campground that feels larger because so few are camping here this weekend.
Our site is up against the woods giving us a sense of being on our own. Vault toilets are clean and in a couple locations. We have two trees perfect for the hammock and yet enough sun to use the solar panels.
One odd point is that we couldn’t find a way to pay. During office hours, you pay at the ranger’s place just down the road. We arrived late but he came around the next morning to check in everyone. He pointed out the 2 water pumps that work and we had a nice chat.
The ranger directed us to hike the green trail. It touches on all the various ecosystems that are found here. It was a great hike and not that difficult at all. It just a short drive away. He also said to watch out for prickly pear as you roam the natural area.
Another camper has been alternating camping here with backpacking to more remote spots. It’s good to have options.
Backpacking, hiking, fishing, horses and hunting can all be done in this large nature area.
As a Dyrt Ranger I sometimes get products to evaluate. This trip I tested out the Horizon hat by Banner and Oak.
The Freedom to Explore hat has material over the entire head (not mesh like many other hats of this type). This caught my eye since my lack of hair requires sun protection. I was perfectly happy with this hat. The material is soft and it adjusted to fit perfectly. It was a comfort to know my head was protected.
A side job I asked of it was swatting away all the spiderwebs. We were the first on the trail and they were everywhere! Banner and Oak to the rescue! Their hat slipped on and off easily as I quickly swung it into action.
(Side comment: the Banner and Oak carabiner was great at being a second attachment for my dog’s leash. She broke the metal on her last harness and it’s nice having some reassurance)
I’m recommending this Banner and Oak hat! It works beautifully and carries a message to encourage everyone to find the courage to get outside.
Fished here for a few years but camped here for the first time with my travel trailer this year. The campground is well laid out. If you are in a group you can reserve spots 8 and 9 together or there are some long spots in the Eastern part for double occupancy if you want. If you want more privacy and easy access to the lake for kayaking I'd go for 14, 15, and 16. I'm in 32 and it is private and very pretty.
Nearby lake has a beach and a boat ramp for launching boats (whole lake is no wake zone) or kayaks. If you are into fishing, this place has large mouth bass, crappie, bluegill, and catfish.
Our site was at Indian Meadows and it is large enough to fit my big 8-person tent, a picnic table, my truck, and all our other stuff with room to spare. The sites are very close to each other. The sites at Riverview and Silva both seemed smaller. The Riverview sites had great shade and a breeze coming off of the Mississippi river but had very little privacy. Each site at Indian Meadows and Silva are surrounded by a wall of trees. Our site had a picnic table and a fire pit with a swing over grill. There was no trash can, though. My plan was to collect the garbage then walk it to the trash point, a dumpster up the road. Unfortunately, while we were at the shower house raccoons got into it. I was better prepared the second day. Just remember to bring trash bags and dispose of your trash often, the raccoons out there are brave. The Loud Thunder office is top-notch. They sell a few necessities like batteries, firewood, ice, and stuff for s’mores. Service was incredibly helpful and nice.
At the center of Loud Thunder is Lake George. Lake George is a boon for kayakers and anglers. For us, it was the highlight of the trip. Loud Thunder rents kayaks, john boats, pontoons, and mini-pontoons. I had never heard of a mini-pontoon prior to this trip; they are amazing and now I want one. For 30 dollars we navigated the lake for two hours. My son loved steering the boat. Even though we were in the sun there was a nice breeze. We could have easily spent another two hours on that lake.
There are also plenty of trails for horses, bikes, and hiking. The trail we went on started as a wide gravel path then narrowed to a single-track dirt path. It had one hard climb. The trail was very nice and led to some great views.
Read about my adventure at https://www.lost13.com/camping/2019/7/26/loud-thunder
After hours on my motorcycle I needed a place to set up camp for the night. Found this place out of pure luck. Set up camp in the dark, when I woke up the view was amazing! Beautiful little river runs right by the campground. Amenities are basic, but in reality that's all you need.
We were in a tent spot with power, on a somewhat level pad, with a great view of the lake. There were few people there. As with most municipal parks (my experience), facilities are mediocre. It was long walk to the bathroom, and the showers were hot, but not very private. Personnel were very friendly. It was raining, so didn't get to take advantage of all they have to offer. City wifi was free, reliable, but slow from our site.
Beautiful private family owned campground. New owners around last year, very accommodating. Nice small town atmosphere. Almost all sites are 50 amp pull through. Level gravel. Full hookups. Borders a long canal that has a very nice bike trails for miles. Plenty of shade. Highly recommend this campground. The owners make it an enjoyable experience. Directly easy access off route 80.
Beware of low bridge in town. Follow campground signs off exit or you will chop off your a/c if you have a fifth wheel.