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We pulled in at 830 pm and immediately noticed the few campers that were parked had no lights on. We could barely see where our spot was as There was no check in, you just go right to your spot. I typically like to check in and meet the people who run it to get a good layout and understand the vibe of the campground. We had site 12 I believe and we got a spooky vibe when we pulled up to it. It is literally 5 feet from a cabin that had huge window and a door that lead right to our driver side rv door. It just felt a little weird to have to hook up in the dark with no lights around us except our own headlamps and wonder if someone was inside watching us from their window. The spot was also very visible from the road so that also spooked us that people were driving by seeing us get ready next to a very dark cabin. Hind sight it was probably a fine campsite but I always say trust your instinct so we left. Something just felt slightly off, especially in the dark right next to a very long and dark cabin that anyone could have been in.
That being said, the ground was also fairly uneven and it is a very basic campground. It seems it was more for cabins and someone just decided to hookups and no picnic tables
I bet the views are nice and the people staying are probs great too! Again it just felt a little off so we left so I can’t honestly give this a fair rating
We arrived just after a rain. That made things a little messy to get in. There is a large mud pit on one side of the road and tire ruts on the other. Once you get past that, you're pretty golden. There is a loop you can pull into on the left. But, you won't get the views there. We're in a class c and went up a bit. We have views of the badlands and park. Halfway up is as high as we saw any rigs over 30ft go. There were a couple TT's at the summit. Lots of vans, popups and smaller c's up the foothill. It's windy, and you will hear some highway noise. When it's really windy, trucks hit the rumble strips often. It was pretty dead here most of the time. Labor Day weekend brought a lot of tent campers. Everyone is pretty quiet though. No cell signal st the bottom. Great AT&T and Verizon as you go up. Easy acces to Medora and the south unit if TRNP. The trails for the petrified forest are further down River rd. We used Sully Creek SP for water and dumping. There was no price listed, so we donated a few bucks.
We have stayed at the Cottonwood campground in the T.R. National Park a number of times & have loved it each time!! We’ve tented &, more recently, stayed in a RV - both types of stays were great!! Love the scenic drive loop because of the gorgeous views & you are guaranteed to see some wildlife - buffalo, wild horses, elk, prairie dogs, deer!! Great scenic stops along the drive in the Park. Wind Canyon was a favorite stop. We also went horse back riding (in the Park) one year that we visited. We had buffalo walk through the campsite when we were in the tent! Although there’s no designated swim beach, we were able to walk down to the river to cool off (muddy though). Great views, wild life, history, & scenery - definitely worth a trip!!
Stayed here while visiting Theodore Roosevelt National Park. The location is great as the park entrance is just a few miles away, along with the gateway town of Medora. Reservation and check in was all digital which was nice. There is no office on site, but we didn’t need anything. The owner is very responsive to messages. Great views of the surrounding area. WiFi was decent as was Verizon cell service. Full hookups for RV and everything worked great. Only thing that left us wanting a little bit was the spots were a bit close together and there are no picnic tables or fire rings. The price per night was lower than other campgrounds though. Overall great experience and would stay there again.
As the only campground in TRNP South, it’s the place to be when visiting this section of the park. Most of the best sites are reservable so jump on those if you can, otherwise there are plenty of good non reservable sites as well (evens I believe). I was fortunate enough to stumble across a couple leaving a non reservable site by the river around 10am and snagged that spot (52?). Great spot with plenty of necessary shade and a great view of sunset falling behind the hills.
There isn’t much to do right from the campsite but you’re a short drive from most of the parks highlights (scenic drive, hiking from the Valley Lodge). Be sure to take a drive at sunset one night. The view from the short Wind Canyon trail is stunning at this hour and you may run into some Bison leaving the river along the way.
Will use this platform to also note that TRNP is one of my favorite hidden gem NP’s around. Didn’t know a thing about it ‘til I got there and absolutely loved it. The more prairie-like section of the “badlands.”
Two loops; the north loop is open year-round. The south loop is open mid-May through September. There are also walk-in sites and a group site, off the south loop. The campground fills up almost every day in the summer, even during the week. Odd-numbered sites are reservable while even number sites are first-come, first-served. We were not able to get into the site we had reserved (a nice pull-through with views of the bluffs and the river) because the people staying there the night before were having difficulty with their RV and not able to move it. We had been re-assigned to Site 38, a much larger site, but among the trees with no view. We were bummed but had no choice as the campground was full. We thought we might try to move the next day, but it turns out friends were able to join us, so our large site ended up being to our advantage. The pull-through in Site 38 was so large that it could have easily accommodated three large Class A motorhomes with room to spare! Large picnic table that was pushed up against the trees; we discovered the next afternoon that it was to take advantage of as much shade as possible. No fire ring; campfires are permitted in charcoal bbq grates or fully contained fire pans. Wood was not available to purchase at the campground; you must go to Medora(about five miles away) to purchase or you can collect dead and down firewood. Bathroom was clean enough with flush toilets but NO SOAP! No showers but we didn’t expect them in a National Park campground. Several very short trails in the park but the most popular Petrified Forest Trail is accessible from outside the park. Saw bison, prairie dogs, pronghorn antelope, wild horses.
Camping inside National Parks is always a treat. Cottonwood Campground makes exploring Theodore Roosevelt NP very accessible. The site is close to the river and you can easily walk to it from the campground. Very peaceful and secluded, it makes you feel like you are really in the wild. We saw bison and wild horses across the river from the campground. Some sites don’t have a lot of shade so get there early if you want a site with trees.
I have mixed feelings on this campground. We were here mid- July and it was incredibly hot. There is limited shade and little relief from the heat. We had a nice site with the river running alongside it, but it was a dark muddy brown, so not at all enticing to go in it. The host was very friendly and helpful. Bathrooms & water access were nearby but there are no showers within the park. There was also no soap in the bathroom. I was disappointed that there are no fire pits, just small grills at each site. I understand there is probably a moderately high fire danger in the park often, but disappointing nonetheless. The campground has tent, RV and walk in sites available. Some are reservable- some not. The scenery is beautiful in a weird, other worldly way. Unfortunately it was challenging to enjoy it fully due to the 90+ degree temps.