We have previously stayed at Aspen and decided to try this campground since Aspen was full. Our site was very spacious and it was nice to spread out, however, the actual tent spot was really close to the vault toilets. The smell wasn't terrible, but definitely had some foot traffic during the night.
We expected plenty of people given that it was 4th of July. There were a couple very loud large groups and some RV's that ran their generators all day long. Not really the campgrounds fault however.
The water was fine but it was quite the workout to get it pumped. Bathrooms were decent. No real complaints about anything, we just missed the smaller campground at Aspen.
This place charges PER Person, including kids, which is extortion! We were charged $36 a night for a camp site that was in terrible shape. We actually drove into town to buy a rake so we could clean up all the trash left around. We were also told because they don't have metal fire rings, fires we're not allowed during a class 1 fire ban. Seems that with the crazy rates they charge, they could upgrade the sites with this feature. We also were appalled with how costly everything was at the store. $3.75 for a 10lb bag of ice. $20 for a board rental and due back by 7 (you can really only be on the dunes in morning and evening so much of the day you can't use the boards). I have definitely stayed in fabulous campgrounds with less amenities for less cost. Unfortunately, they have a captive customer base because Pinon Flats are always full. So in conclusion, if they continue to charge such high prices for their sites, clean them up, upgrade the fire pits and then maybe the cost would be worth it.
This was our second stay at Riverside. We loved it the first time and loved it the second! The grounds are well kept and vault toilets are always clean (something my girls judge very critically!). The tent sites are walk-in. We lucked out last year and picked a site that was a short walk from the parking lot, but some are very far and are quite the hike. Perfect for if you want to be further away from fellow campers, but not good if you have littles that need to use the toilet in a hurry. We chose the same site this time, knowing what our choices were.
The campground will get a bit of drive by traffic as 11 Mile Canyon is a great place to fish. Mostly early morning and later in the day.
We love being able to cross the road and be at the river. The girls love fishing and skipping rocks and the river is shallow enough in many spots to wade and play in.
The camp site we chose (#6) is close to trees and a meadow and so wildlife is abundant! It has been very dry the last two summers, so please mind your fire! Our site is also very close to a hiking trail, so some hikers do wander by.
Overall we love it here and will be back for more adventures!
We LOVED Guanella Pass Campground! It was surrounded by beauty that was breathtaking! But make sure you bring bug spray. The mosquitoes are out in full force and they're huge!
Other than the mosquitoes, we have no complaints. Our site was near a creek that was fun to explore and the woods all around also held adventure. The campground was very clean and well-kept. The byway is pretty close but you couldn't see or hear much from it because of all the trees and brush and the creek. The wildflowers were gorgeous and the views just stunning.
We have this on our list of places to camp again!
Let me start by saying the campground itself is beautiful! There was plenty of shade and the creek provided nice ambiance. However, don't camp here if you want some peace and quiet! Iron Mountain Road runs right by and it a popular with motorists and motorcyclists. Also, starting a 9am until probably 6pm there are helicopter tours for Mount Rushmore and it flies right over the campground. We used this spot as a jump off point for all our adventures so we weren't bothered too much by the noise as we were gone for much of the day.
Our only other complaint is that the vault toilets smelled terrible. I know they're not supposed to smell like roses, but we've experienced many other vault toilets that we "pleasant" and we rarely saw a fly. These would have flies swarming as you used the facilities and we could often smell the toilets from our site. I'm not sure if the treatment is different in SD, as we're from CO, but this was out biggest complaint.
High point is that you're only 5 to 10 minutes from Rushmore and close to Custer State Park and it was an easy jumping point for many other destinations.
One more note…more of a soapbox speech…the Vermont people next to us were terrible campers and broke all the basic etiquette camping rules. They washed dished in the creek, they bathed at the water pumps and left trash and food all over their site and in the fire pit when they left. This is NOT ok. Camping involves a very high level of respect for nature and if you can't follow leave no trace rules, you shouldn't be out there!
It was lightly raining when we arrived, but that didn't dampen our delight at the absolutely stunning campground. We only stayed one night; we were stopping over to continue with our road trip. We do hope to return someday to further explore the area, but even our one night left a lasting impression!
This was our 2nd time camping in Aspen and we just love it! This time the camp host was absent for most of our visit due to a family emergency, but we were still well taken care of by the camp hosts from Lodgepole and other staff in the area. There is so much to explore! The hiking options are endless and the lake is beautiful! Nights are very cold at the end of may…dress warmly! My girls love exploring the Meadow and the woods nearby. We will definitely return!