Cynthia W.


Westminster, CO

Joined March 2017

Historically interesting site...but not very quiet

To be fair, I didn't choose this camp ground for any other reason than I was backpacking the Colorado Trail and wanted to be able to meet up with my family some place close to the trail. This suited my needs perfectly. I was able to walk into camp for my second night on Segment 8 and that was fabulous. The history of the valley is fascinating and my family would love to come back and explore some more. The campground sites seem best suited for RV's, however we managed just fine in our tent. We had no shade in our spot (#13), so any time at camp was spent mainly under our canopy. This was the case for many of the other sites, but we did note a few sites that were well shaded. The views from our site were spectacular!
I feel the biggest drawback of this campsite is its proximity to Hwy 24. The traffic noise is very noticiable and loud at times. It did quiet down quite a bit at night and I didn't notice it much at all. Usually we like to be a bit more removed from the human population when we go camping, but again, I has other reasons for choosing this campground. There is no water, but we made sure we brought plenty. There is a river nearby if you need non-drinking water. The sites were spacious and clean. The vault toilets were immaculate. The host was nice and had a cat! I really recommend this spot for history buffs. We want to come back and do more exploring and maybe do a ATV tour of the area. So yeah, just an average campground…nothing really wrong with it, just not as remote as we usually like and it is nice to have access to potable water.

The Quieter Side of the Lake

We ended up at this campground because it was the only one near the that had spaces left. We LOVED this site. The campground was well kept and the site were very spacious. We loved the little creek that ran along the campground. It was very tame and easy for the kids to play in. It was also a short walk to the lake and the hiking trail that runs along the edge of the lake.

This was the only campground on the far side of the lake, so it has far less foot traffic and people in general. We loved our stay here!

A favorite at Turquoise Lake!

We've stayed at a few different camp grounds at Turquoise Lake, and this one is one of my favorites. It's not directly on the lake, so it's a bit warmer and less windy than spots on the lake. The lake is only a short hike away…maybe 5 minutes. The sites were well spaced and large. The host was very nice, but my husband thought she was a bit intense. Firewood was $8 a bundle, which seems odd since they are logging in the area and there is really plenty of wood around. Vaults were well cleaned. There was a bog nearby that my girls thought was cool. We could hear the frogs at night. Something growled in the dark on a 3am trek to the vaults. Not sure if it was a dog, a snore, or…? A bird flew into our car and got stuck. This is at a high elevation and nights are chilly, even in July. Drink plenty of water and wear your sunscreen! Bring bug spray!!!

Spacious yet intimate

This campground is on the backside of Eleven Mile Canyon and is a quieter option if you're wanting less road traffic. Please note that you can still hear some traffic nose, but it's significantly less than sites in the canyon. We love that the campground was smaller, only 20ish sites I believe, but the sites were spacious and offered to ability to spread out a bit. This was good because my husband purchased a new tent…the biggest tent in the world possibly…and I was very worried about having space to set it up. Alas, we found the perfect spot and it even helped the tent not look so obnoxious. We stayed over 4th of July weekend and it full but never felt crowded. The vaults were very clean. The host was delightful as were her entire family. There's a nice hike over the ridge that will take you to Riverside campground (we've stayed there previously…also nice) and cross the road to the river. We saw some deer and did hear that a bear visited our campground while we were there but didn't cause any trouble. My only complaint was that firewood purchased from the host was $8 a bundle. I would suggest getting some for far less elsewhere. Overall, we really enjoyed our stay and will definitely return in the future.

Spacious but noisy

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.

Pricey for what you get...

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.

First to Review
A beautiful spot!

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!

A campground that will take your breath away...and your blood!

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!

Beautiful but nosy and smelly

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!

A Favorite Spot

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!