It started with a great experience booking the site. We were making some last-minute travel plans, and the PRC folks helped us find a perfect site on short notice. We travel in a tiny teardrop trailer, and the site they picked couldn’t have been better. (More on that shortly.)
When we arrived, the staff greeted us, checked us in, and led us to our site. They showed us where all the amenities were, and left us to get set up. Our site (33) was perfect for a small to mid-size trailer, with beautiful trees, a nice fire ring, and a picnic table.
The property has a nice pond, with sites that line one side of it. But the real beauty here is that the San Juan River sits on the back of the property. We love to fish, so we stopped in a local fly shop, picked up some flies and fishing licenses, and caught a 10-inch rainbow back at the campground. (They also sell flies and fishing tackle in the campground store.)
The bathrooms and showers were nice and clean, and since we don’t have a bathroom in our trailer, we were happy to have them. They also had a nice clean laundry room with several washers and 2 large dryers.
This feels very much like a campground that’s been in the family for years. Sure, it’s not all new and shiny, but the staff (and there are quite a few of them) work hard to make PRC a great place to stay.
We had planned a two-night stay at Mary's Lake, but for various reasons we cut it to one night. Here's the story…
EP Campground at Mary's Lake is in a good spot, just far enough from the taffy shops and tourist traps of Estes Park. The staff were nice and welcoming, but the park itself just doesn't measure up.
It's pretty much just a big gravel parking lot, with sites packed in along various loops and paths. There are hardly any trees where we were, so we were completely exposed to the wicked winds. The picnic table at our site was a nice thought, but when your view is of a gravel parking lot, sitting at the table just doesn't hold much appeal.
The bathrooms are nice and clean, but the showers are coin-operated. Now, I don't mind paying for a good shower, but when you're already paying forty-five bucks a night, throwing eight quarters into a machine for six minutes (if that) of hot water seems a bit like robbery. There's a sign that says you can add a quarter for 30 additional seconds but you have to do it before the six minutes is up. um, I don't wear a watch in the shower.
If all you're looking for is a parking lot with hookups to stow your RV while you explore the park, this place might work for you. But when we're done hiking for the day, we like a place that has some amount of charm, and sadly Mary's Lake doesn't deliver.
After picking up our new (to us) teardrop trailer in Minneapolis on a Monday, we wanted to stay someplace local just to test everything out. Thankfully Lebanon Hills had a space available, and from the moment we arrived, we knew we made a good call.
The campground staff checked us in quickly, and gave us the rundown on all the amenities. We headed to our spot, which backed up to a beautiful wooded area, with plenty of grass to walk our wondermutt. Just from driving/walking around, you can tell a lot of thought went into planning this park. The sites are nice and level, with plenty of space between each one. This feels very much like a nice state park.
The site had a nice picnic table, which we used to help sort out our new (to us) trailer storage. We didn’t use the fire ring, but it would have made for a nice campfire. We had full hookups, even though we only needed water and electric.
The bathrooms were among some of the nicest I’ve used at a campground. The shower stall was big enough for a meaty human like myself to shower comfortably. And you can tell the staff takes good care of the facilities.
We met some nice folks staying around us, and got the feeling that many of them return each year, and for as much of the summer as they can.
Our only regret is that we couldn’t stay longer to explore what this beautiful park has to offer. If we’re ever in the area again, we’ll spend some time at Lebanon Hills.
Custer's Last Stand may not have gone the way he hoped, but the state park that bears his name may be one of the most amazing camping destinations we've ever seen. And our stay at Grace Coolidge Campground will always be a treasured memory.
There are many campgrounds spread around Custer SP. Coolidge is a small-ish one set along the banks of a creek. There are about 20 sites here, most of which are tucked in the trees, providing plenty of shade.
We checked in right at dusk, after a long day of driving. The campground attendant introduced himself, and pointed out our spot. There's potable water at the bathroom/shower building, and he asked if we wanted to fill up before we parked. (We didn't, but it was nice he asked.)
Our spot was nice and level, the perfect place to tuck in our teardrop for the night. Though the campground was full, everyone observed the quiet hours, and it made for a pleasant evening of watching the stars.
In the morning, we took our pup on two short, but beautiful, hikes, before hitching up and heading to our next destination.
If all the campgrounds at Custer are as nice as Coolidge, we may just have to spend a month staying at each of them.