Location can't be beat

Arrived here after several days in Canyonlands as 3 of the 4 kids in our family were ready for town activities.  We happened to see that the bookings were opening post-COVID and were able to reserve two nights.

It's a pretty park with a small waterfall just steps from it, and right along the San Miguel river, but the obvious draw is being steps from Telluride's Main Street and its park complex.  We had site #28, which was right against the river and plenty large enough.  Traffic through the park is minimal, but the river being next to this site drowned out most noise and the park seemed to be well managed to keep noise down.

This is not an RV site, but they are interspersed throughout the campground.  There are decent showers in the campground, but much nicer ones are available for the same cost about 30-40 yards away at the pool/park showers.   The campground shower/bath house also has a dishwashing sink on the back wall.  I believe it's $3 for 5 minutes in the showers, and you have to use tokens, not quarters.

The nearby park has a kids fishing pond with a sign that says you can rent gear, but we didn't have time to use it.  The adjacent park appeared to have yoga classes in the mornings as well.  

The campground is pricy ($33/day for our tent site) but as the last stop of 7 days camping, the access to town and the ability to let the teenagers have some freedom wandering town and taking the gondola to Mountain Village was more than worth it.

Pa-Co-Chu-Puk - Small sites but very peaceful

We originally had a tent site in Elk Ridge, but our friends with an RV couldn't get a site on that side of the park for the same dates.  Rather than have the 8 kids between us so far apart, we decided to get a tent site in Pa-Co.  We got #294, primarily because the tent sites are about 50 yards from the parking lot, and with 6 of us we haul a lot of stuff.  294 was one of the closest to the parking lot, with the downside it was also closest to the pit toilet.  If it was just two people with a couple backpacks this is a great location as you don't have any car noise and you're not hauling much, but for us it was a pain.

It was a beautiful view of the river from the site.  Sites are small and fairly close together but it was a quiet campground.  The bathroom wasn't a problem except for a couple of hours when it seemed like someone left a door open and the wind was blowing our direction.

Our tent is massive, and too big for the 10x10 space for tents at the site so we had to do some moving around but made it work.  I'd bring our smaller one next time.  The tent campground is well maintained and quiet, and the weather is great in the summer as the river keeps it cool.  The RV site our friend has didn't have a lot of trees and was close to the highway, so for just hanging out ours was preferable.  

Unfortunately the showers at the shower house about 100 yards away were closed due to COVID, but the weather is cool and dry mostly so not a big deal.  The shower house and laundry were very well kept, and the campground hosts were very friendly.   Firewood was $5 and I believe ice was only $1.  

The park overall was great.  We drove to the other parts to rent paddleboards and had a great time - very reasonably priced.   It worked well as a base for side trips, as Ouray and Ridgway were easy to get to, as was Black Canyon of the Gunnison NP.

An Oasis

Stayed here with my family of 6 in June, 2020.  We arrived on a Saturday and we have a huge tent so the owners gave us part of the Small Group Site.  On the map it is the second little drive-in to the right in the Small Group Site.   This was right up against the rocks to minimize wind on our tent.  We were able to put the majority of the tent under the trees to keep it cool and shady.  

The bathrooms were adequate, though one of the men's showers was closed.  You can stretch your shower time ($3 for 5 minutes) by shutting the shower off while you lather as that time doesn't count and doing that 5 minutes was plenty of time.  The showers could use a little TLC and a paint job, but they were fine for all of us with good water pressure.

Campground was extremely quiet, which was nice, and the kids loved climbing the mountain behind us.  Of course it's within 2 minutes of the Canyonlands entrance which makes it incredibly convenient.  I've stayed in the Canyonlands campgrounds, and they are nice, but the bathroom and showers is great when you're traveling with teens and toddlers.

Also convenient to have the store there for extra ice, even though it's understandably expensive ($5/bag).

Great for kids

Stayed in a "cabin," in the summer, basically a bunk house with two bunk beds and a little foyer.  Still, a nice break from the tent for the kids and I.  On the highway but not much noise, and a very nice pool.  Sites are small, but the amenities make up for it.

Best part about it was convenience.  Easy to downtown Durango, Mesa Verde and easy to find driving back late from a day exploring.

Beautiful, but inconvenient if you're coming off the water

On a two day float with kids, made a reservation for tent camping at Buffalo Point for the overnight.  I hadn't been there before, but it looked beautiful and on a nice beach at the river.   Plus with two pre-teen girls, I thought a chance for a bathroom and maybe some ice cream at the store would be a nice break.

The beach is nice, and right before you get to it there's some cool rock formations to paddle your kayak in and around, BUT the campsites are a good hike uphill from the river.  Even if you're comfortable leaving your canoes out of your sight on the beach (I'm not), you've still got to haul all your gear up a pretty good hill and depending on your site, multiple hikes to move your gear unless you're going backpacking light. 

We still hiked up to the overlook which was a nice way to stretch our legs, but ultimately decided to stay at a gravel bar further downriver.  The sites in the campground were shady, the roads were all in good shape, and the river is always beautiful, so if I'm not floating I'll definitely go back.

Views are amazing, but one thing on the cabins

The views, as other reviewers have said, are impressive and the Rim Trail is worth doing any time of day and any season.

One warning on the cabins though - in summer be prepared for some bugs.  Stayed in Cabin B in August one summer with my wife, who is tougher than anything but spiders.  I would have been wise to get there a couple hours earlier and let her relax while I cleaned the place thoroughly.  They were pretty thick throughout.

It's not that they're dirty, it's just that they're old buildings which aren't used every day surrounded by forest.  Naturally, you get spiders, rodents, etc.   It didn't bother me at all, but it did her.  Water pressure and hot water were not what one would hope if you want a shower as well.  

We both enjoyed the setting, loved the cabin otherwise, and loved the hikes.  We've done day hikes there with the kids' since, and in a prior visit I saw a bear go lumbering in front of my truck on the road to White Rock.  Only time in 40+ years I've seen a bear in the wild in Arkansas, and I grew up in the country! 

Still recommend White Rock, but if you're considering the cabins it's worth bringing cleaning supplies.  Even with that, they're a great bargain.

Great jumping off points for hikes and floating

Kyles will be busy on the summer weekends especially when floating season is in full swing, but it's still a beautiful campground.  During that time try and get a site away from the launch/takeout spots.  There are several good outfitter options nearby to make the float trip easy.

The road from the highway down into the campsite is inexplicably poor given the traffic this gets.  Not sure if it's because it's part federal and part county, but you would think they'd maintain it better or, to be really optimistic, pave it.  It's passable in any vehicle if you take your time, but be prepared.

Some great hikes from Kyles, the most spectacular being Eye of the Needle.  Easier ones include Twin Falls.  The definitive guide for hiking in the area is Tim Ernst's Buffalo River Hiking Trails.

I travel with 4 kids usually, and Kyles is a great spot for a number of family activities.  Cell service is minimal to nonexistent, so it also reduces screen time and gets the teenagers re-engaged!

Peaceful, great base for hiking

Camped here with 3 teenagers and a 3 year old just before it was shut down in March 2020 for COVID.  We planned to go to Haws Creek but it was closed due to flooding, so we got in late in the evening.  It was during Spring Break week but there were still spots.  We didn't pick the best one (inside the loop) because it was dark when we got there, but even so it was still flat and enough space from neighbors.  The spots on the outside of the loop have more privacy so I'd recommend one of those.

We spent two nights and did make the hike to Twin Falls.  Had to carry the 3 year old some just to keep a decent pace, but it was worth it.  You'll have to ford the creek at least once and the trail isn't easy, but it's well marked enough that you can't miss it.  Two of the teenagers wanted to quit after about 2 miles, which was still a beautiful hike, but the rest prevailed on them for the last half mile and they were glad they did.

There are a number of other waterfalls and trails nearby, and in summer the creek would be a lot of fun.  The tradeoff for going in March and the falls running well is cold water and cooler weather though.

As others mentioned, no phone service (a blessing) and no showers, but fairly clean toilets.  

The only complaint was our firepit had recently had all the ash removed.  Starting a fire 2 feet deep in a barrel with no air flow proved a challenge, though we eventually got it going.  I recommend bringing some of your own starter wood because the area was picked fairly clean of all but small sticks.