A huge and lovely park by water and mountains in Ridgway CO.
- Site Quality = 3.5/5
This is a HUGE park with 3 separate campgrounds and over 250 sites. Overall there’s good access and decent separation with a selection from full hookups to electric. All sites are large, asphalt and have lovely “sitting areas” with picnic table, fire-pit and grill. Both back-ins and pull-thoughs available (pull-thoughs tend to be nicer in my opinion). The only real”ding” is that some sites are rather unlevel, and the 2 campgrounds close to the road do get some road noise.
-> Elk Ridge = this campsite is set furthest away from the road (very quiet) up the mesa-top hill on the reservoir side of the park. There are some views of both the cimarron mountain ranges and the reservoir through the pinyon-juniper trees. Sites are slightly closer together than the other 2 campgrounds, but with bits of shade. Electric hookups only (30 Amp). A few very unlevel sites, but also some outstanding sites with panoramic views (best mountain views from#177, 179, 181, 184, 186 with some decent reservoir views from #82, 87, 89)
-> Dakota Terraces = this campground is on level with the reservoir and closer to the main road (thus some road noise). Sites are nicely separated, but with less trees than Elk Ridge. Some sites have excellent open views of both the lake and the mountains. Direct access to swim beach and water. Electric hookup only (30 Amp)
-> Pa-Co-Chu-Pak = this is a separate campground further north and below the reservoir dam (next to the river). Large and relatively flat sites. You do not have the open mountains views of the other two campgrounds here, but you do get full hookups (water/sewer/30Amp). Some road noise from sites closest to the highway.
- Facilities = 4.5/5
Very nice set of facilities here. There are flush toilets, large showers (only ding is that they are pay only, $1 for 4 mins), and modern laundry. Lots of additional facilities all around the park including picnic areas, swim beach, fishing pier, playground, and boating. On-site dump station at Dakota Terraces.
- Location = 5/5
This is a fabulous location. You are right next to a beautiful body of water with miles of hiking within the park, yet you are only a short jaunt from Ridgway (shopping, restaurants) and within easy drive of the entire Million Dollar Highway (Ouray, Mt. Sneffels Wilderness, etc.)
- Pet Friendliness = 5/5
Another great doggie spot. Lots of hiking trails, plus easy access to splash in the water especially from the Elk Ridge/Dakota Terrace campgrounds (from Elk Ridge take the Twin Fawn trail down to the water for a nice, secluded water play-area).
Overall Rating = 4.5
BONUS ALERT = Camp with views of water and mountains!
Summary: Ridgway is a huge State Park set in a lovely location right next to Ridgway reservoir at ~7000 feet and within view of the stunning Cimarron mountains. There are 3 campgrounds, 2 of which sit by the reservoir with electric only (Elk Ridge/Dakota Terraces) and one which sits below the dam by the river with full hookup (Pa-Co-Chu-Pak). In general sites are large and easily accessible with pull-throughs being the nicer of the lot. All have lovely “sitting areas” and a few on Elk Ridge/Dakota side have excellent views of the mountains and lake. We stayed at the highest campground (Elk Ridge) as it was furthest away from the road (and thus the quietest). Elk Ridge has a variety of sites from sparse to decent shade, a few nice views (see above), but also a selection of closer-spaced sites and some very uneven sites (we needed to jack up our back on blocks to get level). We thoroughly enjoyed the full range of facilities, miles of hiking and water access at the campground as well as the views. Also, the park was a great base to explore the Million Dollar Highway and surrounding mountains. You are half-way between the high mountains and the high desert of Western CO, so it does heat up here in summer. When we come back we’ll probably stay again at either Elk Ridge or Dakota Terrace, but try to choose one of the more scenic sites.
Extra Info: Full Verizon signal at Elk Ridge campground. Sites cost $20/night for electric (30Amp), $24/night for full hook-up (Pa-Co-Chu-Pak only). There is an extra daily park fee of $7/day (can be covered with the Colorado Annual Parks Pass). Over 250 sites, all reservable. On site dump station at Dakota Terraces. On-site laundry.
Extra, Extra Info – BOONDOCKING: If you’re brave enough to make the drive on the Million Dollar Highway (Hwy 550) there are a few boondocking spots along that stretch. We saw several rigs parked near the entrance to Ironton Park (milemarker 85) just off the highway. Next to Silverton there are apparently 2 popular (= might be crowded) boondocking spots; one east up by the old Eureka townsite and one west along the road to South Mineral NFS CG (we didn’t visit either of these, but were told about them).
NOTE/ All of my site pics are from Elk Ridge Campground. You can get LOTS more pics of all 3 campgrounds from HERE