Date of Stay: July 19 – July 26, 2016
6185 W. US Hwy 40, Hayden, CO
$18/night – Basic; $24/night – Electric; $25/night – TeePee
(Colorado State Parks require a Parks Pass in addition to nightly fees – $7.00/day fee or $70/annual fee, covers all Colorado State Parks – discounts available for ages 64+)
We had wanted to stay at a Colorado State Park, but being newbies and not knowing what we were doing, we waited way too late in the season to get a reservable spot. Apparently very popular campgrounds! And since we were right in the middle of vacation season, we were afraid to try snagging a non-reserveable site by just driving in. We are learning as we go and will get more courageous! As we traveled around the state, I checked every few days on ReserveAmerica for an opening, but all reserveable sites continued to be booked. I had only been checking campgrounds in southern Colorado and around Denver, but as we were heading out of the city, I tried looking a little further north. Yes! Yampa River State Park had a few openings for a weekly reservation. I reserved a pull through spot and we hit the road heading northwest. (A hint… with state and national parks, you have to pay a parks pass fee in addition to your campsite fees. I had done the research so it didn’t come as a shock that we would have to pay $70.00 for an annual Colorado state pass. Day use passes are $7.00, but we stayed a week and plan to visit other Colorado State Parks within the year.) The park is easy to access with wide asphalt roads right off Highway 40 a little over 6 miles west of Hayden, CO. As you pull in, the office is just to the left with beautiful landscaping and a large parking lot. The next building houses the bathrooms, showers and laundry. A very well kept, clean, spacious facility. Driving on around, our pull through space had 50 amp electricity and was more than long/wide enough for our 35’ fifth wheel, three slides and a 4-door Dodge. I believe each site has a fire ring and picnic table. Some have arch covered picnic tables that would have helped with the wind and sun. Next time I will look a little closer at the website pictures and pick one with the cover! A couple of things to make note of… first, the sewer dump station is located only at the entrance/exit. Secondly, the water spigots are located sporadically around the park and not at each site. However, we were easily able to reach the nearest water spout with our 50’ hose and were conservative with our showers, dish washing, etc. so we didn’t need to drain until we headed out. Vault toilets are also conveniently located throughout the park.
The campground is lovely and the Yampa River runs along the back side of the park. Fishing and playing in the river are permitted. There are several RV sites, tent sites and public picnic areas with a children’s playground. Just down the road is the Elkhead Reservoir which has dispersed campground sites, sandy beaches, boating and fishing. About 30 miles east is Steamboat Springs. Steamboat is touted as a great snow skiing destination, but it attracts a really good sized crowd in the summer, too. Yet another Colorado town that has a great downtown area to walk around and shop, dine & grab a brew.
Of course we noticed that a Farmer’s Market would be held in the town center on Saturday during our stay. This was the first market that had the truly ripe, field grown tomatoes we had been craving! I would have bought a whole box had I known how good they would be! This market was a little different than others we had visited because there was only one vegetable
stand and one fruit stand. The rest of the vendors offered locally made wines, goat cheese, seafood, meats and various hand made products. I know that these are also types of farms and other markets we’ve been to offer those things, but they are usually alongside a great deal of veggie farmers. Anyway, we got the tomatoes and some sweet corn and it was fun checking out the surrounding shops.
Back at the campsite we grilled corn, gorged on tomatoes and played cards. I know that we will visit many other Colorado State Parks and I look forward to it. Well maintained, spacious sites and the beauty that is Colorado!