Eleven mile state park

Discussion in 'Colorado' started by Evan Gaffney, Sep 9, 2019.

  1. Evan Gaffney

    Evan Gaffney Member

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    Aug 16, 2019
    Eleven Mile State Park, Rocky Ridge Campground, Loop C, Site 28

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    Our daughter, Hannah, enjoying the maiden voyage of our NTU '87 Coleman Sequoia (holy cow, this thing is CHERRY). Note our "creative parking job" to make our site a little more private

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    Our site. It's on a hilltop with amazing views in every direction. Short walk to the vault toilet, but not so short that you're smelling it. Our picnic table and fire pit (the nice kind with the flip-over grill for cooking) were in full shade most of the day... the camper, not so much. We turned our door to face more south and set up our awning, which helped keep things cool inside.

    This campground has been reviewed here before, but we went this weekend, and I wanted to add my 2 cents.

    I'll save you some time, if your personal style of camping requires hookups (no judgement here), this is not the campground for you. The only RV loop with hookups (electrical only, 30a) was the least pleasant area of the campground by far. It was crowded (in an otherwise mostly empty park), it was noisy (lots of people there to party, not camp), and there was no shade whatsoever.

    First, a couple of clarifying points:
    • There is another nearby campground (Spillway campground, eleven mile canyon) that is totally separate from this one. It's all tent sites, and I don't know if they'd let you park there with a PUP. It also has a different pass and fee structure.
    • There are other campgrounds within this state park that are right on the reservoir. None of them have hookups, and none of them have shade, but if fishing is your thing, you could cast your line without getting up from the picnic tables at most of those sites.
    The Good:
    • This is one of the only state parks in Colorado where you have a remote chance of making a short-notice reservation. I reserved about a week in advance and had my choice of a few great sites.
    • The views are STUNNING in every direction.
    • I never saw a park ranger, but the sites were well maintained (best of both worlds)
    • Contrary to many reviews I've seen, there IS shade to be had. No, you won't find one that forms a protective canopy over your entire trailer, but if you pick your spot, you can sit in the shade most of the day. Look at the satellite view of the park and try to pick a site that has trees to the South of the site. Our site (28) was, in my opinion, the best combination of shade, views, and bathroom access. 73 and 33 were also had considerable shade. 33 is probably the most private space at the campground (it was the only one already reserved when I looked).
    • There's a little general store nearby, as well as a campground office, and a full marina with boats available to rent.
    • There are real bathrooms and pay showers (bring change) on site, but it's a decent walk from the best part of the campground. Vault toilets are more accessible. They were clean, stocked, and not overly stinky, but very full (we were there the weekend after labor day).
    • I'm pretty sure the park is open year-round, so if you're into cold weather camping, yay!
    The Bad:
    • While shade is available, it is certainly limited, so I wouldn't recommend camping here in the height of summer. We were there September 7th (high of 73, overnight low of 46) and it was very pleasant throughout. I never broke a sweat unless hiking, and I opted not to light my furnace but was still comfortable all night.
    • There's potable water (threaded to fill your tank) on site, but we had to explore a bit to find a tap that was working, and it was not close to our site. Fill up on your way in, or else you're in for a walk.
    • It was $28 to reserve, plus $8 per day per car, which is getting close to private campground prices.
    • Some of the sites are pretty close (we turned our camper 90 degrees to make our space a bit more private), so if you do get stuck with an inconsiderate nextdoor neighbor, it could be a rough night. There was only one other camper in our loop on a Saturday night, though, and he kept to himself.
    • The reservoir is beautiful, but it is also the water supply for pretty much all of Denver. As such, there is no swimming. You should also keep your dogs out because some of the shallow, still areas of the reservoir are prone to giardia.
    • During summer (we had no such issues on our trip) fire ants and flies are pretty annoying.
    Final thoughts:
    Colorado is an amazing state to camp in. Sites in the mountains benefit from mild temperatures and no mosquitos all summer, and there is just so much to do and see. Unfortunately, this means that the best sites book up months in advance. Unless you want to pay inflated prices at private campgrounds or bake in the scorching sun somewhere in the flat, Kansas-looking parts of the state, it's definitely a "you snooze, you lose" situation. This site is up in the mountains, beautiful, and relatively easy to access. I made my reservations 6 days in advance and got (I think) the best site on my loop. Are there nicer places with more shade and amenities elsewhere in the state? Absolutely. But for a spontaneous weekend getaway in the fall or spring, you literally can't do better. I'm not that great at planning ahead, so I will definitely be back! We had an amazing time.
    Sjm9911 likes this.
  2. sleach

    sleach A short run will get you within walking distance.

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    May 17, 2014
    Boulder, Colorado
    Thanks, Evan, for a nice writeup.

    If you anticipate day-visiting or camping in Colorado State Parks , ten or more times in a year, consider getting an annual pass. The cost is $80; you get a windshield sticker and just wave at kiosk attendant instead of waiting in line.

    I/we stay in a lot of places around the state, for tourism, hunting, fishing and the like. We find our state parks to be the best designed and maintained in the Rocky Mtn West.
    kcsa75 likes this.
  3. kcsa75

    kcsa75 Well-Known Member

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    Sep 9, 2013
    Kansas City
    We like Colorado and the state parks. The $8 per day admission fee can be a little hard to swallow but considering the demand and how well the parks are maintained, it's understandable.
  4. Evan Gaffney

    Evan Gaffney Member

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    Aug 16, 2019
    Excellent tip! We'll definitely be using our rig often enough to save some money that way. Working on a huge electrical upgrade right now so that we can go to Moab in March. No way I'm waiting for the mountains to thaw before my first outing!

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