I'm first going to talk about the positives of this RV park, and there are many positives. This place has a great location, right on the banks of the Animas River. There are trees all over, and you're in the valley of the mountains, so when you look up, you see mountains. In the morning, you hear the whistle and roll of the Durango / Silverton Train. All of the amenities are excellent. The general store is full of useful stuff, it is quaint and the staff is friendly. The showers were always clean and had plenty of hot water. The showers and toilet facilities were also convenient and sufficient in capacity. We never had to wait to take a shower. The pool is well-maintained and a great place for kids to play. At night, they run a movie on a big outdoor screen. My tween girls enjoyed that and younger kids would especially enjoy the little outdoor theater. Every lot has a fire pit to roast marshmallows and enjoy.
Despite all of the positives, there are some negatives. First, this is really two RV Parks. The first night we arrived late, and had reserved a "standard" RV site (these sites are yellow and purple on the park's map). When I made the reservation, the staff member recommended a standard site. Because I arrived late, the office was closed and my site assignment was posted outside. I had no chance to look at the site before it was assigned to us. I immediately regretted it. The standard sites are tiny. We had a 30 foot RV with a rollout. We could barely open the door to the RV because there was a tree right next to the RV on one side, but on the other side, I barely had enough room to squeeze the RV next to the electrical service while leaving enough room for the rollout. There are literally just a few feet between RV's on the standard side of the park. On the standard side of the park, you also must be OK eating off of a picnic table that literally sits on top of your neighbor's sewer pipe. You might be able to move the table to the other side of the sewer pipe but if there's a tree, or if you have a car, you may be stuck with a picnic table sitting on a sewer pipe. On the standard side of the park, RV's are literally stacked on top of each other. This is a park that also seems to be used by repeat visitors, and the repeat visitors on the standard side of the park seemed unconcerned about cluttered, and also liked to party. When we pulled in our first night, the site across the road from us was filled by 20-30 people, all sitting in lawn chairs and watching us as we set up in the dark. It was a little creepy. Like it was a reunion of the cast from Deliverance. There was nothing they did that was particularly disturbing, it was just that there were so many people, crammed into this tiny site with an RV and pop-up tent camper, and we were the entertainment for the evening. And that was just in our area of the standard side of the park. There were plenty of parties on that side. Lots of unsupervised kids running around. Clutter everywhere. And yes, our site was littered with dog poop, which was another wonderful thing to pick up in the dark (but it was better than stepping on it in the dark). There was retired couple right next to us. I felt sorry for them. They just sat in their lawn chairs with a blank look on their face. I think they were glad to see us. If I had to stay on the standard side of the park for the entire four nights of our stay, I would have left and not even worried about losing a deposit or prepaid fees or anything. I couldn't have stayed on the standard side of the park for more than one night, and I wouldn't have stayed that one night if I'd had a choice. All of that being said, everybody quieted down at 10, and the night itself was restful.
Needless to say, after our first night, I awoke bright and early and was standing next to the office door the second it was unlocked. Luckily, I was able to transfer to the premium side of the park (the orange and red sites on the park map) for the remaining three nights. This was a different world. The premium side of the park was clean, the lots were spacious, there was plenty of space between the RV's for utilities and picnic tables. There were quaint little fences that marked where your site began and your neighbor's ended. There were dogs, but they were on leashes and the owners attended to them. It was just a whole different world. If I had not spent a night on the "standard" side of the park, I would have had nothing but positive things to say. The "premium" side of the park made the entire difference for us. The standard side was very uncomfortable. Maybe I'm stuck up, or boring, or whatever, but I greatly appreciated the quiet of the premium side of the park, the lower per capita population per campsite, and the lack of litter. It was well worth the extra $12 to change to the premium sites.
Skip the standard side unless you want to party and you plan on being so drunk that you don't care if you end up sleeping on top of a sewer pipe. If you're not looking for that experience, book a premium site, don't walk or look past the showers, and you'll have a wonderful time.
Another criticism: it didn't seem like management was around a lot. Not that we needed management for any reason, it was just inconvenient. As noted earlier, I wish we could have moved to the premium sites right away, but because the office was closed by the time we arrived the first night, we were stuck on the standard side. The office keeps regular business hours, opening at 9:00 and closing at some time earlier than we were ever back at camp. That's fine for people who stay at the camp all day, but we were out in the area doing stuff during the day and came back to the camp at night to rest. We could never buy anything at the store because it was closed. If we had an issue, we couldn't have discussed it with management unless we rearranged our entire schedule for the day. One annoying incident occurred when we went to do laundry our last night. For the first time in my life, I used a laundry room that didn't have a vending machine for detergent. I'm sure they sell detergent in the general store, but it was closed, so we had to do laundry without detergent. Why not install a vending machine in the laundry room? This place has so many conveniences, but that one little item is inexplicably missing. The hours kept by management seemed to indicate that the place catered to regulars and not to tourists. They apparently see the park as the destination, not simply a place to return to at night while visiting the other sites of Durango.
Some people comment on how far this park is from Durango. It's not that far. We rented a car and left our RV hooked up during the day. That was a great decision. That made getting around really easy, and the drive from the park to Durango seemed like nothing at all. As I noted earlier, however, this park is not in the mountains. It is in a valley (see the river running through the park). If you're expecting to be in the mountains when you stay here, you'll be disappointed.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Durango Riverside Resort is a beautiful home away from home in the lovely San Juan Mountains of southwestern Colorado. ... more less
- Also Known As:
- Durango Riverside Hotel Durango