• Brian & Jenny

8 Reasons to Visit Ridgway State Park

Updated: May 30, 2020

Updated: 2 days ago

We have visited #RidgwayStatePark in #WesternColorado many times but since buying our RV last summer we have been able to camp there a few times. You don't need to own an RV or a tent to visit Ridgway State Park but camping is the only way you can stay there overnight and wake up to the beautiful scenery. The town of Ridgway does not have any chain hotels although it does have a few nice resorts. However, RV or tent camping will definitely be the #MostEconomical way to stay in #RidgwayCO. We wanted to share with you our 8 reasons you should visit Ridgway State Park for a day trip, an overnight visit or full week of vacation. #destinationfamilies #familyfun #kidfriendlytravel #BestRVSpots #BudgetTravel

#1 - Breathtaking Views

There are many incredible scenic views all over the park and you won't want to miss checking them out. The photo above is taken from a great scenic overlook by the Visitors Center near the Dutch Charlie park entrance. Another wonderful scenic overlook is located on Loop D of the Elk Ridge Campground.

“There are many incredible scenic views all over the park and you won't want to miss checking them out.”

If you watch the video of our most recent trip (linked below) you can see some of the best spots in the park and some of the fun activities to enjoy there as well.

#2 - Great Swim Beach

In 2018 the water was low due to low snowfall and the swim beach was closed except for wading in the shallow water. However, on our most recent trip in 2019 the water was nice and high again and we were able to enjoy the swim beach once again. We personally spend many days at this swim beach each summer and our kids enjoy playing in the sand and splashing in the water (see video linked above). If you camp at Ridgway definitely bring swimsuits and be prepared with some sand toys so you can enjoy a day at the "mountain beach" as we like to call it. The water is pretty cold (snow-melt temperature) so it's sure to cool you down on a hot sunny day in Colorado.

Ridgeway State Park swim beach

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#3 - Huge Playground for the Kids

Our next favorite thing about Ridgway State Park is this big playground that our kids enjoy every time we visit. If you are camping and you choose the Dakota Terraces Campground then this big park is just a short walk away on the Porcupine Patch Trail. The night we camped there we noticed lots of kids were playing on a smaller playground near one of the main bathrooms but hardly any kids were playing on this awesome playground by the swim beach. It is definitely worth the short walk to this playground. Even our big kids had fun hanging and spinning on one of the big spinners here.

Ridgway State Park playground

#4 - Hiking Trails All Around

There is a great short hike right by the visitors center at the Dutch Charlie entrance. You can get a map at the visitors center that tells you what each of the numbered posts represents along the way. Kids will love this hike because it's short and easy enough even for small children. At the beginning of the visitor's center hike there is a great tepee that your kids will want to explore. There are many other trails all through the campgrounds and around the State Park as well so it's a fun place to explore. In the winter you are able to cross country ski and snowshoe at Ridgway State Park so it's a great year-round vacation destination.

Ridgway State Park tepee

# 5 - Fishing Opportunities

Ridgway State Park has great opportunities for fishing. We have personally fished at Mear's Bay which is just south of the swim beach. Mear's Bay is also just east of the Dakota Terraces campground. If you follow the Porcupine Patch Trail from the Dakota Terraces campsites you will reach Mear's Bay in just 0.1 mile so it would be a great place to fish if you are camped there. We have also heard that fishing is great in the waters located closer to the Pa-Co-Chu-Puk park entrance and the Dallas Creek park entrance.

#6 - Boating, Kayaking, Water Skiing and Paddle Boarding

There are many great ways to enjoy the water at Ridgway State Park. The boat ramp is located north of the swim beach near the Dutch Charlie entrance to the park and it extends all the way to low water conditions so boats can be launched even in low water conditions. There is a boat dock south of the boat ramp as well and boats are anchored in open water near this area too. The kayaks and paddle boards seemed to be congregated near the Dallas Creek entrance where you can drive right up to the water's edge so this might be your best bet for those activities. You can call the campground for more specific information regarding fees and safety regulations.

If you are interested in getting into kayaking you will want to check out our review of the best cheap kayaks on Amazon. We bought a two-man and one-man kayak in 2019 and another one-man in 2020 because we like them so much.

#7 - Scenic, Clean and Nicely Spaced Campsites

We camped on a weekday night and it wasn't busy so we didn't make a reservation and we were able to drive around all of the campsites and pick the one we thought was best. We chose to be near one of the bathrooms because we like to conserve our wastewater space in the RV. We also liked the mountain views from our spot and we knew we wanted to be close to the swim beach and big playground. Ridgway State Park has electrical hook ups at the Elk Ridge Campground and the Dakota Terraces Campground which are both near the Dutch Charlie entrance. There is a great dump station and potable water fill up spot near the Dutch Charlie entrance as well. The campsites at the Pa-Co-Chu-Puk entrance have full hook ups, including water and sewer. Both of these locations also have some tent camp sites as well and there a few yurt rental options on loop A at the Dakota Terraces Campground. The Dakota Terraces sites were more open with less trees so we preferred these views and the Elk Ridge sites were higher up on the mountain with more trees so lots of people prefer those. There are wonderful views from all of the campsites so you can't go wrong when making a reservation.

#8 - Clean and Spacious Bathrooms

Nice bathrooms are a big bonus for a campground. Even if you are RV camping and have your own bathroom its still nice to use the camp bathrooms and conserve on your wastewater tank storage. At Ridgwary State Park there are several toilet & sink only bathrooms throughout the campground. There was also one larger bathroom with pay showers and laundry near the center of each of the campgrounds. In the Dakota Terraces Campground the shower bathroom was on loop B and it was a close walk from loops A and C so it worked out very well. There was a great little playground near the large bathroom so the kids all congregated here. The week we were camping there was a large group of campers from an ROTC group so the showers were pretty busy but there didn't seem to be a line. It cost $1.00 in quarters for a 4 minute shower so that tends to encourage short showers. An RV camp site at Ridgway State Park changed to $32 per night in 2019. You'll also pay an $8 park entrance fee per vehicle if you don't have a pass.

Thanks for reading our 8 reasons to visit Ridgway State Park. Please see our other BLOG posts for more travel recommendations for your family. You can also follow us on Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube. Please check out some great travel products from Amazon below and see why we recommend them.

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We made a short video with highlights from our visit to Ridgway State Park in 2018. You can also find this video on our YouTube channel along with other travel videos by Destination Families.

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