We camp in either a vintage VW Bus pop-top camper or an A-frame pop-up. We don't do a lot of modern amenities when camping (no cell phones, TV, Internet, etc.), preferring to ride bicycles, hike, canoe, or just relax in the peace and quiet. Campfires and s'mores not optional!
Date of Stay: May, 2014
We camped here last weekend and found the campground to be quite nice other than the lack of water hookups at each site. The park staff at check-in were very friendly and helpful. We were able to get checked in quickly (pre-registered online) and were provided lots of reading material about both the park and the Indiana State parks system. The camp store was selling wood for $5 a bundle (a pretty standard rate these days) and had numerous useful items for those who forgot something (extension cords, power adapters, charcoal, lighter fluid, food, drinks, etc.) The store staff were also very friendly. If you can't find what you need in the camp store there is a convenience store just across the road within easy walking distance. The site we got (230) was mostly level and totally shaded all day. If you are interested in an unobstructed view, be sure to read the descriptions as the shaded spots are all well shaded and the open spots are full sun. The electrical service was in good condition but was shared between two spots and was located a good distance away. The distance to power is clearly marked in the online description, so you may want to check it for the spot you choose to be sure that you can reach. Our spot was generally clean and free of debris, and quite large. Water is found all over the campground, just not in the individual spots, so you may want to fill your tanks upon entry so that you have plenty of water on board. This is easily accomplished, but be advised that if your spot is near the water, it is a public water source and not designated for you spot. Someone may disconnect your hose to fill their tank if you hookup to the hose bib. We used a RhinoPak to keep the tank filled and didn't have to walk far to fill it. There is a great deal to do in the park itself. It has a fantastic nature center, a large pool with lots of slides, etc., absolutely glorious hiking trails, lots of bird species, etc. There are also a couple of places to put in and take out your canoe, a fantastic river, and two historic covered bridges, one at either end of the park grounds. The lodge at the park is also historic and has great food if you are so inclined. Leaving was a snap. There are two dump lines going out at the main entrance, both of which were in good shape when we were there, and plenty of dumpsters to dump trash. The park was mostly full when we were there (about 3/4 capacity) and the dumpsters were getting full but not overflowing (no issues with mess or odor.) We will stay here again for sure, just in the off-season like this time due to the popularity of the park.
Date of Stay: April, 2014
This is a nice little park that is suitable for tents up to small travel trailers. The entry road is narrow and winding and has some significant grades, but unless your tow vehicle/RV is way under-powered you should be able to handle the grades. Note the narrow description - this is important. Long vehicles will have some difficulty getting around the turns unless the road is empty (which is often the case.) The road inside the campground is also somewhat narrow, and wide vehicles may encounter difficulty making the tight loop at the end of the camp road. All of the spots in this park are short, but plenty wide (for slides, EZUp, etc.), have fire rings and are asphalt with gravel in the non-parking section of the spot. Hookups are shared, so you may need to move to an adjacent spot to get them on the proper side. Also, they are at varying distances from each spot, some being close enough for a standard 25' hose/power cord, others will require additional length to reach (no more than 50', if that, but longer than a 25' cord.) The park is located on some of the only flat land around, so there is not much the State Parks system could do to improve the size of the spots even if they were given the money by the State (which they have not for some years.) Check-in was simple and the park staff were very helpful and friendly. They let us check the spot before we finished check-in to be sure that it would work for us, and were happy to help us move to an adjacent spot with closer hookups. They also came by each day to make sure that we knew the camp store would be closing in 30 minutes, which I thought was very courteous. We stayed in spot #25, which had plenty of room for our 18' A-frame pop-up, but we had to park the truck across the front as the pad was too short to park both on the pad. This was not a problem and the park staff can assist with alternate parking if needed. There are large concrete wheel stops to prevent you from backing too far, but you will want to note the location of your rear stabilizers as backing too far in may leave your jacks hanging in mid-air. The campground is old, but well cared for, and quite nice once you get used to it's size. The bathrooms were clean (twice a day when we were there), but old. There were two showers in the mens facilities and both were clean and fully functional, but showing their age. The rangers passed through regularly and everything was clean and free of debris, trash, etc. This is probably the quietest campground we've ever stayed in. There is a lot to do at the park, which is a short drive (probably 5 minutes at most) from the campground. There are three waterfalls: Cumberland Falls, Eagle Falls, and Dog Slaughter Falls. The main attraction does not require hiking, but the other two do. There is also a playground in the campground for children, as well as a nature center, gift shop, and 'gem mining'. There is also a lodge at the park which has a restaurant in case you don't want to cook in camp (we did not go, but it looked nice.) Lastly, there is one dump site located at the entrance next to the check in station. It was well maintained and clean when we were there, and there was no line to use so emptying our grey water tote was a snap. Despite the small size of the spots and the narrow, winding entrance road, we would certainly camp here again - it was quiet, pretty, and there was plenty to see and do.
Date of Stay: September, 2013
We camped here this past weekend (Labor Day 2013) and had the best time. The park itself has a great deal to do, with a hiking trails, nature center, biking, birdwatching, history, cave tours, and more. They have the best camp store we've ever encountered: fully stocked with just about everything you can imagine (fresh foods of all kinds, RV supplies, activities, snacks of all stripe, a wide variety of cold drinks, even camp cookbooks! Our site (#16) had a steep grade, they called it 'extreme' but we could not level out. The entire spot, except one small patch, was hard packed dirt and the vehicle area was gravel. (A bit dusty since it had not rained in some time.) Water was easily reachable, located between out site and the site just next door, and the electric hookup was immediately next to the parking area. Our electric tested out and worked perfectly, (not often the case) and the water was clean and fully functional. The sites appear to be kept very clean and in good shape all over the park. We saw park staff in repair vehicles working on the bathroom once and repairing a faulty pedestal in another spot. Housekeeping cleaned the bathrooms twice a day when we were here: very impressive! Although the facilities were not new, they were very well kept up with and in great shape. Firewood was $4.25 per bundle at the camp store, and although we didn't buy any, they have plenty of ice on hand at reasonable prices. I'm not sure if the bicycle rentals were reasonable or not, but given the prices for everything else I'd say that they were completely fair. The bikes themselves were in good shape and there were a good number to rent. For those interested in activities, the pool is huge, clean, and very inviting, the nature center is very well laid out with a good deal of literature and signage, in addition to very friendly staff. The hiking trails are well marked and offer great variety (waterfront, old growth forest, Karst topography features, etc.). The short cave tour is by flat bottom boat and is well worth the $3 fee (arrive at 9am to book whatever time you want, they sell out early and you can only book for that day.) The historic village is in amazing shape, had plenty of staff on hand when we were here, and is truly beautiful. If you like CCC history (as I do) this is a great place to visit: the CCC did quite a bit here and it shows. Park staff were extremely friendly and helpful and we were very positively impressed with them given the extreme load on the park during the holiday weekend. They have two dump stations (located at the camper check-in as they often are) to speed exiting, but the line was quite long given that the park was at full capacity for the holiday. We don't use them so I can's speak to their condition, but at a glance they appeared to be clean and well maintained as far as I could tell from 5 feet away. We have added this park to our top parks list and plan to return regularly. It's a fantastic park with so much to do, great staff, and great camping!
Date of Stay: May, 2013
We stayed for two nights and despite the large number of reservations, there were not that many other campers in the park. The facilities were well used and showing their age, but mostly clean. Our electrical hookup had some issue – one half of the 15amp duplex outlet was damaged (not uncommon I suppose) but the other worked just fine. In the past, the park has had issues with power supply, especially during the hotter months of the year, but they recently removed electrical service from a number of sites and improved the wiring – we had no issues at all with it while we were there. The grass around our spot was well maintained (not too tall, etc.) and there was a decent amount of space between us and our neighbors, although there was nothing to block the view between spots (not that big of a deal to us, but some people don’t like that.) There was also plenty of room to setup equipment on either side of the space, play games, etc. The fire pit was in good shape and was not overly filled with trash or ashes from previous campers. The parking space, as well as the park roads, well paved, but were showing a good deal of use (and abuse), although nothing that would cause an issue – no potholes, etc., just a lot of cracks and rough edges. Ours was completely level, which was nice, and from what I could see all the others were like this as well. All of the spots where we were were were pull in – back out, but there could be pull-through spots elsewhere in another loop. We did not have an issue with this since our camper is a van conversion and fairly easy to maneuver. The bathrooms were clean and in reasonably good condition, although the showers looked fairly old and were showing a lot of rust in places. The bathroom nearest us had a fair number of facilities (showers, toilets, sinks, etc.) but I can see people queuing up if the park were full. The park sold wood, but we did not buy any so I’m not certain how much they charged. There were numerous locations to get water (but no hook-ups in our loop), to manually dump waste water (buckets, etc.) and trash. The staff were all friendly and courteous at all times and we never saw any trash or litter of any kind on the ground while we were there, in any part of the park, but we never saw more than two park employees the whole time (and no camp host.) There were some small trails between the loops and a short trail that led to a large lake (the main attraction in this area), but little else to do in the park itself. We did visit a nearby park to do some hiking (Caesar Creek Gorge) and there is a very quaint little town just down the road from the park that is well worth a visit. If you like to bicycle there is a rails-to-trails path just outside the park that is also very, very nice. We enjoyed our stay, but I’m not sure if this is a park that we would go back to unless it was along our path on a longer trip and we just needed to stay overnight.
Date of Stay: May, 2013
We stayed here over Memorial Day Weekend and even with the packed park and numerous once-a-year campers the park staff were exceptionally polite and all facilities we used were clean and well cared for. We were unable to get an electric spot due to making late reservations, so I can't comment on the electric hookups, but our spot had no issues at all. The grass had been recently cut, but with a wide space of tall grass between the spots on either side of us, which was nice. There was also plenty of room to setup a 10’x10’ screen room on one side of our camper, and lots of room on the other side to play bocce. The fire pit was in great shape and was not overly filled with trash or ashes from previous campers. The parking areas in the non-electric loop lots were all gravel, but not overly dusty. Ours had a slight slope, especially toward the road end, but this was easily dealt with and the slope did not cause any issues. Most of the other lots in the park appeared to be mostly level to completely level, as far as we could see anyway. There are a few pull-through spots in the non-electric loop, but most were pull in – back out, and at a slight angle to the road, for easier backing in. We did not have an issue with this since our camper is a van conversion and fairly easy to maneuver. The bathrooms were clean and in great condition (we only used the non-electric loop restrooms), had a good number of facilities (showers, toilets, sinks, etc.) so that even with the full park we never had to wait for anything. The park sold wood ($5.50 a bundle), there were numerous locations to get water (but no hook-ups in the non-electric loop), and trash containers were both large and well monitored. The park roads were all well maintained, and the staff were all friendly and courteous at all times and we never saw any trash or litter of any kind on the ground while we were there, in any part of the park. The nature center was small, but well laid out with lots of interesting information to see and decent literature (checklists, info about the area, history, etc.) The trails were all well marked and there was plenty to do in the park. We were there for three nights and were able to hike all the trails, see four waterfalls, play games in camp, and do a lot of wildlife viewing. Many people rode bicycles around the campground area, and a few rode on the park roads. Speed limits were 30 on park roads and 15 in camp. We put this park on our “must visit again” list and would recommend it to anyone.
Date of Stay: April, 2013
We stayed for two nights and had an excellent time! The park is obviously popular, and we found most all of the sites were booked once we arrived (we made reservations and about 65% of the spots were booked one month ahead of our visit.) The park staff were very courteous and all facilities we used were clean and well cared for. The power pedestal was a standard type, in good condition, and our’s had no issues at all. There was heavy tree cover over the entire loop where we stayed (Loop E – 222) and the parking pad (gravel and grass) was completely level despite the rolling terrain in the campground area. There was a great deal of open space around our site, which would have allowed for just about any sized awning or temporary structure to be setup. We had a standard picnic-type charcoal grill, which was nice, that was in good shape, even if it was a bit full of ashes. The bathrooms were very clean and in older, but perfectly good condition, had a good number of facilities so that even with the loop fully populated there was no waiting. An especially nice thing that they had in our loop was a dish-washing sink that the camp host maintained (he was located in our loop and was a very kindly older gentleman.) He took great care to make sure that people did not wash their dishes in the lavatories and clog them up, even going so far as to provide a scouring pad for those without their own (we passed, but it was nice of him to keep one handy.) The park office sold wood but we did not purchase any so I’m not sure how much they charged per bundle. The park roads were all well maintained, but somewhat heavily traveled at all hours, and the staff were all friendly and courteous at all times. We only saw trash on the ground on one of the more obscure trails while we were there – the rest of the park was pristine as far as that goes. There were deer - everywhere - in the park the whole time we were there. There is a large conference center on site, which hosts a nice gift shop and a buffet (all three meals!) if you want a break from camp cooking. We ate at the dinner buffet and enjoyed it greatly. The trails were fairly well marked and there was plenty to do in the park. We were there for two nights and were able to hike all the trails, see four huge waterfalls and do a lot of wildlife viewing. There is also an exceptionally nice nature center that has a good selection of books, pamphlets, exhibits, etc. that is worth a visit. We put this park on our “must visit again” list and would recommend it to anyone.