I hesitated to write this blog post because we loved this state park so much and we don’t want the secret to get out. If that happens, this place may get overly crowded. 😉
Ridgway State Park is in Ridgway, CO and there are 3 campgrounds within the park. We started out at the Pa Co Chu Puk campground (that’s a fun name to say!) The sites in this section are full hookup and the site we had was very woodsy and secluded (which we like). The only bad thing was it was so woodsy that all the trees at our site blocked our view of the Uncompahgre River (pronounced un-come-pah’-gray) which was just beyond the trees. We could hear the noise of the rushing river very clearly though. Here is Fat Cat lounging on the picnic table, and just beyond the trees is the river.
Speaking of Fat Cat I think this was her favorite site ever! She became a professional hunter of chipmunks at this site. She would hide in the long grass and pounce on every chipmunk that was unlucky enough to cross her path. Whenever we saw her catch one we had to come to the poor chipmunk’s rescue and make her let it go. Unfortunately we didn’t rescue one soon enough because she left the poor thing at our doorstep. I think she thought she was leaving us a present! She liked her hunting activities at this site so much that she woke us up at 5:00 every morning to go out. She wanted to spend all day outside! During the week I like to get up that early anyway to get an early start on work, but I did NOT appreciate her waking me up at 5am on the weekend! We started shooting her with squirt bottles and a Buzz Lightyear nerf gun when she started her meowing in the morning. 🙂
This campground had some nice bike trails and views of the river.
And a nice playground for the kids.
I can’t say enough about how awesome the bike trails are at this park; especially because the views on the ride are amazing! I have gone for many beautiful bike rides, but I think the rides I took at this park have been the most awesome.
The Enchanted Mesa trail goes from the Pa Co Chu Puk campground to the Dutch Charlie section of the park. I had no idea what I was getting myself into when I started on this trail. Keep in mind I’m used to flat trails in Florida! It started with a steep uphill climb with a 300 foot elevation gain with lots of switchbacks and steps. I actually had to push my bike up this hill, and I literally thought I had taken the wrong path. All 4 of us went back another evening to hike up this hill.
I was so tired and out of breath pushing my bike up this hill, and I almost turned around and attempted to go back down, but going back down looked rather intimidating so I kept on. And I’m so glad I did! Not only was I very close to the top when I almost turned around, but I was rewarded with the most incredible views from the top of the Enchanted Mesa.
This is the view looking down on the Ridgway Reservoir dam.
The water was such a beautiful turquoise blue. My pictures as always just don’t do it justice.
The Enchanted Mesa trail ends at the marina at the section of the park called Dutch Charlie. There is a marina, a swim beach, picnic areas and a really cool playground at this section. There is also a visitor center, many other wonderful hiking and biking trails, and 2 more campgrounds.
After exploring the whole area on my bike, all 4 of us went back another day to check out everything on this side of the park.
Teepee on nature trail.
Scenic overlook near visitor center.
The boys liked the swim beach, but the water was still quite cold. They didn’t stay in very long.
The swim beach has some nice picnic areas and grassy areas to just sit and relax.
The playground was one of the best playgrounds we’ve ever seen. There was a huge, enclosed slide that went from the playground down to the swim beach.
These pictures are from the Enchanted Mesa again when all 4 of us hiked up there. It looked like a thunderstorm was brewing in the distance so we didn’t spend very much time up there.
We only had a reservation for 1 week at this park, but our plans for the following week fell through. Since we liked it there so much we asked about extending our stay. We ended up moving to the Elk Ridge campground in the Dutch Charlie section where we had a huge and beautiful site with amazing views!
Fat Cat didn’t find as many chipmunks at this site, but she did like climbing the trees.
The Elk Ridge section only has electric hookups (no water or sewer). We have stayed in campsites with no sewer before, but this was the first time that we tried a site with no water hookup. This meant we had to fill up our fresh water tank before moving to that site. There was a water spigot across from our site so Chris was able to stretch 2 hoses over to get more water when we ran out. Now that we know how to camp with no water or sewer hookup, we are 1 step closer to boondocking. We just need a generator to provide some electricity and we can try living off the grid sometime.
I went for another bike ride from here all the way to the town of Ridgway which was another beautiful ride.
I came across this really nice Eagle Memorial and Rock Garden along the bike trail.
I read this sign about all the stacks of “prayer stones” I saw throughout the garden.
So I decided to make my own pile of prayer stones and I said a prayer for a friend back home in Florida who I know just wants her son to be able to come home. I also want to add prayers for all of those who have suffered tragedies in Florida this past week. It was a sad week in my home state and my heart goes out to everyone affected by those events.
Anyway, I can’t say enough good things about this state park and campground. The campsites were beautiful, the views were amazing and there was so many fun things to do there. It’s also not a long drive into Ouray and Telluride which we visited from there.
Shh! Don’t let anyone know how awesome this campground is. I don’t want it to get too crowded. 😉