Date of Stay: Sept. 1, 2011
Weather During Stay: Sunny and warm, with a pleasant nighttime cool down.
Site Description: Seventy-eight 50 amp FHU sites (almost all back-ins) are arranged around two loop roads, 43 in the west loop and 35 in the east loop. All sites are HUGE, with large gravel pads. Generous spacing between sites. Most of the sites are very level. The west loop also has a separate tent camping area (12 sites).
In both campground loops, sites angle off the loop road on both sides. The east loop is very open; lots of sunshine and not much privacy. The west loop has a thick row of trees running through the center of the loop, so sites on both the inside and outside of the road back up to trees, providing a lot more privacy. Flush toilets and hot showers in each loop. Each site has a substantial picnic table and a fire pit.
Roads are paved and easy to navigate (slowly) in a big rig. There is a playground in the east loop. Just one collection point for trash and recycling, across from the “Welcome Center” as you enter the park.
This park also has a horse camp with 16 FHU sites and other amenities, and a “cabin village” of 12 one-room cabins and 3 two room cabins.
Rate: $26/night for FHU. Stay limit unknown.
Phone/radio/TV: Good Verizon signal here for both phones and aircard. WiFi was not working at the time of our visit. Our site had no obstacles for our roof-mounted satellite TV dish. No stations on the air antenna; no local NPR station.
Lighting/noise: Very dark and quiet at night.
Favorite Sites: We loved our site, so big, level, and sunny. We preferred the west loop, where the trees in the center provide much more privacy than the open east loop.
Hiking/Walking: The are trails everywhere in the park, for hikers, bikers and equestrians. The centerpiece is the paved, 21-mile Vernonia/Banks State Trail. A park brochure includes distance and difficulty information for all the trails.
Comments: This fairly new park is a gem, with some of the largest sites we’ve seen in a state park. Very friendly, helpful hosts. As the photos show, the grass was dry and brown this time of year, but the park was appealing nonetheless. Reservations can be made online, but very few sites were full on the day we visited during the week.