Altoona, IA – Griff’s Valley View RV Park & Campground Review
Website: Griff’s Valley View RV Park
Straightforward, most GPS should get you there with no issues. Arriving from the north or south on I-35 follow the website directions using I-35 exit 89 to SE Corporate Woods drive which becomes NE 62nd Ave, then left on NE 46th St. If arriving from the west on I-80 exit to I-35 and follow the directions above. If arriving from the east on I-80 we had no issues taking I-80 exit 143 to SR65, then a left on NE 64th St, then another quick left on NE 62nd Ave, then a right on NE 46th St.
Date(s) of Stay: September 26, 2017 arrival, September 28, 2017 departure.
Located less than 20 miles from the capital city of Des Moines, IA, this lovely and reasonably priced RV park caters mostly to longer term campers, although transients are welcome. The park initially opened in 2001 with 60 sites, later expanding to 142 sites. The older section of the park has only back in sites while the newer section has two rows of pull thrus, plus four “pinwheel” style back in loops all offering full hookups. See satellite image above or the site map.
Note: While this was a comfortable and pleasant full service park, if you don’t need full hookups and tend to favor the larger sites and nicer scenery typical of State or Federal parks you may want to check out the Corps of Engineer (COE) parks in the nearby Saylorville Lake area: We did not stay at, but explored three COE campgrounds at Saylorville Lake via car; Bob Shetler, Cherry Glen and Prarie Flower. Bob Shetler and Cherry Glen both were nice, but it was Prarie Flower and in particular sites 82-94 in the Coneflower Loop that really wowed us. Beautiful widely spaced concrete pad back in sites in the 60-70 foot range with a fabulous view of the lake. Most had 50/30/20A electric (no water or sewer) at a rate of $20 per night or $10 for federal senior pass holders.
Rates can be found here. We paid $30/night including taxes. Note that because they cater to longer term campers, there is no registration office so you have to call to make reservations ahead of time. With a lot of seasonal rentals, it tends to fill up quickly so keep that in mind. While we were there I was told by the owner that after May 1st, they are usually totally booked for the summer.
Overall Impression – 3.5/5
Beautiful, big rig friendly RV park with wide paved roads, very well manicured landscaping, concrete sites and a reasonable rate. Our pull thru site was directly across from the clubhouse/restrooms/laundry building and was easily long enough for our 66′ total length, however, with the utilities located near the rear of the site, staying connected might put the utilities an uncomfortable distance away depending on your rig. Site spacing was quite good for a private campground with a decent expanse of grass between sites but not much in the way of privacy. No picnic tables or fire rings at any of the sites.
Not sure if this is a problem throughout the park or not but our site, C5, had a fairly significant slope so the front wheels wanted to come off the ground.
When I made the reservations I was advised upon arrival to call the number on the sign at the entrance and we would be guided to our site via phone. Although that seemed strange it worked out well. I was also told that they shut the phone system down at 7:00 p.m. so if we were arriving after that to call for instructions before then.
Size – 4/5
Pull thrus were long enough to accommodate our 66′ total length, however with the utility hookups near the rear of the site, unhitching may be needed to bring the utilities within a comfortable distance. Site spacing was good for a private park with a decent expanse of grass between sites. Although, our neighbor on the driver side kept bringing his dog over to our side of the grass to do his business which was not appreciated as we need to walk thru the grass with the slide extended.
Privacy – 2/5
None to speak of but besides the decent spacing the sites were angled enabling a reasonable feeling of privacy and separation.
Amenities – 3/5
Two storm shelters, a “lodge” with laundry, showers, rest rooms, recreation room with a pool table, coin games, exercise equipment and recreation pond fishing.
Convenience – 3/5
Grocery stores, Walmart, restaurants and other conveniences are located with 10 miles. Close to Adventureland Park, Prairie Meadows Racetrack and Casino and other attractions in downtown Des Moines.
Physical Surroundings – 4/5
Even though it is fairly close to several industrial buildings and to Des Moines, with the lush green grass and trees, it feels like you are in the country.
Maneuverability and Roads – 4/5
Paved roads wide enough for any size rig making it easy to maneuver throughout the park.
Peace & Quiet – 3/5
The park was fairly full during our visit the end of September but it was pretty quiet, perhaps because a number of the units were unoccupied. We could occasionally hear a distant train.
Utilities – 4/5
- Sewer – well placed, threaded cap, very good.
- Satellite –All DISH western arc satellites visible.
No obstructions throughout the park so most sites should be fine for satellite reception.
- WiFi – available for a fee. We didn’t use it.
- Cellular signal – Verizon excellent download, poor upload, with 4 bars inside the coach. AT&T adequate upload and download.
- Over-the-Air (OTA) TV – good, 16 channels found, appeared that at least some of the major networks were receivable.
- Power – very good, 120 volts, both legs, no problems.
- Water Pressure/Quality – good pressure, no turbidity. Utility box for spigot was underground with special freeze proof valve. Our pressure regulator was still usable.
What We Liked
– Very clean park
– Wide roads, paved sites
– Interior of the buildings were immaculate
– Close proximity to the interstate
– Well manicured landscaping
– Reasonable daily rate for a full service campground.
What We Didn’t Like
– No picnic table
– No fire ring
– No real privacy between sites
– Inconsiderate neighbor walking their dog in the grass right next to our coach.
Would We Return?
– Yes. Definitely if we needed full hookups, but we would try Prarie Flower COE at Saylorville Lake otherwise.
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