Note: Our reviews are from the perspective of full timers “glamping” in a 40-45′ big rig. Our review focus is on maneuvering, site attributes, hookup quality, internet access, proximity to services, etc. We are self contained and usually don’t use any campground toilets, showers or laundry so we don’t always report on them. We tend to favor state and federal parks because they tend to be more in tune with nature and usually have more spacious sites.
Website: Garden of the Gods RV Resort
Getting There: Not difficult but your GPS will probably try to take you in via the one way exit on S Columbia Ave instead of the entrance. Note that access is currently hampered by extensive road construction just outside the resort. Here are the exact coordinates of the entrance 38.856789, -104.884826. From I-25 take US-24 West, then right on S31st St, then left on Colorado Ave. Just before S Columbia Rd, Colorado Ave splits to the right and Manitou Ave goes left, you can take either one or whatever remains (Colorado did not exist when we visited due to construction). Turn right onto S Columbia Ave and the campground entrance will be a slight left.
Date(s) of Stay: October 13, 2017 arrival, October 19, 2017 departure
Located near Old Colorado City, Manitou Springs and in the foothills of Pikes Peak, America’s most visited mountain, this resort is an RVC Outdoor Destination. They have 5 levels of RV sites: Standard, Deluxe and Poolside back-ins, Premium and Executive pull-thrus. The only way to see the difference between each level is to click on the reservation button on their website. They also have a variety of cottages available for rent.
Rates can be found here. They offer a Good Sam discount. Fortunately we were here during their fall/winter season so our nightly rate was $47.99 minus the 10% discount or $43.19 plus tax. Don’t think we would stay here in the summer season with a nightly rate of $65.99! Seems too pricey for the type of “resort” that it is.
Overall Impression – 3/5
Our first impression wasn’t good because of the road construction on Manitou Avenue right next to the resort. It was difficult determining where to turn on Columbia Road because they had cones blocking the road so it looked like it was closed. After circling around we finally were able to figure it out. According to a conversation we had with one of the staff members, this construction will be happening for the next year. Apparently whatever government agency is doing the construction will be taking part of the resort property by eminent domain which will impact the Executive pull thru sites.
This is a typical older commercial RV Park with tight sites and minimal privacy and one of those where the definition of the term “resort” comes into question. On the other hand the location can’t be beat for exploring the local attractions.
On the website, it looks beautiful, however, be aware that those photos only show the most expensive, executive pull thru sites. The sites in the rest of the “resort” are gravel and are close together. All have a cement pad under the picnic table.Our executive site EX04 had a wooden fence on one side enclosing utilities that made it rather difficult to position our coach properly so the slides on the driver’s side could be extended without hitting the fence.
Midland Trail Pedestrian and Bike Trail, a 6.9 mile paved city trail that connects Manitou Springs to the City of Colorado Springs at the Pikes Peak Greenway Trail, runs along one side of the resort right next to the Executive pull thrus, however the trail is fenced off, so to access it one must exit the campground at the main entrance.
From our front window, we had a view of the trail. After taking a short walk on it I was glad that there was a fence between us and the trail as there were a few “interesting characters” hanging out. From what we were told, part of the construction plans are to widen and improve the trail.
When we checked in, we were told that our site was close to the diner. It took us a few days to realize that it wasn’t really a “diner” but was actually an Airstream trailer parked next to the maintenance building behind us. During the fall and winter, it is only opened from Wednesday through Sunday from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. offering a variety of breakfast items, burgers, chicken sandwiches and a chicken strip basket. On Fridays and Saturdays, it reopens from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. for dinner serving items from their regular menu plus a nightly special. We had breakfast sandwiches ($4.50) one morning which were good. Very friendly owner.
Size – 3/5
We had an executive pull thru (EX04) which had a full concrete pad but was a bit short for both our rig and toad. If we had pulled further forward the toad would have fit, but our front tires would have come off the pad. Not a problem since we were unhitching the toad anyway, but if you are towing a large toy hauler it’s doubtful there is a long enough site here.
Not a whole lot of room between sites either, although the newer executive sites were “relatively” spacious compared to the rest of the campground. Other sites throughout the park looked very tight. Note that sometime in 2018 the Executive pull thru sites will probably become back-in or pull-in sites due to the land being taken by the city for the street widening and Midway Trail improvements.
Privacy – 2/5
There were a few bushes between us and our neighbor in the Executive pull thru area but they didn’t offer much privacy. Other sites in the park had tall trees but they didn’t offer any privacy either.
Amenities – 3/5
All sites are full hook up with either 30A or 50/30A depending on site. We checked out the restrooms – they were very clean. The pay laundry facility had several machines and looked clean (sorry forgot to check the fee). Two seasonal pools and an extensive arcade room. A full list of their amenities can be found here.
Convenience – 5/5
Excellent. Very close to the center of Manitou Springs and Colorado Springs where all of the primary conveniences and attractions are located. Walmart, grocery stores, restaurants and other conveniences are within a few miles of the resort. Very close to attractions such as Garden of the Gods, Red Rock Canyon Open Space & Manitou Springs, Pikes Peak, Cave of the Winds, etc. About an hour and a half to the Air Force Academy.
Physical Surroundings – 2/5
Suburban environment. The construction going on while we were there was not pleasant and our rating reflects that. It remains to be seen if the environment improves when the construction and trail makeover are completed.
Maneuverability and Roads – 3/5
Paved roads were a little tight inside the park but at least the executive sites were no problem to maneuver to in our 45′ rig. The older parts of the park might be more challenging, so we suggest big rigs stick with the Executive or Premium sites. There is at least one “road” in the campground that is a dead end and would require backing out if you made a wrong turn. It was difficult accessing the entrance from Manitou Ave due to the road construction. Note that there is a separate one way exit a short distance north on S Columbia Road.
Peace & Quiet – 1/5
The park is located right next to busy Manitou Ave and a short distance from US Route 24 so there was a lot of traffic noise. But the traffic noise was drowned out by heavy equipment and all the noises associated with road construction happening directly adjacent to the park on Manitou Ave. There was noise all day on weekdays from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. (and sometimes later). This rating would probably be a 2 or 3 without the construction noise.
Utilities – 4/5
- Sewer – Very Good on the newer executive sites – placement near the rear third of the pad, threaded cap just a couple inches above grade.
- Satellite – No issue for us on EX04. The other Executive sites and some of the Premium should not be an issue either. However, there are surely some sites in the park where tree interference will be a problem.
- WiFi – Typical spotty coverage with mediocre performance, we briefly tried it but switched back to our better performing cellular plans.
- Cellular signal – Verizon: Good signal, Good LTE data download, poor upload performance. AT&T: Good signal (I think we were roaming), Fair LTE data performance.
- Over-the-Air (OTA) TV – We scanned and picked up 22 channels so at least some of the primary networks should be receivable.
- Power – Good. 20/30/50A pedestal in good condition. Voltage was good at 119 volts on both legs. No errors or outages during our stay.
- Water Pressure/Quality – Good. Adequate pressure, no odors or obvious turbidity. Freeze proof faucet.
What We Liked
– Very close to a lot of attractions (Garden of the Gods, Pike’s Peak, Manitou Springs, Red Rock Open Space, Cave of the Winds, etc.)
– Although not what we would consider “spacious”, relatively speaking our full concrete pad pull thru site (EX04) had more length and width than most of the other sites in the park.
What We Didn’t Like
– Traffic noise
– Construction noise and disruption to entrance.
– Fence surrounding utilities next to our site made it hard to position coach to allow ample room to put out slides.
– Close spacing and lack of privacy between sites.
Would We Return?
Yes if proximity to the aforementioned attractions was the priority. The convenience to the attractions we wanted to see was fantastic, but we might also give one of the other 3 or 4 allegedly big rig accessible parks in the area a try. We had originally tried to get into Cheyenne Mountain State Park, and while we surely would have enjoyed that environment much more, it would have been a 75 minute trek each way to most of the attractions. The Resort was so close, we took rides at least twice daily thru the Garden of the Gods Park to see the formations in different lighting conditions. That would not have been feasible from a more distant location.