KOA Ouray is located in the San Juan Mountains of Colorado. We spent 4 months Workamping here over the summer but this review is about the campground only. The workamping experience will be covered in an upcoming series on workamping.
The Million Dollar Highway
The KOA is located off US Route 550. One way to get to the park is to enter from the south side of Ouray on US Route 550 from Silverton. The section from Silverton to Ouray is commonly called the Million Dollar Highway. If you are unfamiliar with this road check out our 2 part video series. (Note: the videos actually show going the opposite way, from Ouray to Silverton but you’ll see why we don’t recommend coming in this way.) While it is a beautifully scenic road you may want to think twice about coming this way to the KOA especially if you have a larger rig. There are numerous twists and hairpin turns with no shoulders or guardrails.
Enjoy The Scenery
We were thankfully given a heads up beforehand and came in from the other side through Montrose and Ridgeway. Either way, you will be absolutely awed by the scenery. We arrived in mid-April and the views of the snow-capped mountains were amazing.
Check-in was a breeze and we headed to the workamping sights near the back of the park. This park is split into two and divided by a stream. There are two separate entrances depending on which side of the stream you are on.
A Mix Of Everything
The section in the front by the office is a mix of rustic cabins, RV sites, tent sites, and a teepee. There is also a small pond. Directly opposite the office is a hot tub and a playground. Behind the office is a small cafe that serves breakfast every morning (summer only) and serves BBQ on Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday night. There is also entertainment on Saturday nights.
The cafe is broken down into 3 separate parts. There is the front section near the order window that has a couple of outside tables and houses the bar. If you head through the doors, you enter the inside section. This section is indoor and houses numerous tables. It also is where the entertainment sets up. Continuing through that section you head back to the outside patio section. This is my favorite. You are sitting on a deck outside looking at the mountains listening to the stream roar by which is awesome.
Heading To The Back
As you head towards the back of the park, you will pass a dog walk area, maintenance garage, RV sites, and more cabins. The dog walk area was just an open area of the park that was cluttered with debris. There was no fenced-in area. That being said this was the only disappointing part of the park. The deluxe cabins were located on your right side and backed up to the stream that divided the two sections of the park. The deluxe cabins had full bathrooms, a queen bed, a bunk room, a refrigerator, a sink ( all but one), and a microwave.
Overlooking The Stream
Linens were provided for the queen bed but were available upon request for the bunks. Some had couch beds and all had ceiling fans and a/c. My favorite thing about the deluxe cabins was each had a deck that overlooked the stream. They also had picnic tables, a fire pit, and a gas grill. Nothing more relaxing than BBQing listening to the sound of the stream.
There Might Be A Wait
Moving on to the rear section you will find RV sites, tent sites, and the rear bathrooms and showers. The tent sites lined the outside perimeter while the RV sites were in the center. There was a building that housed 4 bathroom/shower combos (one handicapped) and two rooms with a toilet and sink. There were picnic tables supplied for guests to sit at while waiting for bathrooms/showers to open up. The rear of the building had a nice sized counter and 3 sinks to wash your dishes pots and pans. These were super busy in the morning and evening and usually had a short wait.
Make A U-Turn
To access this section of the campground in an RV or vehicle, after checking in you will need to make a u-turn in front of the office and head back out to the road due to the stream that separated the two areas of the campground. Once at the road you will make a left and then another left to enter the second campground entrance. In this section, you will find mostly RV’s and rustic cabins with one or two tent sites mixed in.
3 Foot Bridges
There are 3 separate bridges located in different areas of the park that allow you to cross the stream if you are on foot. Two of them are towards the front of the park near the office and the cafe and the last one is near the rear of the park.
This part of Colorado is fairly dry and the roads are dirt. Combine that with the RVs, autos, and the wind and you get a lot of dust kicking up over everything. They try to keep the dust down by using a large truck that drops water on the dirt. This does a pretty good job of keeping the dust down.
You Are In Bear Country
Because you are in the mountains you will find some of the sites a little tricky to level. Also, remember that you are in bear country. We had some of the furry visitors almost every night roaming the park. The most important thing to remember is to not leave any food, coolers, or garbage out at your site. It’s very simple. Follow this rule and you will be fine. We spent the entire summer there and never once had a problem. If they can’t find food at your site they will move on.
Use Your Head
There were a couple of instances where people left food out either in their coolers or in one instance a Jeep with a soft top and no doors. I don’t think I have to tell you what happened there. Use your head and you will be fine. You will also find numerous deer walking around. They didn’t bother anyone. They just went about there business eating leaves and berries off the trees and bushes. Whatever you do, do not feed these animals. It will only make it harder for them to find food and survive after everyone has left.
This park is surrounded by mountains. There are awesome views from just about every site. There is nothing better to wake up in the morning and take in a view from your site of the mountains. The same goes for the evenings. Sitting by the campfire watching the sunset against the mountains is incredible. Even though Chris and I are more water people we thoroughly enjoyed our stay at this campground.
One thing that you may find a challenge here is wifi and cell service. It’s extremely spotty with some carriers having none at all. We suggest you put the phones away and just enjoy the views.
This KOA is usually closed near the end of October and re-opens in April. After 30 years of the same ownership, the torch has been passed and there are now new owners who are keeping it open year-round. It is heartwarming to see the love that both the old owners and new owners have for this park. If you spoke to the exiting owners and spoke with them about leaving, you would hear the sadness in their voices. You may even invoke a tear. They had so many repeat campers come every year it was almost like an extended family for them.
When you talk to the new owners you can hear the excitement in their voices of the plans/changes they have in store for this campground. The new owners have shared some of the scheduled upgrades and ideas they have in store for the park and we can tell you they are fantastic. They are also two of the nicest down to earth people you will ever meet.
So if you are a skier, ice climber, or just love cold weather camping or just want to explore the glorious mountains surrounding this campground and you are looking for a place to camp in Ouray, consider this KOA. When you check-in, give Troy and Penny a good hearty hello and tell them Dennis and Chris sent you!!!
Date Of Stay: May 15th- September 15th, 2019
Site#: Workamper Site
Cost: $0 ( Workamped For Site)
Big Rig Freindly9.8/10
Park Road Conditions9.0/10
Site Size Condition9.5/10
- Full Hook-Up Pull Through Sites
- 30 & 50 Amp Sites Available
- Tent Sites, Cabins & A Teepee Available
- Well Stocked Store/ Jeep Rentals Available
- Scenic Mountain Views
- Firewood Delivery To Your Site
- Hot Tub
- Nice Stream Divides The Campground
- Numerous Things To Do Within A Close Radius
- Uneven Dirt Roads With Numerous Speed Bumps
- No Pool
- Weak Wifi & AT& T Signal
- The Only Recycling Containers Were Located At The Front Of The Park
- Fires Needed To Be Extinguished By Midnight
- Not enough Bathroom/Showers In The Rear Section Of The Park
- No Fenced In Dog Park
- Small Playground For Kids