Steamboat campground expands as summer season begins; area campgrounds nearly reaching full capacity |

Steamboat campground expands as summer season begins; area campgrounds nearly reaching full capacity

This will be the view customers of the Steamboat Springs KOA Holiday can expect when they rent one of the new lodges being added this summer. (Photo by John F. Russell)

Bob Junker, general manager of the Steamboat Springs KOA Holiday campground, doesn’t need to look at his reservation charts. He already knows it’s going to be a busy summer, which is part of the reason he transferred in January to the Steamboat Springs campground.

Even with the increase over the past year, the traffic isn’t abnormal.

“Right now, if you don’t have a reservation on a weekend, at least for the rest of the summer, I don’t have a spot,” he said. “Before I came here I was managing the Fredericksburg (Virginia) KOA for this same company,” Junker said. “So they just transferred me here, and I can tell you that yes, COVID made a difference.”

Campers are lined up at the Steamboat Springs KOA Holiday campground on most days this summer. Weekends are full from Memorial Day to Labor Day, and there are only a few spots open on weekdays. (Photo by John F. Russell)

Recreation Adventures, which owns 17 parks across the U.S., said the longtime Steamboat campground will be expanded and improved this summer. The island that sits in the middle of the Yampa River, previously used for tents will be transformed into more slots for RVs — adding 27 deluxe patio sites and 10 lodges.

Steamboat’s KOA offers many amenities normally found at resorts, including a pool that is open until September, mini-golf, a playground, Wi-Fi, laundry and other services. There is also access to the Yampa, local trails and free public transit.

A grader moves earth at the Steamboat Springs KOA Holiday last week. The campground is transforming the island adding 27 new RV spaces and 10 lodges. (Photo by John F. Russell)

The improvement project began earlier this spring and required the park to close the river island so that heavy equipment could lay groundwork for the new spaces. Like most of the other RV spots, the additions will offer full 50-amp electric hookups with water and sewer.

The new deluxe lodges are expected to arrive by truck in September.

“The owners wanted those lodges that are going to be on the island to be Steamboat Resort quality, so they upgraded everything in the cabins to that level,” Junker said.

Junker estimated the new lodges would take about three weeks to set up, and would be ready to rent by October. They will sleep six people and offer full kitchens with granite countertops, upgraded appliances and fixtures. The lodges also offer full baths, screened patios and are located along the river.

Construction has reduced the campground’s capacity by about 30%. Currently, Junker has 84 camping spots available across cabins, tent sites and spaces for RVs and campers.

“People are buying campers like crazy,” Junker said. “Thor Industries is the largest manufacturer of RVs in the country, and they came out a day or two ago and said that they’re sold out through 2022.”

KOA isn’t the only place in Steamboat where outdoor lovers are escaping to. A spokesperson at Eagle Soaring Campground, which has 25 spots for RVs west of Steamboat, is also reporting the weekends as being completely booked in addition to most weekdays.

The story is much the same at Steamboat Lake, Pearl Lake and Stagecoach state parks where the weekends have been booked for several months.

“We’re booked up every weekend for sure,” said Craig Preston, parks manager at Stagecoach State Park, which offers 65 sites with electricity and 27 without. “I was looking to get a Friday, Saturday reservation. Today you would have to wait until the last weekend in August, and right now there is literally one site available for two nights over a weekend.”

Park Manager Julie Arington said that Steamboat Lake offers 188 sites, and Pearl Lake offers another 37.

“Pearl (Lake) is extremely difficult to get into,” Arington said. “Lots of people would like to camp at Pearl, but because there are so few sites, it’s pretty hard to get into there.”

In the Hahns Peak-Bears Ears Ranger District north of Steamboat, 8 of 25 spots at Hahns Peak and 9 of 24 at Seedhouse Campground use a first-come, first-served registration method. Most of the remaining spots have been reserved at least for next week, according to Nicole Cookson, visitor information service assistant.

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