Do you ever camp close to home? Do you have a favorite spot? How often do you go there?
Dan and I recently camped for three nights at Cuivre River State Park. This state park is only 33 miles from our home; yet, it takes us about an hour to get there. It takes an hour because once off the highway, the roads to the campground are hilly, curvy, somewhat narrow and a bit long.
Once at the state park’s entrance, it is another four and a half miles to the campground. So, that campground is pretty far back in there.
Except it really isn’t. Right behind the full hook up loop is Walker Road. And at the edge of the campground loop, there is a short road which goes right out to Walker Road. However, this entrance/exit is closed except for emergency use. So, even though it’s there, it’s not there. Perhaps the philosophy is campers will see more of the park by having to drive through it. While this may be true, I couldn’t help but feel I would have preferred to enter the campground more directly and saved driving the hilly, curvy roads for later when we weren’t towing a travel trailer.
Once at our site though, it was really nice to have full hook ups. The campground has two loops of basic sites, one loop of electric only sites, and one loop of full hook up sites. It is a large park with numerous camping sites. This is good because it is a very popular park given its close proximity to the St. Louis area. We were able to reserve a site for three nights during the week.
Our site had a gravel pad, but we were able to get level easily. We could occasionally hear the traffic on Walker Road which was separated from our site by a grove of trees. Another thing I noticed was that our picnic table, which was on a slab, had a great view of the neighboring site’s sewer hook ups. And our neighbor behind us had a great view of our sewer hook ups. Our trailer was centered on the gravel pad; yet, our picnic table was fairly close to the neighboring site’s sewer hook ups.
Maybe other parks and campgrounds are like this, too, but I haven’t noticed it before. I did see one site, and there may be others, with a very nice view from the RV and picnic table. So, if we were to return to Cuivre River, I would reserve site 81, if possible.
Cuivre River has thirteen hiking trails with varying distances. I would enjoy hiking these trails, but I had seen several comments on Facebook just a few days earlier about how bad the ticks were at the park. So, Dan and I chose to avoid the trails, and we walked the campground loops each morning. This gave us 6,000 steps before breakfast, and so we were happy with that. There are two trail heads at the back corners of the full hook up loop, so access to the trails is easy. Perhaps we would hike these and other trails in the fall when we are wearing long pants and long sleeves.
There is also a lake and beach area at Cuivre River. Kayaks and canoes are available to rent during the season, and the lake is also used for fishing and swimming. This area opened up at the end of our stay; however, all we did with the lake was look at it from afar.
One thing I really did enjoy at the park was the Visitor Center. It’s a pretty small center with just a few nature displays, including some live turtles and snakes. But what I really liked was the display about the park’s history. The park was created and developed by the CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps) beginning in the fall of 1934. In 1946, the National Park Service turned over the area to the state of Missouri to use as a state park.
The one lane bridge featured at the beginning of this post was built by the CCC and is still used today. Also still standing today are two camps, the Stone Shelter, the old park office and numerous small stone culverts. According to the display in the park,
The CCC enrolled over three million American men from 1933-1942 who helped revive the land and forests of our nation.Cuivre River Visitor Center
For another really interesting project by the CCC, check out this post from fellow blogger, Bill, at OntheRoadofRetirement. I encourage you to take the time to read it. I only recommend high quality content, and I guarantee it will be worth your time. Have I ever steered you wrong?
I’ll leave you with one fact I remembered from the CCC exhibit. Did you know that the CCC taught over 100,000 enrollees to read and write? Other education was taught as well, providing skills used in CCC projects as well as in jobs years later in the private sector. While Roosevelt’s deal was new, it truly was and is a lasting legacy.
We enjoyed our time at Cuivre River. And we appreciate all the work – past and present – to create and maintain our state park treasures.