RV Park Review – The Meadows RV Park, Ketchum, ID
A very small & tight RV park, but in an excellent location to explore the gorgeous area of Sun Valley, Central Idaho.
Link to park here: The Meadows, Ketchum, ID
Link to map location here: The Meadows, Ketchum, ID
- Site quality = 2/5
Admittedly not the best site quality here, mostly because of the way RV’s are parked. This is a small RV park with 45 sites arranged in 2 long rows. The sites are all long, flat paved pull-throughs most of which can accommodate any-sized rig (a few can only take smaller rigs because of overhanging trees, but most can take any size). 43 of the sites are full hookup (50 Amp/water/sewer. NO cable TV) while the last two (#35 & #36) are dry-camping. The site sizes themselves are fine, but where the site quality takes a huge ding is in spacing & the way the RV’s are asked to park. This is a tight RV park with only small slices of grass between each site and RV’s are asked to park in opposite directions (end-to-end) which means that, unless you have an end-site, you are forced to share that teeny slice of green with your neighbor. In addition there is only 1 picnic table in each sitting area so you are forced to share that table with your neighbor too. Because of this arrangement we saw several “sitting areas” where one RV had “requisitioned” the table (leaving no sitting space for the other) and also several sites where RV awnings practically touched and/or one RV wasn’t able to put out their awning at all. It’s an awkward arrangement that can lead to “space hogging” between neighbors and folks who get upset about not having any private space to sit outside. Also, because of this odd parking arrangement hookups are all on one end of the site (shared with your neighbor on the other side) which means you may also need sewer & power cord extensions to reach them, depending on which way you are parked. If you can get one of the end sites (#1, #24, #25 or #45), you’ll have some decent space to call your own. Also the 2 dry-camping sites right next to the restrooms (#35 & #36) have good green space, but otherwise you’ll be packed in pretty tight and cozy with your neighbor.
Note/ We asked to park the “wrong way” in our site so that we did not have to share our sitting area with our neighbor, and the park was OK with that. We didn’t have much space to sit outside and we had to share our sitting space with 2 sets of RV hookups, but having even a teeny slice of green to call our own helped make the site more palatable.
- Facilities = 3.5/5
Very small, but decent facilities here. There is one central restroom area in the park with one men’s and one women’s restroom. Each area has a single (very large) shower and a single toilet. It’s a bit dated (the showers have those old-fashioned spray-type shower heads), but it’s very spacious and kept very nicely clean.
- Amenities = 2.5/5
A small set of amenities here, but they were all decent. There’s a laundromat (not in the park itself, but just down the road in the trailer park that’s attached) which was spotlessly clean and had very nice, new machines ($2 for wash). Also on-site WiFi is free and was actually very usable the whole time we were here. No pool or other outdoor activity areas.
- Location = 4.5/5
Location is definitely what this place is all about. The RV park is smack in the middle of Sun Valley, ~10 miles north of Hailey and ~4 miles south of Ketchum. It’s also right next to the fabulous Wood River Bike Trail (literally only 2 blocks away) and walking distance to Wood River. This puts you right in the middle of the best part of the valley with super easy access to all the fabulous outdoor hiking/biking as well as dining/beer. While we were here we biked to town literally every single day and thoroughly enjoyed exploring the surrounding area. It was fabulous! The only small ding? The park is very close to Hwy 75, so you definitely get some road noise. It’s not horrendous, but you do hear & see the cars from your RV.
- Pet friendliness = 4.5/5
This is a paw-friendly spot with just a few minor dings, mostly related to the next-door trailer park. There is a 2-dog limit and very strict-looking dog rules when you check in. You’re not allowed to walk dogs through the RV park (only around the outside perimeter) and you’re not allowed to walk dogs at all through the next-door trailer park, plus pet fences are limited to 30 inches tall & 10 feet in length. The rules seem very stern, but thankfully there’s still quite a lot of places you can walk with doggie close by. The bike trail (just down the road) is 100% dog-friendly and runs for miles. Plus you can actually access the river for dogs to dip their paws in the water right where the bike trail starts. Lastly there is a large, open field in front of the RV park which is also open to dogs.
Overall Rating = 3.4
BONUS ALERT: Camp within walking distance to the awesome Wood River Bike Trail!
Video Overview: Want to see it in living color? See our 7-min overview here:
Summary: So this RV park was definitely a mixed experience for us. The Meadows RV Park is the ONLY full hookup RV park in Sun Valley, so if you’re looking for hookups or (like us) you need to stay for more than 16 days (see below, OTHER CAMPING) then this is quite literally the ONLY game in town. There were definitely things we liked about being here. The park hosts were super friendly and the location was awesome. The park lies smack in the middle of Sun Valley, only ~10 miles north of Hailey and ~4 miles south of Ketchum. Plus it’s right next to the fabulous Wood River Bike Trail. This means you have easy access to no end of hiking/biking, lots of fabulous food choices and the ability (if you wish) to bike into town literally every day. Also, this is one of the very few private RV parks we’ve (ever) stayed at where the free on-site WiFi was stable & usable almost the whole time we were here (there were a few times we couldn’t connect, but mostly it worked well). All of that we loved. What we weren’t crazy about was the lack of private space & the way RV’s are asked to park. This is a very tight park with only teeny slices of green between site, and what’s worse is that RV’s are asked to park in opposite directions (end-to-end) which means you share that tiny space with your neighbor. Plus there is only one picnic table per sitting area. This leads to an awkward “space hogging” type arrangement with your RV neighbor and means you really don’t have any private space outside your door to call your own. We saw several sites where one RV had completely taken over the “sitting area” (leaving nothing for the neighbor) or sites where awning’s literally touched and/or one RV wasn’t able to put out their awning at all. Also hookups are all at one end of the site, so the end-to-end parking arrangement means that many RV’s invariably need sewer and power cord extenders to each their hookups. Because of all this we asked to park in the “wrong direction” in our site, which thankfully the park was OK with. We had to share our sitting area with RV hookups, but at least we had a little slice of green to call our own. The one bonus of the tight park is that it forced us to get out and explore the surrounding area literally every single day and this really helped us appreciate how awesome this place is. We fell in love with Sun Valley, both the outdoors and the towns themselves. It’s super dog-friendly, people are lovely and the surrounding nature is not only drop-dead gorgeous but so very accessible. We’ll definitely come back here, but when we do we’ll likely chose to boondock or stay in one of the many forest service campgrounds.
Extra Info: Very decent on-site free WiFi which was usable almost the entire time we were here. Also very good cellphone signal (4 bars ATT LTE, 4 bars Verizon LTE. Signal). $35/night (full hookups) in off-season (May-Oct), $40/night (full hookups) in summer season (June-Sept). Only 2 dry-camping sites (#35 & #36) which cost $25/night. Discounted monthly rates available. 2 pets and 2 person limit per site (additional $5 per person above this over 5 years of age). Total 45 sites.
Extra, Extra Info: OTHER CAMPING & BOONDOCKING: The Meadows is the only full hookup site in the valley, but if you’re OK with no hookups there are actually TONS of inexpensive forest service and free boondocking sites in the area. Stay limit is between 3-16 days, depending on where you go and the rangers DO patrol the boondocking sites, so plan ahead for the time you want to be here.
Forest Service Sites -> There are many inexpensive forest service campgrounds around Sun Valley, some of which are reservation and some of which are first-come-first-serve (FCFS). The closest to town is Boundary Campground. It is teeny (only 9 sites) and entirely FCFS, but it is right on the bike trail and has very good cell signal. Plus it can just about fit a “beast-size” RV like us. Given it’s great location this would likely be our #1 choice coming back to the area. Going north from town there are several more campgrounds (North Fork, East Fork, Easley, Wood River, Murdock). We scouted all of them and for “beast size” we estimated that Wood River was really the best fit with Murdock a close second. There were a few sites that could fit us in the other campgrounds, but mostly they are better suited for smaller-sized RV’s. Of these latter campgrounds only Murdock has *some* cell signal. The others have zero signal. See THIS LINK for info on Forest Service camping in the area.
Designated Boondocking Sites -> There are several areas that have “designated” boondocking sites. These sites are free, but you can only camp in designated, marked spots. The closest to downtown is just east of Ketchum. You drive down Trail Creek Road, past Boundary Campground and a few miles further down you’ll see the designated area on your right along Corral Creek Rd (FR 137). Several sites along here, although many are quite small/rough (we only saw one or two that would fit us) plus there is a STRICT 3-day stay limit here. North of town there’s a lot more designated boondocking sites along Baker Creek Road (FR 162). This is a lovely area with very pleasant & scenic sites many of which could easily fit “the beast”, but there is ZERO cell signal here. These sites do allow 16-day stay however.
- Open Boondocking Sites -> There are many, many more open, free boondocking sites especially further north of town and/or further east (past Sun Valley). Generally zero cell signal at any of these spots and we found many sites were too bumpy/rough for our size, but there are endless choices for smaller rigs. Check-in at the Sawtooth Ranger station (just north of town) and/or get an online copy of the MVUM map. There is a 16-day stay limit at all sites.
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We LOooVE Comments, So Please Do
With all of the great forest service roads to camp on for free that rv park must be paying you pretty well to stay there ;-). I have a nice 36 class A that we take on forest service roads all of the time. The biggest issue we have are low hanging tree branches. A minute with our chainsaw and we are on our way. You must remember you RV is built on a TRUCK frame, so drive it like one.
We paid to stay here and we did it because we needed a full month for Polly’s rehab after her TPLO surgery in June. Since the forest service camping limit is 16 days that did not cut it for us, so the RV park was (sadly) the only option. As I mentioned in this post, when we come back to the area we will definitely boondock.
P.S. By the way low-hanging trees aren’t the only issue boondocking. Soft ground and large bumps/uneven ground are problems too. Many of the sites we looked at in Sun Valley had steep drops going in which would completely bottom us out. OK for a smaller rig, but too much for our size.
Robert Titus says
Sorry I couldn’t help myself.
That’s actually a pretty good description LOL
What we won’t do for our pets! I can’t believe you guys stayed there but totally understand the reasons why! Your boondocking spots look much better but after being mostly without phone and internet for a dang month–I want more than “some” cell signal!!
Yeah I can’t quite believe we lasted the month either. Interestingly enough the park was packed solid almost the entire time we were there too. There’s a strong need for more RV parks in the area.
Jeff T. says
Theodore Roosevelt NP was recommended to us by a NPS Ranger when we were at the visitor’s center at Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument. He was a 30 year veteran of the NPS and said of all the parks he had been to or worked at, it was his favorite.
We JUST arrived today and I have to admit I am SUPER impressed. Gorgeous National Park. Can’t wait to share it on the blog.
john and sharon says
we were able to add a day here at TRNP so let us know what site you are in and we might drop by after doing some hikes this afternoon…
We’re in site 16. We’ll be in early afternoon, but going out later to photograph.
John Stein says
I know it is not you thing , but of the places your been since your got full time , would this area be one you think you could spend a full year ? Or is there any one place like that ? Thanks for all the great writing and Pic’s
It’s too cold in the winter for us to spend a whole year. I’m not a snow person, so that cuts out a lot of the mountain areas for winter. Plus I’m a wimp with cold weather. That said if you like skiing this would be an awesome place. Many of the folks who live here fulltime ski all winter and hike all summer. It’s got 4 solid outdoor seasons.
Thanks for the review. I think it quite nicely illustrated a bonus of the full-time lifestyle. You put up with “Sardine Meadow” (loved that Robert) out of a family need-Polly’s rehab. But, you always knew you weren’t “sentenced” to years there like you could be in a stick and brick. You made lemonade out of lemons with all the hiking, biking, and beer. And, now, the “yard and scenery” has changed and that stay is history. Life is what we choose to make of it, isn’t it, and with an RV there are many options. Enjoy the journey to Michigan.
Thanks! That’s exactly the attitude we try to take. You totally get it.
Jim and Gayle says
The RV park doesn’t look that bad and served it’s purpose. Being on the bike path certainly is a plus!
We’re near Stanley in a very nice forest service campground. Weren’t crazy about the boondocking options around here and we have good Verizon 4G. Smoke/haze has been variable from pretty darn clear to obscuring the mountains. We’re hanging in and seeing what happens. Some friends are camped off Prairie Creek Rd closer to Ketchum so we may join them soon.
Sorry we missed you! Look forward to see what you think of Michigan.
Hope it clears for you. It really is incredible there when the skies are clear. Bonus points for Ketchum -> there’s beer!
Steve and Chris says
Nice review and it does look tight 🙂 What tire covers are you using? We just picked up out 2015 Ventana 4037 and will be needing some ( our first coach ) we are just entering this realm of RV’ing.
We just bought basic tire covers at Camping World. Can’t recall the brand name, but it’s whatever was on the shelf when we went in. We’ve had to replace them once (they last about 4 years or so), but they’ve been great and easy to use.
Mark Hinman says
Loved the pics you took around Stanley. I’d like to go camping around there in the Sawtooth NRA. I was wondering what you thought about the drive over Galena Summit, as far as the idea of taking a big rig that way. Besides the grade, my Mountain Directory West describes continuous sharp curves on the south side, and considerable maneuvering on the north side as well. I’d be pulling a 35ft fifth wheel. The truck would be up to the task, but tight turns, like 90’s, might be a problem. Your insights are solicited!
I don’t think it would be a problem going over the Galena Summit w/ a big rig. There’s some steep sections, but the road is in very good condition with decent shoulder the whole way. I would have no issues driving “the beast” over the summit.
Jim and Gayle says
We drove it today in the car. Saw quite a few RVs of all sizes, and a couple semis. The curves are not very sharp so you shouldn’t have any problem.
We stayed at Hayspur Fish Hatchery last Spring, just off HWy 20 about 6 miles west of Picabo,ID. Dry camp, water and dump station avaliable, grassy areas, donations accepted. Any for those craving excellent Thai food for lunch, head into Ketchum to Rickshaw Thai on N Washington. Prices have increased, but I enjoyed the Green Curry two days in a row.