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Reviewed 25 July 2014

Decent enough campground, our campsite was clean and clear and we had a pretty pleasant stay despite wet weather at night. No running water in the bathrooms, they're just outhouses with toilets but there are spigots where you can get water to wash up a little bit.
We made a reservation in advance for 3 nights but arrived in town late and didn't feel like setting up camp in the dark with a borrowed tent our first night. When we arrived the next day the camp host didn't seem to bright and was extremely confused. She had marked our reservation as a "no show" and seemed a bit reluctant to give us our campsite that we had already pre-paid for. Not sure what the rules were for that since my husband made the reservation, but we ended up getting our site.
Yes, the sites have bear boxes. That seemed pretty standard to us from our previous camping experiences and didn't bother us at all. They sold firewood at the site for $6/bundle, but we found it for less than $3/bundle in town at the City Market.
Close distance to Aspen and very convenient off 82 if you need any supplies.

  • Stayed: July 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Service
4  Thank coopsafruitloops
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 13 July 2014

On the weekend of the 4th, I went on a motorcycle trip to Aspen. All of the campgrounds nearby were full but the campgrounds hosts at Difficult let us camp in an overflow "camp site". We're grateful for their generosity and this is the only reason why I'm not rating this a 1.

Everything good ends there. Our "camp site" wasn't an actual camp site, it was just a clearing in the vegetation. This is to be expected, though. Our "site" didn't have a bear box so the hosts let us keep our food in theirs.

On the last day of our stay, I went to the bear box that we left our food in and the food was gone. Not really the fault of the campground as people will steal, nothing they can do about that. What irritates me, however, was that the campground hosts weren't around all morning on a SUNDAY, the busiest day for campers checking out. There was absolutely no way that we could bring up our concerns about the missing food that was stolen from the bear box.

I checked in one of the other bear boxes in a vacant campsite next to ours and there was a package of rotting meat that made the bear box smell horrible. The food had obviously been in there for a while and the hosts never bothered to clean it out. Any bread that the next campers would have brought would have absorbed the smell.

This campground is in a very moist environment that is a breeding ground for mosquito's. The condition of the road leading into the campsite is horrible and full of small gravel patches, not ideal for motorcycles.

Do yourselves a favor and stay at a campsite further East.

Stayed: July 2014, travelled with family
3  Thank CanadaIsLife
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 12 July 2014

Beautiful setting. Nice for a forest service campground. Were asked to not set up on three particular sites because the hosts were going to save them for someone and then we were told later that they weren't coming so we could go claim one of those sites. Glad we did as we had two tents (small) and just needed for one night.
After discovering the beautiful camping at Maroon Bells, we had wished we had stayed there instead. It was more beautiful and much less costly.
Area is beautiful in June...so GREEN. I would recommend Difficult but not necessarily above the others. It is convenient, however. The drive to it is also beautiful.

Stayed: June 2014, travelled with friends
5  Thank LovetheRockies01
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 23 October 2013

This was a really nice campground. We stayed in the group site which is right on the river and a little away from the other sites. There were multiple BBQ grills, picnic tables and bear lockers. BUT the water spigot wasn't working. So we had to get in the car once a day and go over to the pump to get our water. We had a big group and a bunch of kids so it was an inconvenience. The location from town was great. Close enough but you really felt like you were out there. And being right on the river is so nice. If the water pump had been working I would have given this a 5.

  • Stayed: August 2013, travelled with family
    • Location
3  Thank Steve_divez
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 31 August 2013

Having read through the majority of the reviews on this campsite I won't repeat what's been said but just confirm (and maybe clarify) a few previous comments.

For starters, the campsite is NOT in a swamp...there are some tall grasses and wet areas when you first enter that might give that appearance but this is not a swamp. And a bear box is not a bad sign - it's a sign you are camping in the mountains where wildlife is present. We never saw bear but posters around the site said there had been bear activity in May and June - probably from people who don't think they need to put their stuff in a bear box. I won't go into big detail about what should be put in a bear box and why it's important but, as far as I'm concerned, having a bear box to put stuff in is a GOOD thing!

After setting up camp we walked around a bit and yes, the sites are different sizes so I wish they could offer better descriptions on the website to help folks make a better choice for their particular needs. www.recreation.gov is where you can see the campsite map and a small description of each site. We did not have a reservation so after a few rounds of each loop we decided on Site 15 due to how far back it sat from the camp road. I would say this particular site could easily accommodate 2 tents and even a 3rd if it was a smaller size. This was a great site with HUGE boulders and lots of trees for privacy. There are also a couple of small ropes already tied up between some trees left by previous campers for your use.

There were campers in Site 13 next door but we rarely heard them and could barely see them (see my pictures) and we couldn't see anything on the other side of the site because the trees and growth are so thick. It's right across from the water station and a very easy walk to the toilets which are next door to the water (which were very clean during our stay and did not smell). The only drawback of this site is that since it's on the Independence Pass side there is a little bit of road noise at night of people who are hopefully only driving to their campsite further down the road and not going over the pass at night! Yikes, it's challenging enough during the daytime! After the traffic stopped we could hear the river every night even being as far away from it as we were on the other side of the campground.

Since our stay was during the weekdays the camp was not very crowded, very quiet at night and had lots of empty spaces. Everyone was friendly and we even shared some wine and snacks with another couple one night who were camping on the riverside loop. I never looked at their campsite number but from looking at the map they were either in 37 or 39 and the space was huge. It could probably handle at least 2 tents and maybe a 3rd. I'm not sure if any of those spaces are actually right by the water though. We took the small hike on the path by the river and had to climb a trail UP to get back to the campground so I don't think they back up to the water like you might think they would.

Another reviewer mentioned showering at the Aspen Rec Center so we also took advantage of their facilities when we went into town. $6.50 per person gets you into the locker room (or 5.60 twilight rate during the last 90 minutes of operation allows access to the whole center) - bring your own towel and toiletries and a small lock wouldn't be bad if you want to secure your things in a locker while you're in the shower. Also if you have a toiletries bag with a hook or suction cup on it that would work best for the shower stalls they have. It's a really nice rec center and the employees are friendly to campers.
For hours and rates see http://www.aspenrecreation.com/aspen-recreation-centers/aspen-recreation-center/

A few other random thoughts: Bugs were not a problem for us but I had plenty of Off! spray which may have taken care of any pests wanting to invade our space. There are trash dumpsters at the campground entrance so you don't have to take it with you. There's no electricity here and no cell signal so plan accordingly to charge your gadgets and communicate while you're in town or in the car with chargers. The camp sells bundles of firewood for 6.00 or you can also buy it at City Market in town. Picnic tables at some sites are fixed and others are able to be moved around a small distance although secured to the ground with a buried cable. This made a difference to us the one night it rained so we could scoot the table near some trees and hang up our tarp. The Group Site they have here is ENORMOUS so if you have a big group definitely try to reserve that one - it's a bit secluded from the rest of the camp with its own toilets. The spacing of the water stations and toilets seemed to be convenient to all the camping sites so no matter which site you picked you'd never be too far walking to get to either one.

We really enjoyed our stay at Difficult. As I said to the host driving around in her golf cart taking care of stuff, the only difficult aspect of the campground is deciding which site to pick! We prefer a campsite with lots of trees and growth and the more "woodsy" feel and Difficult delivers! On our way to Maroon Bells we saw all the "Silver" campsites and even drove through Silver Queen to see what people were raving about. The mountain views are fantastic but for me the sites are too open to each other without any kind of space or privacy between them but to each their own. We hope to camp again at Difficult when taking in the sites of Aspen and Maroon Bells! I hope this review is helpful since it was all the other good reviews on Trip Advisor that persuaded us to stay here.

Room Tip: Light sleepers should opt for sites on the riverside loop (30-47).
  • Stayed: August 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
23  Thank Dep_DFW
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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