RV Parkwrite a review 3mi Access Rd
Fort Smith, MT 59035
GPS: 45.3293, -107.8724
|Last Price Paid:||$48|
30 Airstream 30FB Bunk
2015 GMC Denali HD
|Site Number:||7 and 8|
Big Big Trippers would stay here again
“Excellent Full Service Campsite for fishing the Bighorn River”
Reviewed Jul 28, 2018
We’ve stayed at Cottonwood Camp on the Bighorn twice - once for a week at Sweetwater Travel’s Fly Fishing Guide School and two years later for a week of fly fishing the Bighorn River. If you’re looking for a good home base with plenty of amenities for fishing the Bighorn River, Cottonwood Camp definitely answers the call. The camp consists of a campground (both full hook-up RV, partial hook-up RV, and tent sites), rental “cabins”, and a full service fly shop with all your fly fishing needs, professional guide services, and a drift boat rental service if needed. First off, the campground specifics:
Campground - This is a pretty straight forward fisherman’s campground. Everything is very clean and well maintained, but there isn’t a lot of spit and polish. There are 10 full hook-up sites (50/30/20 amp, water, and sewer), 10 partial hook-up (electric and water), and several dry camping small RV and tent sites available. During both stays, we stayed in the full hook-up sites (#7 and #8—we prefer #8 because of it’s bigger grassy area and has almost all day shade). The full hook-up sites are gravel and while they easily accommodated our 30-ft Airstream, they are a bit “funky” due to the location of some of the electrical hook-ups and water spickets (many are located at the center—or just off-center—back of the site, meaning that the rear of your rig can’t “hang-off” the back of the site and you also need to be careful about hitting them when you’re backing into your site). Also, the sewer connection for the full hook-up sites is located at the back of the site, so you may need a long hose depending on the location of your rig’s sewer connection. We had plenty of room within our site to park our truck and also to put out chairs and relax and watch the sunset. The partial hook-up and dry sites are on grass.
There was WiFi available, but we found it spotty during both our stays. During our first stay in June 2016, we had no AT&T signal and only 1 or 2 bars of Verizon. During our July 2018 stay, we had a solid 4 bars of AT&T LTE. We didn’t check Verizon, but I’m sure it’s fine.
There are your typical dated but clean RV Park bathrooms and showers, as well as decent laundry facilities. The campground is located on a dusty gravel road next to a hay field and it can get VERY WINDY, so expect blown dust (and don’t leave your awnings out unattended!) Be careful using the 2nd entrance if you're pulling a trailer, it's very steep and easy to bottom out.
Rental Cabins - The campground also has several cabins available for rent, but I can’t vouch for any of them except “The Condo” which was used during Sweetwater Travel’s Fly Fishing Guide School. The Condo is essentially an old doublewide trailer with attached 4-season room and porch. Very dated, but clean and functional.
Fly Shop - There is a small, but full service fly shop at the campground. They have all the flies and any other fly fishing accoutrements that you may need, as well as a few camping items (hoses, etc). They also sell Montana fishing licenses. They have several guides and can set you up with a guided float on the Bighorn if needed. If you’re competent with a drift boat, they also rent drift boats and will take care of getting it to/from river, as well as shuttling your car from the launch point to the take out. They also run shuttles if you have your own boat.
Fort Smith - Unless you’re looking for a fly shop, you’re going to be out of luck in Fort Smith. There are three or four fly shops in town, a few guest lodges, and not much else. There is a hit-or-miss C-store that we never saw open during our stay, but heard it sometimes opens up for a few hours. Bottom line - come prepared with everything you’ll need grocery (and alcohol) wise, because it isn’t going to happen in Fort Smith.
The Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area’s Yellowtail Dam Visitor Center is just outside of town and is worth a visit. It’s pretty dated, but the rangers are friendly and our son earned a Junior Ranger Badge while there. The rangers also did a campfire program at Cottonwood Camp during our stay, so make sure you check the schedule at the Cottonwood Camp’s fly shop or the visitor center.
If you bring your own boat, you’ll need to get it inspected for invasive species. They do that most days near the main launch at Afterbay in town (you’ll see signs if they’re doing it). Make sure you’re boat’s clean and you’re good to go.
This review is the opinion of a Campendium member and not of Campendium.com
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