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“most disappointing & frustrating camping of my life.” 1 of 5 stars
Review of Prophetstown State Park Campground

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Prophetstown State Park Campground
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4112 State Road 225 E, P.O. Box 327, West Lafayette, IN 47920   |  
Hotel amenities
Madison, WI
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
“most disappointing & frustrating camping of my life.”
1 of 5 stars Reviewed May 7, 2012

I met up with two old friends for a little reunion, hoping for a fun weekend of relaxation at this park. Unfortunately, the staff had other plans. We were treated rudely by several of the staff over the course of two days. In addition, our trip was cut short because our entire campsite was flooded after a 1.25" rain storm. I will discuss a few of the instances that have caused me to leave the title of this review. For anyone reading this, keep in mind- two of the three of us are avid campers and all three of us are respectful individuals (both of nature and of others around us). We are professionals (medical researcher, nurse, and rabbi) and are not loud or disruptive to our fellow campers.

Since the three of us were traveling from 3 different states, we each arrived in a separate compact car. At the gate into the camp, I asked specifically about the three cars. The person at the front office assured me that it wouldn't be a problem for the three cars to park, and she provided us with three car parking passes for the two days we were camping. Not 30 minutes after we arrived and began to set up our tents and campsite, a DNR employe drove up and scolded us (not in a nice tone of voice) saying that we couldn't have three cars in our campsite. While the restriction seemed arbitrary to us, we politely explained to the employee that we were setting up camp and planned to use the cars to store our food in overnight along with some of our gear. We moved one car to a parking lot on the far side of our site loop.

Twenty minutes later, the same DNR employee drove by yelling from his car that we were not allowed to tie a rope between two trees. No further explanation was given, and he didn't get out of his truck. Just yelled "not allowed" from his vehicle and waited until we understood what he was yelling at us about and we took the rope down.

Later that evening (we are still in the first night of this trip) the beloved DNR truck rolled around: this time he got out, and said we needed to move our second car now and that we couldn't park the third car where we did because we needed to leave that lot open for people to use the bathroom. Two campsites down there was an 40-50' RV with a car parked in a campsite. We pointed to that example (one of many RVs in the area that also had cars on site) and asked how we were any different than the people nearby. The DNR employee just shook his head, and treating us like we were children misbehaving, told us to move the car.

A warning to anyone who goes tent camping as we did: If it rains, your campsite can flood. I have camped in a tent countless nights and have been through many rain storms. I have never seen a campground that had graveled, designated campsites that floods as readily as this place! After a 20-40 minute rain storm (we were piled in my car to avoid being zapped by lightning) we came out to find both of our tents in 4 inches of standing water. This water stayed in our campsite for at least an hour. I say at least because I don't know when it drained. We left, defeated by the park and the campsite, to sleep in a dry hotel.

You also have to pay an RV rate per night because there are no tent-only camp sites in the park.

The next encounter with the rude park staff came the next morning when we came back to clean up our tents and to dry out our soaked gear for the trip home. We were almost alone in the park the morning of our checkout--the continued rain from the night before drove away most people from the park. We decided to take our stuff to a large unused picnic shelter to spread out our bags, tent, clothes etc. to let some of our stuff dry a bit. I drove my small car under the shelter to unload stuff while out of the rain. It was only a few minutes until a DNR truck drove up, telling us to "get the car out of his shelter." We understood it was unorthodox to use the picnic shelter for a carport, and we tried to explain what we were doing, but once again the camp staff was unreceptive to our situation and treated us with no respect as people who were doing NO DAMAGE to the park or to any other person.

We obeyed these rules, and it really isn't that they are good or bad or ridiculous rules. I understand that if you have a policy you enforce it. The issue is the way we were treated. The various staff we encountered (the camp host, 2 different DNR employees making rounds, and a manager--we did go and discuss our experience with the ranking employee before leaving for the weekend) treated us poorly. We were paying customers at the park, and we were treated like we were trespassing or in some way destroying the campground.

The positives to the camping weekend can be summed up in a short list. My two best friends are as wonderful and unshakable as ever, and the bathrooms are really clean and nice. The negatives: not a tent friendly camping ground, and deplorable staff. Taken in total, my friends and I will have camping adventures for many years to come, but none of us will ever go back to Prophetstown State Park.

  • Stayed May 2012, traveled with friends
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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11 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    5 of 5 stars
  • Location
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    3 of 5 stars
  • Service
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (2)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Marion, Indiana
Senior Contributor
41 reviews 41 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 12 cities Reviews in 12 cities
24 helpful votes 24 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 21, 2012

Very pleasant prairie experience. I suggest visiting if you're in the area. The working farm and Native American areas are both educational and interesting. Great place to bike. I really hope the State adds outdoor swimming!!!

Stayed April 2012, traveled with family
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Indiana
Top Contributor
55 reviews 55 reviews
19 hotel reviews
Reviews in 32 cities Reviews in 32 cities
62 helpful votes 62 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 12, 2011

Prophetstown is a new Indiana state park. As a park it has a lot of potential but still has some growing to do. Its best attribute is very few people have found it yet. You can walk or ride bikes around with very little traffic. I have never felt crowded like you do at some of the other state parks.

The campground is excellent for what you pay. It is around five years old and it shows. All facilities clean and are new very well maintained.

Being a state park they don't have a pool or big playground, but if you enjoy camping out under the stars in a quiet and peaceful campground this is the place to go in north central Indiana.

Word of note, the front half of the campground (southern portion) has a lot of privacy on most of the lots, many with complete wrap around evergreens and other trees. However the northern portion is mostly wide open with few if any trees. It really depends on what you enjoy. We've stayed in both sections and enjoyed them both.

The northern section sits up on a small bluff with wide open prairie land all around. It is great for people watching and wonderful sunrises/sunsets. The southern section is great for privacy and the feeling of almost living in the woods.

One word of caution, the park trials through the prairie grass has chiggers so plan accordingly. We have not had a chigger problem in the campground itself, but some of the trails are through 3-4 foot talk prairie grasses just the kind of conditions for chiggers.

Final caution, follow the park's directions for getting to the campground. The "official" address is on state road 225. A map will show you that SR 225 cuts right through the center of the park, but there is no way to enter the park from SR 225.

  • Stayed July 2011, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Prophetstown State Park Campground

Address: 4112 State Road 225 E, P.O. Box 327, West Lafayette, IN 47920
Location: United States > Indiana > West Lafayette
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 Specialty Lodging in West Lafayette

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