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“Loved It!”
Review of The River Forks

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The River Forks
Ranked #1 of 1 Drake B&B and Inns
Reviewed July 8, 2013

If you appreciate history and interesting people, this is a great place to stay. We stayed an entire week. Yes, it's rustic. Yes, the decor is old West, but that's what we enjoy. Meeting the owner, Dr. Jones, was a real treat. A retired veterinarian, he was one of the first editor's of "Horse & Rider" magazine and authored the definitive book on Sport Horse medicine (which is still available on Amazon.com). Stephanie and Joe, who operate the restaurant, do a fine job, and entertained us daily with stories about their lives, and the area. It's not a tourist trap, and it certainly is not Holiday Inn. You will find that in abundance in Estes Park. But if you love authenticity, history, people and stories, this place is a real find.

Room Tip: The Big Horn Hideout has a seating area with a couch and chairs and its own bathroom. No TV, no phon...
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  • Stayed: July 2013, traveled as a couple
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Thank Margaret J
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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35 - 41 of 45 reviews

Reviewed February 18, 2013

In summer of 2012, we camped at River Forks Inn/Campground for several weeks. Here are a few reasons we won’t ever go there again:

In October of 2011, when the campsite reservation was made, we asked for a site with full hook-ups. (For non-campers, this means hook-ups for water, electricity and sewer.) The price was $500 per month. It wasn’t until we arrived that we were told we had to pay for the electricity on a monthly basis, in addition to the $500 per month. There was a meter at our campsite.

There was another change AFTER our agreement was made. We were told we were NOT to take showers in our camper. Instead, the owner insisted we use his (one) pay shower, on the opposite side of the campground. We got 5 minutes of water for each quarter we put in the meter. Everyone in camp had to use the same shower, with the same yukky brown shower curtain, all summer long. The reason? Because the owner didn’t want to have to pay the sewer service for shower water.

And yet another AFTER-agreement change. When making the reservation in 2011, we were told that the very small campsite next to ours would not be used except for overflow, since it was so close to our site. However, in July, we had a long-stay camper in that site for weeks! The other camper was a Class A that pull straight in, so their door was directly opposite ours. Their awning was so close, we had to duck when we wanted to walk out of our door. Needless to say, the two vehicles were so close that we couldn’t put our own awning out. To make matters worse, while they were crowded into the site next to us, there were 5, sometimes 6, empty sites at the opposite end of the row, all just as close to the river and just as picturesque as ours.

For this $500 campsite, the sewer hook-up was at the front of the site, 20 feet from our camper’s drain, UPHILL! We spent quite a few dollars for a pump that would empty the drain lines.

In June, the manager was weed whacking the campsite areas. Later that day, we noticed a small hole in our truck topper window. Glass had fallen into the truck bed. No one but the manager had been in the area. When we told him about the hole, he said, “Maybe I did that when weed whacking. But you’d think I’d have heard it.” (Really? With the noisy motor going?) And that was it. He did not take responsibility for the breakage, nor did he mention anything about it being covered by the business property insurance. We paid over $200 to have the one piece of glass replaced.

On a warm summer day in August we had to close camper windows because small white worms (that looked like mini-maggots) were coming in through the window screens. They dropped from a large tree next to us. When we told the manger about them, he said they will probably turn into moths. There was no mention of, or attempt to, get rid of the pests.

The campsites are very close to the shore of the North Fork of the Big Thompson River. Besides the large trees that lined the river, there were remnants of many small trees (1” to 2” diameter) that the management had cut down. However, the cuts were inches above ground, leaving many sharp “sticks” that made walking severely hazardous. This was made worse by the fact they were invisible due to natural ground cover. This same condition existed at the dog walking area across the river.

Another August day was windy and a 6-foot tree limb fell against our camper. After the wind died down, we left the camper to go for a walk. We saw the tree limb next to our camper door. On our return walk, we noticed the freshly broken 6-foot tree limb was in the Big Thompson River, caught on a boulder.

When cleaning up the campground, a loader was used to scoop up trash and dump it to the side of the campground, just over the rise where the North Fork runs into the Big Thompson River. There, we saw trash that had been dumped, black plastic, discarded yard waste, etc. Not pretty!

  • Stayed: July 2012, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank LRIOWA
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 18, 2012

The campground and hotel part will still take customers, but the kitchen/restaurant is no longer open. They've built a fence around the parking lot to keep cars from parking there. When the restaurant was open, they didn't need a fence to keep the people out--their food took care of that.

Room Tip: La Quinta is 14 miles down the canyon in Loveland, or lots of options 12 miles up the canyon in Este...
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  • Stayed: March 2012, traveled with family
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2  Thank Kickbass
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 6, 2011

Bring your own broom, vaccum cleaner, mop...heck, cleaning supplies so you can spend the night cleaning your room. We chose not to eat as we were unable to view the kitchen. If the room was an indication of what would be found we dared not look. Better safe than sorry. The manager, not the owner, has a very high opinion of himself and does not hesitate to let you know, and know, and know. When we spoke to the owner and his wife we discovered that he doesn't tell the same story that they do. I'd say, for the buck, go the extra 10-15 miles up the mountain to Estes Park sor stay 10 miles east in Loveland.

Room Tip: 10 miles in either directions finds you in a better place.
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  • Stayed: August 2011, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank Tracy P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 31, 2011

Unfortunatley, the Dr. and his wife should turn over this beautiful historical site to someone other than family. Maybe if it were professionally run, they could make a lovely gathering place for tourists and the people of Drake. We have moved to Drake, and tried this place, only to have poor food, service, and an I don't care attitude.
Hope they will give it some thought, and get help. Could be a super moneymaker during the tourist season. Will take our business to Glen haven's B & B, and have the best of both worlds by having Cinna Buns across the road that melt in your mouth.

Room Tip: OK, but would look for better
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  • Stayed: July 2011, traveled with family
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2  Thank Mountainweathergirl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 21, 2011

I don't even know where to start. The building actually has a nice rustic feel, perfect fit for this old stage stop up a mountainous canyon. But that is pretty much the only thing complimentary I can think of for this place. Apparently it is owned by an older couple, but their grandson and his young wife run it. The girl spent more time talking than doing anything productive, and nothing she had to say was interesting. After taking forever to get our food, it was horrible. The grease on the hamburger made the bun look like it had been soaked in a bathtub. Then I asked for a beer, and that came with a free boring story from the girl again. I'll never go back.
What I find odd about looking at the reviews on this place is that there were 3 positive reviews and then one really negative one. Is it a coincidence that the three positive ones all have just one review--and sound like an infomerical? I'm guessing the owners signed up for an account and posted those.

  • Stayed: August 2010, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank Kickbass
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 27, 2010

Love the place. Great food and service to match. Plus the Saturday night entertainment was a great blend of solid world-class musicianship and improptu sit-it's that provided a one-of-a kind musical event. We'll definitely revisit!

  • Stayed: August 2010, traveled with friends
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Thank vickibetton
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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Additional Information about The River Forks

Address: 1601 US Highway 34, Drake, CO 80515-9702 (Formerly Historic River Forks Inn)
Location: United States > Colorado > Drake
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Free Parking Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Suites
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 B&Bs / Inns in Drake
Number of rooms: 10
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
NOW OPEN, NEWLY RENOVATED. The River Forks was established in 1905 and is now under new management. If you are interested in adventure travel while enjoying all the comforts of home, this is the place for you! Enjoy our wilderness inspired rooms, as well as various camping spots on the banks of the Big Thompson River. Experience local music and events while relaxing in the beautiful Big Thomson Canyon. Explore various rock climbing, hiking and fishing destinations that are only a short drive or walk away. Relax in the quiet Drake community, away from the city crowds, yet Estes Park is only a short 15 minute drive, and Loveland only 20 minutes. ... more   less 

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