For our first official outing to a private campground, we chose a site within easy driving distance from our current location. Indian Rock Campground is nestled between West York and Leaders Heights, conveniently located near Lake Redman, the Codorus Creek, and the York County Heritage Rail Trail. After de-winterizing our water lines and sanitizing our fresh water tank, we fired up Cecil the RV and embarked on a short 15-mile drive along winding country roads on a sunny Wednesday afternoon.
In preparation for this RV adventure and lifestyle, we’ve been reading lots of other RV and travel-related blogs over the past year or so. We’ve learned from various sources to expect private campgrounds to be more crowded and tightly packed than a state park, for example, and to be prepared for widely varying conditions among any parking areas, but specifically at private campgrounds. So when the contact person informed me while making reservations that the restrooms weren’t open for the season, it really wasn’t a big deal as we were already determined to stay there anyway. The purpose of this little excursion, after all, was to use as much of the RV as we could over a couple of days in an unfamiliar setting. We pulled in around 2PM and checked in at the host station. He informed us we could park in any spot we liked, except for the few they had closed with orange cones because they had plans to remove some dead trees. We paid for two nights and happily set out on the short loop around the camp in search of a site.
After one complete loop, we quickly learned that our parking options were limited. Of the five or six open sites, three were closed with the cones. One of the remaining open sites had plastic bags wrapped around the water hook-up pedestal, which we assumed meant the faucet at that site wasn’t working. So of the remaining two sites, we chose the site at the far end of the loop next to the primitive tent camping areas and with closest access to the bike trail. This actually turned out to be a great site, and we were lucky that it was still available.
Indian Rock is located fairly close to a moderately-traveled country roadway, so you do get some minor road traffic depending on your location in the camp. This really wasn’t an annoyance and we actually commented on how quiet the entire site was, even in the middle of the afternoon. Granted, this was neither a holiday nor a summer weekend, and our tolerance for noise might be skewed as we adjust from living on a very busy intersection in a college town for the last few years. But for our short stay, we had quiet nights and no horror stories from noisy neighbors blaring music or watching TV outside of their rigs.
The sites are located very close to each other, with no separation other than a picnic table and maybe fifteen feet of space between RVs. Indian Rock does advertise as being more suited to smaller rigs, and we definitely agree. The sites are cramped, but not unmanageable, and they only have 20 to 30 amp service at each hook-up, which is shared between two sites. This is definitely a no-frills private campground, but it suited our purposes for the couple of nights we chose to stay there. Based on site availability in the beginning of April, I’d be hesitant to attempt to book a spot during the summer or over any holiday week.
Indian Rock’s location does offer plenty of outdoor activities, mostly due to its spot along the Rail Trail. The camp has a small access path leading down to the bike trail, which was actually incredibly convenient. The Codorus Creek runs through the campground, providing fishing opportunities as well. On our first evening, we wandered around camp and down to the creek before strolling north on the Rail Trail.
After our leisurely stroll, we ended the night with a rousing round of Settlers of Catan in the RV after the sun went down, paired with a bottle of Prosecco, courtesy of a couple of well-wishers we met through the pizza shop. [Thank you again!]
The next day we broke out our bikes and headed south on the trail, intending to eventually pick up a road and ride to the parks surrounding Lake Redman. We ultimately just rode on the trail, because Ashley mentioned we might not wander across too many of these trails on our future travels (and because the road I thought we could turn on wasn’t actually accessible from the trail). We stumbled across a picturesque bridge, not to mention some oversized sculptures and scenic farmland along the way. The trail led us through the historic Howard Tunnel, past Seven Valleys, and to the Hanover Junction Station.
While walking and riding this trail, I realized I was seeing this area in a new light – not as someone who grew up in a nearby town, but as someone seeing it for the first time. It’s easy to say I didn’t fully appreciate living in the “country” as a kid. I don’t mean to say that I didn’t like it, because that certainly isn’t true – rather that I simply became accustomed to seeing rolling fields, old barns, backyard gardens, neighbors talking on the side of the road, and sunrises and sunsets unobscured by sprawling urban development. These things are easy to take for granted when you see them everyday, rushing out to your childhood bus stop in the morning, or getting in your car for your commute home in the evening. And while it may be opportunistic for me to notice these things now as we nomadically pass through my hometown, the observations are no less significant. Suffice it to say that a sunset in Cross Roads PA at just about 37 years old means more than it did 20 years ago.
Later that day on our second evening in camp, I put the attached folding metal table and outdoor electrical outlet to good use by making a big pot of soup before we met my parents for another trail ride. We battled clouds of harmless flying insects at dusk on our way to Glatfelters Station, and eventually returned victorious to the Brillhart Station parking area so my parents could load up their bikes and venture back home. Ashley and I pedaled the short ride back to the campground and packed everything away for departure the following day.
For a traveler passing through western York county, you could use Indian Rock Campground as a location for visiting the historic buildings of downtown York, venturing to the Valley Tavern or Four Springs Winery in Seven Valleys, exploring Lake Redman and Nixon Park, or just enjoying the quiet rural farmland along the Rail Trail. Just don’t expect much from the campground itself – see what you can find outside and make your own adventure, if that’s what you choose.