We are Thousand Trails Elite members. As such, we can stay at one campground for three weeks, then go to another campground for three weeks without having to take any time off in between. We spend most of our time in the campground since we don’t have a tow vehicle and occasionally ask for rides from neighbors or even the camp hosts if they have time. Our last campground stay was at Hidden Cove RV Resort in Arley, Alabama.
Hidden Cove is not very large and most of the sites are taken up by yearly members who only occasionally come out to their RV. I think they have around 25 open spots for other members, which is pretty small compared to other Thousand Trail campgrounds. Getting to the campground is not too difficult, we were given detailed instructions of how to get there from the host, but its mostly a few turns out of Arley itself, with a couple hills, but nothing too bad. We arrived at the campground on a Saturday evening after the ranger station was closed, but the host, Becky, saw us pull up and came out to welcome us in.
We had our pick of sites. All of them have sewer hookups, most are pull throughs, and a few of them are 50amp. We choose one on the left side of the campground which is separated from the main area by a small bridge over a stream. There are about twenty sites on that side and we chose the first one at the top of the hill. The site was gravel, level, had a cement patio and a fire pit. There were a few bushes and trees nearby, but none overhanging on our RV.
The sites are a decent size as well. We’ve been to campgrounds where you could touch the neighbor’s RV by leaning out the window, and Hidden Cove has none of that. As you go down the hill into the small valley on this side, there are fewer trees and the sites appear a little smaller, but our site was ideal for our stay.
We never use campground WiFi, so I can’t comment on that, but AT&T and T-Mobile signal were pretty good at the top of the hill. We have a cell booster as well, and that made our data connection pretty good. We didn’t have a problem with dropped calls, but did talk to some neighbors who had horrible reception with Verizon for some reason. The reception is better at the top of the hill, but still Verizon doesn’t have very good coverage here.
For facilities, there is a bathhouse with laundry and showers, and a gathering hall for games, TV and other activities. The hall was nice and clean, bathrooms were clean, and it sits on a bluff overlooking the lake. We didn’t spend much time there, but were told to go there one night if we wanted to when there were storms rolling in.
The bathhouse is also in good condition. The showers are large and roomy and kept clean daily. There were two shower stalls in both the men’s and women’s bathrooms, but I never once encountered another person while in there. The laundry room had three washers and three dryers for $1.25 each. They all seemed new and in good working condition, though we only used the dryer once.
Hidden Cove is also bordered by a lake, but most of the campground is up on a bluff high above the water. There is a boat ramp within the campground, as well as an outlook on the south side that is a short walk down a gravel path to a small building with picnic tables and a rock outcropping where you can actually walk right to the water. The lake is not very wide and you can clearly see the large houses on the other side of the lake.
The best feature of Hidden Cove though is the managers. Becky was great with helping us out. She took us to the store twice, recommended where to get fresh pizza, and was great to deal with. We had a few packages delivered while we were there and a couple of times they delivered them to us, but usually we took the short walk to the ranger station to pick it up ourselves. We like to have campfires and they didn’t have any wood in stock, but Becky told us where the brush pile was that they dumped their cuttings, so we just walked a short distance to that and drug back piles of wood for burning.
When we were leaving, they also came by to check on us and told us to come back any time. Becky and her husband (I think his name was Tony), both welcomed us, made us feel like family, and didn’t once disparage us or say anything bad. Even though she was normally working in the ranger station during the day, Becky still didn’t make us leave or feel uncomfortable when we came by and chatted while picking up our mail.
All in all, Hidden Cove was a great place to stay and we will be returning. Its not very large, does not have a lot of amenities, but we aren’t looking for that when we stay at campgrounds. We prefer to find places we can relax and do our thing, and it was perfect here.