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All reviews deer run large grassy area beautiful campground hiking trails hilltop area cabin cooperstown privacy roughing toilet twin
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Reviewed 15 June 2017 via mobile

The cabins and the lake are the perfect combo of relaxation and beauty ... Friendly hands on staff and impeccable property maintenance! Look forward to our trip each year for the Rat Snake. Amazing scenery and facility which includes a pig roast at the Lake Pavilion.

Stayed: May 2017, travelled with friends
1  Thank JC C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 5 June 2017

OK, so from full disclosure standpoint I have been going to Gilbert Lake since I was 3 months old back in 1967. I suppose that might bias me but on the other hand, something must keep me coming back for 50 years!

Gilbert Lake was largely constructed during the Depression by the CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps). You can still see the quality of the construction in many of the buildings on the property, including the cabins. Everything is very well maintained though and there have been a number of improvements over the years, including the beach house. There are two camping areas, Deer Run and Hilltop, and a cabin complex as well. I have always viewed Deer Run as a bit more suited to tenting and Hilltop for large trailers but you can choose either. You may get a bit more privacy in Deer Run. Both for the most part are a drive to the lake, although neither is a particularly strenuous walk if you are up for it.

The cabins are how I convinced my wife to go the Gilbert Lake with our kids. It isn't the Marriott for sure, but they are clean, there is a full kitchen and the deal closer for us - there is a toilet with a sink. My wife's biggest issue is she doesn't walk to have to walk through a thunderstorm at 2:00AM to use the bathroom. If you have a large RV it isn't an issue but we used to tent and that was the only option. It isn’t roughing it but the cabin sites are great and have nice outdoor fire areas. It makes both of us happy in the woods.

The beach area was redone sometime around the early 80's. The bathrooms and showers are clean - we often find it easier to shower there then in the campground facilities. This is especially true if you are in a cabin because you will either need to go to one of the campground bathrooms or the beach house for a shower. By the way, many of the cabins are actually a short walk to the beach, look at a map before you book. The lake itself is wonderful, almost always occupied by families, it has a relaxed feeling. Occasionally there will be a bus full of teenagers from a school or camp but I have never found them to be disruptive. There are lifeguards on duty and two rafts located a bit out on the lake. Not a difficult swim but a great rite of passage for our kids as they were learning to swim - "I made it to the raft" - was a big day in our family. There is a concession with what you might expect with regard to food and it is decent and reasonably priced. Not a bad option if you don't want to bother packing a lunch and plenty of grills and tables if you opt to bring it along. Boats are available for rental - no motors - and you can also use you own canoe or kayak.

There are a number of well marked trails that are great for short day hikes - try the trail for Lake of the Twin Fawns. There is also a great trail around the lake itself that provides any number of spots to fish. There is also a small fishing pier at the end of the lake opposite the beach house. This used to be the beach area and now has a pavilion that can be rented in advance that is wonderful. We have seen wedding receptions held there and the cost is very reasonable. I should note that you can rent some larger areas at the current beach as well - a nice option if you have a large group and want some shelter. One more note about the trail around the lake - come back in the winter and you can cross country ski and see the park in a whole new light.

The location here is great. About 15 minutes to Oneonta and pretty much any dining or shopping experience you might want - assuming you can leave the woods. Short trips, 30 minutes or less, also include Cooperstown, Fly Creek Cider Mill, Ommegang Brewery and the Farmers Museum, amongst others. It is also a 15 - 30 minute drive to the two baseball Dreamparks depending on which one you are visiting.

If you need some supplies - milk, bread, eggs and such - definitely check out Foolish Farms. You should see some signs; it is about 3 miles from the entrance. The owners are super nice and it is great for picking some things up without going all the way back to Oneonta. They make breakfast and sandwiches and have baked goods as well if you don't feel like cooking.

If you are considering a cabin, do a bit of planning. I believe you can book 8 months out - some of the popular times fill up early - I told you it is a nice park. If you want to camp in Central NY you should definitely at least give it a try.

Room Tip: Book cabins well in advance for popular dates!
  • Stayed: June 2017, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
5  Thank David S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 12 April 2017 via mobile

This a really nice place to go and enjoy fall colors. Hike around the lake is easy. Has some interesting building around the lake. There is a museum about the Civilian Conservation Corp, which did much of the construction at this State Park. I have never camped here, but we are considering the cabins

Stayed: October 2016, travelled with family
Thank Eric P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 3 October 2016 via mobile

First off, we went off-season on a rainy weekend. So my experience could be affected by that fact.

This was a last minute booking due to the rain forecast, so we booked the closest cabin we could find.

The entire place was quiet. Possibly due to the weather forecast or off-season. Not many people around, very peaceful. The area is large, so even if it was busy, you still may get the quiet experience.

The staff was wonderful and very helpful. I stopped in the main office, it seemed like 15 times, and each time they were friendly and knowledgeable. We arrived at 2 am, the office was closed, but they had our name on an envelope with keys and DETAILED map with instructions on how to get to our cabin and what to do in the morning.

The cabin was beautiful and very clean, the bathroom was cleaner than most houses I've seen. Even the shower building was clean. The fridge had a serious funk in it, but I assumed the last people to use the fridge left a present for the cleaning staff. The grounds were well kept, no hazards or inadequate facilities.

My only complaint were the giant mutant bees around there. We showed up and they were all over our cars. Very odd.

Other than that, I had a good experience, and my family did too. Can't wait to go back during the busy season.

Stayed: October 2016, travelled with family
1  Thank Dominick A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 24 August 2016

Gilbert Lake has been my favorite campground for years. As noted by another camper, location is key. Pick hilltop for families wanting more interaction for children. I like the sites closer to the entrance for more privacy. I'm a tent camper so my main gripe with most campgrounds, including here, is their catering to RV's, which I find too big and noisy. My preferred loops are closest to the main entrance and leave a nice hike through mature woods to the lake, if desired.
Showers are available and I think there are washers somewhere.
It is close to Oneonta for colleges and close enough to Cooperstown if that's your destination.

Room Tip: Funny this review is arranged as for a hotel!!
  • Stayed: June 2016, travelled solo
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Service
Thank EliFin24119
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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