Richard and Valerie Tillotson established crystal Springs Campground in 2018 after buying the 48 acres of land from Valerie's parents, Roger and Kaye Johnson. Six of the 48 acres became designated as the campground, servicing 65 campsites for tents and RVs. The tent locations generally run along the Portneuf River. RV sites have three options of including a grassy area with a fire pit and table, a grassy place with power, or a VIP site that provides power, water, firepit, and private yard. The river running through the property is one mile long and is personal property for the business, meaning no public access except for those staying at the camp. The owners rent out paddleboards, kayaks, and tubes for patrons to use on the river. The business is located in McCammon, Idaho, eight miles away from Lava Hotsprings and surrounding activities, including zip-lining, horseback riding, rafting, mountain biking, and ATV trails.
The Crystal Springs Campground is located in McCammon, Idaho, which is eight miles away from the town called Lava Hotsprings. Richard and Valerie Tillotson own 48 acres of land in McCammon and have converted six acres into the campground. The remaining 42 acres is home to the ranch where the founders of the land currently reside. The area designated as a place of lodging contains 65 campsites. Most of the sites are for RVs, with the others being used as areas to set up tents. There are three different places for RVs; a grassy area with a fire pit and table, a grassy site with power, or the VIP site that includes power hookups, water, firepit, and private yard. There are also larger RV sites that can accommodate large groups that enable the RVs to be set up in a circle with the awnings facing inward to the circle. The middle of the circle is where the firepit is located, which is meant to create a more intimate setting. The tent areas are capable of having a four to a six-man tent set up. Most of the grounds used for tents are located along the river on the property.
Richard and Valerie own one mile of the Portneuf River, which grants guests private access. Only those staying at Crystal Springs Campground can use the river; it is not open to the public. Connected to the river is a large swimming hole for patrons to use. Adjoining the swimming hole and river are multiple waterfalls that add to the water activities. The owners offer kayak, paddleboard, and tube rentals to those staying at the Crystal Springs Campground. The water activities offered at the campground are a popular draw for the families and youth groups that visit the property frequently. A common practice for patrons is to take the rented tubes or kayaks to the top of the private river and float down to the bottom of the camp.
There are a lot of open areas on the premises for guests to utilize. Such areas consist of an abundance of grass lawns and open fields often described as looking like professional golf courses. Mature trees are located throughout the property, with views of the surrounding area's mountain ranges. The natural environment provides a view of the sunrise and sunset from each camp.
Functioning as the bathroom are three port-a-potty's spread throughout the property. Located three miles away is a dump station for those using RVs. Guests are expected to clean up trash after their stay since there are no trash removal services available and are also reminded of the cats and animals that may get into food or trash if left out. Open to patrons is a walking trail that starts on the property leading off the grounds, loops around a local powerplant, and then back onto the property. If attached to the leash, dogs are allowed on the trail and the campground. Mountain biking and ATV trails are near the property which can provide easy access for those visiting the grounds. Monthly events on the property include Old West BBQ Campfire, Date Night on the River, and a Rock Climbing Retreat. Youth conferences, youth camps, and family reunions are common groups to visit Crystal Springs Campground.
Richard and Valerie, the owners of Crystal Springs Campground, have created the goal of providing a place for guests to come and simplify their lives. There is no WiFi on the premises, and it's discouraged for guests to use devices while staying at the camp to achieve simplification. The owners believe that coming to their property provides the chance for individuals and families to connect and with nature. The business goal is to "Provide a spacious, peaceful setting for families and friends to focus on creating beautiful memories that will last a lifetime!" All the hired staff go through training to emphasize the culture of the Crystal Springs Campground, which focuses on the workers doing their part to create a peaceful place where others can connect with nature. There is also a strong belief in the butterfly effect that the staff will influence everyone they encounter. One guest remarked that they "Came here on Labor Day Weekend fully expecting chaos and loud camping. Instead, it was so peaceful and beautiful. All thanks to the incredible camp host and managers of the property."
Crystal Springs Campground hosts a lot of families and a younger age group. With this demographic, Richard and Valeria have implemented a dress code they refer to as keeping things rated G. The dress code is focused on swimsuits to make guests feel comfortable when on the river or swimming hole. Other policies on the property include children being under supervision by an adult at all times and staying in their designated campsite. Smoking and alcohol consumption is allowed only in guests' campsites but nowhere else on the property. Pets are allowed on the premises but must be contained by a leash at all times.
The campground is open from April 15 to September 15 and is generally busy during the whole season of operation but peaking during the summer months. The summer brings in large groups consisting of family reunions, youth groups, and girl's camps. Guests have come from all over the nation and stayed at Crystal Springs Campground. Some patrons have even traveled from as far as Israel, New Zealand, and Norway. The central location of the land has been a big draw for travelers. The camp is eight miles from Lava Hot Springs, ten miles from Pebble Creek Boundry Trail, and Downata Hot Springs.
Those staying at the campground often make the longer trips to visit Yellowstone, which is 181 miles away, and Jackson Hole, Wyoming, 139 miles away. The area of Lava Hot Springs, which is just over 8 miles away, is known for swimming in hot pools and other activities, including zip-lining, mountain biking, ATV trails, rafting, and horseback riding. Grassroots Bison is located near the Crystal Springs Campground, with the owners of both companies knowing each other. The business offers wagon tours providing the opportunity to view the bison in close proximity. The owners, recommend guests dine at Chuck Wagon, Royal Pizza, and 78 Main Grill, all located in Lava Hot Springs.
Roger and Kaye Johnson originally founded the property where Crystal Springs Campground is located. They have lived at what they call "The Farm" for over 25 years. In 2018, their daughter and her husband, Richard and Valerie Tillotson, bought the land keeping it in the family; they are now the property's current owners. Upon purchasing, they converted six of the 48 acres of land into the Crystal Springs Campground. Roger and Kaye still live on the ranch's property and often interact with guests. The current owners are still working full time as a Chemist and owner of a dental practice, with intentions of owning another location in the hospitality industry at Bear Lake.
Converting the six acres of land into a campground required adding features such as the port-a-potty's and designating certain areas as tent or RV sites. A popular addition among guests were the kayaks, tubes, and paddleboard rentals that can be used on the private river. Richard and Valerie have plans to add rock climbing to the campground since the grounds have rock walls that would be easy to use. The owners have implemented many policies in hopes of growing the atmosphere of connecting guests with nature since they first opened the grounds to patrons in 2018 and are planning on continuing this culture in the years to come.
Richard and Valerie Tillotson
Roger and Kaye Johnson