No electric or flush toilets but that didn’t matter. The campground is located about 8 miles from the main road and a short distance from Monarch Lake. It takes about 20-30 minutes to get into downtown so it’s peaceful out in the campground. water is close and easy to pull off the side of the road and walk down to secluded beaches. Lots of critters and even saw some moose here. Sites here vary from shade to none; close to water and away; tent and space for a big event. Its a great spot for families as you have plenty to do even if you just want to walk. We saw several families out for bike rides as the road within the campground isn’t that busy.
A short distance from Monarch Lake, where fishing is easy, and the bridge provides a great view of rapids in the late spring / early summer.
It can get a bit busy here though so make sure to book your site online beforehand and pick one next to the lake. Odds are the park will be full of you're visiting June - August.
Like most mountain camping, it does get cooler once the sun sets (usually around 40-50 degrees) so come prepared!
Arapaho Bay Campground is on Lake Granby in the Arapaho National Forest to the south east of Rocky Mountain National Park's Grand Lake entrance. It's about 20 miles (40 minutes) to that entrance which takes you in on Trail Ridge Road (Route 34). From there, you can take this scenic byway to the east side of the park. Don't miss this road!
Like many parks in Colorado in 2018, there is not a lot of shade because of the pine beetle infestation. There are 3 loops which seem like separate campgrounds; there's a pay station at each entrance if you haven't paid in advance. And you'll need to pay the day use fee of $5/day if you don't have a National Parks Pass. The Forest Service gets my applause for keeping the gravel road in good shape; it's not a teeth-chattering drive.
We snagged site 72 in Roaring Fork loop on a walkup at 10 am as the previous occupants were leaving. (Other loops are Moraine and Big Rock on the way in.) The reserved sign indicated the site was available until the next day, and we confirmed that on recreation.gov. You can't completely rely on recreation.gov; some sites specified as walkup that day were reserved. There are some non-reservable sites (saw a few in Moraine Loop but did not get to Big Rock). We always check recreation.gov for info on federal campgrounds even if we're not making a reservation.
Great sites: Sites 72, 73 (double fee) and 70 (weird numbering) are out at the end of Roaring Fork with beautiful views of the lake and mountains as well as a sandy beach. Check out the photos.
Activities: Monarch Lake is a few miles away and has a 4 mile loop trail with varied scenery. Parents were carrying small children in front/backpacks, so it's a fairly easy hike. Roaring Fork Trail at the entrance to the camping loop provides a bigger challenge. It's 6 miles to Upper Lake with a 2000 foot climb. (Or Watanga Lake is also 6 miles.) The trail climbs quickly in the beginning. You can walk up for about 20-30 minutes and get close to Roaring Fork Arapaho Creek. There were great views of Lake Granby and the Roaring Fork and Moraine loops. See photos.
We loved camping here. There was plenty of shade and camping lots seemed large. We had many moose sightings in the campground during our stay. Kayaking and swimming in Lake Grandby and hiking nearby areas was a lot of fun.
Great place to camp if you want to do a hike from the monarch lake trailhead the next morning. The campground has fire rings, picnic tables, toilets, and water. The sites are pretty close together - not much privacy. There's also tipis you can stay in here. The best part about the campground is being near Lake Grandby and Monarch Lake, as well as the hiking trails. I did the hike to Crater Lake. It was 15 miles and took 8 hours, so it was good that we camped near the trailhead. The trail passed many waterfalls and ended at 2 beautiful alpine lakes. It was well worth the effort. You can also backpack the trail and camp at the lakes overnight. A permit is required to camp at the backcountry lakes.
While I did not stay at the campground I wanted to post a quick review to help people out. The campground itself seemed very nice and well maintained but you pretty much need a reservation ahead of time to camp here so make sure you go online or call ahead to check availability.
This is true wilderness camping at its best overlooking beautiful Colorado waters with the Mountains peaking down upon you is where you will find yourself camping with great amenities and water available with just short walk away from your camp. You have to purchase parking pass in the park but it is totally worth it!
This place is such a beautiful and pristine wilderness with many lakes, There is pretty good fishing, some areas are fly fishing only, so be sure to check signs or check with the rangers, This place is just so gorgeous it is one of my favorite places in colorado to visit