At an altitude of 7,700 feet, Chief Hosa campground opened in 1918 as “America’s first motor-camping area.” The campground spans 58 acres within the 2,400 acres of the City of Denver’s Genesee Mountain Park, which is home to a city-owned bison herd and provides a unique opportunity to view these animals in a natural habitat.
27 RV sites available (maximum allowed length of RV varies) 24 Tent sites available (1-2 tents and cars allowed) Max power available 30 amp (limited 50 amp sites)
This is yet another super popular campground in the Denver area. We got super lucky and scooped up a last-minute cancellation. There are tent sites as well as RV sites with water/electric. There is a bike path as well as some mountain biking nearby. Downtown Golden is a super cute town and it is only about 15 minutes away. The campground isn’t very big or scenic, but the location is great! The showers here are coin operated and the bathrooms are kept really clean.
This small campground is great for those looking for a quick getaway near Denver. It's pretty quiet as they don't allow fires or alcohol although I'm not sure the alcohol is enforced. Great access to trails for hiking nearby. The shower houses are super clean which is a nice bonus.
Nice campground with clean bathrooms and showers
I secured tent site T-9 as I've always secured this particular site for 14 days. I have used this campground on repeat occasions yearly. This last visit I checked in for my site at T-9, and the whole grounds on which this site sits, was completely covered in Foxtails. For those who do not know what Foxtails are they are extremely dangerous to Dogs and Cats. The seed heads burrow into the pets skin and migrate further into their bodies causing damage to internal organs. Just look up Foxtail dangers to dogs. Anyway, I put down tarps to cover an area for my bulldog to at least have somewhere to sit, play a bit and chew on a few treats and toys I brought along and join us during down time. I went up and talked to the rangers and explained why I did it. The ranger I spoke to said he understood and that that particular site had been booked since opening of season and that they hadn't been able to spray the weeds. I explained how dangerous the Foxtails were to dogs and that if they are to rent that space to another with a dog they may want to block out a week and take care of it before someone else's dog gets into it. Most people who are not from the west likely don't even know what Foxtails are and what kind of serious damage (even death) it can do to their loved pets. They agreed and said it's fine that we put the tarps down we were doing them a favor by suffocating them. Day 3 rolls around and we return around 7-ish to our campsite to find a warning citation on our table, written by a different ranger, stating we have to remove the tarps immediately, for destruction of their vegetation or they will write us a citation with a fine and/or evict us from the campground. What really got me is according to the State of Colorado Regulations they are supposed to have 900 square feet of usable safe space (safe, meaning to humans and pets/small animals) per campsite. Most sites are with a parking spot with nice gravel and traveled up to the tent pad. However, this site and a couple others were not, for reasons not really explained to us. Anyways, next morning the ranger came and spoke to my husband and said the other ranger was misinformed about telling us what he did about suffocating the weeds, and that we need to remove the tarps. They offered us an alternative camp site, but when we took them up on that offer, they proceeded to tell us none were available for the time frame we had remaining. We would have to move sights a few times. Now, anyone who knows about tent camping, it is a lot of work to relocate a camp site. To do this several times would not even be worth it. We proceeded to ask for a refund, NOPE! No refunds since there is nothing wrong in their eyes with the T-9 site. They offered their group site area to us, so we took it and moved camp only once. The new problem was no parking. We had to walk all our things twice a day to the car in the visitors parking lot. This campsite has had Bears on numerous occasions. There are NO BEARBOXES and so the moving of all food and items with smell had to be taken to and from the car every night and every time we wanted to cook. The ranger proceeded to tell us that they contacted their naturalist, and deemed those Foxtail weeds as an exotic species and so therefore they need to be protected even though it is all over in between the sites and in the foot tall grasses they haven't maintained. I asked why it had to be in the "safezone" of our so called tent site and they just said because it is a special species and it has to be allowed to grow where it wants naturally. So, I asked, how is it that these plants could be more important than the health and welfare of my dog on a site that was advertised as dog friendly? They could not answer and told me to take it up with Denver Parks and Recreation. So, I will. Now, in addition to this event, over the last two years or approximately since the marijuana laws have changed in this state, we have seen partyers of all sorts up all night making loud noises after the 10 PM quiet time, hypothermic needles on the ground, air wreaking of pot at all hours, drunk and vomiting people in the overnight hours of the restrooms. They seem to also allow the same offenders to come back to other sites on different days. Homeless people sleeping in the ladies restrooms overnight, asking other guests for money and alcohol and they apparently allow homeless people to rent a tent site and just sleep in their cars. One particular person was there with his dog and was so high he didn't even close his windows and his Husky jumped out of his vehicle and was roaming around all the campsites including ours at night. I had to wake this man up and he was smelly and out of it. He said his dog got loose in the evening hours and he just figured he would come back. Also, you must listen to I-70 Vehicles all night as the campground has no sound wall from the highway. if you like to hear J-brakes from semi's all night this place is for you. I now see why they have a whole list of rules and regulations in place because the childish behavior from the homeless and Red Rock concert goers and pot smoking hippies that are swarming the place are completely out of hand. All the while they apparently only enforce their precious Foxtail weeds over all the other nonsense. No Campfires, strict restrictions on how you can and can't cook food. no hammocks or lines from trees for dogs or dish towels etc. The last two times have progressively gotten worse. This last time being the topper on the cake. I will never return to this campground EVER!
We stayed at Chief Hosa for 2 nights in early August. There was a fire restriction in place and the campground hosts had spotted a black bear in the area a few days earlier. The campground is small, but very well maintained and the sites are large. They use a keycode system to restrict access to the centrally-located bathhouse (there is only one in the campground), which I thought was clever. We were lucky that our site was relatively close to the bathhouse, but some of the tent sites on the perimeter of the campground would have a decent trek to use the restroom in the middle of the night. The bathrooms were VERY clean and seemed to be pretty new - plenty of bathroom stalls, sinks, and large showers. They were quarter showers for 2 minutes of hot water, so basically less than $1 per shower, which is great.
The campground is close to the highway and even with the fans on at night in the pop-up we could still hear some of the highway noise, but it wasn’t a big deal. I’m sure it would be a bigger deal to tent campers. About a mile up the highway there is an exit with a Wal-mart, a Soopers (local grocery chain), a McDonald’s, etc. With the fire ban in effect, we couldn’t use the Biolite to make coffee in the morning, so it was nice to be able to drive to McDonald’s in 3 minutes in the morning to grab some coffee.
From Chief Hosa, you’re about 45 minutes from downtown Boulder, 25 minutes to Denver, and 35 minutes to Water World, which is the reason we stayed in the area for the night. There are closer Denver Parks and campgrounds, but in the summer their sites are reserved well in advance. Water World was a ton of fun for the whole family and we went into Boulder that night for dinner. We ate at Mountain Sun Pub & Brewery, which was delicious and extremely reasonable for the beers, the amount of food that we ate (their burgers are awesome), and the fact that it’s Boulder, which I heard was relatively expensive.