Standard (tent/RV)
RV Sites
Tent Sites
Fires Allowed
Pets Allowed
Drinking Water
About Chalk Lake

Chalk Lake Campground is located in beautiful Chaffee County, Colorado. This popular facility sits near Chalk Lake and is within 4 miles of a private hot springs resort, making it an ideal location for rest and relaxation.


Chalk Lake is located next to the campground and is a great family fishing spot with rainbow, brook and brown trout. Motorized boats are not allowed on the lake. Chalk Creek also offers fishing, and it's best above Cascade Falls. Plenty of off-road vehicle trails are near the campground. Recommended rides include Mount Antero, Baldwin Lake, Tincup Pass, Hancock Pass, Pomeroy Lakes, and Hancock Lakes. The Cascade Loop Trail is located across the street from the campground. The Chalk Creek Trailhead  is about 2 miles east of the campground which gives hikers access to the extensive Colorado Trail, which extends nearly 500 miles from Denver to Durango.


The campground offers single-family sites, a few of which are accessible. Each site is equipped with a picnic table and campfire ring. Accessible vault toilets are provided. Firewood is sold on-site. Sites: #4-9, and 14 "walk-up", first-come, first-served sites. All other sites are reservable. Site #1 is used by the host from mid-May to mid-September. After that time it is available as a "walk-up", first-come, first-served site.

Natural Features

The campground sits at an elevation of 9,000 feet in Chalk Creek Canyon, which gets its name from the soft, white, chalk-like kaolinite canyon walls. Kaolinite is a clay mineral that was deposited by percolating hot springs. A variety of wildlife makes its home in the area, including chipmunks, hummingbirds, birds of prey and mule deer.

Nearby Attractions

Take a day trip to the historic ghost town of St. Elmo, just 15 minutes from the campground. An old saloon, county courthouse and many other historic structures remain from the days of its mining glory. Rock hounds come to the area in search of quartz and aquamarine. The city of Salida and Town of Buena Vista are only a short drive away where visitors can enjoy distinctive restaurants, unique shops, incredible art galleries and a large selection of antique shops. The area boasts more than 100 miles of Arkansas River to raft, fish, float or kayak in, as well as fifteen 14,000 ft mountains. Visitors can choose from recreational activities like hiking, biking, ATV/UTV riding, kayaking, rafting, fishing, horseback riding, zipping and swimming.

ADA Access: N

National Forest
Drive In
ADA Accessible
Alcohol Allowed
Drinking Water
Fires Allowed
Firewood Available
Pets Allowed
Phone Service
Picnic Table
Trash Available
Water Hookups
Chalk Lake is located in Colorado
38.7128 N
-106.2339 W
Get Directions
From Buena Vista, Colorado, take Highway 285 south to Nathrop. Turn west on County Road 162 and travel 8 miles to the campground.
3 Reviews of Chalk Lake
Nice Canyon Campground

We stayed here for 3 nights in July. The campground is one of three National Forest Service campgrounds in Chalk Canyon. The canyon is a west of Northrop Co. The base of the canyon has a couple of hot springs resorts with swimming pools and hotel rooms. The 3 NFS campgrounds are about half way up the canyon near Chalk Lake. You can continue up the canyon to St Elmo and the Alpine Pass which over 11,000 ft altitude. Chalk Lake Campground has about 18 sites. Most of the sites are situated along a fast running canyon creek. The sites are very close to each other and lack privacy. The camp host was very helpful and had plenty of firewood for sale. Many of the campers came either for the hiking or the fishing at Chalk Lake. We had site 16 which had some privacy and a nice view of the mountains. The sites are best suited for tent campers but will accommodate vans and small trailers. The Mountain View’s here are incredible and the hummingbirds are all over the camp. The camp is very popular and reservations are a must. We plan to come back in the Fall.

Classic Colorado

Loved this spot. Its got all my must haves - classic mountain views, sleeping to the sound of running water, tall pines and awesome camp host. The fact that it doesn't have showers or electrical hookups are a plus as well because it keeps out the riffraff. Finally, don't miss heading up the road to tour the ghost town of St Elmo for a glimpse into hard scrabble mountain life.

Seasonal camping

Much of Colorado takes a camping time out all the while allowing those die hard campers to still pass through the area and appreciate their many facilities for Day use. Chalk Creek is one of those as Chalk Lake caters to those wanting to catch the fall leaves and even fish in the area beyond the warm season.

I must say it is well worth braving the chilly elements to catch the cotton candy pink skies for a sunset in the mountains. I took a tour of the area all the way to St. Elmo and found the beauty of the area to be unsurpassed. Of course with limited facilities available for restrooms and showers it made camping primitive and at your own risk.

it was surreal how quiet the mountains were after a light dusting of snow and park rangers were few and far between as though they too had rolled up the carpet of tourism.

i would appreciate seeing this area again when it is fully functioning however enjoying the fall months made me have such a unique experience.