Summit Lake Campground generally does not open until Mid July and is located on Buffalo Pass in the Steamboat Springs Area. It provides 9 back-in campsites and 6 walk-in tent sites. Each site has a table and a fire grate, and vault toilets and trash service is offered. Day Use is also obtainable in two parking lots provided for the visitor to use while fishing or picnicking. Only hand powered watercraft are permitted on Summit Lake, with no boat ramp available. This campground provides great opportunities for mountain biking, dirt biking and ATVing, horseback riding, fishing and hiking. It is located near the boundary of Mount Zirkel Wilderness which offers numerous backcountry opportunities. This campground is managed by the Hahns Peak/Bears Ears Ranger District.
The lake was beautiful. We went in July 2018 not really knowing what we were getting into. Google maps will tell you it is a 20 min drive from Steamboat… It does not take into account driving slow due to the road condition. The drive time is actually about 45 min to an hour. I did see small cars attempt to go up but I highly recommend 4x4 to get there.
If you're willing to make the trek it is definitely worth it! The drive actually has some great views on the way up. Lots of trails for biking, hiking or ATVs. When we went it was relatively quiet and very busy. We also went the weekend of the balloon festival so I expected it to be much busier.
Overall would so again if my main goal was to hike or do activities in that area. This is not a campground to stay at if you plan on doing activities in Steamboat, unless you don't mind the drive up.
Long drive for a loud, crowded campground. Expect plenty of dirt bikers also. I would either keep going up Buff pass toward Fishcreek Res. or camp lower just below the second gate.