This is a basic campground with great views! The campground is on the side of the mountain with a hiking trail just outside the park into Rocky Mountain NP. There is a great meadow with lots of wildflowers, too. Just a few sites have water and electric, but there are great views from many of them. Saturday night there was a ranger program on mammals that was great for the kids. There is a very small store with ice, firewood and some basic supplies.
Best place to camp around. Wooded area at the end of the road. Book early!
They come right up to your tent so be prepared and make sure you use the food lockers to keep bears away. great location, great sites, good facilities. Easy to get into Estes Park and into RMNP. Site A22 was great!
Peffect for getting outside of the crowds of Estas Park and not have to go into RMNP. Well shaded in most places but there isn't any underbrush at all. You are only 1 to 2 trees away from all the neighbors and there is little to nothing blocking views for privacy. But the facilities were clean and in good shape.
We stayed at Estes Park Campground at East Portal when we visited Rocky Mountain National Park this past July 2018. At first I was disappointed that we could not Moraine Valley or Aspen Grove campgrounds within RMNP, but I am SO GLAD we ended up staying at Estes Park Campground at East Portal! While it is a private campground and is more expensive than a State Park, National Park, Forest Service or BLM campground ($35 for a standard tent site without hookups…it increases with equipment hookups), I think it was well worth the extra money.
Estes Park Campground at East Portal is a short drive away from both RMNP and the city of Estes Park, so you are nearby everything. The camp hosts were extremely friendly, and shockingly, while there was a fire ban in place inside RMNP and outside the park near the Grand Lake area, campfires WERE allowed at Estes Park Campground at East Portal, so long as they were small and contained within the fire ring (which did have a grate for cooking!). The hosts at Estes Park Campground at East Portal had firewood for sale, and even dropped it off for us at our campsite! They also had ice for sale.
The sites are not extremely private, but are all surrounded by tall, thin trees. The trees are perfect for hammocks, so if you have a hammock, bring one! Also, the trees would be useful for handing extra tarps if a thunderstorm was to pass through the area; we had tarps and bungee cords and ropes at the ready in case a storm came. We were lucky, a HUGE storm had rolled through the night before we arrived, and another started just as we had finished packing up the car to leave Estes Park.
Each campsite has a newly build, raised tent pad to set your tent up on - the management is extremely strict that campers MUST place their tents only on the designated tent pad. I did not have a problem with that, as the tent pad is nice and flat, and has some compacted sandy soil which helps keep the dirt out of your tent. The sites are separated by thin logs placed on the ground.
WARNING: You ARE in bear country, so be bear safe and use the shared bear bins available in the campground! Our party had two adjacent campsites, so we were able to share the shared bear bin amongst just our own party. The neighbor on the other side of us had a bear bin, and it didn’t appear that he had to share his with if his neighbors. Try to lock all of your food and toiletries inside the food locker - they are large, and we have always been able to fit our big cooler into locker. If you do have to leave a cooler in the car, I was once told by a ranger in Yosemite NP that bears can recognize coolers when peering into car windows - he suggested putting put a towel and gear over your coolers when keeping them in the car overnight in bear territory.
The best part about this campground is that it had hot FREE and clean showers!!!! As a California girl who’s used to the extreme drought conditions, having a hot free shower available was absolute heaven while camping. There was also a big farm sink outside the bathrooms for dish washing and water bladder filling - it was extremely convenient.
There is only one trash receptacle area in the campground, up towards the entrance near the playground. Even though the campground is fairly small, we were lazy and kept our trash in the cars at night, and dropped it off in the morning when we were headed out to RMNP. There is also a water spigot near the garbage bins - it was a good reminder that we hadn’t filled up our water bladders for a day of hiking.
Estes Park Campground at East Portal is located at the very end of a road, so it is nice and quiet, without noise pollution from traffic. The campground is only about 20 minutes away from Moraine Park inside RMNP. It was easy to get to and from the NP, where we went each day to hike and search for moose.
We found moose at Sprague Lake, around dusk! A momma moose and her yearling twins came down from the wooded hills to graze on the water plants growing in the shallow lake. They were pretty unconcerned by the crowd of people watching them, but it’s important to still give them their space, as they are very large, wild animals (ESPECIALLY during mating season, and when a momma is with her young babies). The moose were truly an amazing site to see, nobody in my party from California had ever seen a moose before this trip to Colorado.
The camp hosts said moose and elk will occasionally make an appearance at the Estes Park Campground at East Portal. We did not see either while at camp, but we frequently deer and fawns running through the woods directly behind the campground.
WARNING: in the woods behind the campground there is a NO TRESPASSING zone where there are piles of chopped, dead trees - those tree piles contain the remains of the trees that were infected by the pine beetle epidemic that has killed so many trees in the area. The piles will be burned in the winter and should not be touched or disturbed.
Plumbed Toilets: Yes
Drinking Water: Yes
Showers: Yes (no coins needed!!)
Picnic Table: Yes
Cooking Grates: Yes
Cell Service: Yes
Animal Bins/Food Lockers: Yes (shared)
This campground is at the end of the road, zero traffic noise, lots of shade from trees, nature trails, deer visit in the mornings. Facilities are exceptional, clean, free with camping. Each site has a bear box/ food locker to keep food items safe and stored near your site. So quiet at night…good sleeping! Friendly hosts! Great camping in the Rockies!
While more expensive than Forest Service or BLM campgrounds, we recently had a great experience at East Portal over the busy 4th of July weekend. Despite being walk ups, the camp hosts were extremely helpful in finding us a site, and then moving us around to an even better site. Highly recommend the sites on the south side, they are much more secluded if you are tenting. Clean restrooms and facilities. Close to great fishing and hiking (close as in, you can walk to them), and an easy drive into Rocky Mountain National Park and Estes Park.
We enjoyed our stay here. This campground had nice, clean bathrooms and showers. We did have to share bear lockers with our neighbors but it wasn’t too big of a deal. The site we had did have a pretty nice tent pad. Not all of them have a level tent pad like that. Staff was very helpful and it was a pretty close drive to RMNP. There is a trailhead near the front of the campground that leads to several trails. Very pretty place to stay.
The sites are on top of each other and people walk right through your site. Our dog nearly bit someone because he was so stressed, and he's a lab. The only redeeming trait of this site was the showers. We split time between this campground and Collegiate Peaks in BV and wanted to leave to go back to BV the minute we got to Estes.