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Aurora, COLORADO
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Small delightful campground

This is a County campground, up a very steep windy paved road, probably unsuitable for very large RVs. Most of the camp spots are relatively small, also. But they have electricity, they’re relatively level, and the views are great. The reservoir is limited to non-motorized boats. Cellphone coverage is really problematic, but HDTV reception from the Denver stations is good. It’s a nice, quiet place to just relax.

Excellent location for the city and mountains

This campground allows easy access to Denver, Golden, and the foothills. Campers are close together, but there are some mature trees. This campground is nicer than most that provide access to Denver.

The campground has a pool and hot tub. The play set for kids is small. The bathrooms are very clean. The staff is helpful.  Walk up the hill to the open space adjacent to the campground for a view of the mountains and the city.

Great park

Super fun and great for a quick trip. There are a couple of bald eagles nesting in the tree in the middle of the lake that is amazing to watch!

A giant homeless camp

I would avoid if you have children. I have found needles and human waist there. It seems like most of the camps in Boulder and Denver are all the same…..

Gorgeous

What a great spot to spend the day. Traveled to Colorado from NJ and this is spot is really breathtaking and relaxing.

Very basic campground with basic amenities.

This campground is one of many driving up route 67. They're all closed in the winter and through the beginning of May. Very basic sites are available no amenities. Make sure you have 4-wheel drive available in the early spring.

Basic campground with bathrooms.

This was a very basic campground. A place to park a table and a fire ring. The bathrooms were cleaned and stocked. There was also a dumpster available for use.

Standard Campground, but Excellent Hiking

Brainard Lake Recreation Area has some really great hikes to alpine lakes, and Pawnee campground is the place to stay if you want to be the first person on the trail. Overall it is your standard large campground - the sites have grills, fire grates, picnic tables, bear boxes, and are fairly close to one another. The campground also has clean restrooms and you can book your site online.

There are a lot of moose in the area! I have been here twice and I have seen moose both times. Once was just along the road, and the other time I saw 2 moose while I was hiking to Lake Isabelle. Also, the Lake Isabelle hike is one of my favorites - I recommend coming here just to do this hike. It is helpful to stay at the campground the night before because the trailhead parking lots fill up quickly.

Dispersed Campsite with Views - Gordon Gulch (4x4 recommended)

So the Gordon Gulch dispersed camping area has around 15 numbered sites that are ok… but if you keep driving further down 233.1 you will find many more unnumbered campsites. I am reviewing one of these unnumbered campsites in particular, because this one had the best view. Before you read too far, I can't guarantee you will be able to reach this campsite without a 4X4 high clearance vehicle. We got to the site with a Jeep Wrangler and Toyota Tacoma TRD so we had no problems… I can't definitely say a Subaru would make it though. In the pictures I have included a map of the Gordon Gulch trail system. Entering through the Gordon Gulch entrance and taking 226.1 to 233.1 is the hardest route - there is one very steep and washed out spot. Entering via 120J/Switzerland Trail from the Peak to Peak Hwy and then turning right onto 233.1 is the easier option. On that map I have marked the general area of the campsite with a pink dot and here are the coordinates.

DMS: 40°01'18.5"N 105°28'37.6"W

DD: 40.021814, -105.477103 - if you type this into Google Maps it will locate it

As for the actual campsite, it is a great option for spring/fall camping in Colorado. The elevation is about 8,800 ft and it is on the south side of a hill so it gets a lot of sunlight and is protected from northern winds. In terms of privacy, there are no other campsites that can be seen from this one. However, Gordon Gulch is a popular off-roading area so dirt bikes and Jeeps pass by frequently. This campsite is set up high above and away from the road though, so it is really not that bad. Another thing to point out is that this is a popular area for shooting as well, so if you absolutely hate guns it may not be the place for you. Also, as stated before, this is a dispersed campsite the only thing it has is a fire ring. Pack it in, pack it out!

A little piece of solitude right next to the big city!

This is a pretty popular campsite and I can see why! It’s right outside of Denver and can easily be a quick night away or a weekend of fun. Sites filled up quick when we decided to go around the end of July. We didn’t get a personal campsite but got on the waiting list. When we arrived back to check to see about availability there were other campers waiting as well. One of the campers suggested we all go in on a group site and we got enough people to agree. Everyone was very friendly and we met all kinds of families. I’d definitely recommend trying a group site if a personal one isn’t available. There was plenty to do during the day. We fished, kayaked and walked around the park. There were plenty of people on bikes as well. We also noticed lots of SUPS out on the water as well. There is a dock for boats and even an area for dogs off leash. The campsite had some construction going on when we went but everything was well kept and clean. We will definitely come back to this campsite soon!

Small but nice

Nice and easy

Convenient urban camping

Camped here one night as we prepared to leave Colorado for home. The park is in the city, but surprisingly doesn’t feel that way. The place was busy and no privacy between sites. Bathrooms were clean and well kept. There were a few “interesting” characters in the park. Felt like they came here to party and hangout on the weekend. It was a convenient camping experience.

Good place to stay

No public wifi, you need a cell phone(hotspot), or rent a 5 GB mifi from them! This is the only bad thing i have to say about the FamCamp.

Gross Reservoir

Good hiking spot that takes you down to the reservoir. Not to far from the campsite. There is camping only in designated area.

Free Dispersed Camping in the Rockies

Beautiful spot with a gorgeous view of a couple of mountain peaks (Thunderbolt Peak?) with the reservoir in the foreground.

-Camping is on the left as you approach the lake, there is nothing past the first big area you see.

-Many spaces available, just pick a primitive firepit and setup around it.

-Lake is technically private and the locals WILL hassle you if they catch you fishing/swimming/boating.

-We easily made the drive up in a low clearance car, and Rv's should have no problem.

- In total I'd say around 15 separate campsites could operate here comfortably on a busy weekend.

Busy and Covered in Bullet Casings

We were actually surprised when we found a quiet spot out here. We tried to turn into a lot of the turn offs and there were bullet casings all over the ground. There are signs everywhere that say "DO NOT SHOOT THE TREES" and we laughed at it but then we kept going and noticed that the reason why those signs were there were because there were clear cuts of trees just shot down and the casings were left on the ground.

We spent a good hour cleaning up our site before setting up camp. We carried out a large trash bag of bullet casings.

It was a beautiful view of Pikes Peak and it is a great easy place to get away from the hustle of the city. We found a safe spot for us to go shooting clays the next day and we had a blast just releasing some energy. We did clean up all of our trash as we went. Leave no trace!

Easy Get Away from the City

This si the place my friends and I go to just for a night away from everything. It is just out of reach of the city and far enough away where we can find some peace and quiet. The views are incredible!

Lots of climbing routes nearby and easy to find some good spots away from others.

Excellent in all respects

Excellent stay - camp is at Brainard Lake recreation area and one of our all time favs ! Clean vaults excellent hosts and cleanest sites - many things to do including hikes on multiple trails and kayaking on lake or just looking for moose and casually relaxing. Reservations very difficult to get but if you get in - enjoy it’s excellent . Moose loop nice with trees - Elk loop has some sites with no trees or shade due to wind storm years ago. Our site 9’was partial shade and site 11 was also shaded.

Lots of free camping nearby

It's a great campground and there is plenty of beautiful dispersed camping a short drive (or walk) down the road, so you're guaranteed to get a spot!

Great spot with 360 degree views

The fire tower has two levels with 2 twin beds on each level. I recommend staying in the top level as the views are amazing. Look one way, you can see downtown Denver. Look another, Pike's Peak. Another, Mount Evans. It is windy up at 11,500 feet and it rattles the windows at times, but again…the views. The space itself is only about 20' x 20' but you are never bored as the scenery changes in every direction every 5 minutes. You have to reserve the tower well in advance but it is definitely worth it. I must mention there is also about a mile hike up to the tower with your gear but again, it is definitely worth it.

Small and cozy enough, your perfect fishing spot

I'll agree with the other posters. Platte River Campground is a great location if you are looking to do some fly fishing. The river is right there and easy access. Or if you want to set up camp here and then drive up/down the road there are tons of fishing spots.

Keep in mind there isn't a store or anything close by so be sure to carry in all you need. I don't recall water on site so better to be safe and carry plenty in.

I went in mid Oct so off season and there was only 2 other campers in the campground. I chose site #8, furthest away from the parking area but also more trees. There was a bit of road noise but not horrible. Was quiet and just a cozy place to stay.

A great site to check out what this campground looks like and how it's laid out is you can check out this video I found useful on YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mc9JPE53Lf4

Ranger Review of RoM Pack at Buckingham Campground

Campground Review 

I came upon this campground in an effort to squeeze in one last big fall hike before the Colorado winter (aka snow) settled across the Front Range Mountains. My research led me to the Fourth of July Trailhead and adjacent Buckingham Campground, just west of Boulder, Colorado. Our plan was to car camp at the campground the night before hiking to ensure that we would get a good parking spot at the trailhead and an early start on the hike. We arrived after nightfall and were very surprised to find that we were the only people there, despite many online reviews describing how crowded this area got on the weekends. The lack of other cars and light made it quite difficult for us to differentiate between the campground and the trailhead parking, so we drove around for a bit and finally settled on a nice flat spot that was relatively free of snow. While driving around looking for a spot, a giant mother moose and her baby crossed the parking lot which was such a cool (but slightly terrifying) surprise! We were sure to find parking far away from the direction that they were wandering towards. 

Overall, the campground didn’t offer much. We visited quite late in the season and there was a lot of snow on the ground, so it was really hard to tell where the actual designated camp sites were. I am guessing that it is better maintained during the summer. While there was a bathroom, as my photos show it was unfortunately quite dirty and full of trash. The location totally made up for any downsides of the campground though! When we woke up the next morning we were shocked by the beautiful views seen from every direction. The parking lot began to fill at dawn and there were only a few spots remaining when we started hiking around 8 am. We hiked two of the trails from the campground, Arapaho Pass and Diamond Lake, both were absolutely amazing and some of the most beautiful hiking I have done in Colorado. I would highly recommend hiking, backpacking, and/or camping around this area to anyone visiting the Colorado Front Range! 

A word of caution-The road to this campground can be fairly rough in some spots and was made more difficult by the snow on the ground when we visited (mid-October). A high-clearance vehicle is definitely needed and something with 4WD would be necessary if there is any snow or mud on the road. Check trail conditions and road closures prior to setting out to this beautiful destination!

Product Review 

As a Ranger for The Dyrt, sometimes I have the opportunity to test some great products! At this campground, I tested the RoM Pack. This unique backpack comes with quite a cool origin storyfrom its’ inventors, so I was very excited for the opportunity to test out something so innovative. When the pack arrived, I certainly was not disappointed. Unfortunately, quite a few early snow season storms delayed my attempts to get out in the field to test it although once I finally got the opportunity, it was totally worth the wait! 

This pack is nothing short of versatile. It not only serves as a backpack with optional removable outer pockets, but can also be used as a blanket and a wearable poncho!! Seriously, this thing is so cool. I could probably go on all day about the reasons I was impressed by this product, but for the sake of those reading, I decided to narrow down my top 3 favorite features of this backpack:

1) The material. The designers of this product clearly have been in the woods a time or two. The pack is made out of a water resistant and super durable material on the outside but the other side is a thin polar fleece. This feature was really important as we went camping in the snow with it. 

  • As a backpack-this means everything inside your pack is protected from the dirt and the elements.  I had no fear of my gear getting wet when I set my pack down directly in the snow.
  • As a poncho-the inside is warm and soft while the outer material keeps you dry.
  • As a blanket-although this product is lightweight, it is surprisingly thick and well insulated. We had to camp directly on the snow one night, so I laid down the blanket on the floor of my tent to use as an extra layer of insulation below my sleeping pad. It really added some much appreciated warmth! 

2) Did I mention all of the pockets?! I am a bit of an organization freak when it comes to camping, so I really appreciated how many places there were in this backpack to store and then easily access all of my things. 

3) The versatility. To me, this seems to be one of the major selling points of this incredibly innovative product and for good reason. Not only is it a high quality backpack, but it can also serve to provide two essential things while adventuring in the outdoors-warmth and protection. You can leave your extra layers and picnic blankets at home when you have this backpack to cut down on weight and gear. Additionally, switching between the uses is really quite easy and well explained in this videofor first time users. 

Overall, I was really impressed by the RoM pack. I will definitely be following this brand in the future and can’t wait to see what other novel products come from the genius behind RoM Outdoors!

Typical campground

Pretty standard place. Nothing fantastic one way or another.

Perfect Quick Escape

Trees, trails and tranquility just an hour from Denver? Yes please! This is one of my new favorite spots -perfect for a quick weekend escape. We loved the roomy pull through spots for our camper, easy electrical hookups, super clean bathrooms and shower house. So many other campgrounds in Colorado have been hit hard by the pine beetle epidemic, but Reverends Ridge still has towering trees that make the loops feel private and remote. Dont mIss the easy hike to Panorama Point. From there you can let link to the rest of the extensive trail system through the park.

Rocky Mountain High!

We arrived in Denver area on October 12th, who would've guessed it would snow. We spent 25 years in Florida…so this was a treat. 3 days later it was 60 again. The campground it spacious, level, paved, lots of green space. The staff here is helpful and organized. The campground is almost always sold out every weekend but they have a wait list you can be on starting at 9am…we were lucky enough to extend. Plenty of city conveniences nearby and they have free wifi that works great!

Heaven on earth

Spots are a little close, beautiful area w/lots of Hiking, biking, walking trails. Golden is a lm awesome area to explore & very close to Denver

Easy Backpacking Experience

My husband went to this campsite with a group of Scouts and took me and our 1 year old a few weeks later. I had never been backpacking up until this point because I was always intimidated by the experience. This was an excellent "beginner" foray into backpacking!

This semi-primitive campsite requires a permit from the Open Space Office of Jefferson County, CO. The permit is free, however you must pick up the permit in person at their offices. Be prepared with a valid ID. This is a popular campsite for Scout Troops, so calling ahead for availability is a great idea.

There is an exact address available on the website and at the Open Space Office that you can put into your GPS and drive straight to the parking lot of the trailhead.

My husband and I came in through the West Trailhead. It is a 1 mile, easy hike. The first 1/3 of a mile is dirt, the remainder is gravel. It is fairly hilly, but easy enough that we actually opted to push our Jogging Stroller with our kid the entire way (which is very doable) whilst wearing our backpacking gear.

The campsites are well maintained and quite spread out from one another. So although there was a group of scouts, a group of friends, and a bigger youth group who all hiked in, it did not feel crowded or noisy.

We brought our dog, as pets are allowed on a leash. We set up our tent on the graveled pad at each site and boiled up some soup on the provided picnic tables. The website as of 2018 will tell you that fires are permitted in the designated fire rings, however a permanent fire ban has recently been put into place (which is too bad!) and all the fire rings and wood piles have been removed from the area - so really, NO FIRES ALLOWED. The pit toilets are very accessible and clean. It is technically Bear Country, so bear boxes and trash cans are provided for the overall campground.

My favorite thing about our particular campsite (site 15) was the view. At night you can see all the city lights of sprawling Denver, but then have a perfect view of the sunrise in the morning. Witnessing the sunrise from this spot will always be one of my favorite memories. Seriously so amazing!

We hiked out the next morning, simple as that, but realized we had misplaced our car keys…after 2.5 hours of searching and walking back and forth between the campsite and our car, we found our keys in the bottom of our tent. So really, if I could offer one piece of advice, always know where your keys are! Despite this incident, the location was great and the experience worthwhile! And I feel like it gave me a good taste of what to expect when backpacking in the future, which is exactly what I was looking for.

Great place to stay, but Mt. Evans is 10 miles away

I love this place. The campground is full every weekend between Memorial Day and Labor Day due to reservations made at recreation.gov up to 6 months and more than 48 hours in advance, and being so close to metro Denver.

The campground has 16 sites; 4 Walk-In, 1 host and 11 are reservable. Check in after 2:00 and check out by 1:00. If someone has a reservation, like a hotel, their site is held until 1:00 the next day because of the Forest Service rule that the campsite must be occupied the first night and they could have had delays.

The campground is at 9600’ and the last mile of the dirt road is a bit rough, but I have seen low profile cars and 32’Class A motor home with a towed vehicle. Well water supplies the campground to faucets and there are vault toilets. Each site has its own bear box and fire ring. The creek is less than 100 meters from the campground and fishing this year was poor… water level was low. Lots of great hiking and climbing in the area. About a 40 degree difference between day and night. During the fire ban, dispersed camping is limited to just a few areas so the campground is a great place to stay and you might still be able to have a fire in the fire ring. Privately owned cabins can be seen as you walk through the woods. Hell’s Hole Trail is a few hundred yards from the campground. I’m looking forward to going back there as host next year.

Awesome for kids

This place is great for little kids. From flag raising in the morning to hay rides, all day activities to the camp fire story times there is something for every kids to keep busy. The staff is amazing and friendly every time.