Cheyenne Mountan State Park is remarkably close to Colorado Springs, which makes it perfect for a quick getaway…. if you can score reservations. This park fills up fast!
We felt lucky to score a reservation for a pull-through Site (#56) at The Meadows Campground. This level, open, unshaded site offered nice views of Cheyenne Mountain and the lights of Colorado Springs. However it did leave us a bit exposed the wind. Next time we'll try to score one of the more sheltered sites on the opposite side of the loop. The firepits had high sides so our campfire was more immune to the gusty weather than we were.
The rangers in this park are very friendly. In fact, as we were cooking dinner, one came around and offered us a mini-class on the hummingbirds that live in the park. Wished we would have had time to stop by the visitor center to learn more about the local flora and fauna.
As runners, we loved the easy access to trails and you can earn a patch for exploring all 21 miles of trails throughout the park. Mountain bikers seemed to be having a ton of fun out there too.
Always a plus… The bathrooms have flush toilets and were super clean and well stocked.
This was the first place my husband and I (and our dog!) went camping in our adult lives. We decided to try a site that we could reserve first before diving into dispersed camping, and since we'd been hiking here the week prior, we thought we'd give it a shot. Reserving our spot online was super easy, and I REALLY liked the little map that allowed you to see which campsites were already taken - we were able to choose one that was relatively secluded. You do need to reserve ahead of time, but there was a number you could call on our campsite post in the event that you drove up to one at the last minute in order to make your reservation. We did see a park ranger drive by at one point just to check on things.
Getting there was incredibly easy (note that if you don't have an annual CO state parks pass, you'll need to pay a fee for that at the gate in addition to reserving your spot). Lake Pueblo State Park in general is not well-shaded, and the campsites were no exception, but we knew that going in. Each site at Juniper Breaks has a fire ring, tent spot, and a picnic table-with shade over the table. The sites aren't super close together, you can see each other but I felt like we had privacy and everyone was polite and doing their own thing. It was a quick walk to the bathrooms, which were clean and stocked with toilet paper. There was also a water pump outside. The campsite is sort of close to a road so we could hear the cars going by at night occasionally (but as this was our first time camping, we didn't mind!!)
Juniper Breaks isn't right next to any trails, so you'll have to drive to access them if you hike or bike. Definitely worth it, there are some FANTASTIC and really cool trails here! There was a little parking lot in the campground that people with kayaks kept pulling up to, so I think there's a spot to launch your boat (but don't know any details about this).
All in all, we had a really nice, quiet time. A great first camping experience in a great park!
Overall: Phantom Canyon Road is a beautiful, peaceful location, but a bear came directly into our campsite!
Directions: Very easy to find and clearly marked. There are several signs warning you not to continue on if your vehicle is longer than 25 feet. The dirt road is twisty with several washboard sections, but it's not severely rutted up. I kept it around 20 mph the whole time and was pretty shocked at how fast some people were driving. There are a lot of blind corners and narrow roads, so be careful!
Camping: We found a pull-off on the left hand side pretty soon after the second tunnel. It was a pretty deep pull-off, enough that you could see the front of our truck but not our campsite from the road. Very private and quiet! Nice and level too, with two fire pits. Super sunny and not well shaded- it was lovely in April, but I bet it gets incredibly hot in the summer. Unfortunately, there was a lot of trash when we arrived, which I did clean up. We found some bullet shells and pieces of bright orange clay, which makes me think people were shooting back there. We arrived Friday night around 6:30pm and had to drive pretty far back to find a spot, there were a lot of people camping already. I think the road went on much further too, so don't get discouraged about finding a place! As someone mentioned, there is a pit toilet, but we didn't park anywhere near enough to use it. We got NO wifi or cell service back there either (Verizon).
THE BEAR: Our campsite was backed up right next to a dried out wash. Saturday morning, we decided to explore it a little (mistake #1 - we've explored washes before but not that far into the backcountry). We didn't go back super far, just followed the rocky path. At one point we noticed A LOT, and I mean A LOT of bear scat and turned around. Our dog started barking like crazy and when we looked up, there was a giant black bear high above us on a ridge. It was turning around and clearly uninterested in us, but we hurried back to our campsite - the bear was probably less than a quarter mile away from it. A few hours later when we were hanging out at the campsite just reading (we should've left immediately), our dog started growling. We looked up and there was the bear, standing at the edge of the wash. O_O We didn't have any food or trash out (we ALWAYS keep all of that locked away in our truck unless we are actively cooking/eating). The bear wasn't acting aggressively, but it wasn't leaving either. I kept talking to it, making myself appear larger, moving slowly as we packed up and got the heck out of there (we had to take our giant awning apart while the bear watched us curiously the whole time, omg).
Just be aware if you camp here that there are bears around! Not only is it their home, but all of the trash we picked up from that campsite upon arrival makes me think that they're starting to become habituated to the area since people are so trashy (a few other reviews mention finding trash at their sites as well). I will DEFINITELY be picking up some bear spray and bringing it with me from now on. Be safe and PACK YOUR TRASH OUT!!!
Good camping sites Amazing staff
Nearby access to Gold Medal fishing on Pueblo Tailwater
Small museum in park office
Hiking, fishing, boating, bicycle paths/trails available. Lots of wildlife viewing. Friendly camp hosts.
Great place for families. There are not water hookups at sites but there is a place to fill.
Short drive to activities and they have a great little zoo nearby.
The Cabins are for locals or people working in the local area and are only available for monthly rent, The tent areas are in direct sunlight with no shaded area and overpriced at $25 a night regardless of what time you check in checkouts at 11:00 am, The Bathrooms are reasonably clean, however scary hag lady comes in as if on crack running around looking like a mad woman, somewhat scary, the horse stalls are disgusting.
We pulled in without a reservation, no problem. We were visiting a friend in Pueblo and this place was close by. (Downtown Pueblo has a really nice riverwalk. Found a free museum that honored Medal of Honor recipients.) When you go in to the campground, the visitor center is there. Helpful staff. The RV side of the campground is to the left. That was pretty full. The tent side was to the right further down a paved road to the right. This section was closer to the lake, very few people and quiet. Might have been the time of year. Each site had a fire ring, a shelter and a paved place to park. Easy for us as well to use the dump site in the RV section. We didn't use it but looked like there were some walking/biking trails close by. Seemed reasonable for $25. It was a nice find. Very clean.
Cheyenne Mountain State Park, Colorado Springs, CO.
Made our way to Cheyenne Mountain State Park, Colorado Springs. The tent only sites are walk-in and $18…and by walk-in…between 10-100ft from the parking area depending on the site. By midday most were taken and we landed in the available #45 (which was handicap accessible). Pluses and minuses: close to the restroom. Convenience comes at a cost, a motion sensor light constantly tripping on and a tad noisy. Tent pads only…comprised of a small pea gravel base, but elevated two railroad ties high…you will not get standing water, that's for certain. #45 is a handicap site so it is all paved…walkway, picnic table, animal-proof food container and fire pit area…no dust or dirt. Could be a positive or negative depending on your expectations. In April the trees were just budding so there wasn't a ton of concealment or cover from your neighbors provided by the leafless shrubbery and mountain scrub. A water pump is ten feet away. Another site was handicap accessible like this one but the others were situated further back in the scrub in dirt trails offering greater privacy. Hammock hanging was limited on site #45 but could be creatively managed. Restrooms were very clean and well-stocked. The visitor center is beautiful, large, interesting and offers local trinkets to purchase. Camp registration office is located by the campground and also houses restrooms and the coin operated showers and laundry. Water appeared to be at a premium as the water fountains were not operating. Depending on the wind direction, and with no leaves on the trees yet…highway noise could be heard in the distance from interstate 25…but not loud enough to be an irritation… Not to mention the sound breaking the early morning air…revelee from the nearby Air Force base. Signage leaves little doubt where you are or where to go throughout the park. The trails are superb and offer a variety of high plains and mountain views. Trail markings are remarkable, offering both self-guided tutorial placards and strategically located gps coordinates, in case of injury. Runners and mountain bikers frequent the trails. Wildlife aplenty. Mule deer sauntered by throughout the park and tom turkeys strutted their stuff for all to see. Colorful songbirds dotted the trail (my favorite…bright blue mountain bluebird). Keep the elevation in mind when choosing activities. Being a "flatlander," it takes about 7-10 days for your body to adjust to high elevations, so allocate more time on the trails for recovery breaks and hydration. Definite plus or minus…dogs are allowed in the park, but not on the trails and must be leashed at all times. Even on a Monday night in mid April, the park was filled so reservations would be advised. You can choose electric/water sites but there is no privacy from your RV neighbor.
Creative mountainscape photos are necessary to avoid the mountaintop antenna towers from NORAD.
It was a pleasant camping experience and would visit again.
There is so much to do nearby that you need to stay in the area at least a week.
Here are a few of my favorite nearby hikes: -Mt Cutler trail, Mt Muscoco trail, Helen Hunt Falls, Seven Bridges Trail, Red Rock Canyon, The Manitou Incline (parking fee), The Barr Trail (to Pikes Peak summit), Garden of the gods, Palmer Park, and Stanley Canyon Reservoir (on the Air Force Academy grounds)…all are must do's! Only Red Rock Canyon and Garden of the gods are flatter and easy strolling. Countless other trails exist and would take a lifetime to explore…worthy reason to return again and again!
Stayed in the Swift Puma campground, walk-in site 29, great privacy, very clean and well maintained with level camp pad, picnic table and bear box. Short walk from parking spot to the campsite. Close to bathrooms and showers, both very clean, showers are quarter operated, 4min/$1. Several deer nearby, many trails within the park that are worth checking out and accessible from campgrounds! Helpful Staff!
Nothing technical, well manicured trials with amazing views. Lots of wildlife, beware of rattlesnakes. Awesome Moutain Biking, great for family’s and beginners. Great camping spaces. Plenty of room in between rv spaces.
At it's finest! This is really a great location and campground for long term stays. In spite if the numerous hailstirms in the area, this site is fabulous!! A was here for 2 months and found the site to be well maintained and patrolled. Staff were always friendly and helpful. most sites are well shaded and well drained during rain storms. Also, be sure to see the May Tropical Museum while you are there.
I was nervous about going here in my Nissan Versa because I had read it was a 4 wheel drive road on several sites, however I was also optimistic after speaking to someone at Canon City because they mentioned I would have no issue.
Driving down to this campsite I was happy to have a small car because the road is very narrow to say the least. I cannot imagine the feeling of driving a large rig here. Just before you enter the camping area you encounter an old rail style tunnel cut right out of the mountain and it is one of those things you just have to get a picture of because it is so cool, but on the same token you kind of hold your breathe while navigating through because you can reach out and touch the sides almost.
I did notice there were a few sections that had I have not been going very slowly could have ended very badly for my small car, dips that appear out of nowhere if you are going to fast.
By the time I arrived at the camping location I was looking for, I noticed that other campers had built rocky fire rings so I found one of those and set up so I could begin to explore the area. The ground was not super even but also not something I couldn’t overcome with a little quick clearing. My site was in a full sun area, it looked like most of the other sites were similar.
This area is so interesting to explore there are a few signs about the railroad tunnels a lot of desert like mountain terrain. I found it interesting to hike around this area and saw that there had been several different animals to which I didn’t have the knowledge of the scat to know what they were.
When hiking I did notice that there is a restroom about 3 miles into the BLM area, I wasn’t aware the campsite had access to a toilet of any kind so this was a pleasant surprise and though it was a vault toilet it was a great find on my little hike.
I did notice there were just beyond the restrooms more camping sites and also what looked to be an area which people probably do a little recreational 4 wheeling. Deep ruts were in these areas and I was very happy that up higher where I had set up this was not the condition of the camp.
I made it back to my camp and settled in making sure to not leave any food items out in the open overnight because I wasn’t trying to welcome animals into my camp. By nightfall it was quiet with only some animal noises in the distance sounding like coyotes. It was a bit surreal how silent it was here.
So there was a lot of interest when I looked at this campground. I had seen a lot of animal photos relating to campers which had stayed here so I decided to give it a shot and see if I couldn't stay at this location in Pike National Forest. BIG MISTAKE!!
I made a call to the campsite which has about 30 spaces only to have no one answer the phone. When I came to the campsite as a hope to staying here on my way to Graffiti Falls, I was quickly accosted by the campground owner who was rude and made a comment that I wouldn't be able to stay there since I clearly was in a car and not an RV. I could have been the first in my party to arrive but they didn't know if I was in fact solo or with someone and still made a very ugly sounding comment about me since I wasn't in an RV.
I usually go on to explore a campground or ask questions for my friends about sites that are RV only, however I didn't feel welcome to even do so by the way that the person spoke to me. I went on to Graffiti Falls instead and found another campsite.
If you do happen to be an RV traveler perhaps your experience will be better, I do hope it is!! Manitou Springs area is very nice and has a lot of great activities such as the incline, a really cool cave and entertainment area for the family to explore and several falls nearby to explore. I have included a few photos from Graffiti Falls or Rainbow Falls which is a local must see. Normally I would be so against graffiti in nature but this one is kind of an accepted blend of nature and art.
Its cheap, very pretty site to see the mountains while at the edge of a river
YES YES YES!! I loved this site it was close to everything I wanted to do and had the remote feeling I was looking for. I was able to visit rainbow Falls ( Graffiti Falls) in Manitou and Seven Falls in Colorado Springs from this site with no problem in the same day.
Sites were simple but had two different options with and without connections. When I was there it was considered winter rates which were $18 for no connections or $28 for full connections.
They do not require a reservation for this campsite and during the winter months are not full at all. I was there during the week and basically had the place to myself . But from what I was told they are very busy during prime months so it is suggested to get a site in advance especially for weekend stay.
This facility is very nice with several really interesting features including conference rooms and an amphitheater which you can rent.
One thing I wasn't expecting was pay showers so when I arrived I forgot to ask about that and had to make sure I had some cash when I returned from my adventures for those. I almost arrived to late for showers to be functioning, during cold weather months well into spring they are cut off for obvious concerns in freezing.
This site was around 20 minutes from Manitou Springs where I saw the Graffiti Falls and only about 10 minutes from Seven Falls. It was located in an area with quick access to Colorado Springs and the many amenities it has to offer in way of shopping and food without being right in the middle of the city.
I would recommend this to anyone who likes boondock style camping but can't find a spot due to the more strict rules in Colorado Springs, it is inexpensive and gives you a place to also have some really great amenities.
- If you are camping a lot in Colorado check out their State Park pass which is available for $70 and allows discounts and admission to state maintained facilities.
- Bring cash for showers!! Don't be like me be prepared.
I am confused by this site because it is small and expensive. I called ahead and they had no openings but said to swing by after check in to see if there were any people who did not show. I did and took a quick drive through the campsite and opted to not spend $40 for the sites here. It was way to small and packed together.
I was wondering around the winding roads toward Bishop Castle without cell service and found this spot. It was pretty well removed from everything and the trees were standing tall and made for a great welcome to Colorado.
The sites were $21 and included the basics, a picnic table and fire ring. The sites were green and filled with fluffy grass which made for a great campsite foundation or you could set up in the area which had no grass if you chose. I was really impressed by the color of the grass considering it was so late in the year.
This place probably stays pretty busy during the peak season but when I was there it was kind of quiet only a couple of campers.
There are vault toilets and a few pump water outlets scattered throughout so nothing to special there, but you aren't paying for the amenities here you are paying for the atmosphere and that was priceless.
If you have ever wondered what Colorado is supposed to be like check out this campsite during the non-peak season.
I was able to set up my base camp and explore. I was only moments from Bishop Castle and from several hiking trails which kept me completely happy.
Get gas before you come out this way otherwise you might start to get a little nervous as the needle falls.
If you like birds this is a birding paradise I saw so many different birds that were so unique looking.
excellent, new bathrooms with pay showers and a laundry facility. There is no shade here which was brutal during the afternoon but as soon as the sun went behind the mountain things cooled off quickly.
lots of nice, well-marked, scenic trails in the park. our kids liked the nighttime view of the city and plains below best of all. each site had a shared picnic area in addition to its own picnic table. very nice!
This campground has electricity, clean vaulted toilets, and potable water. You can not hook water directly to camper though. It is within walking distance to Isabel lake. Isabel lake has great fishing.
We had a walk in sight that was beautiful! Great view, private, and even saw some deer walk by at dusk. Showers cost a couple bucks coins and only last 4 minutes, so scrub quick. Lots of stuff for kids to do and close to Colorado Springs.
This is a great lake to fish, ski, camp and hike. Found a harmless whip snake in a tree. Last camp trip. But three rangers were great and relcoated it. Not many trees here for shade. Gets windy for tents. And hot and dry the summer. Hope you have a camper for shade and AC. Great events for the kids.