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First off, not Oregon, this is in Colorado.
Drove around searching for somewhere to park the teardrop after our first destination was full, and ended up here at Gold Lake.
Got to the lake and figured out it was a private lake, which was a bummer because it would be a beautiful place to wake up in the morning, but after turning around we found the first forest service road and turned onto it.
About 1/4 mile down the road we turned into the first spot with a fire pit, and turned out to be exactly what we were looking for. Beautiful sunshine, but some wind, and frigid single digits overnight, but it was Colorado mountain camping at its finest.
Took advantage of this past warmer weekend to camp here. It’s about 2 hours from Denver. There were a couple spots on the road you might want higher clearance, but mostly smooth and all easily passable in a stock Outback.
Plenty of dispersed sites; we camped on an overlook a quarter mile or so from the Pawnee Buttes trailhead which had beautiful, clear views of the sunrise and sunset. We only saw one other site in use and some folks camped at the trailhead parking lot, but neither were visible from our site. The night sky is beautiful and full of stars, though not completely dark since we could see lights from nearby private lands.
The only negative was wind. It was very windy, especially at night (the wind rocked the car most of the night). It wasn’t an issue for us sleeping in the car, but I wouldn’t tent camp. Pawnee Buttes Trail was a great way to start the day the next morning and it was nice to have use of the bathrooms.
Overall a beautiful site, plenty of solitude (at least in the winter) and nice change of pace from the mountains. I would return.
Sites are very hard to get your unit level. Very high price for no hookups. Close to Estes Park.
Multiple dispersed campsites approaching the Pawnee Buttes trailhead from the west and southwest. I camped (rooftop tent) on the bluff overlooking the trailhead parking lot, approached from the south. Chilly at night (10 degrees) but no wind.
Spectacular view of the Pawnee Buttes to the east. Perfect spot to catch sunrise and sunset. This area is also a “dark site,” so on clear, moonless nights the stars / Milky Way are phenomenal.
During winter snow often drifts onto the roads. If snowy, 4-wheel drive / high clearance helpful for accessing some of the dispersed sites.
Trailhead restrooms are open year-round.
Consistent 3 bars 5G (AT&T). 200 Mbps down / 16 Mbps up.
Pinewood Reservoir campground (also reviewed on this website as "Pinewood Lake" campground) is a small but well-maintained campground and has nice views of a lake and rolling foothills. There are 16 RV sites and 9 walk-in tent sites. Non-motorized small boats allowed and there is an easy hiking trail around the lake. Only draw back is you pay both a park fee and a campsite fee.
This is an unexpected gem very close to our house where you can't see a tree for miles. It's peaceful and not crowded. Be sure to check the forecast because it can get very windy at times.
All sites have great access and close to the ponds. Variety of fish in the ponds. They allow ice fishing as long as the ice is safe. Some traffic noise if you are on the east side of the park due to proximity to I 25. Best to get a yearly Colorado access pass.
These are nice dispersed spots that are off the 63E. Any vehicle can make it on 63E, like others though, if you trace off the main road it gets sketchy. You will need 4x4 and higher clearance. But, that’s where the best spots are. Find these gems along the road, first come first serve, summers are busy!