The best HIKE IN camping near
Grand Lake , COLORADO

458 Reviews91 Campgrounds

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Most Recent Grand Lake Camping Reviews
Lake Camping

If you want to camp near a lake in the mountains this is a great start.

Nice dispersed campsites

Free dispersed camping with zero amenities but man made fire pits. Windy and cold but beautiful!

Closed

We were so excited but as of January 1, 2021 it is closed. I’m sure it will reopen during warmer seasons.

Camping Like it Used to Be

South Fork is located in the Arapaho National Forest and administered by the Sulphur Ranger District. Situated on the banks of the South Fork of the Williams Fork of the Colorado River, this campground reminds me of days gone by when reservations were not a "thing".

Southfork is a first come, first served campground with 21 sites. While there is generally a resident Host, the lightly used campground has the feel of what campgrounds were like 50 years ago. Individual sites are mostly flat. All sites have picnic tables, fire rings, and tent pads. All will fit tents, most will accommodate travel trailers, and some will allow 5th wheels/large RVs well over 40' (some spurs are 50'). There is also a group site that fronts the creek which is available by reservation. There are two well maintained pit toilets and two functioning hand crank water wells available. For equestrians, there is a small corral on the south end of the campground though I've never seen it in use. Like the Sugarloaf campground, Southfork was cleared of trees a number of years ago.

When I first camped at Southfork some 8 years ago, the sites in the center were all open with small seedling Lodge pole pines beginning to take root. Spruce trees along the creek were not cleared and are very large making for nice shady sites (these are the most popular and always fill fast). Today, the seedlings have grown quite fast and are in the range of 5-7 feet tall providing a nice screen between the formerly open sites. Note that this is not always the most quite campground as there is a tramway that connects the Henderson Mine with it's Mill located off the Ute pass road. When the tram is running, it creates a fair amount of background noise. While I have no problem just hanging out at the campground, there are many other activities available in the area.

For those with a restless spirit of adventure, trout fishing, hiking, and Geocaching are available in the Southfork area. If you are interested in more detail, check out the review of Sugarloaf campground located just to the south.

Due to a lack of amenities, Southfork may not be for everyone but if you're looking for a campground that has the spirit of bygone days, this place is well worth a look.

Small, Quite Campground at the End of the Road

Located in the Arapaho National Forest, Sugarloaf is a small campground found on the Williams Fork of the Colorado River. The valley was once heavily forested but is much more open these days.

Cleared of timber a few years back due to Pine Beetle infestation, the campground is spartan with little shade or site separation. It's at the end of a dead end road making road noise minimal. The good news is that it's uncrowded and easy to secure a first come, first served site, and the trees are growing back.

There are 11 spaces many of which will accommodate RVs (we were able to fit our 30' class C), most will fit small travel trailers/pop-up campers, and all have space for tents. Each site has a picnic table and fire ring with a horse shoe pit located in the middle of the campground. There is a pit toilet and water well though the well has not been functional for some time. Trash dumpsters are on site, and water is available at South Fork campground a short distance away. While amenities are limited, activities are plentiful.

Fishing on the Williams fork is fair to good for Brook Trout with the occasional Brown Trout being caught. Pressure is generally light upstream from Sugarloaf and a bit more congested downstream where the stream is slightly larger. Once you're tired of fishing, there are numerous hiking trails to be explored.

Leaving from the the immediate area are the Darling Creek trail, the South Fork trail, the Kinney Creek trail and 4x4 road, the Ute Peak trail, and further north, the Williams Peak trail. There are also multiple Geocaches located nearby. Best bet here is to purchase a trail guide for more specifics on the area. Be sure to check with the Hot Sulphur Springs Ranger district as fires have damaged or closed many locations.

If you're looking for a laid back peaceful camping experience, Sugarloaf may just be the place for you!

Convenient location

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.

Dispersed Sites Along the Road

Many dispersed sites along the road and the creek bed. The main road of Buckhorn is easy to navigate and most any vehicle can make it. If you take another road off buckhorn be prepared to need 4WD and/or a higher clearance vehicle. Depending on season, you may have lots of passerby traffic.

Boulder County fairgrounds

closed in winter but a cool place to camp with water and electric hook ups in the summer time

White Ranch

Great mountain bike ride!