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This area is owned by Clear Creek Open Space and they are currently in negotiations to gain more of the surrounding area. It is great for a hiking and picnic destination. We wanted to stay overnight so I reached out and got a permit for an overnight stay.
From the parking area you will need to head down a beautiful little columbine lined trail to the water. There are ample spaces to pitch a tent or have a picnic.
While we were there it was almost like we were far away from the city even though we were just in the foothills. I didn't hear one car or person other than our group.
There aren't bathrooms, trash, or water so you will need to be prepared for that.
We had a great time staying for free at Rollins pass. We had a large group of bikers so we all hammock camped since there isn't much space for tents (lots of trees but not enough space to set up a tent). We were there for mtn biking and a show in Winter Park and it was an easy ride to and from town from the pass. There are lots of campers along the road since the top of the pass is the start of all the single track trails heading down into the town.
I also stayed an extra night so I could leave early in the morning to hike James Peak and St. Mary's Glacier. It is easy access from here too. You will need to drive to the trailhead but it is less than a mile to the glacier and only a couple more miles to the peak.
Even in Summer it is cold so be away and prepare yourself accordingly.
We stayed here as an after party for a wedding so it was the perfect spot for us to have a large group of people and multiple tent spots. There are tent pads and groomed areas for camping. The group sites are large and there are bathrooms provided in the group camp area. They are pit toilets but they were really well taken care of and the location was gorgeous.
We didn't see another group there and we were there on a popular weekend (labor day). We were only 15 mins at most from Blackhawk so it was fun to go into town for an eventing to hang out at the casinos and get dinner.
Visited the Reverend Ridge campground the weekend of March 6 for some early camping. The setting was a bit snowy but spectacular. The trailer pad was icy but cleared, and after some shoveling we were able to find the fire pit! If it is this great in the spring, imagine how great it is in the summer!
Went there in June and it was pretty hard to get up there as the road was snow packed almost at the lake so we had to hike the rest of the way. Definitely need a 4x4 as the toad can be very rocky. I was able to drive a Subaru Forester up there but some areas i wish i had driven a slightly higher clearance vehicle. Jeeps/ Toyota’s will have no problem with the road.
Ended up staying here due to another campground not working out, arrived in complete darkness and managed to snag one of two remaining sites. This place definitely fills up in the summer, however they do accept reservations. There are pit toilets and drinking water available - it’s a pretty standard USFS campground. I wish I would have had more time to spend exploring the area, it was really stunning!
We usually end up going to RMNP around the 4th of July. There are a lot of people and the scenic spots are busy. But that being said, the park is so clean, people are generally very courteous and happy to be there. My daughter met a pen-pal that camped next to us for a few days. They played in the dirt and we sat with our new friends around a campfire at night, while her dad played guitar.
We’ve done the walk-up sites and the ones closer to the bathrooms and parking. Either way is fantastic. There are plenty of clean restrooms and wash/water stations, the bear boxes and camp sites are clean and spacious, and there’s a lot of shaded and open spots. It’s just a few minutes to trail ridge road or down to Estes. You can buy bundles of firewood for a few bucks, ice, and even ice cream and popsicles at the entrance. The rangers are very nice and there are several learning activities they do on-site. We have so much fun here.
This place is magic to my family. We are making it a place that we return to again and again.
Go, you won’t regret it!
Chatfield State Park Campground is not the most scenic campground, but it has a very convenient location. Whether you live in Denver and just want a quick getaway or if you are visiting friends in the area, it is a very easy place to camp. Located on the Southwest side of the metro area, it is just off of I470.
The park has great amenities with a great lake for powerboat sports.
Additionally it has a fresh water "gravel pond" on the south side that is great for SUP and human powered craft. Trails throughout, both paved and dirt.
The campsites have good tree coverage and views of the foothills.
We visited sites 17 and 19 in the Spruce Loop (sites 11-19, all hike-in up to 1/2 mile @ Staunton) Before I begin my review of the sites, I'll tell you that this campground is very clean, bathrooms clean, campsites clean and quiet. The pit, very clean are at base, and there is a porta-potty by site 14, far enough away from 14 to not be a problem. One issue I noticed is that the water spigots are at the base as well and not at or near the sites - 1/2 mile from the farthest site, Site 19. We had to carry up jugs and refill at night. No campfires allowed ever. I brought stoves no bigger than a jetboil/MSR dragonfly. Headlamps are a must. Also, we went in June and July. Check the weather. We had very cold weather in both June and July, weather hit the low 30's.
Since hiking in, some backpacking items would be helpful in order to make the haul easier. Though, taking trips could be an option, if necessary. When camping with a whole posse of kids, we used a wagon to haul all that crap up (see pics). No problems with the wagon getting stuck. Trails are very clear. Finally, when you see "private" in my review, don't think miles of space. You can see other sites from your site, but they're not stacked up against each (minus 15 and 16). There are no cars or car traffic, so that makes a big difference.
If you're looking for a short hike, site 11 is the best. It's hidden away in semi-private spot. 12-14 are less private, but still sheltered with shade and some boundaries from the trail. I wouldn't have a problem staying in any of these sites. There is a porta-potty across from 14, but not too close. There are no issues with smell. I'd stay at 14 if I had to.
My favorite sites at Spruce are 15-19. They're like bonus sites. They're on the other side of the trees and in their own hidden section away from hikers and trails, etc. 15 and 16 are very close together and are the least private of all of the sites. They can easily be booked together for larger groups. Site 17 (my third favorite and most underrated ) is away from the path and rocky/ledgy part and more grassy, with a very peaceful and private view behind the tent pad. At 17, set up your tent door away from the picnic table to have a "front door" view of the grassy area. 18 and 19 are my favorite sites. 18 overlooks the mountain and has the tent pad surrounded by boulders. This one is my favorite in terms of view. Very pretty. I think it's smaller though. Not a whole lot of wiggle room for active young'uns.
My favorite for size and for kids is 19. This one sits atop all of the other sites and is one of the most accommodating and fairly private sites for families both in room and fun. It's a nice barrier to any dangerous cliffs, etc. And, you won't be bothered by anyone up there. There's nature to keep the kids busy. And, behind 19 are rocks and boulders. You could scramble up with or without kids (my kid was 2 and climbed with some help) and explore for about an hour just by the site. We sit at the edge of the boulders and watch the sunset. You can't beat the view. This site never fails to entertain. The only issue is that it's furthest from the porta-potty. It's maybe a five or so minutes walk down. Never had issues. Posting pics below of some of the sites and 17 and 19, the ones we've booked. I hope this is enough to help make your decision. Happy Camping!
Posted pics. Some are in poor quality. My bad!