The #1 Camping App
Search 500,000 listings, reviews & tips from anywhere in the US. Our free app is the top-rated camping app on Apple and Android.
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!
This area requires a permit which you can buy at the ACE hardware in Nederland. However, after mid-September permits are no longer required or sold, as we found out when we arrived at the hardware store.
We camped about a mile down from Devil's Thumb lake because we got a late start (~4:00pm) and it started getting dark and cold. We made the hike into a two-day loop instead of out-and-back by summiting and then taking King's Lake trail back to the original trailhead. Beautiful sights all along this path! It's about 12-13 miles this way.
Plenty of access to water via various streams. Did not see many other people camping. Passed a few hikers the second day. Once you summit you can see the town of Fraser and also get cell phone service, but we did not have service in the valley before summiting. Note that it got quite cold this night in mid-September, just below freezing.
As most of the middle portions of this 9 mile trail are relatively flat, there are many good backcountry camping opportunities in this area. Some are in the pine and spruce forests and others are in the aspens. The best are in the open meadows around the south side of Captain Mountain. A short scramble to the top affords great views west to Mt. Goliath, north along the Chief Mountain ridge, and back south to the Bear Creek Basin. An amazing variety of wildflowers abounds throughout the trail. Water sources are easiest on the northern portion of the trail.