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Lakewood, COLORADO

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Beautiful backcountry hiking and camping

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.

Great Campground

I love it here. There are moose

Mt. Evans Wilderness Camping

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.

Convenient location, small campground

This is yet another super popular campground in the Denver area. We got super lucky and scooped up a last-minute cancellation. There are tent sites as well as RV sites with water/electric. There is a bike path as well as some mountain biking nearby. Downtown Golden is a super cute town and it is only about 15 minutes away. The campground isn’t very big or scenic, but the location is great! The showers here are coin operated and the bathrooms are kept really clean.

Great spot just north of Nederland, CO

Found this spot just exploring the area. Was actually headed down to the Rainbow Lakes campground but the campground was closed at the time. It is a nice little pull-off spot with plenty of room to park and several camp spots down in this area. A fire ring was present and with no fire bans in place we were able to get a good fire going. Plenty of dead trees around for firewood. This spot has a nice stream by it as well providing a pleasant white noise for sleeping.

Great trail campsite with a creek

Saw this trail-side camp site while out Jeeping in the mountains near Breckenridge, CO. Nice pull-in site with a fire ring available and plenty of firewood that you can cut up around. The area was in a fire ban at the time so we were not able to start a fire. Had a nice sound of the creek rushing along beside us. Arrived at camp a little late that night (was already dark) and had no traffic around during our whole stay. There are lots of similar sites along the trail.

Beautiful in white!

My wife and I took our inaugural trip in our small camper to Pinewood Reservoir last weekend during the front range's first snowfall for 2019.  We had just bought our camper and weren't about to let a little snow stop us from trying things out.  We drove up on Thursday and the roads, despite some steep climbs and winding curves, was in great shape.  

We found the campground empty, and already white with the snowfall.  We had a reserved a spot and claimed it.  Several other sites appeared to be reserved, but with the weather, we had the place all to ourselves.  Heaven, with just a taste of lonely.  Even with the snow and us being novices we set up without a hitch and were soon enjoying the magical panorama of the lake below us and the hills and mountain tops around us.

By Friday the weather had cleared and the Colorado blue skies had returned.  While it was still chilly a few other campers arrived, including a number of Boy Scouts trying to hone their cold weather tenting skills.  By our Saturday departure, the camp ground was filling up and we enjoyed meeting some nice neighbors.  

All in all the place was perfect.  the water access was off due to the seasons cold, but the place was clean, the restrooms were open, and the electricity was on.  A great place for late season, and I am sure it is busy but spectacular during the summer.

Close to Denver, but great retreat

We stay at Kelly Dahl when we get to Denver.  Favorite campground for us and our niece and her husband.  

WIFI…non-existent and phone coverage (Verizon) is very sketchy.

Did not see any staff during our two days there….except to tell us that the campground closed for season on the following day.  (We knew this.)

No showers.

Vault Toilets only…Very clean.

Sites are not always great, and some of the larger campers are going to have problems with size, and level-ness of pads.  I think that they are all dirt pads.

Lots of good space in the campground.  

A shame that the beetles have done so much devestation in the area.

Was lucky to find this cool campground

Jefferson Lake area is really nice but most of the camping in the area is by reservation only. We were very lucky to find this first come first served campground. Two of the sites are double sites so you could camp right next to your family/friends. There's a cool loop at the back that would be great for group camping. Not lots of shade trees(shade at front of campground) but that didn't bother us. Campground is meant for all camping types from tents to rigs as long as your rig is shorter than 25' (we found out after we had squeezed our 29' camper through the entrance). No cell coverage, very clean campground.

First to Review
Great place

Very pretty! We camped on the last weekend of the season (Sept 27th). It was $22 a night at that time. You pay via a drop box with cash and there’s no change available. You’re definitely in bear country and they do a good job of warning you. The area is mainly populated by people coming out to ride ATVs or dirt bikes, so expect to hear them for sure. This is a small campground with only two loops. Both loops have a bathroom (hole in the ground type) with no running water. No trash cans avaliable. Each loop has about 4 campsites. First come first serve. We came out at 6 pm on a Friday night and there were about 3 spots left, which filled up quickly. If you miss the campsite, there are others up Rampart Road that would you can use as a back up (those are free). Overall I enjoyed it and would come again!

Super chill

Really calm vibe here. Me and my girlfriend stayed here for 3 nights while the camp Was completely full. The amount of space they give each camper spot is more than plenty. Lovely clean facilities. Very well taken care of camping ground. Tons of trails and other activities to do here. I throughly enjoyed all the things about this place. I will come back and stay again if I am in the area. Perfect place to camp if you are going to a red rocks show. It’s only a 10 min drive away.

So beautiful

This place is amazing, the spot we had was huge!! Beautiful river and so relaxing!! Definitely coming back!! Hiking is amazing!!

We found walk up sites!

Not too bad of a campground. We weren't sure if we could find a walk up campsite available so we headed up on a Wednesday in June. There are 36 sites of which 10 are FCFS (sites 29-38). We found a great spot to fit our 29' camper plus truck well.

Overall great camping trip. Bathrooms were clean, camp host was friendly and also made sure people were safe and following the rules.

Nice and Secluded

Greeted by the groundskeeper, seemed genuinely interested in us being safe and taken care of. About 1/4 mile from Devil's Head trailhead.

👇👇 Wrong location review

Previous review is not for this property. Royal Gorge is in Cañon City.

Lovely weekend getaway

Beautiful campground right on 2 creeks which makes for a great soundtrack. We stayed at campsite #5 which was right on one of the creeks. Vault toilets were nice and clean. No dumpster though, which was fine. Camp hosts were very nice and we saw a bunch of wildlife. Would definitely recommend this spot.

Needs some help

Stayed here a week.Bathroom was dirty. Toiletpapet always on the floor. Toilet seat needs to be repaired in men’s bathroom. Also toilet paper in different places of campground from campers. It is not worth the $19.

Nice surprise

Couldn’t find a vacant RV park or campground north of Denver on a Friday night. Getting dark and Walmart was looking like the only option. Then we found this! Clean, a little cramped but nice showers and bathrooms. Beautiful flowers on perimeter. Full hookups $25 or $15 for none. Pleasant surprise and on way to Estes Park.

Best free place

Very clean very quiet cant find a spot every time and can get very crowded on weekends but on week days very quiet

Red Rocks

My oldest daughter (27) and I went on our first trip without my husband along. We stayed at Indian Paintbrush Campground in Bear Creek Park in Lakewood, CO right next to Red Rocks Amphitheater. We went to a concert (Old Dominion) and it was a perfect set up. Lyft picked us up and dropped us off from our site. We could not have been closer. There were coyotes, owls, and rabbits in the huge urban park. Highly recommend this spot for concerts at one of the best venues ever.

crowded and dirty

way to many people and the boat traffic was awful

Convenient camping

Cute campground, we camped back by the little lake. It was quiet as there were few campers at the time. The train was expected, so it didn’t bother me to much. The site we were assigned did not have a fire pit in the site, it was up the road by another camp site. Because of that we did not have a fire. Kind of awkward to leave camp to have a fire. The camp was clean and about what I expected. The bathrooms were no anywhere near that side of the campground either.

Site 18 of Dispersed Camping Sites

We rolled up to West Magnolia TH on 9/7/19. All sites were filled, however, we managed to find someone packing up at Site 18 and waited for about 20 mins for them to clear out before taking over this site. The site was good at first glance, however, being on the edge of the mountain biking trail we had numerous people literally roll through our campsite as they were seeking other parts of their trail experience. Kind of frustrating as we felt the campsite was clearly labeled but that didn't matter to most people. 

If traveling here I would recommend getting here early to procure a better site…avoid #18 if you can. The area has many great mountain biking trails and very few hiking trails. Nice views though with many nice Aspen groves.

Goose creek camping

Long drive out but it was totally worth it . The creek was running nice and it was kinda deep in places. lots of trails and wildlife, I saw 3 mule deer and heard elk calling at night.

Beautiful KOA

Campground is located above Central City with great views. Amenities include full hookup sites both pull through and back-in. Store with everything a camper would need. Clean restrooms and showers. Playground and dog friendly. Staff was extremely friendly and helpful. Would definitely stay here again.

Just ok

We stayed in the ‘over flow’ or dispersed camp sites and not the reserved spots. It’s a little ways in, but not bad. Probably not good for a stock car but an SUV with decent clearance should do fine. The site we found was in terrible condition, which is sad that people leave the camp site that way. There was trash every where, beer cans, broken pieces glass, parts of an old tent, and toilet paper. I realize that’s not anyone’s fault but just humans who are inconsiderate. The sites, for being dispersed are pretty close to each other. But there’s some beautiful views and lots of wildlife.

Nice.

Beautiful area, clean sites, water, clean bathrooms but no showers. No bodies of water here. We enjoyed our stay with the exception of late night guns going off. (After 10 pm and later). My dog and teen did not appreciate it.

Lots of spots

There are quite a few dispersed spots here that have great views - some sit right next to the creek and most have fire pits already in them. There are both drive in and hike in spots. It’s a beautiful area only 5 min from the town. The negatives are: heavily trafficked road and camp sites are nearby road so not overly peaceful. It’s busy on the weekends and fills up fast. Lots of shooting.

Sparse, crowded hard-to-get-to camping

Note: This campground is only accessible via 4x4 vehicles. Do not attempt in your sedan or lower SUV.

Bigger note: The map to this campground is wrong. Follow the directions, not the map.

The camping sites are sparsely shaded and well used- we found a lot of trash at our site. Each campsite is equipped with a fire pit, picnic table, and room for 2-3 tents. There is no water, trash, or toilets.

We got there around 9pm on a Friday (not the brightest idea) and could not find any open spots, off the road or in the campground. We camped in a field behind the parking lot for the night, and were told in the morning by a (very nice!) ranger that camping anywhere but the designated spots carries a minimum $300 fine, so we moved to a newly vacated spot. If you are going to camp at an undesignated spot, be sure to leave by 8am or earlier so as to not get yourself fined.

There are only 6 camping spots easily accessible from the parking area, along with ~4 more down by the water (about a 1/2 mile walk), and ~6 along the road. These all fill up quickly after 5pm thanks to their closeness to Boulder.

The recreation at Gross Reservoir, accessible via beach about ~1/2 mile walking from the parking lot, is delightful. You do not need a boat permit - just a life jacket on board (1 for each person). No swimming is allowed in the reservoir and there is often a ranger on the lake ensuring everyone is following that rule.

Pro Tips:

If you are late to the campsite and absolutely need to find somewhere to camp (do not start a fire, even in "rocked-in pits" that have been used before), try:

  1. West of campsite 24 (there's a ridge with 2 primitive campsites or the field)

  2. North of campsite 24 (there's a field)

  3. Between campsite 24 & 25 (there's a field)

  4. Just South of the south parking fence (there's a field)

Here there be campsites (dispersed)

Trying to find a campsite at 8pm on a summer Friday night? When you've exhausted all of your options around Winter Park and Grandby, come here. Here there be campsites.

Dispersed camping at its finest, drive down a dirt road for ~1 mile and look for open pull-off spots. Some sites are easily visible from the road, while some are hidden down a slope about 700 feet. Each "site" is designated by a rocked fire pit and many have room for groups of 4 or more tents. Bring bug spray to combat the mosquitoes, and your own (dry) wood, as it rains at 2pm here almost every summer day. Plenty of trees for hammocking and shade. Animals are active in the area, so keep food in your car and sleep with protection (I chose bear spray).

Be courteous to others using this road for recreation - Vasquez Ridge intersects with a few mountain bike trails and serves as a popular walk for the active seniors in the area. Closest grocery store is the Safeway in Winter Park (which closes at 11pm).