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Medicine Bow-Routt National Forests and Thunder Basin National Grassland, COLORADO
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Most Recent Medicine Bow-Routt National Forests and Thunder Basin National Grassland Camping Reviews
Shhhh. Don't tell anyone about this one.

Camping along Pearl Lake is a dream come true. It's a quiet lake, surrounded by mountains and forest, perfect for paddle boarders. There is also a nice hike that goes over the dam and then climbs up and away from civilization.

When there is no vacancy here be vacancies.

Visiting steamboat springs all the nearby state parks and private campgrounds were full but there was plenty of sites open here. Many of the campsites have a slight slope/grade and require a little imagination to find a level spot to put up a tent but overall not bad. Plenty of trees for tarps.

Windy!

The wind was consistently 25mph+ the whole weekend, but the hiking and alpine lakes just off the campground were great. Camp sites were well taken care of and each had a level tent spot and ample parking.

Awesome getaway

Great place for a getaway, minutes from multiple hiking trails or streams for some fly fishing.  Stop by and visit the store in nearby Clark.  If you need a shower or to do a load of laundry Steamboat lake isn’t far away and has a day pass for $7 to use all the facilities and hang out for a day.  We stayed in site 16 and the sound of the river was nice to fall asleep to at night. We had a nice view of the mountain range from the site as well.  We will be back for sure.

Tastefully Developed, Empty, and Awesome

We were told by Google that this campground was permanently closed, but we went with The Dyrt's info, and it really panned out. We were the only ones there, it was a short walk down to the Platt (flys and lures only), and the tent site, fire-ring, and picnic table were in top notch condition. Would definitely stay here again.

Nice smaller campground

We arrived in early afternoon on a Monday and despite the sign out front that said “campground full” we found that there were 2 or 3 available sites that must have been recently vacated. We chose site 8 which was fairly spacious and private despite being close to the bathroom. The campground is pretty easy to get to from town (about 15 minutes) and is also fairly close to Strawberry hot springs which are definitely worth a visit! Mosquitoes were BAD in the evenings so be prepared. We brought our own firewood but there seemed to be a lot of cut logs that could be chopped up and used for the fire if you had an axe. The sunset colors over the Aspens was gorgeous and we saw some amazing shooting stars as well. If the campsite is full, there were some dispersed sites as you continue up the mountain but the road conditions get pretty bad as you get higher up.

9,000 feet elevation camping

Big Creek Lakes Campground, Colorado (close to Wyoming border): camping here is only open for 3 months out of the year: June, July & August. It's camping at over 9,000ft elevation and requires for you to be extra prepared for snow even in the summer months, bears, mountain lions, mosquitos, aggressive horse flies, leeches, strong winds, thunder storms and altitude sickness. They do provide water which tastes fresh like newly melted snow. You can boat, fish, even hunt at some spots with a permit, hike, and swim at your own risk (can be cold, leeches, snakes). It is truly beautiful up here and the drive up the Poudre river makes it worth it. You can also spend the day rafting down the river or fishing.

Memories

This is by far my favorite place to go fishing when I'm in the mood to fish off the shore! I have spent many years coming to Teal lake, its always been a family favorite!

August at Arnica Loop

We tent camped at Arnica Loop for 3 nights in early August and we would definitely come back. It’s a solid camp ground, a half mile hike or short drive to the marina and swim beach. You can buy ice and firewood at the marina The descriptions of each site are helpful. Bring a shade to sit under if your site doesn’t have as many trees (check the descriptions). There are two flush toilets on the first loop of Arnica and a vault toilet in the second loop. The flush bathroom gets cleaned regularly and is fine. Another set of flush toilets would go a long way to making it even better and tidier as the day goes on. Hosts were just the right amount of friendly and helpful without being intrusive. Only 4 stars because some of the groups can be… trickier. Most around us were very self contained and fine, but it only takes one group or neighbor. Still enjoyed our time!

Good campsite

Lots of different campgrounds, clean and spacious sites with some cool areas to look at

Snowed in

I tried to camp here but was snowed out: the campground had not opened yet. However I was able to check it out by car. All the usual items were present: vault toilet, picnic tables, fire pits. It looked like there was a dedicated host site. There was some great hiking nearby. You won't have phone service here, just saying. I can't wait to come back and actually pitch my tent here next summer.

Nice camping near the Snowy Range

This campground is high up in the Snowy Range above Encampment. Not a lot of people seem to use this campground. I'm not sure why. It has all of the usual camp accoutrements including clean vault toilet, picnic tables, and fire pits. Sites were not especially private, and you had to look around to find a site with a level tent pad, but still not a bad place to spend the night.

Prepare for 3 Ws- Water, weather, & wildlife.

This wooded campground has a very narrow season. Gravel roads (starting at Albany) were snowed in 4 miles out in late May 2019, While there are gendered vault toilets (TP stocked), bring your own water for cooking and cleaning. This fact alone makes it better for RVs than tent campers like us. There are loads of sites, well spaced with fire rings and picnic tables. We got rain and small hail on the 3rd weekend in July and it got to 40 F or below overnight. Deer, chipmunks, and a bald eagle were spotted. There were mosquitoes. There is a boat ramp into the reservoir. Heavily ATV traffic. Dog friendly but must be on leash. Gunfire noted early and late across reservoir. With proper prior planning, you will probably have a pleasant experience.

Easy access

Great campground right on the river. Lots and of access for fishing and a great trail hike along the river that stretched for miles. Despite being just outside town. The campground feels remote.

Looks like a campground, feels primitive

We stayed 2 nights on the “Primitive Loop” in site 479; about 3 miles north of North Fork Michigan River. It was essentially a cul-de-sac of about 15 tent sites. Not much natural sun coverage, as you are sitting on top of a small ridge, but there are great views of the mountains and sunrises/sunsets. Great hiking trails nearby also. The primitive loop felt like a little community! Everyone was so kind and willing to talk. Will be back!

Looks like a campground, feels primitive

We stayed 2 nights on the “Primitive Loop” in site 479; about 3 miles north of North Fork Michigan River. It was essentially a cul-de-sac of about 15 tent sites. Not much natural sun coverage, as you are sitting on top of a small ridge, but there are great views of the mountains and sunrises/sunsets. Great hiking trails nearby also. The primitive loop felt like a little community! Everyone was so kind and willing to talk. Will be back!

Hope you Like Human Waste and Toilet Paper

This was a great campground four or five years ago. It has since been decommissioned. There is no potable water and no toilets. The current human trash using this area can't be bothered to take a dump more than 5 feet from the campfire. They do, however, use a lot of toilet paper and leave it festooned all over. There is literally human excrement EVERYWHERE.

Nice, peaceful place

I tent camped at Ranger Lakes. I was the only one tent camping among all the RV’s. I didn’t mind that the spaces were visible from each other since I was camping alone. The pads were very spacious and flat. The lakes are very pretty and are a short walk from the campground. The trails around the lakes were nice to walk around. I wish there were facilities since there really aren’t any within most of the campgrounds of State Forest State Park. But Ranger Lakes is just a short drive from Cameron Pass as well as several beautiful trails. I’d definitely stay here again.

Great place for short term or long term stay

Picked this campsite due to a last minute change of plans.  Maintained by American Land & Leisure which has been upgrading facilities, new fire rings and bear box storage containers.  The camp ground manager was visible working. Fireword is provide for sale on site.  Water is available.  Pit toilets are clean and less than 10 yers old.  sites are well spaced .  The facility has trails and fishing available with a drive of 1 mile to 12 miles.

Great spot for a long weekend

Great spot for car camping in Colorado except its distance from Denver. It’s a trek! Takes at least 4 hours (that’s if you’re lucky). Lots to do. Great fishing, beautiful hiking trails to a water fall, and trails for the RZR near by.

First to Review
Primitive Sites Right Next to Douglas Creek

Great sites, right by the creek. There's a trailhead nearby for Douglas Creek Trail. This is a Wilderness and it is wild. We saw Marmots, Big Horn Sheep, and other wildlife. The mosquitoes were pretty bad everywhere we went in early July. The creeks, mountains, and trees were magnificent. There are fire-rings, but not much dry firewood available. Glad there are a couple outhouses because I thought we might have to dig latrine holes instead. You can bring RVs or Fifth Wheels, but RVs might have some trouble in the mud.

Perfect get away

A lot of trees have been cleared near the lake, but there are plenty of Aspen's and new babies growing. Everytime we have gone there there is always room to camp, even on 4th of July. It is a nice calm lake at the to of a mountain perfect for fishing, kayaking and paddle boarding… As long as it's not windy… Which is pretty common. GO IN THE FALL, with all the Aspen's it is beautiful and an old railroad trail to walk along is a very easy 'hike'. You can also walk all around the lake, where there is an old train caboose. If you are going to the campground for the first time use WAZE for directions, NOT GOOGLE MAPS, that will take you through rivate property.

Worth The Bumpy Drive Up

The lake was beautiful. We went in July 2018 not really knowing what we were getting into. Google maps will tell you it is a 20 min drive from Steamboat… It does not take into account driving slow due to the road condition. The drive time is actually about 45 min to an hour. I did see small cars attempt to go up but I highly recommend 4x4 to get there.

If you're willing to make the trek it is definitely worth it! The drive actually has some great views on the way up. Lots of trails for biking, hiking or ATVs. When we went it was relatively quiet and very busy. We also went the weekend of the balloon festival so I expected it to be much busier.

Overall would so again if my main goal was to hike or do activities in that area. This is not a campground to stay at if you plan on doing activities in Steamboat, unless you don't mind the drive up.

Majestic sky

Campsites have picnic tables and fire rings. Each site has a garbage can. Horses are permitted. Set among a rocky outcropping near Bennett’s peak… between the two campgrounds there’s over 25 sites to chose from. Was there over the 4th of July holiday and only 1/3 of the sites were taken. There’s more trees at Bennett peak. Coral camp is a little more exposed and perched uphill from the North Platte River.

End of the road.

Great BLM campground with fire rings, water and amazing scenery. Located where the North Platte river cuts through sagebrush country, the  hills and peaks resembling  prehistoric boulders… in the middle of ranch country, the drive in takes you all the way to the end of the road. Just keep going until you can’t go anymore. The road is in good condition. There’s cattle, horses and plenty of pronghorn wandering about. The sites each have a couple picnic tables. Fire rings have cooking grates. And the well pump has a crank for easy use. 1 vault toilet. There’s a boat ramp for the numerous oar-float boats and rafts going in and out. Down stream is treasure island… another campground located outside Saratoga’. Upstream within a half mile is the coral creek campground. Days were warm but the nights cooled off considerably. It was the 4th of July and more than half the sites were available.

Basically dispersed camping

The absolute bare minimum of a campground but I was perfectly fine with that. It’s a wide open acreage with about 5 or 6 fire pits constructed by previous campers. There aren’t any specific sites so you really just pull in and find an area that works to setup your site. It does have a vault toilet which was in really great shape and BYOTP. Right next to the Laramie river as well.

Great for RVs, campers, toy haulers, tents and big setups. Less than a mile from Lake 1 which makes it convenient if you’re fishing the lakes for a couple days.

Great wide open views all around and at night it’s about as dark as you’d hope for to see the stars.

The biggest drawback of the CG was the mosquitos which were brutal but spray worked well enough. Also there are only 2 “sites” which have tree coverage and the rest is in the open.

There was not a fee for this CG

Amazing

Very beautiful campground! Spacious spots, beautiful big lake and very peaceful. I took some photos just before it open in May.

Ranger Review: Banner & Oak Hats & Apparel at Little Cabin with a View

Campground Review 

Hot tubs, hot chocolate, and chocolate cookies. What else does a person need, really? This cozy little cabin is special. The host is so friendly and accommodating, and the cabin and property are breathtaking. I had such a relaxing time here and I will be back. You have access to a cabin with electricity, two picnic tables and a gazebo which all have great views and lounging options, a fire pit and a BBQ, and a wonderful host wanting to make your stay unforgettable. You are in a prime area to hike, fish, and connect with wildlife. You can also check out the nearby Woods Landing Resort on down the road for a bite to eat and check out the national historical landmark dance hall. 

There are a bunch of leads to hook your dog up to so you can let them roam while you tend to your own duties. Which should be things like star gazing, hot tubbing, talking to cows, enjoying mountain views, using the binoculars to check out the birds, enjoying a cold beverage from the fridge, taking a hot shower, making coffee and sitting in a chair outside the cabin, grilling some food on the supplied BBQ or fire pit, and breathing in the fresh mountain air. 

This is a wonderful place to come relax and feel pampered, and while I enjoyed the romantic getaway with my dog, this would be such a fun place for a couple or small family to enjoy as it is so comfortable and remote and is such top class service. I was just enjoying the stars from the hot tub and had someone tending a fire and asking me if I wanted hot chocolate. The worst part was leaving and returning to‘reality’. It feels like one of those places you want to keep a secret but also tell everyone about, because the experience is so pleasant and amazing. It is definitely one of those,“I wonder…would it be possible for me to delay my life and stay here another day?” type places. You will love it! 

Product Review 

As a Dyrt Ranger I am given product to test and review from time to time, and I have been using some clothing and outdoor accessories from brand Banner& Oak for the last few weeks. I ordered the trailhead hat, the sierra hat, their T-Shirt called the Camp (with a name like that, I had to), and a steel camper mug

Video Review of all products below

1. Camp Tshirt 

This shirt fit nice and was comfortable to wear. I’m 5’9” and around 160lbs and the Medium fit perfect for me. It’s 100% cotton made in the USA and absorbs the smell of campfire smoke perfectly. When I was looking through designs for a shirt to choose, I had a lot of options for something with an outdoor theme to it, so I felt like it was hard to make a wrong choice. This shirt design reminds me of my time spent canoeing. It washed well, the colors aren’t fading, and is breathable. My mission to advertise my outdoor spirit is accomplished! 

2. Trailhead hat 

I bought this hat looking for something that would be able to handle rain or my sweat a little better than a conventional baseball hat would, especially when hiking. The outside pattern appears to be able to better handle abrasions, but it’s really just the look of the hat. What was good to see is the added material above the inside brim, where it rests against your forehead. A major sweat spot for me, and if you’re caught outside on a hot day in a hat you love, sweat stains can really ruin your look. I’ve been hiking in this hat a few times, and been wearing it in the Colorado sun a lot. I’m sweating like normal, but my hat is still looking great, which helps me look less like a hot mess. I like a little curve to my hat, and this one wasn’t very receptive– it would eventually flatten back out again. Easy to adjust, and I like the fact it has a small crown height. Meaning it’s a low profile hat. I have a really small head both in size and depth, so I liked how this hat wasn’t coming over my ears on the sides when I wore it forwards or backwards. Definitely a good hiking hat, and stylish enough to wear to the brewery or when you need a casual, not-too-loud hat to wear out socially. 

3. Sierra Hat 

I liked the design of this hat a lot because I’m a big sucker for anything that has mountains in it, and I also like hats that have the mesh back half(saxtwill fabric), for breathability. I got the Royal color so it would match TheDyrt’s colors, and it comes in 5 different styles all which look like a great use of complimentary colors, and some that are without the mesh back and more full cotton. This hat has a mid crown height, which meant it couldn’t sit on my head flush without the sides overlapping my ears, but it doesn’t make for an uncomfortable fit at all. I would just like to see more hats from this brand with a low crown profile, because there are so many cool designs by this company, but not a lot that fit my head shape. I have gotten a lot of compliments on the hat and people like the pop of color. So do I as it’s a very vibrant hat and one I love to wear in my mountain town. It’s just another way to help me express my love for the outdoors and mountains. 

4. Steel Camper Mug 

Yes, it’s a mug. So what’s so great about it? It’s weight is ideal. It’s not too heavy, not too light, it’s juuuuust right. Steel so it’s light and keeps things warm better than ceramic, and an enamel coating so it’s protected and can be handled fine when it contains hot liquids. The mantra“Freedom to Explore” written on one side is a great emphasis piece on advertising your outdoor love. It’s a quintessential camping mug for sure. It would be neat to see some more designs or colors on camping mugs from them, but this one style of grey and white really looks nice around the campfire and on your chair’s armrest.

Favorite campsite so far

This place is incredible. It’s primitive but they do have water. $18 per site. You get to camp next to a nice running creek. Surrounded by the forest and mountains. Friendly staff, good shade and privacy. Highly recommend for a true getaway. Nice trails nearby as well.

No trespassing

Updated. There’s camping east of medicine bow in the areas outside the park around some of the reservoir - lakes. The campgrounds are mostly on rd 130 past centennial and more on the western side of Medicine bow. I probably would have found them had I continued on to centennial where the park starts. But per the campgrounds outside of the near the eastern park boundary… these  are exposed areas without any trees alongside or near the lakes. Vault toilets make them easy to spot and are the only accommodation except a picnic table and charcoal grill at Hatte reservoir. Google gps will try and take you past the turnoff on HWY 130 onto private land that’s posted no trespassing. I backtracked to Big Hollow Rd but eventually I gave up trying to find this campground after coming to a hunter access parking lot/dead end. I checked later and there’s no satellite view of a campground at the GPS location. Lesson learned: Always google satellite the campground and or check the website before heading out. Beautiful area. Lakes, pronghorn and cattle. I’ll be back to map it out.