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Medicine Bow-Routt National Forests and Thunder Basin National Grassland, COLORADO
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This really is Heaven on Earth!

To say we love Beaver Meadows would be a huge understatement. We spend just about every other weekend there all year long - winter and summer. We got married there in 2014 (as our photos show) and it was beautiful. The outdoor wedding area is amazing and right by a river. The reception hall for after is so cool with giant windows so you can look out in every direction on nature and you celebrate your big day. Ever since we've been hooked. They had cabins, condos, lodges, and camp spots so every guest had a place to stay the night.

When you pull around the corner and into the valley it takes your breath away every single time. Lush green fields, ponds, stunning mountain backdrops, wildlife, horses running free, people fishing and riding horses. It's a playground for adults and kids and it's only an hour from our house in Fort Collins - we can't stay away. They have a yummy restaurant too so we never even bring food - we just eat there.

In the winter we go snow tubing (12 + runs with a lift) and stay in one of their little heated cabins which is so cozy but also provides all the amenities of home (kitchen, bedrooms, entertainment, etc). We love to go up before a storm and watch the snow start to fall. In the spring and summer we are up there camping along the river all the time. Each site is unique so we like to change it up each time - we go hiking, horseback riding, and fish in the stocked ponds! There are some unique fish in there - really neat. In the fall we like to go up and do the "river walk" - a series of paths and bridges through tall foilage that feels like your in a different world. Watching the leaves change is awesome in the fall - compares to any drive you can do in the state - soooo many aspens.

If your looking for a romantic weekend with the significant other or a family vacation with the kiddos - I would highly suggest making the drive up - I bet you will fall in love with it just like we did and won't be able to stay away.

Basic camping close to a cool town

Just outside Saratoga Springs, this campground has the basics on a lake. Tent sites are out in the open with no privacy and few trees for hanging a hammock. However, there are pretty good views of the lake. Sites have picnic tables and fire pits, and the vault toilet was pretty basic. If you need a shower, go into town to the free hot springs and take a shower for free (altho in a very prison like atmosphere). Be sure to spend some time in the hot springs pools, or go down to the river to soak in cooler water. Plenty of restraunts in town to get a great bite to eat, and there is even a microbrewery at the local spa/lodge/resort.

Great location

Cheap camping right on the river! Can't beat it. Only a 5 minute drive into town with opportunity to tube into your front yard! Everything you need is there and kept clean and we'll maintained.

Off the grid

We love taking our kids and dog camping out here. It is dispersed camping and it’s first come first serve. There is a camp ground near by with a porta-potty and there is a small market about 10-20 miles away. There is no cell service but there are call boxes in the area and we often see rangers driving by. There is fire permitted depending on the fire ban in area at the time and you can only camp where there are fire rings. You can’t cut down trees for wood but we usually chop up trees that are already down and dead. You can buy wood at the shop. There is a lot of wildlife in the area so be careful. We have had full grown moose run through our camp site and there has been reports of black bears near by as well as elk and deer. It does get cold at night even in summer as it’s about 9,000 ft above sea level.

Nice camping near a resort

We stayed here for a weekend since we were married there the year before. It's a beautiful camping spot close to amenities. Felt like camping in a forest.

Beautiful camping with lots to do

Great views of the lake. Lots of hiking and biking nearby. We camped on the non-electric loop and there were very few people. The sites were spread out with trees and some privacy. The electric loop was full and the sites very close together.

Good for water activity but beach area is muddy.

Nice amenities and close to lots of other attractions for exploring.

Nice views, especially with a full moon.

Nice for water activity but algae in water is a bit messy. Great tail waters for some BIG trout.

Great late season spot

A few sandy campsites by the Platte River - had we gotten there earlier, we could have parked on the river's rocky shore. Someone beat us to it though!

There are actually two separate camping areas of this access - when you get to the fork, there are sites in either direction. Both are denoted with the Foote Public Access area signs, so you know you found it. There was also a boat ramp. I am not familiar with this section of the Platte, but I would imagine fishing and hunting are probably great activities if you're staying here for a few days. Wildlife appeared abundant in September - luckily, mosquitos and flies were not!

It is a road through private land, which is relatively well maintained, but please respect private property. Also be aware of current fire restrictions - there are no fire rings here, and open fires are not permitted. A firepan or fuel-based cooking system would be good to have.

Dispersed camping on the North Platte River

This tiny dispersed site is on the North Platte River with boat access and a few weedy, private sites spread out in this area tucked inside private property. Since you have to drive over private property to get here, be mindful of speed on the dirt access road and clean up after yourself. I did not camp here as all of the sites were taken but I did visit with a couple traveling from Canada. They liked how quiet it was and loved how secluded it was. They said the mosquitoes were horrific, but worth dealing with to camp in such a great spot. Just up the road is the actual public access to the river, but in the campground there is a small boat ramp that you could use to launch a small boat or canoe. I'm keeping this one on my list for future reference- free, beautiful, and secluded. Hope I can get a spot in the future.

Beautiful sites and great boondocking

Half of the upper loop sites have a lake and mountain view. Plenty space between sites for privacy too. They had twice daily ranger visits and they were very polite. No trash and all campers seemed very friendly.

Beautiful campgrounds

We did a Colorado road trip in late July, 2018 - we knew we were going to camp around Steamboat Springs in the middle of the week, but didn't have a plan so we just drove along US40 and stopped along a few campgrounds to see how they were. Dumont was the best - with a lake, close hiking paths, and a beautiful meadow with lots of wildflowers. The dumpster was locked so no need to worry about wild animals, the vault toilets were the cleanest I've ever used, and it was just an amazing time. The campgrounds host had a couple hummingbird feeders and we saw a ton of hummingbirds around! If i'm ever in the area again, I would definitely stay here!

Secluded, wooded, hiking trails, clean restrooms and a nice host

This campground is small giving it a private feel. It is clean, has great hiking trails and a nice lake. Sites are well spaced out and forested. Nice fire pits with grates for cooking.

One of the best in Colorado

This is one of our favorite campgrounds in Colorado. We make a habit of visiting the week after Labor Day. The crowds are gone and the campground is peaceful. Amenities as small boat rentals remain open. The local deer migrate into the campground. A site on lake’s edge is usually available. Fall’s morning fog greet you in the morning. Outstanding mountain and lake views suttound your campsite.

Bald Eagles!

Beautiful spot right on the reservoir. Fun trails all around. Stinky toilet but that's a pit toilet for ya! It didn't ruin my camping!

Peaceful getaway

This is one of my favorite places to camp and hike. Less people and very beautiful. Lots of lakes and very peaceful. Only open a short window of the year due to being high altitude and road closes in the winter.

Dispersed Camping at American Lakes

This is one of my all-time favorite places to hike and camp in Colorado. I have not yet stayed in any of the campgrounds but have backpacked to the top of the American Lakes Trail. Not only is this hike fantasticly beautiful and full of wildlife (tons of moose especially) but there is great dispersed camping along the trails. You simply cannot find more scenic and free camping in Colorado. I would highly recommended camping anywhere in State Forest State Park!

Also, there are quite a few huts, cabins and yurts that can be rented year round in SFSP!

On the Yampa and close to the 'Boat

We've stayed at the Steamboat Springs KOA multiple times over the past couple years for many reasons. It's close enough to downtown Steamboat, right on the Yampa, and has plenty of things to do for the whole family. There is a small pool, updated miniature golf course, trike rentals and the Yampa running through the campground.

I love the ability to ride into town to the mountain bike trails on Emerald Mountain. On your way back from the amazing singletrack, be sure to stop at Taco Cabo to grab to-go grub and head down the road to Storm Peak Brewing for a cold barley pop with your amazing takeout.

Some of the RV spots are close to each other, but the park is quiet overall. Across the bridge over the Yampa River, there are plenty of tent spots. The facilities are clean and there are plenty of showers to keep all campers clean.

Fall camping by the lake

This is a beautiful campground located along hwy 14 near Fort Collins. I brought my family here for some car camping last fall and was not disappointed by the campground itself, and the nearby dispersed camping along Hohnholz Lakes Road. We checked out the campground and were impressed by it’s cleanliness, well-appointed campsites and general amenities. This is especially nice to see in campground that has such a limited opening season, as we somewhat expected it to be somewhat neglected as we were visiting at a time so close to when they close for the season. 

Although the campground was nice, we actually opted to camp alone the Hohnholz Lakes Road just outside of the campground, which offers beautiful dispersed camp sites above the lake. We did this because we had 2 large dogs with us and figured having more space would be appreciated by the other campers and the dogs! The sites up here were even more scenic than within the boundaries of the campground, but still offered plenty of well cleared areas to set up tents, ample parking, and well-made stone fire pits.

I would highly recommend both the campground itself and the surrounding dispersed sites when the road conditions allow (summer and early fall).

Campground in the canyon

Great campground and amazing people! It gets very cold at night if you’re near the river!

A hidden gem in Northern Colorado

My family stumbled on to this campground while trying to find overnight accommodations between the Sand Dunes NP and Yellowstone's West Gate. We stayed at a KOA the night before and we were heading to another KOA outside YNP and oh boy did I love this site! Coming from someone who had never camped at the time, KOAs seemed a logical first step. This was a campground that made me want to truly embrace the park system that our country has done so well with.

The first thing you can say about staying anywhere in the Rockies is that your views are impressive. We faced our tent to take advantage of the view out of our front door. We got in a bit late, but still made a very interesting Ranger led presentation at the amphitheater regarding deer and elk.

I woke up to views of the mountains, an abundance of wildflowers up to my shoulders, and a brief walk to watch the lake's natural beauty unfold while sipping on some coffee.

I wish I could have stayed longer and so will you.

Great scenery--lots of moose around!

The 26 campsites at the Crags Campground in State Forest State Park were very basic and accessed by a road that was steep and narrow. No RVs or trailers allowed or able to make it up the narrow one lane access road, which made it nice and quiet for tent camping. Fire grills and picnic tables provided, but no designated tent pads, no bear boxes, no electricity, and only a tough to use hand pump for water in the center of the campground. As of August 2018, there was an appallingly old and poorly maintained pit toilet for the campground use--with a brand new, nice looking pit toilet complete with handicapped parking--locked and roped off with construction netting. We were visited by a moose at dinner time two nights in a row as she had unfortunately become accustomed to eating from people's unsecured trash and had a special liking for hot dogs and potato chips. Beautiful place, with neat animals, but be aware how basic it really is.

Old water handpump is a unique amenity.

Beautiful tiny campground. The mountain across the highway looks like a sleeping elephant. The toliets are well maintained.

My favorite place

Small campground next to three lakes. One lake has dried up. Beautiful Gould, CO. We also boondock camp in this area as well. Don't miss Lake Agnes. It's at the top of a mountain. Not many people get to see this. I grew up in this are. Teller City is a nearby ghost town, and the Rand store is a time warp to the 1800's.

Beautiful view. Right on the river

This campground has great sites right on the Poudre river as well as some quiet, peaceful sites just a few yards from the river, in the surrounding Aspen trees. Sites were well kept and in a really beautiful area.

Easy access and spacious. Close to the river as well.

We pulled in there July 2 and stayed the night, loved it. The river can be heard from 100' away, but just puts you right to sleep.

We have a 22' travel trailer. Fit into Site #7 backing in and parking the truck on the side. We saw someone with a larger TT about 30' pull in, look around, then left. So larger rigs may not fit here. I didn't really check the west side much for space as these were already occupied. Everyone there, 90% full by late afternoon, were tent campers. I'd say tenters, vans, cars, truck campers had to love this. Good distance between sites. Once it got dark, traffic virtually stopped on the highway. I wasn't woken once all night. VERY quiet. Fire pit with a grill. I packed in my own wood, didn't see any for sale. Will go back for sure.

$17/nite. $8.50 with a senior pass. There may have been a water spigot, but I didn't see one. I'd have rated this 5 stars had it not been that pricey for just a spot to stay with no real amenities.

pretty

This is a small but very well maintained campground. You can pan for gold or fish. The creek runs right behind a number of the campsites. The owners have planted trees and flowers at every site and the wildflowers were also in bloom. There is no playground or swimming pool, if that is important to you.

Gorgeous Rocky Mountain Camping - North Michigan Campground

We found State Forest State Park on a whim this past July 2018. We were on a road trip from California to Colorado for a wedding in Granby, CO. We were camping in Utah at Dinosaur National Monument, but due to the smoke from a nearby wildfire and the high heat of the summer, we decided to cut our stay one day short, and head over to the Rockies a day early. We wanted to be fairly close to our final destinations, Granby then RMNP, but wanted to go somewhere we hadn’t been before. My boyfriend and I are both animal lovers, and our dream was to finally see a moose on this trip out to Colorado. In researching moosey areas on the internet, we found the Moose Visitor Center at State Forest State Park. We figured that a place with a Moose Visitors Center was as moosey as it comes, so we reserved a site online and headed out to Colorado.

It was late afternoon when we arrived, but since we had already eaten, we didn’t have much to do besides set up our tent and sleeping pads for the night. Getting to the campground and visitors center is easy as they are both right off the highways 41 and 14, but it is quite a drive to get to, in general. The scenery is so pretty, that we did not mind the drive to or from SFSP. North Michigan Campground is right by a lake, it is pretty.

The sites are primitive - each site had picnic benches and a firepit, but at the time we visited there was a Stage 2 fire ban in place, so we couldn’t have a campfire. The fire ban included the burning of wood and charcoal - using a propane stove was OK.

There were pit toilets, and they were well maintained. The sites appeared to have once had more in the way of trees and shade, but it looks as though SFSP was hit by the pine beetles, like so much of Colorado. It’s sad to see the destruction the beetles left in their wake, and fewer trees mean less privacy and less shade for tent campers. We would have had a hard time setting up extra tarps in case it had rained that evening. Bringing an easy-up or canopy would be smart in the summer to protect against sun and heat, or a passing thunderstorm.

WARNING: You ARE in bear country and there were no bear bins in the campground - be bear safe and bear smart, lock all of your food and toiletries inside your car at night. I was once told by a ranger in Yosemite NP that bears can recognize coolers when peering into car windows, so we always put a towel and gear over our coolers when keeping them in the car overnight.

We packed up early and arrived at the Moose Visitors Center when they opened. The visitors center was educational and interesting, and the staff was friendly and knowledgeable and answered all of our questions. After studying some maps of the area with the rangers, we decided to try our luck driving along Highway 14 towards Fort Collins.

We stopped at various spots along the highway, and ended up walking around the Joe Wright Reservoir for a while. Thunderheads were rolling in, and some rain and thunder started, so we decided to start making our way back towards SFSP then head down to Granby, our next stop. We were around Cameron Pass and had given up on seeing any moose when we saw traffic slowing and cars stopped alongside the road - there were two young bull moose snacking by a small river on the side of the road! We pulled over, turned our hazard lights on, grabbed the camera, and jumped out to see our first moose. The moose seemed unconcerned by their growing audience, and continued to chomp away on their lunch - there was a small ravine between the moose and their human audience, so neither moose nor humans felt threatened.

According to the staff at the Moose Visitor Center, there are only about 1,000 moose in the entire state of Colorado - and here we stumbled across two moose at once! We were ecstatic, and so happy we made the impromptu, unplanned trip out to State Forest State Park! We returned to the Moose Visitors Center to share the experience with the rangers (they record the specifics of moose sightings in the area on a board), and the ranger gave us a high five for spotting our first ever moose.

I would like to return to the area someday to hike, I imagine the nearby trails must be goregous!

CAMPSITE SPECS

Fees: $18/night

Plumbed Toilets: NO - pit

Drinking Water: Yes

Showers: NO

Picnic Table: Yes

Firepit: Yes

Cooking Grates: Yes

Shade: Limited!

Cell Service: NO

Animal Bins/Food Lockers: NO

National parks camping - quiet, some sites are close to each other

This campground in Yellowstone National Park has 85 first-come, first-served sites. It was a good base location for us for exploring Yellowstone although there are other campgrounds that will put you closer to geysers, hot springs, and all the beauty of Yellowstone. We had to do more driving but our first priority was getting a campsite; we didn't want to get deeper into the park and hit full csmpgrounds. Plan on an early start for exploring in the summer, because the parking lots can be full by mid-morning .

The appeal for us was that we could get here in 30 minutes from our campground in Grand Teton NP. We arrived around 8 am because we saw on the NPS website for Yellowstone that the campground had filled around 11:30 am the previous two days. You can see the "full" time for the previous day or two for all Yellowstone parks at this link:

https://www.nps.gov/yell/planyourvisit/campgrounds.htm

This is a great feature; these campgrounds fill up daily during the summer. 

Our early arrival time gave us a good choice of sites on a Wednesday. On Thursday, people were looking for sites before 7:30 am. The ranger was pulling tags off the sites that indicated a Thursday departure date, but remember that people can decide to pay and stay if they're already on the site. On Saturday, someone was cruising for a site as we were leaving before 7 am. They weren't going to have any problem finding a site because lots of sites are vacated on Saturday.

This campground has the standard amenities for a campground that has no hookups: vault toilets, water spigots for potable water and trash/recycling bins.

Walk in sites W1-W17 (with a specified parking spot for each site) are good tent sites, but so are many of the sites on loops A, B and C. There is also a hiker biker area in the walk in area.

Back in/pull in parking areas are fairly short; length limit is 25 feet. Some have parking areas alongside the road with no demarcation where one ends and the other starts, that is, two sites share a parking area alongside the road. If you have a vehicle and trailer/pop up, you're better off staying away from sites with shared parking. See photos for a trailer and truck sharing a parking area with another vehicle.