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Took advantage of this past warmer weekend to camp here. It’s about 2 hours from Denver. There were a couple spots on the road you might want higher clearance, but mostly smooth and all easily passable in a stock Outback.
Plenty of dispersed sites; we camped on an overlook a quarter mile or so from the Pawnee Buttes trailhead which had beautiful, clear views of the sunrise and sunset. We only saw one other site in use and some folks camped at the trailhead parking lot, but neither were visible from our site. The night sky is beautiful and full of stars, though not completely dark since we could see lights from nearby private lands.
The only negative was wind. It was very windy, especially at night (the wind rocked the car most of the night). It wasn’t an issue for us sleeping in the car, but I wouldn’t tent camp. Pawnee Buttes Trail was a great way to start the day the next morning and it was nice to have use of the bathrooms.
Overall a beautiful site, plenty of solitude (at least in the winter) and nice change of pace from the mountains. I would return.
Multiple dispersed campsites approaching the Pawnee Buttes trailhead from the west and southwest. I camped (rooftop tent) on the bluff overlooking the trailhead parking lot, approached from the south. Chilly at night (10 degrees) but no wind.
Spectacular view of the Pawnee Buttes to the east. Perfect spot to catch sunrise and sunset. This area is also a “dark site,” so on clear, moonless nights the stars / Milky Way are phenomenal.
During winter snow often drifts onto the roads. If snowy, 4-wheel drive / high clearance helpful for accessing some of the dispersed sites.
Trailhead restrooms are open year-round.
Consistent 3 bars 5G (AT&T). 200 Mbps down / 16 Mbps up.
This is an unexpected gem very close to our house where you can't see a tree for miles. It's peaceful and not crowded. Be sure to check the forecast because it can get very windy at times.
Camped here overnight in August 2020 on our way back to Georgia from Montana. I made the reservation on the drive down and there were plenty of sites available. You must have a reservation between May 1 - September 30. However, our site was very difficult to find in the dark when we arrived. The map was very confusing and so were the road signs. After 20 minutes or so of driving all around the lake with no luck in finding out campsite, we were almost about to give up and just pick a random one. Finally we found the loop we needed. We stayed in loop “Silver Crown” in site S-53 Since we still couldn’t find our reserved site, S-55. S-53 was in the middle of a field at the top of a small hill. There was a picnic table and fire pit at the site and the bathrooms (no showers) were nearby. Plenty of room for both of our tents but offered no privacy. The boat ramp for the lake is close by so expect activity early in the morning if staying in the summer time. The next morning we found our original site closer to the water. We were afraid to drive down that way because at night it does look like you may drive straight into the lake. It was just so dark and I wasn’t impressed with signage which is why I give it 4 stars. There are pull through sites and back ins. Just look online and pay attention to the map when you reserve your site!
All sites have great access and close to the ponds. Variety of fish in the ponds. They allow ice fishing as long as the ice is safe. Some traffic noise if you are on the east side of the park due to proximity to I 25. Best to get a yearly Colorado access pass.
It’s a heavily used area. Snow sports in winter and dirt bikes in summer. Good dispersed spots along the FS road. However, in the summer it will be lots of UTVs and dirt bikes screaming by so there’s that.
Many dispersed sites along the road and the creek bed. The main road of Buckhorn is easy to navigate and most any vehicle can make it. If you take another road off buckhorn be prepared to need 4WD and/or a higher clearance vehicle. Depending on season, you may have lots of passerby traffic.
This is a great campground if you want to be close to be close to Fort Collins, and/or enjoy the lake. Horsetooth Reservoir is a very long lake great for boating, and with some gorgeous inlets to explore. The campground itself is clean and well laid out. The only downside is the road is fairly close and creates a bit of noise, even late at night as there is some local traffic to access the neighborhoods behind the reservoir.