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Great location, great sites, but a little cramped. However the generators were loud and took away from the experience of being in nature. Loved seeing the elk that came into the campground early mornings.
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!
This is the largest of the campgrounds in RMNP. It has several loops, one is "generator free" and each have their own positives. The CG sits above a couple shuttle stops at the moraine below and there is one that stops at the entrance so you can reach the rest of the park without driving yourself or to connect to other trailheads. It is only near a couple trails, but the shuttle can get you where you need. Each site has its own tent pad, picnic table and fire ring. There are toilets and water sources centrally located and a few solar shower facilities (stalls to hang your own solar shower…bring your own water). Being in the park makes it easy to get around without fighting all the traffic if you use the shuttles.
Great campground! There are trailheads on both sides and behind all the loops to connect to the RMNP trail system. What makes this CG most convenient is the RMNP Shuttle lot is a short walk across the road from the campground so you can hike where you want and shuttle back or vice-versa. Half of the loops suffered beetle kill so they are treeless but offer great views. Some of the sites are close together, but all in a ll its a great National park campground with daily Firewood, ice, ice cream and candy sales and weekly educational programs in the amphitheater. The community restrooms are also flush toilets instead of vault and they have dish cleaning facilities for the tent campers.
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.
Nice secluded sites up here. Out of the way. Great for ease to hike or bike to Rabbit ears or on the Devide trail. Lots of trails break off of this area. Road is super rutted and rough at top. Not recommended unless you have higher clearance vehicle.