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Rocky Mountain National Park, COLORADO
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Great Spot for a Rocky Mountain Tan

Sandbeach Lake Trail is in Rocky Mountain National Park. The trail is approximately 8.7 miles roundtrip. The trailhead is in the Wild Basin area. The hike in is mainly uphill and it very rocky (loose baseball size rocks at times). 

There are 4 backcountry campsites at Sandbeach Lake. We camped at the final backcountry site (you just follow the path alongside the lake to the left when you arrive).

The sandy beach is amazing! We were able to spend the day sunbathing, swimming, and taking in the beautiful views. (Fishing is not allowed here)

There is a creek that flows into Sandbeach Lake. You go to the right when you arrive to find this. We were able to fill up on water at the creek (just remember to treat your water!).

Ranger Review: Fiber Light at Estes Park Campground at East Portal

Campground Review: 

We really enjoyed our stay at Estes Park at East Portal! I can’t say enough good things. We passed so many parking lot campgrounds and were so happy we chose here. We had trees! Our space was large enough to accommodate our 20 ft travel trailer with our truck next to it, still leaving plenty of room for the picnic table and a chair circle around the fire. We chose to park next to the camper so as to not obstruct the view. Water and electric and a large bear box were provided. Our spot A66 overlooked a little field that every morning a little fawn would come up out of and sniff around. My kids enjoyed playing with sticks and rocks in this little field-something every kid should get to do! We had beautiful views in 3 directions(bathroom behind us). Speaking of bathrooms, they were large and clean! Auto flushing toilets, toilet paper and hand soap! A cleaning crew came in often and quickly. Individual shower rooms make for a comfortable and private hot shower very welcomed at the end of a day of nearby hiking. Mule deer came through every evening right by our camper to eat grass. One morning 3 large Bull Elk and a young bull came through the valley and up through the campground. It was so surreal! The stars were stunning too. We saw shooting stars and even the northern lights (flashing kind not curtains). Then on our last day, a rainbow could be seen right next to the campground. We could not have asked for anything more! The camp hosts were all awesome and very helpful. The location was central to most things that we wanted to do. No cell service and it was glorious! But if we did need it, about a mile down the road we picked it back up. There is a geocache very near to the campground right by a hiking trail-my boys enjoyed marking it off their list . I could watch them walk to it from the site. On our first hike we saw horse back riders from the YMCA and stunning views including a small waterfall. Wildflowers were scattered across the mountainside and there is a small reservoir for fishing-though we didn’t. The air was so clean and you could smell the pines. The site next to us was a walk-in I believe as it cycled through a few times in a week. The playground was small but my kids were satisfied. There was a rock climbing wall and swings. My husband said the dump site was not positioned perfectly for our camper but we were so happy they had one. The office has a small little store with maps brochures and some essentials or souvenirs. If we go back to Estes Park, this is definitely where we will camp again.

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Product Review: 

As a Ranger for The Dyrt, I get products to test from time to time and this time we chose to review  Fiber Light.

https://fiberlightfs.com/collections/fire-starters-tinder/products/original-fiber-light-fire-starter

My husband has been showing our 12 year old some camping how to’s and this was a fun thing for them to mess around with. They used a spark wheel to get it going (survival mode they said lol) and it lit quickly and burned for a long time! We timed a large pinch and it burned for over 5 minutes. Lights immediately with a flame lighter. Comes in a large fully packed round tin with a thick rubber band around it to seal out moisture. My son was the first to try and was not able to get lit with his Firebiner (first time using that too), but my husband got it lit right away lighting the kindling and a log. I was impressed with how much time we had to get the rest of the fire set up! This will definitely be useful in a survival or long hike situation. Thumbs up from us!

Lovely forest area near a lake and hiking areas

Good amount of space between spots, lots of lovely tree cover and near a great hike.

There is a lodge close by in case you want a hot meal at some point as well.

Pit toilets were exactly as you’d expect.

I came in from out of state and got pretty altitude effected so we had to cut the trip short, but it was lovely nonetheless.

Aside from the one at the picnic table, photos are from the hike and not the campground.

Many great sites

So many dispersed sites up here, runs right along the creek which is lovely to fall asleep to. Every site I saw had a fire pit built.

We drove up late Friday night and arrived at 11:15pm. A lot of the sites we could see were taken, so we will definitely go up during daylight hours next time so we can see more of the spots that are a bit further from the road.

The site we found was tucked back away from the road giving us nice privacy. We could barely see our neighbors from our campsite, but we could hear them. We saw a lot of sites that had lots of room for multiple tents and great trees for hammocking, but our site was a bit smaller, great for our large tent, but trees were not conducive for hammocking.

Our campsite was clean with no garbage, and just very small amounts of glass around the fire pit. Our site also had a nice log for sitting around the fire and we saw this at other sites too.

Highway noise

The reservoir is beautiful but the campsites are right next to I 70 and you can hear the traffic all day and all night. That said, if you’re going, bring your paddleboard or kayak or rent a sailboat. And you can bike along the trail that runs all the way around the reservoir.

Easy to get to, Clean facilities

It was a Friday afternoon in the middle of August and we knew available campsites would be scarce, so we pulled into the first one we came to and stayed put through Sunday morning. We were close to an old boat ramp which ended up being a great spot to park the jet ski. There was no shade, so our pop up tent helped tremendously. Bathrooms were just a few steps away which was convenient, but unfortunately that meant other campers walking through our site to get to them. The noise from the highway could be heard throughout the day and night, but we kind of expected that since we could see the highway from the campsite. Overall very clean and a very relaxing couple days!

The Forgotten Valley Backcountry Camping

There are a few areas at Golden Gate Canyon State Park, but Forgotten Valley is my favorite. Access to fishing at Tallman Ranch Pond, and Monutain Lion Trail leads to the summit of Windy Peak.

Forgotten Valley has 4 backcountry campsites and a backcountry shelter for overnight camping. All backcountry tent sites and shelters are first come, first serve. You'll need to check in at the visitor center to reserve the campsite, and pay for a park pass.

Park at the Bridge Creek Trailhead, and take Burro Trail to access Mountain Lion Trail, which leads into Forgotten Valley.

Site #15 is my favorite in Forgotten Valley. It's settled in an Aspen Grove, and is more secluded that the other sites.

Bear lockers are available for each campsite.

Quick Hike to Camp

We hiked to Goblin's Forest Campground from the Longs Peak Trailhead. This is a quick, uphill hike that is approximately 1.2 miles.

The campground has 6 backcountry camping sites and 1 latrine. The latrine is the first thing you see when hiking into the campsites. The campsites are fairly close to each other. We were able to see 2 other sites from ours. All of the campsites do have flat space for tents.

Unfortunately, we ran into some bad weather (downpour, hail, thunder, lightning) but we were able to get our tent up in time, so the card games began!

We had a fun time camping, but I would have liked this campground more if the campsites were more dispersed and private.

First to Review
Enjoyable Hike to a Peaceful Campsite

We began our backpacking trip at Bear Lake Trailhead. From here we hiked to Odessa Lake where we stayed overnight. The next day we took the Fern Lake Trail to Fern Lake Trailhead. Once we got there we were able to take the free shuttle back to our car at Bear Lake Trailhead.

The hike to Odessa Lake was beautiful with a variety of terrain, which was fun. Even in August there was snow covering the trail. We lucked out with the weather. It didn't rain and at the temperatures were comfortable. At night temperatures got down to approximately 40-50 degrees.

There are 2 backcountry campsites at Odessa Lake. This makes for a very secluded and peaceful camping experience. We ran into our campground neighbors just a couple of times (and they were awesome!). But at the same time, it felt like we were out there alone.

Odessa Lake is beautiful! There is a short path you can walk alongside the lake, although it does not go around the entire lake. Small waterfalls and streams can be seen on this path. Fishing is permitted at Odessa Lake, but it is catch and release. The fish (Greenback Cutthroat Trout) were biting when we were there. Additionally, there is 1 latrine at the campground.

Nice dispersed camping

Lots of dispersed camp sites available. Plenty of room between sites, couldn’t see or hear neighbors. There are different types of sites, including some pull-offs for campers, some sites you could drive into off the road, and some with parking on the road and a small hike down to the site.

My group’s site was right next to the creek, which is great for dogs to play in, but meant a lot of mosquitos. Definitely bring bug spray.

The sites are generally pretty large and can fit multiple tents. There are fire rings, but nothing else. There are no bathrooms for the area, but near the entrance, there is a small building with a port-a-pottie that is accessible to campers.

The first few sites get phone reception, but less than a half mile in, most reception gets cut off. Good hiking nearby. Before the road loops around, there is a pretty easy trail that leads to a water diversion tunnel. Popular with dogs and trail bikers.

This place has a good backcountry feel to it, with the convenience of being close enough to your car and to Winter Park if you forget to pack something. Overall, a great campground for hiking, biking, or relaxing.

An AMAZINGLY Beautiful Backcountry Lake.

If your looking for a backcountry lake to camp at and its close to the front range you better give this one a try. Being an hour away from Boulder to start your hike in makes this a gem!! Im sure some might get upset that I am telling about this but I feel everyone should experience the pristine beauty. Please just take the time to be a stewards of our land and respect our fragile lands ecosystem by learning the basics of leaving it the way you found it. LEAVE NO TRACE RULES AND PRINCIPALS.

This hike starts outside of Netherlands in a small town called Eldora. You will be starting at the 4th of July trailhead at the end of a bumpy dirt road. Don't worry your 2 wheel drive car will make it. Make sure and get your permit from the Boulder Ranger District. Give them a call at 303-541-2500.  They only allow 6 permits per night at this lake but being this hike takes you onto the western side of the continental divide getting a permit is not very hard.  The hard part is the hike.

This is an 8.8 mile out and back hike that takes you to 2,600 ft elevation gain. This hike takes you across the continental Divide and drops you down into this pristine high alpine lake. Get an early start at this hike as you don't want to start late and get hit with an afternoon thunderstorm that are all too common here in Colorado. Also the parking lot can fill up fast. I try to get started by no later then 6:30 am. If you do get a late start there is a shuttle that will take you to the trail head from Netherlands. This hike takes you threw a bunch of different forest life from dense forest to hi alpine above tree line. Make sure and bring enough water or something to filter your water with. There is water all the way to your camp site. Once you summit the divide you will see a lake on the western side that looks like its straight down. This is your camping destination. Switchback after switch back and you find yourself in the midst of something that looks like its straight out a fairy tell. It looks too good to be true. You can camp anywhere on the lake as long as your 100 ft from the water. There are times during the year you can start a fire. But call the ranger district and see if it's available. Being that this lake is tucked up so tight against Mnt Neva and the divide its not windy at all. 

Keep you eyes open for moose as the moose love to frequent this lake in the morning. Lots of wildlife  around this lake. Wheb you decide to leave you can either hike back up the divide or you can leave a car at monarch lake on the western side and hike out that way. No matter how you decide to get into this lake I  guarantee you that you will fall in love. Indian Peaks Wilderness is amazing. Please keep it clean for many of our generations can enjoy the peace and solitude that I am offering you. Leave a review if you like it!

Thank you 

Jake

Gorgeous views you shouldn’t miss

We were lucky enough to snag a first come first serve site on forth of July weekend. I’m pretty sure that we got the best site on the entire camp ground. Up on top of a small hill, next to some large rocks you could climb to that overlooked the water.

The host at this site was absolutely wonderful and kind, and the facilities were very clean.

We couldn’t have asked for a better first camping experience!

Beautiful views, but windy

This was a beautiful little area that we heard about after not finding any campsites at other local places. It had gorgeous views, and even at 2pm I’m a Saturday in late July, still had plenty of spots. We had one neighbor for the night and then around 10pm a couple trucks showed up across from us and they hung out until about 1am having a small party and then left.

The biggest problems at this campsite was the wind and the glass. There were crazy wind gusts since we were at the top of the peak, if we go back again, I’d want to camp somewhere a bit lower and in the trees. The wind was on and off all night but kept me awake since it was shaking our tent loudly. But again I can’t say how this would be in a camper or at a different site.

There was also quite a bit of glass and trash, which I guess is to be expected, but be careful if you bring dogs. We carried out as much trash as we could to help clean up the area, but there was a sleeping bag and a comforter that had been left there before us that we just didn’t have room for.

Lastly, you should have an all wheel drive car to get to this, or at least something with a higher clearance. The Caribou road was rocky, and only got worse the further up the mountain you drove.

Devils Thumb Lake-45 min from Denver 12 mile hike out and back

This is a backpacking trip. 12 mile out and back. This is part of the Indian peaks wilderness you must obtain a permit from the boulder forest service. Permits are 5 dollars for up to 14 days. This lake is amazingly beautiful. Lots of places to pitch a tent. The trail is not easy you work for it. But its all worth it when you get to the top. The directions are from the trailhead not directions to the lake. Arrive early to the trail head before 6:30am. Parking is hard during the summer but just get there early. This trail has water available along the entire trail. I only take a 1 liter bottle and filter all my water as needed.

Awesome Quiet Getaway

Best place to camp in Estes Park/Northern Colorado! Wooded sites mean privacy from your neighbors and shade during the day. Vault toilets are very clean, well kept. Staff and Rangers are very friendly and helpful, very knowledgeable about the area. Other reviews mention only 3.2 alcohol, but that rule has changed! ;) Great Hiking and Views, we watched the fireworks for 4th of July in Estes from one of the trails. Large bear boxes fit 2+ coolers. It was full for the holiday week/end, but staff mentioned that there's usually a lot of availability during the week. Have stayed in the cabins in years past, they are nice with gas fireplace for heat, and gas cookers in the cabin. No bedding, but beds are large and soft. 

Gorgeous sunsets, so close to Estes and Rocky Mountain National Park. Hidden Gem in a busy tourist town!!

Lots of room

There are a ton of spots, but be careful and make sure they're approved. We stopped at one that had a fire ring made from rocks but it wasn't 100' from water. we parked at night so we didn't see the  sign that said it wasn't a legal camping spot, then the next day we got a ticket from a park ranger. It was our fault but just thought I should mention it so others don't make the same mistake. There were several other spots, we just liked the location of this one.  Anyway, tons of tree cover, streams, trails, wild flowers etc. There was also a decent amount of traffic from other campers and off road vehicles/ATV's but if you go farther up the road and then find a spot a little farther from the road, it wont be a big deal.

Great dispersed camping spots!

There are lots of sites on the left side of the road as you go up the hill. Many of the first ones were taken but they just kept going and were well spaced out. Some were closer to the road than others but there weren’t many cars passing by. We ended up with a fantastic site, lots of shade, a couple of stone fire pits and a short trail down to the creek that had another fire pit next to it. This would be a great spot for group camping as the sites we saw seemed decently large with spots for more than one tent.

Riverside camping

Wonderful place. I recommend it

Riverside camping

Wonderful place. Family friendly

Out of business

No longer in business, no parking no camping

Quiet, clean and picturesque - but no water on site

Very nice, well-maintained campground near Wild Basin section of Rocky Mountain National Park.  No water on site but it is available a short distance away from Crystal Springs in Allenspark (https://sites.google.com/site/apwaterandsanitation/gui-information/crystal-springs)

A mixture of reserved and walk-up sites.  Campground hosts were helpful trying to accommodate those who arrived without reservations but found campground full [a fair number of sites with reservations were not occupied during our stay].

Nice tent pads on all sites and bear boxes.  Site sizes vary and larger RVs had difficulty with tight turns or limited space in some sites.  Some noise from highway even on sites furthest from road, but not generally an issue.

HIKE TO AN AMAZING ALPINE LAKE>>AN ABSOLUTE GEM

This is an 8.4 mile out and back hike the coordinates to the trail head are 40.044400, -105.731950. This as an amazingly beautiful hike into a mountain gem. If your looking for an amazing weekend away from people in a mind blowing alpine lake this is it. PLEASE make sure and pick up after yourselves. 

You must obtain a backcountry permit as this does sit in the Indian Peaks Wilderness. You can obtain these passes by going into the Arapahoe/Roosevelt ranger district either in boulder or in grand county. This lake never fills up as most people want to stay on the eastern side of the divide. But being only 2 hrs away is a perfect weekend or overnight adventure. 

Its a prime location to see moose!! REMEMBER this is a backpacking hike!

Beautiful site, very busy

Our site (#2) was perfect. Beautiful and mostly private. Bathrooms (Vault toilets) were very clean. Unfortunately, with it being an all “first come, first serve” camp ground, there was a lot of traffic in and out all weekend. We had some people try to snag a spot on our site, and they were very insistent that they had rights to do so, because there was a parking spot available. It started to get a bit heated when we declined their request for squatting on our site. Not so relaxing. Our neighbors were there to party hard, lots of language and up until 2-3 in the morning. Definitely didn’t adhere to the quiet time guidelines 10pm-6am. Made it hard for our kiddos to sleep and we had to keep explaining that they were never to use that language. I was super sad. We decided this type of camping wasn’t for us, and would be finding a more remote site next time. If you don’t mind a lot of traffic, loud neighbors (possible) and sharing your site with a random stranger…you will love this place. It was very beautiful, fresh air, and clean bathrooms, the dumpsters were nice too…keeps the trash smell out of your car. Also, great hiking nearby. We did the silver dollar trail, beautiful!!!

Lakeside campgound

Great campground. Quiet and remote with little traffic even in peak August camping. Fishing is great! Hiking trails within a short drive, but hiking around the lake is perfect. Lots of Moose too!

Do not follow directions link on this page

The directions under the description are not correct they bring you to this back road in the middle of no where. Looked like people had camped there and would be a great place to camp but very remote and obviously no amenities. Not sure who put those directions up.

Beautiful and easy backpacking

A short hike downhill to many dispersed campsites along the creek. Beautiful and easy! A must-see.

Very open

Very open campground, we camped in a tent but probably better for an rv

Unreal<3

Absolutely loved this spot!

Good campsite

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

Great free site

No true “sites”. Good spot to spend the night if you’re traveling through. Good views and lots of hiking spots.