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The best campground by far. Horses within the ranch roam free and will come right up to you. Could do with another set of bathrooms, only one is all the way up front. If you are in the back, it is like a half-mile walk every time you need to go. However, I wouldn’t call this a deal breaker in any way.
South Fork is located in the Arapaho National Forest and administered by the Sulphur Ranger District. Situated on the banks of the South Fork of the Williams Fork of the Colorado River, this campground reminds me of days gone by when reservations were not a "thing".
Southfork is a first come, first served campground with 21 sites. While there is generally a resident Host, the lightly used campground has the feel of what campgrounds were like 50 years ago. Individual sites are mostly flat. All sites have picnic tables, fire rings, and tent pads. All will fit tents, most will accommodate travel trailers, and some will allow 5th wheels/large RVs well over 40' (some spurs are 50'). There is also a group site that fronts the creek which is available by reservation. There are two well maintained pit toilets and two functioning hand crank water wells available. For equestrians, there is a small corral on the south end of the campground though I've never seen it in use. Like the Sugarloaf campground, Southfork was cleared of trees a number of years ago.
When I first camped at Southfork some 8 years ago, the sites in the center were all open with small seedling Lodge pole pines beginning to take root. Spruce trees along the creek were not cleared and are very large making for nice shady sites (these are the most popular and always fill fast). Today, the seedlings have grown quite fast and are in the range of 5-7 feet tall providing a nice screen between the formerly open sites. Note that this is not always the most quite campground as there is a tramway that connects the Henderson Mine with it's Mill located off the Ute pass road. When the tram is running, it creates a fair amount of background noise. While I have no problem just hanging out at the campground, there are many other activities available in the area.
For those with a restless spirit of adventure, trout fishing, hiking, and Geocaching are available in the Southfork area. If you are interested in more detail, check out the review of Sugarloaf campground located just to the south.
Due to a lack of amenities, Southfork may not be for everyone but if you're looking for a campground that has the spirit of bygone days, this place is well worth a look.
Located in the Arapaho National Forest, Sugarloaf is a small campground found on the Williams Fork of the Colorado River. The valley was once heavily forested but is much more open these days.
Cleared of timber a few years back due to Pine Beetle infestation, the campground is spartan with little shade or site separation. It's at the end of a dead end road making road noise minimal. The good news is that it's uncrowded and easy to secure a first come, first served site, and the trees are growing back.
There are 11 spaces many of which will accommodate RVs (we were able to fit our 30' class C), most will fit small travel trailers/pop-up campers, and all have space for tents. Each site has a picnic table and fire ring with a horse shoe pit located in the middle of the campground. There is a pit toilet and water well though the well has not been functional for some time. Trash dumpsters are on site, and water is available at South Fork campground a short distance away. While amenities are limited, activities are plentiful.
Fishing on the Williams fork is fair to good for Brook Trout with the occasional Brown Trout being caught. Pressure is generally light upstream from Sugarloaf and a bit more congested downstream where the stream is slightly larger. Once you're tired of fishing, there are numerous hiking trails to be explored.
Leaving from the the immediate area are the Darling Creek trail, the South Fork trail, the Kinney Creek trail and 4x4 road, the Ute Peak trail, and further north, the Williams Peak trail. There are also multiple Geocaches located nearby. Best bet here is to purchase a trail guide for more specifics on the area. Be sure to check with the Hot Sulphur Springs Ranger district as fires have damaged or closed many locations.
If you're looking for a laid back peaceful camping experience, Sugarloaf may just be the place for you!
Great little campground up the Poudre. My kids, my lab and I took in a show from the late, great Justin Townes Earle at the Mishiwaka and needed a place to crash for the weekend. Found this gem a number of miles up the road and were really pleased. We had a moose and her baby visit our camper first thing the next morning. We were able to get on bikes and explore the endless dirt roads that spoke off in all directions. Little creeks abound.
Leave no trace.
This place was "okay". They don't make it very easy to find, but I was glad it was tucked away. The facilities were clean, sure, but everything was old and there was market writing and scratches on the bathroom walls, as well as prison-style TP holders with a piece of bar steel shoved through a cardboard-tubeless toilet paper holder that you had to manually turn for each precious sheet of single-ply. It was off season so I gave them an extra star…
It was also QUITE a trek up the mountain to get there from Golden, with a LOT of steep grades, and multiple SLOW switchbacks.
We visited Golden Gate Canyon in October 2020 and we were blown away with the natural beauty of this park. We stayed in Reverends Ridge Loop E Site 49. It was a pull through site, mostly level, and it easily accommodated our 20' truck still attached to our 30' travel trailer. The sites we saw were spaced apart generously. The park was quiet and family friendly. We only stayed for one night as we were passing through the area, but we would absolutely go back again and highly recommend it to others. One important note is that RVs can not enter through the entrance on HWY 46 at Mountain Base Road (we learned the hard way). The good news is the entrance is not far from there, but you may want to plan to enter off HWY 119 from the outset.
There are multiple camping areas in here, from giant RV to backpack access only. This is for Reverend's Ridge.
The good and the bad is that it is close to Denver/Golden/Boulder and can feel far away. This would be a really good spot with kids or first time campers who don't want to spend hours in the car. But that brings problems as well. Lots of newbies who don't quite get the etiquette side of things. Spots are close together and many of the campers the night we were there thought this was a great place to drink, talk and run generators until 1am. Add in a few barking dogs first AM, it was not my favorite spot.
Electric hookup and very large and clean showers available (though they were closed for COVID). I'll go back to what I said before, this is a great spot for those who are new to camping, have families and want easy access to bathrooms and showers.
Leave no trace.
I typically rate campgrounds as they fit into 1 of 5 categories. This campground will be rated as a Regional/Public Park — Grounds that are on public lands, and have a cost for entry and/or overnight stay. Ratings for this category are based on: Cost: 5 Allure of the park/lands: 4 Amenities as available (bathrooms, showers, hookups, etc): 5 Layout and privacy of sites: 5
We absolutely loved this park. The campground recently got an update and so the visitor center and layout are new & improved. It’s a huge park with 4 separate camping areas. We stayed in Loop A with full hookups, about 1/4 mile from the marina. Privacy was excellent, barely visible to the neighbors on the next road and far enough separated from out NextDoor neighbors (at least 100’). The grounds are level and paved and include a nice gravel picnic area and fire pit. We didn’t use any facilities, but they dotted the entire campgrounds.
It’s worth noting that in addition to the $30/night fee (for FHU) you must also pay $10/day for a park pass or otherwise pay $80 for an annual, which we opted for.
Staff was very friendly. Access to walking and biking trails was awesome and we got on the lake for some swimming and SUP’ing too. The swim “beach” is quite rocky… basically broken dirt clumps, but it made do for the afternoon. 30 min to Downtown Denver and 50 min to Boulder.
Stayed in Reverends Ridge campground in Loop A. We had pretty decent cell service with AT&T. The campsites were somewhat close but it was still fine. Didn’t feel very wild but the amenities seemed nice. The bathroom was functioning and heated. The tent pad was nice as well. Some nice hikes within the park that we enjoyed. I’d stay here again.