This site is a high-use facility as a put-in and take-out point for rafting and fishing on the Upper Colorado River. Radium is located along Grand County Road 11, approximately 2.3 miles north of the Colorado River Headwaters Scenic Byway. Radium facilities include 2 paved boat launches, 3 accessible vault toilets, 2 picnic shelters, 9 standard campsites for up to 10 people per campsite; 2 group campsites for up to 30 people per campsite, and parking. The best time to visit is summer into fall. The river may be running high in the spring due to winter snow run-off.
The Upper Colorado River hosts over 90,000 visitors each year between Memorial Day and September 30. Weekends are very crowded. Group campsites are reservable through the Kremmling Field Office at 970-724-3000.
I have stayed at this campground many times over the last few times due to its’ close proximity to access points along the Upper Colorado River and one of Colorado’s best kept secrets, Radium Hot Springs. Often times, I will “backpack” into the dispersed backcountry sites located next to the hot spring itself. I say backpack lightly, as it is only about a 20-minute hike in from the main parking/O.C. Murage Campground. On my most recent stay though, I opted for car camping at the campground itself, although I still managed to hike over to the hot spring for an amazing moonlight soak.
The campground itself is basic, but suits the needs of most backpackers. It is essentially just a large clearing near the river, with a stream running along the far side. There is plenty of parking in the dirt/gravel clearing and “campsites” are designated by stoned-lined fire pits along the perimeter of the campground. The sites are quite flat and most offer significant shade which is quite nice in the summer. Pit toilet bathrooms are located near the entrance, for both male and female. The bathrooms offer toilet paper, but definitely could use a good cleaning. The bathrooms also had a few funny signs regarding the rules (see photos).
In general, this campground is easily accessible by most cars year-round. The road to the campground is gravel but well maintained. This area has been gaining popularity over the last few years, so if camping on the summer weekends, be sure to get there early in order to get a spot. I haven’t camped at the campground itself on the weekends, but it can get rather busy so privacy is likely limited. We camped on a Thursday and there were only two other groups camping at that time.
The hot spring is definitely the highlight of this campground and a major draw for me. It is a beautiful natural hot spring located at the bottom of a cliff along the banks of the Colorado River. Some call this a warm spring, as it stays around 80-90 degrees. I have heard that this can fluctuate based on the river levels, and it can become washed out in the spring when water levels are quite high. As a warning, the hot spring can get crowded and rowdy with partiers on the summer weekends…some of whom may opt for nudity after dark. My favorite time to visit the hot spring is late at night during the week, when you are most likely to have the pool to yourself and enjoy the scenery and starry nights in seclusion :)