Great hike in campground. It was our first hike in and we loved it! Spots aren’t too close to each other and there’s great views!
My husband went to this campsite with a group of Scouts and took me and our 1 year old a few weeks later. I had never been backpacking up until this point because I was always intimidated by the experience. This was an excellent "beginner" foray into backpacking!
This semi-primitive campsite requires a permit from the Open Space Office of Jefferson County, CO. The permit is free, however you must pick up the permit in person at their offices. Be prepared with a valid ID. This is a popular campsite for Scout Troops, so calling ahead for availability is a great idea.
There is an exact address available on the website and at the Open Space Office that you can put into your GPS and drive straight to the parking lot of the trailhead.
My husband and I came in through the West Trailhead. It is a 1 mile, easy hike. The first 1/3 of a mile is dirt, the remainder is gravel. It is fairly hilly, but easy enough that we actually opted to push our Jogging Stroller with our kid the entire way (which is very doable) whilst wearing our backpacking gear.
The campsites are well maintained and quite spread out from one another. So although there was a group of scouts, a group of friends, and a bigger youth group who all hiked in, it did not feel crowded or noisy.
We brought our dog, as pets are allowed on a leash. We set up our tent on the graveled pad at each site and boiled up some soup on the provided picnic tables. The website as of 2018 will tell you that fires are permitted in the designated fire rings, however a permanent fire ban has recently been put into place (which is too bad!) and all the fire rings and wood piles have been removed from the area - so really, NO FIRES ALLOWED. The pit toilets are very accessible and clean. It is technically Bear Country, so bear boxes and trash cans are provided for the overall campground.
My favorite thing about our particular campsite (site 15) was the view. At night you can see all the city lights of sprawling Denver, but then have a perfect view of the sunrise in the morning. Witnessing the sunrise from this spot will always be one of my favorite memories. Seriously so amazing!
We hiked out the next morning, simple as that, but realized we had misplaced our car keys…after 2.5 hours of searching and walking back and forth between the campsite and our car, we found our keys in the bottom of our tent. So really, if I could offer one piece of advice, always know where your keys are! Despite this incident, the location was great and the experience worthwhile! And I feel like it gave me a good taste of what to expect when backpacking in the future, which is exactly what I was looking for.