We stayed in cabin #3 and it was an awesome experience! We had room enough for 4 people and 3 dogs and didn't feel like we were on top of each other. The gas stove kept us nice and toasty all night long!
There are 4 cabins. Ours seemed to be the smallest sleeping 5. The largest cabin can easily hold 30 people.
The bathroom was a pit toilet, which was up the hill and farthest from our cabin so it was a chilly bathroom run in the middle of the night.
We spent a lot of time sledding and snowshoeing and we were basically the only ones out there. There was another large group in the bigger cabin but we barely saw them until they left on Sunday.
The beds were plastic coated so it was easy to throw a sheet over them and sleep. The Couch was a bit gross, not sure if the cover gets washed much. There were shelves to hold food and an outdoor picnic table in the room to cook on.
Beautiful spot right on the reservoir. Fun trails all around. Stinky toilet but that's a pit toilet for ya! It didn't ruin my camping!
This is one of my all-time favorite places to hike and camp in Colorado. I have not yet stayed in any of the campgrounds but have backpacked to the top of the American Lakes Trail. Not only is this hike fantasticly beautiful and full of wildlife (tons of moose especially) but there is great dispersed camping along the trails. You simply cannot find more scenic and free camping in Colorado. I would highly recommended camping anywhere in State Forest State Park!
Also, there are quite a few huts, cabins and yurts that can be rented year round in SFSP!
We found State Forest State Park on a whim this past July 2018. We were on a road trip from California to Colorado for a wedding in Granby, CO. We were camping in Utah at Dinosaur National Monument, but due to the smoke from a nearby wildfire and the high heat of the summer, we decided to cut our stay one day short, and head over to the Rockies a day early. We wanted to be fairly close to our final destinations, Granby then RMNP, but wanted to go somewhere we hadn’t been before. My boyfriend and I are both animal lovers, and our dream was to finally see a moose on this trip out to Colorado. In researching moosey areas on the internet, we found the Moose Visitor Center at State Forest State Park. We figured that a place with a Moose Visitors Center was as moosey as it comes, so we reserved a site online and headed out to Colorado.
It was late afternoon when we arrived, but since we had already eaten, we didn’t have much to do besides set up our tent and sleeping pads for the night. Getting to the campground and visitors center is easy as they are both right off the highways 41 and 14, but it is quite a drive to get to, in general. The scenery is so pretty, that we did not mind the drive to or from SFSP. North Michigan Campground is right by a lake, it is pretty.
The sites are primitive - each site had picnic benches and a firepit, but at the time we visited there was a Stage 2 fire ban in place, so we couldn’t have a campfire. The fire ban included the burning of wood and charcoal - using a propane stove was OK.
There were pit toilets, and they were well maintained. The sites appeared to have once had more in the way of trees and shade, but it looks as though SFSP was hit by the pine beetles, like so much of Colorado. It’s sad to see the destruction the beetles left in their wake, and fewer trees mean less privacy and less shade for tent campers. We would have had a hard time setting up extra tarps in case it had rained that evening. Bringing an easy-up or canopy would be smart in the summer to protect against sun and heat, or a passing thunderstorm.
WARNING: You ARE in bear country and there were no bear bins in the campground - be bear safe and bear smart, lock all of your food and toiletries inside your car at night. I was once told by a ranger in Yosemite NP that bears can recognize coolers when peering into car windows, so we always put a towel and gear over our coolers when keeping them in the car overnight.
We packed up early and arrived at the Moose Visitors Center when they opened. The visitors center was educational and interesting, and the staff was friendly and knowledgeable and answered all of our questions. After studying some maps of the area with the rangers, we decided to try our luck driving along Highway 14 towards Fort Collins.
We stopped at various spots along the highway, and ended up walking around the Joe Wright Reservoir for a while. Thunderheads were rolling in, and some rain and thunder started, so we decided to start making our way back towards SFSP then head down to Granby, our next stop. We were around Cameron Pass and had given up on seeing any moose when we saw traffic slowing and cars stopped alongside the road - there were two young bull moose snacking by a small river on the side of the road! We pulled over, turned our hazard lights on, grabbed the camera, and jumped out to see our first moose. The moose seemed unconcerned by their growing audience, and continued to chomp away on their lunch - there was a small ravine between the moose and their human audience, so neither moose nor humans felt threatened.
According to the staff at the Moose Visitor Center, there are only about 1,000 moose in the entire state of Colorado - and here we stumbled across two moose at once! We were ecstatic, and so happy we made the impromptu, unplanned trip out to State Forest State Park! We returned to the Moose Visitors Center to share the experience with the rangers (they record the specifics of moose sightings in the area on a board), and the ranger gave us a high five for spotting our first ever moose.
I would like to return to the area someday to hike, I imagine the nearby trails must be goregous!
Plumbed Toilets: NO - pit
Drinking Water: Yes
Picnic Table: Yes
Cooking Grates: Yes
Cell Service: NO
Animal Bins/Food Lockers: NO
This is not 'glamping'. This is a pitch your tent, start a fire, watch the deer walk thru type campground. Beautiful views of the Rockies, trails for all levels of hiking. My only tip--bring your own TP, they kept running out. And a jacket, nights are chilly at this altitude. No trailers, RVS allowed as tiny, winding dirt road to get there.
For those looking for dramatic scenery and endless wildlife, State Forest State Park should be at the top of your list. This is one of my favorite places in Colorado for hiking, backpacking, backcountry skiing and of course, camping! The campgrounds in the park are wonderful and offer plenty of amenities, this review in particular though refers to my experiences with the dispersed campsites in the park and my winter camping adventure near Montgomery pass. According to their web site, there are over 60 dispersed camping sites throughout the park. Due to the winter season of our trip in particular, we were snowshoeing to our campsite and didn’t go too far into the park. We approached along Montgomery Pass and camped at approximately site #416. This is a high elevation site and there was plenty of snow, so there was no access to toilets that we could find. However, there were toilets at the trailhead which were still open during our trip. Overall, I cannot express enough how wonderful this park is and all of the campgrounds and dispersed sites are very well maintained. For those looking for well maintained and scenic campgrounds, there are 4 awesome campgrounds to choose from. Those looking for more of an adventure should check out any of the dispersed sites throughout the park. Note that camp fires are not allowed in the backcountry. Also, this park is home to a large population of moose, and visitors should educate themselves on safety precautions specific to these giant and beautiful animals!
Stay tuned for my reviews of their campgrounds which are coming soon as well.
I stayed a week here for a backpacking trip in July last year. It was absolutely beautiful! I especially enjoyed the American Lakes trail up to Michigan and Snowy Lakes. That amazing landscape will forever be a special place to me. They were doing a lot of work while I was there, preparing for a potential fire and recreating a trailhead. I saw more heavy equipment along the Kelly Lake trail than I would have liked but such is life. The staff at the info desk are really helpful and local. They helped me plan my trip and answered a lot of questions for me. You are allowed to camp off trail (.25 mi) so you can pick your campsite really well. I unfortunately found a few old fire pits along the way but I didn't have to pick up garbage after anyone. I'm considering going back with my family to stay in one of the yurts or cabins scattered throughout the park. Highly recommended!