This area is a good (free!) alternative if the campground close to Shelf Road are full.
Turn on Road F24 and drive past the private property (well marked). The first larger camping area is about 1.7 miles in. There aren't really separated sites, but there are a few picnic tables and fire rings. Also, there is one metal shelter should the weather turn on you. We had a lot of tents and were able to find flat spaces for all of them. There is also a couple (fairly clean) pit toilets and trash cans. You can stay up to 72 hours. There was only one or two cars there when we arrived late on a friday night in spring.
The area also has some really cool rock formations - but only to look at unfortunately as they are on private property. However, there are plenty of rocks to scramble up on for a view of the formations that are public. Cool pinon, sage, and cacti nearby with the occasional mule deer wandering past.
If the first picnic area is full, there are more campsites further along the road.
We just used it as a home base for our little airstream trailer while we were exploring Colorado Springs and manitou springs, and hiking the incline and Barr Trail! Had showers, that were decent, but really wouldn’t recommend if you are doing anything besides showering or sleeping.
Cheyenne Mountan State Park is remarkably close to Colorado Springs, which makes it perfect for a quick getaway…. if you can score reservations. This park fills up fast!
We felt lucky to score a reservation for a pull-through Site (#56) at The Meadows Campground. This level, open, unshaded site offered nice views of Cheyenne Mountain and the lights of Colorado Springs. However it did leave us a bit exposed the wind. Next time we'll try to score one of the more sheltered sites on the opposite side of the loop. The firepits had high sides so our campfire was more immune to the gusty weather than we were.
The rangers in this park are very friendly. In fact, as we were cooking dinner, one came around and offered us a mini-class on the hummingbirds that live in the park. Wished we would have had time to stop by the visitor center to learn more about the local flora and fauna.
As runners, we loved the easy access to trails and you can earn a patch for exploring all 21 miles of trails throughout the park. Mountain bikers seemed to be having a ton of fun out there too.
Always a plus… The bathrooms have flush toilets and were super clean and well stocked.
This was the first place my husband and I (and our dog!) went camping in our adult lives. We decided to try a site that we could reserve first before diving into dispersed camping, and since we'd been hiking here the week prior, we thought we'd give it a shot. Reserving our spot online was super easy, and I REALLY liked the little map that allowed you to see which campsites were already taken - we were able to choose one that was relatively secluded. You do need to reserve ahead of time, but there was a number you could call on our campsite post in the event that you drove up to one at the last minute in order to make your reservation. We did see a park ranger drive by at one point just to check on things.
Getting there was incredibly easy (note that if you don't have an annual CO state parks pass, you'll need to pay a fee for that at the gate in addition to reserving your spot). Lake Pueblo State Park in general is not well-shaded, and the campsites were no exception, but we knew that going in. Each site at Juniper Breaks has a fire ring, tent spot, and a picnic table-with shade over the table. The sites aren't super close together, you can see each other but I felt like we had privacy and everyone was polite and doing their own thing. It was a quick walk to the bathrooms, which were clean and stocked with toilet paper. There was also a water pump outside. The campsite is sort of close to a road so we could hear the cars going by at night occasionally (but as this was our first time camping, we didn't mind!!)
Juniper Breaks isn't right next to any trails, so you'll have to drive to access them if you hike or bike. Definitely worth it, there are some FANTASTIC and really cool trails here! There was a little parking lot in the campground that people with kayaks kept pulling up to, so I think there's a spot to launch your boat (but don't know any details about this).
All in all, we had a really nice, quiet time. A great first camping experience in a great park!
Overall: Phantom Canyon Road is a beautiful, peaceful location, but a bear came directly into our campsite!
Directions: Very easy to find and clearly marked. There are several signs warning you not to continue on if your vehicle is longer than 25 feet. The dirt road is twisty with several washboard sections, but it's not severely rutted up. I kept it around 20 mph the whole time and was pretty shocked at how fast some people were driving. There are a lot of blind corners and narrow roads, so be careful!
Camping: We found a pull-off on the left hand side pretty soon after the second tunnel. It was a pretty deep pull-off, enough that you could see the front of our truck but not our campsite from the road. Very private and quiet! Nice and level too, with two fire pits. Super sunny and not well shaded- it was lovely in April, but I bet it gets incredibly hot in the summer. Unfortunately, there was a lot of trash when we arrived, which I did clean up. We found some bullet shells and pieces of bright orange clay, which makes me think people were shooting back there. We arrived Friday night around 6:30pm and had to drive pretty far back to find a spot, there were a lot of people camping already. I think the road went on much further too, so don't get discouraged about finding a place! As someone mentioned, there is a pit toilet, but we didn't park anywhere near enough to use it. We got NO wifi or cell service back there either (Verizon).
THE BEAR: Our campsite was backed up right next to a dried out wash. Saturday morning, we decided to explore it a little (mistake #1 - we've explored washes before but not that far into the backcountry). We didn't go back super far, just followed the rocky path. At one point we noticed A LOT, and I mean A LOT of bear scat and turned around. Our dog started barking like crazy and when we looked up, there was a giant black bear high above us on a ridge. It was turning around and clearly uninterested in us, but we hurried back to our campsite - the bear was probably less than a quarter mile away from it. A few hours later when we were hanging out at the campsite just reading (we should've left immediately), our dog started growling. We looked up and there was the bear, standing at the edge of the wash. O_O We didn't have any food or trash out (we ALWAYS keep all of that locked away in our truck unless we are actively cooking/eating). The bear wasn't acting aggressively, but it wasn't leaving either. I kept talking to it, making myself appear larger, moving slowly as we packed up and got the heck out of there (we had to take our giant awning apart while the bear watched us curiously the whole time, omg).
Just be aware if you camp here that there are bears around! Not only is it their home, but all of the trash we picked up from that campsite upon arrival makes me think that they're starting to become habituated to the area since people are so trashy (a few other reviews mention finding trash at their sites as well). I will DEFINITELY be picking up some bear spray and bringing it with me from now on. Be safe and PACK YOUR TRASH OUT!!!
Good camping sites Amazing staff
Nearby access to Gold Medal fishing on Pueblo Tailwater
Small museum in park office
Hiking, fishing, boating, bicycle paths/trails available. Lots of wildlife viewing. Friendly camp hosts.
Great place for families. There are not water hookups at sites but there is a place to fill.
Short drive to activities and they have a great little zoo nearby.
Overall: We LOVED this place! Beautiful, CLEAN, quiet and free.
Directions: Follow the signs instead of google maps. There comes a point shortly after turning onto 3A that you'll see a sign that points straight ahead to the campground. Soon after that, google maps wants you to turn slightly left onto a dirt road. Keep going straight!! Either way will get you there, but if you follow the signs you'll get to stay on the paved road much longer. Near the top of the winding hill, you'll see another sign pointing left to a dirt road - this is the one you want (by this point, google maps will have caught on and will recalculate you). Follow the signs in - the road's not bad at all, we were in our Ford F-150 and kept it on 2WD the whole time - and when you get to a fork, bear RIGHT. You'll see the campground sign ahead and will have your choice of turning onto the north (left) or south (right) loops.
Site: We stayed on the south loop at site 4 and it was wonderful! The sites are a little close together, but everyone was quiet and kept to themselves - not a big deal at all. We arrived at 4:30pm on a Friday and there were two spots left. Not sure about the north loop - signs and other reviews indicate that the north loop is tent camping only, but there were a bunch of rigs over there. Secure trash cans throughout and pit toilets (no locks!), though no water. Each site on the south loop has a picnic table, tent pad, and fire ring. Our site was very clean! We were also surprised to get great cell phone AND internet service here.
Hiking: What we really loved about this place was its access to some great hiking trails! Once in the south loop, you'll see a wooden sign that says "trails" near campsite 7. We took the Canyon Rim trail to the Overlook trail and got some gorgeous views of the gorge (out and back hike, a little over 4 miles). Also recommend taking the Canon Vista trail and then turning right on Far out to make it a 2 mile loop (be sure to take the Le View spur for the best views of the gorge)! The Smores trail is a fun little 1 mile loop around the campsite, good for stretching your legs once you arrive. It was late April when we went and the trails weren't crowded at all. This is a popular mountain biking area too.
Pets: We brought our dog, and lots of other campers did too. Everyone was very respectful and kept their dogs leashed. This is not the place to let your dog run off leash, please don't be that person. Aside from the fact that these are the camp rules, there are a lot of cows that wander pretty close to the campsite - there was a cowpie right by our fire ring, although they didn't get THAT close while we were there. They were close enough for our dog to see though - be aware if your dog is the type that will run up to other animals! We had no issues and she had a blast hiking the trails with us.
This campground was decent. Bathrooms and campground were well maintained. Sry few sites for tents and everyone is very closely packed. Luckily we didn’t have any neighbors otherwise we would have felt like we were all camping together. Very close to Garden of the Gods though.
The Cabins are for locals or people working in the local area and are only available for monthly rent, The tent areas are in direct sunlight with no shaded area and overpriced at $25 a night regardless of what time you check in checkouts at 11:00 am, The Bathrooms are reasonably clean, however scary hag lady comes in as if on crack running around looking like a mad woman, somewhat scary, the horse stalls are disgusting.
I wanted to stay in Manitou originally to hike Pikes Peak, unfortunate weather stopped that from happening so I had to make due and get in as many activities as I possibly could before heading out. I searched the area far and wide for great camping, and this place came up. I only at the time had the address but not much info and so as I was already in the area went ahead and made a stop in hoping to find a site to stay. Unfortunately I was told they only accept RVs, something very predominant in this area. It was a nice park so I went ahead and asked if I could check out some of their amenities before heading out, aka I asked if I could use their restroom and walk around. They let me but said since I wasn't staying I couldn't snag a bunch of photos and invade privacy, I think they told me this cause I had an entire convo about being a travel blogger..lol.
The location wasn't huge but it was quaint. It backed up to a creek which you could hear trickling trough and it made for a nice setting for a place to stay when in this area. Only a few moments away from Manitou only made it even more of a bonus.
Rates seemed pretty reasonable when I was visiting in fall a $45 a night but I did notice rates change seasonally so they could be a bit higher in summer months. They did also offer long term parking within guidelines of maintenance in an attempt to keep their campground looking nice. I really liked the location, I really just wish I had been able to stay, but like with most in Colorado, you have to search a bit harder if you are a tent camper.
Reserve in advance and hold your reservation or you will forfeit your deposit.
Check out Rainbow Falls, Garden of the Gods and downtown Manitou if you want to see some amazing different things. If you want a challenge try the Incline!!
The campground was awful and kick started a sinus infection with all the dust blowing around. The bathrooms have a code on them so if you forget the code in the middle of the night as you’re groggy and walking to the bathroom, you’re SOL.
We pulled in without a reservation, no problem. We were visiting a friend in Pueblo and this place was close by. (Downtown Pueblo has a really nice riverwalk. Found a free museum that honored Medal of Honor recipients.) When you go in to the campground, the visitor center is there. Helpful staff. The RV side of the campground is to the left. That was pretty full. The tent side was to the right further down a paved road to the right. This section was closer to the lake, very few people and quiet. Might have been the time of year. Each site had a fire ring, a shelter and a paved place to park. Easy for us as well to use the dump site in the RV section. We didn't use it but looked like there were some walking/biking trails close by. Seemed reasonable for $25. It was a nice find. Very clean.
Cheyenne Mountain State Park, Colorado Springs, CO.
Made our way to Cheyenne Mountain State Park, Colorado Springs. The tent only sites are walk-in and $18…and by walk-in…between 10-100ft from the parking area depending on the site. By midday most were taken and we landed in the available #45 (which was handicap accessible). Pluses and minuses: close to the restroom. Convenience comes at a cost, a motion sensor light constantly tripping on and a tad noisy. Tent pads only…comprised of a small pea gravel base, but elevated two railroad ties high…you will not get standing water, that's for certain. #45 is a handicap site so it is all paved…walkway, picnic table, animal-proof food container and fire pit area…no dust or dirt. Could be a positive or negative depending on your expectations. In April the trees were just budding so there wasn't a ton of concealment or cover from your neighbors provided by the leafless shrubbery and mountain scrub. A water pump is ten feet away. Another site was handicap accessible like this one but the others were situated further back in the scrub in dirt trails offering greater privacy. Hammock hanging was limited on site #45 but could be creatively managed. Restrooms were very clean and well-stocked. The visitor center is beautiful, large, interesting and offers local trinkets to purchase. Camp registration office is located by the campground and also houses restrooms and the coin operated showers and laundry. Water appeared to be at a premium as the water fountains were not operating. Depending on the wind direction, and with no leaves on the trees yet…highway noise could be heard in the distance from interstate 25…but not loud enough to be an irritation… Not to mention the sound breaking the early morning air…revelee from the nearby Air Force base. Signage leaves little doubt where you are or where to go throughout the park. The trails are superb and offer a variety of high plains and mountain views. Trail markings are remarkable, offering both self-guided tutorial placards and strategically located gps coordinates, in case of injury. Runners and mountain bikers frequent the trails. Wildlife aplenty. Mule deer sauntered by throughout the park and tom turkeys strutted their stuff for all to see. Colorful songbirds dotted the trail (my favorite…bright blue mountain bluebird). Keep the elevation in mind when choosing activities. Being a "flatlander," it takes about 7-10 days for your body to adjust to high elevations, so allocate more time on the trails for recovery breaks and hydration. Definite plus or minus…dogs are allowed in the park, but not on the trails and must be leashed at all times. Even on a Monday night in mid April, the park was filled so reservations would be advised. You can choose electric/water sites but there is no privacy from your RV neighbor.
Creative mountainscape photos are necessary to avoid the mountaintop antenna towers from NORAD.
It was a pleasant camping experience and would visit again.
There is so much to do nearby that you need to stay in the area at least a week.
Here are a few of my favorite nearby hikes: -Mt Cutler trail, Mt Muscoco trail, Helen Hunt Falls, Seven Bridges Trail, Red Rock Canyon, The Manitou Incline (parking fee), The Barr Trail (to Pikes Peak summit), Garden of the gods, Palmer Park, and Stanley Canyon Reservoir (on the Air Force Academy grounds)…all are must do's! Only Red Rock Canyon and Garden of the gods are flatter and easy strolling. Countless other trails exist and would take a lifetime to explore…worthy reason to return again and again!
Very friendly and accommodating host here. Nice and clean and reasonably priced. Several trails to hike around the campground as well.
There are a few miles of steep, dirt road from the main road up to the campground. I wasn’t sure my ‘99 Camry would make it, but it did just fine. Sixteen campsites, fairly private with trees and bushes between. Very clean bathrooms. Beautiful little stream running through the sites on one side of the road. I arrived on a Saturday night in early September and there were only two open sites, but by mid-day Sunday I was the only person left. It was nice and quiet having the whole place to myself. Trailhead access right from the campground to Devil’s Playground and Pike’s Peak. The Crags trail (also right from the campground) was super low key, about 2.5 hours round trip with great views at the top.
We go here in the early Spring when it is still chilly in Denver. Really nice fire pits. There are some other more dispersed sites as well. Good trail network around that have some really pretty overlooks of the gorge.
Overall, our experience at this campground was great. We just happened to get site #26, which, after walking through the entire campground, we all agreed was the best spot there! It was a decent sized lot with lots of trees for shade and privacy, and we were right next to the creek.
The grounds were clean and seemed to be well maintained, and it was nice and quiet.
We took our 5 year old nephew and 1.5 year old niece. Of course, they enjoyed the playground and pool.
I liked that they had coffee in the main/office building. And, we brought and cooked our own food, but it was nice to know that pancakes and eggs were an option, if that's what we wanted to do.
I gave them 4 stars because both of my sisters had problems with the lady (owner?) in the office being snotty to them. I personally only had interactions with the guy (owner?), and he was friendly enough. They charge 'per person' and for 'extra' vehicles, so it got kinda spends…around $55/night or so (we had 3 adults and 2 children- with the 3 adults all coming from different areas and/or at different times/days).
Overall, we enjoyed our time there and all agreed that we would go back!
We were disappointed with this RVC property. It is poorly laid out and the back in premium sites are not really premium. The one we were first assigned was very short and had a large drain in the middle of the site. (S12). Luckily we were able to move. Sites very close together and most utilities in the back. The staff is not all that friendly and helpful, except for one young man who helped me find a good route in around the construction. I had to leave two phone messages and a Facebook message to get info on how to maneuver around the horrible construction site right at the entrance. I only learned of the problems through rv park reviews. Typical of a corporate owned park. Websites should post current conditions but they don’t.
A park of their price should at a minimum have a shelf or racks in the SHOWERS to place shower items. No benches, no hooks, nothing.
Not that well managed. All the T-shirt’s and clothing covered the entire time we were there. When I asked, he said it was because they hadn’t taken inventory yet, and weren’t allowed to sell them until they are inventoried. Lots of red rocks piled up various places. Guess they don’t have anyone that can spread it. Building materials in the restrooms not very appealing. Unfortunately, we didn’t see any other rv parks any better. Their location to garden of the Gods can’t be beat. It would have been nice for them to tell us how to get there when we checked in. Next time we will stay about 30 miles west of town.