Medicine Bow-Routt NFs & Thunder Basin NG, WYOMING
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Camping Wyoming Medicine Bow-Routt NFs & Thunder Basin NG
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Shhhh. Don't tell anyone about this one.

Camping along Pearl Lake is a dream come true. It's a quiet lake, surrounded by mountains and forest, perfect for paddle boarders. There is also a nice hike that goes over the dam and then climbs up and away from civilization.

Mountain biking paradise

We stayed along Granite Reservoir. It's lovely, but we had to listen to jet skis and motor boats during the day. The bike trails are terrific, but as paddle boarders, next time we will head to the smaller Crystal Reservoir, where motorized boats are prohibited.


The wind was consistently 25mph+ the whole weekend, but the hiking and alpine lakes just off the campground were great. Camp sites were well taken care of and each had a level tent spot and ample parking.

Good option if main campground is full

Personally, I find having easier access to the facilities of the main campground worth $10 per night if you can find a spot. These dispersed campsites are a good free option if you can't find one though. Make sure that you camp at one of the designated spots, it is not a pick-you-spot-anywhere kind of experience:

Sites 1-4 are found shortly after the Nautilus parking lot, where you can find a single bathroom. These spots are also the closest to the trails that take you to the rock climbing routes.

Not for camping, but you can fill water here for nearby dispersed camping

This is not a campground. This is one of two places that offers potable water for nearby camping though (as of summer 2019). The gate is locked so you must walk in with your jugs to fill them up. The Abraham Lincoln Memorial rest area is the other nearby place for water, and the rest area is easier because you can drive right to the pump.

Great access to climbing, very basic camping

We found a set of campsites in the "Upper Blaire" climbing area.

How to get there from US-30 

  • *Refer map provided in campground website link
  • Approaching from the south: Take exit 329 for Vedauwoo Rd --> Turn left onto Vedauwoo Glen Rd --> Turn right onto Old US Hwy 30 E --> Drive 2.7 miles --> Turn right onto Blair-Wallis Rd / Forest Rd 705 --> Drive 3 miles --> Sharp right on Forest Rd 707 --> Drive 0.7 miles --> Turn right onto Forest Rd 707A then a few hundred feet turn right again onto Forest Rd 707AF --> drive to the end of the road a few hundred feet more and park.
  • Approaching from the north: Take exit 323 for WY-210 toward Happy Jack Rd --> Turn left onto WY-210 E / Happy Jack Rd then shortly thereafter turn left again to stay on WY-210 E --> Drive for 6 miles --> Turn right onto Headquarters Rd / Forest Rd 707 --> In 0.3 miles turn right to stay on 707 --> drive 2.7 mi --> Turn  left onto Forest Rd 707A --> Turn right in a few hundred feet onto Forest Rd 707AF--> drive to the end of the road a few hundred feet more and park.

These sites are primitive and have a nice secluded feeling. You cannot see or hear the highway from here. There was spotty cell service (we have T-mobile). There are no facilities here, but if you would like to access picnic tables or a vault toilet, the Blair Picnic Area is not far away: Make sure to pack plenty of water, you can fill up at the Abraham Lincoln Memorial rest area.

If you want to do some rock climbing in the area, these sites are very convenient. 

Some words of caution: 

  • there are cows roaming free in this area. You might find them blocking the road or next to your tent when you wake up (!) 
  • a lot of broken glass at the sites near the parking area
  • there are many fell trees in the area, and it was very gusty when we were there, so make sure to check weather in advance to avoid strong winds that might bring trees down
Easy to find for basic camping

We found a set of campsites specifically on the forest road 705F, near the Hidden Valley picnic area. The sites are free, as they are primitive set-up with only a fire pit. Although there are not facilities immediately there, if you finding camping in this area you are close by to a bathroom at Summit Trailhead and potable water at either Hidden Valley or the Abraham Lincoln rest area. We found a whole list of forest roads that allow dispersed camping 100 feet off-road:

Awesome getaway

Great place for a getaway, minutes from multiple hiking trails or streams for some fly fishing.  Stop by and visit the store in nearby Clark.  If you need a shower or to do a load of laundry Steamboat lake isn’t far away and has a day pass for $7 to use all the facilities and hang out for a day.  We stayed in site 16 and the sound of the river was nice to fall asleep to at night. We had a nice view of the mountain range from the site as well.  We will be back for sure.

Tastefully Developed, Empty, and Awesome

We were told by Google that this campground was permanently closed, but we went with The Dyrt's info, and it really panned out. We were the only ones there, it was a short walk down to the Platt (flys and lures only), and the tent site, fire-ring, and picnic table were in top notch condition. Would definitely stay here again.

9,000 feet elevation camping

Big Creek Lakes Campground, Colorado (close to Wyoming border): camping here is only open for 3 months out of the year: June, July & August. It's camping at over 9,000ft elevation and requires for you to be extra prepared for snow even in the summer months, bears, mountain lions, mosquitos, aggressive horse flies, leeches, strong winds, thunder storms and altitude sickness. They do provide water which tastes fresh like newly melted snow. You can boat, fish, even hunt at some spots with a permit, hike, and swim at your own risk (can be cold, leeches, snakes). It is truly beautiful up here and the drive up the Poudre river makes it worth it. You can also spend the day rafting down the river or fishing.

Good campsite

Lots of different campgrounds, clean and spacious sites with some cool areas to look at

Snowed in

I tried to camp here but was snowed out: the campground had not opened yet. However I was able to check it out by car. All the usual items were present: vault toilet, picnic tables, fire pits. It looked like there was a dedicated host site. There was some great hiking nearby. You won't have phone service here, just saying. I can't wait to come back and actually pitch my tent here next summer.

Nice camping near the Snowy Range

This campground is high up in the Snowy Range above Encampment. Not a lot of people seem to use this campground. I'm not sure why. It has all of the usual camp accoutrements including clean vault toilet, picnic tables, and fire pits. Sites were not especially private, and you had to look around to find a site with a level tent pad, but still not a bad place to spend the night.

Prepare for 3 Ws- Water, weather, & wildlife.

This wooded campground has a very narrow season. Gravel roads (starting at Albany) were snowed in 4 miles out in late May 2019, While there are gendered vault toilets (TP stocked), bring your own water for cooking and cleaning. This fact alone makes it better for RVs than tent campers like us. There are loads of sites, well spaced with fire rings and picnic tables. We got rain and small hail on the 3rd weekend in July and it got to 40 F or below overnight. Deer, chipmunks, and a bald eagle were spotted. There were mosquitoes. There is a boat ramp into the reservoir. Heavily ATV traffic. Dog friendly but must be on leash. Gunfire noted early and late across reservoir. With proper prior planning, you will probably have a pleasant experience.

Easy access

Great campground right on the river. Lots and of access for fishing and a great trail hike along the river that stretched for miles. Despite being just outside town. The campground feels remote.


Wowsa! Those rock formations are stunning! The campground was great - plenty of campsites and lovely trails to hike. We were even visited by a moose and her calf on our first night! The ranger is very friendly and helpful. The water is shut off for 2019 so be prepared to bring your own. Laramie is just a quick jaunt down I-80 which is nice if you forget anything. My only complaint was the highway noise. It was such a bummer to hear semi trucks and car engines and even the train rather than the peace and quiet you normally experience while camping. Other than that…we loved it!

Looks like a campground, feels primitive

We stayed 2 nights on the “Primitive Loop” in site 479; about 3 miles north of North Fork Michigan River. It was essentially a cul-de-sac of about 15 tent sites. Not much natural sun coverage, as you are sitting on top of a small ridge, but there are great views of the mountains and sunrises/sunsets. Great hiking trails nearby also. The primitive loop felt like a little community! Everyone was so kind and willing to talk. Will be back!

Looks like a campground, feels primitive

We stayed 2 nights on the “Primitive Loop” in site 479; about 3 miles north of North Fork Michigan River. It was essentially a cul-de-sac of about 15 tent sites. Not much natural sun coverage, as you are sitting on top of a small ridge, but there are great views of the mountains and sunrises/sunsets. Great hiking trails nearby also. The primitive loop felt like a little community! Everyone was so kind and willing to talk. Will be back!

Enjoyable lakeside campground

Easy to navigate. Unfortunately we did have 1 set of rude & loud neighbors who happened to be middle aged adults. The college kids on the other side of us were extremely polite & quiet. Stayed Sunday of Memorial Weekend. First time with small children in a tent. Beautiful sunset over the lake.

Great place for short term or long term stay

Picked this campsite due to a last minute change of plans.  Maintained by American Land & Leisure which has been upgrading facilities, new fire rings and bear box storage containers.  The camp ground manager was visible working. Fireword is provide for sale on site.  Water is available.  Pit toilets are clean and less than 10 yers old.  sites are well spaced .  The facility has trails and fishing available with a drive of 1 mile to 12 miles.

This place is legit

Big campsites, no one close, bring water!! Completely free and loved the unique landscape!

Out of the way

Wonderful campground in the forest. Very heavy use area but still feels like you have the place to yourself.

Great spot for a long weekend

Great spot for car camping in Colorado except its distance from Denver. It’s a trek! Takes at least 4 hours (that’s if you’re lucky). Lots to do. Great fishing, beautiful hiking trails to a water fall, and trails for the RZR near by.

Easy access to dispersed campsites

Easy in & out but has become busier in last few years. Still nice quick getaway to some easy hiking.

First to Review
Primitive Sites Right Next to Douglas Creek

Great sites, right by the creek. There's a trailhead nearby for Douglas Creek Trail. This is a Wilderness and it is wild. We saw Marmots, Big Horn Sheep, and other wildlife. The mosquitoes were pretty bad everywhere we went in early July. The creeks, mountains, and trees were magnificent. There are fire-rings, but not much dry firewood available. Glad there are a couple outhouses because I thought we might have to dig latrine holes instead. You can bring RVs or Fifth Wheels, but RVs might have some trouble in the mud.

Perfect get away

A lot of trees have been cleared near the lake, but there are plenty of Aspen's and new babies growing. Everytime we have gone there there is always room to camp, even on 4th of July. It is a nice calm lake at the to of a mountain perfect for fishing, kayaking and paddle boarding… As long as it's not windy… Which is pretty common. GO IN THE FALL, with all the Aspen's it is beautiful and an old railroad trail to walk along is a very easy 'hike'. You can also walk all around the lake, where there is an old train caboose. If you are going to the campground for the first time use WAZE for directions, NOT GOOGLE MAPS, that will take you through rivate property.

Majestic sky

Campsites have picnic tables and fire rings. Each site has a garbage can. Horses are permitted. Set among a rocky outcropping near Bennett’s peak… between the two campgrounds there’s over 25 sites to chose from. Was there over the 4th of July holiday and only 1/3 of the sites were taken. There’s more trees at Bennett peak. Coral camp is a little more exposed and perched uphill from the North Platte River.

End of the road.

Great BLM campground with fire rings, water and amazing scenery. Located where the North Platte river cuts through sagebrush country, the  hills and peaks resembling  prehistoric boulders… in the middle of ranch country, the drive in takes you all the way to the end of the road. Just keep going until you can’t go anymore. The road is in good condition. There’s cattle, horses and plenty of pronghorn wandering about. The sites each have a couple picnic tables. Fire rings have cooking grates. And the well pump has a crank for easy use. 1 vault toilet. There’s a boat ramp for the numerous oar-float boats and rafts going in and out. Down stream is treasure island… another campground located outside Saratoga’. Upstream within a half mile is the coral creek campground. Days were warm but the nights cooled off considerably. It was the 4th of July and more than half the sites were available.

Basically dispersed camping

The absolute bare minimum of a campground but I was perfectly fine with that. It’s a wide open acreage with about 5 or 6 fire pits constructed by previous campers. There aren’t any specific sites so you really just pull in and find an area that works to setup your site. It does have a vault toilet which was in really great shape and BYOTP. Right next to the Laramie river as well.

Great for RVs, campers, toy haulers, tents and big setups. Less than a mile from Lake 1 which makes it convenient if you’re fishing the lakes for a couple days.

Great wide open views all around and at night it’s about as dark as you’d hope for to see the stars.

The biggest drawback of the CG was the mosquitos which were brutal but spray worked well enough. Also there are only 2 “sites” which have tree coverage and the rest is in the open.

There was not a fee for this CG

Great location

Beautiful location. The Camp store on property has just about everything a camper may need. Water and electric is available at some sites but there is not a sewage drop off. The Park Rangers and other staff are very kind and courteous. Lots of hiking trails for all different skill levels.