Hayley K.

Pro

Denver, CO

Joined July 2016

Former outdoor guide who loves traveling and exploring new and quiet places. Year round camper.

Dirty and Next to the Highway but Good River Access

This is a last resort campground. It is on the side of the highway, no shade except by the river, and the sites are right on top of each other. There are only 6 sites. 

There is easy river access so if you are looking for just a spot to stop overnight or to cool down by the river this would be fine. But I wouldn't use this location as a get away destination.

The bathroom is disgusting and the trash was overflowing when I stopped here. I don’t know how often this spot is patrolled or cared for.

There is a rafting guide company that comes through every couple of hours during the day to put in or take out of the river. They park their buses under the only shady spots in the extended pull out to keep them cool. I don't blame them, this location gets hot.

Group Campsite Perfect for Large Events

We were doing research for an upcoming large event and we came across this campground. 

This is a Group site that is at the base of the Colorado Trail in the middle of Buffalo Creek. 

This is a reservation only campground so you can’t get into the campground without a reservation. There is a large parking lot at the entrance to the campground with a pit toilet bathroom and multiple trails nearby. 

There are 2 sites in the campground. There are 25 cars spots per site that are available. The campground is $150 a night but would be great for large events since there is plenty of space. When we called to reserve the site we found out that we were too early to book since they release availability on a rolling basis. On July 01, 2020 at 08:00 am MDT, availability will be released through July 01, 2021.

Perfect Mountain Escape for Climbers and Hikers

There are two campgrounds at Rifle Mountain Park so this beginning information fits both sites so it should be in both reviews. 

Take State Hwy 13 or Railroad Avenue(which becomes 13) North through the City. Take a right on Hwy 325(bowling alley at the corner), this will head you toward Rifle Creek Golf Course and Rifle Gap State Park. Drive over the dam at Rifle Gap and continue on Hwy 325 past Rifle Falls State Park(GO THERE!) until you reach the Rifle Fish Hatchery. The road will change to gravel after the fish hatchery. The entrance to the park starts about 2000 feet after the road turns to gravel. 

There is a $5 day pass for the park that you can pay on site in cash. This is not the same as the state parks pass. This park is maintained by the town of Rifle, not the forest service or park service. Just past the park is national forest so if you want free camping, you can go past the park and camp in forest service land. 

This park is absolutely stunning! There are sky high walls of red and orange rock on both sides and a creek running down the park with lush greenery everywhere. Plenty of camping areas located in the park but they do fill up fast on weekends. 

Sites are $10 plus $5 for each additional vehicle. They are smaller sites but with all the activities to get into you will get lost in the beauty that is Rifle Mountain Park. There is firewood for sale and group camping areas if you are in need of more space. 

This park is best known for its climbing routes and fishing. But it is a great place for biking and hiking too. 

This site has a big more space between sites. There is room for up to 2 cars at each spot or the perfect space for an RV or campervan. There is also another offshoot road for group camping that seemed to be blocked of by a group so you couldn’t even drive through it to get a spot. Since this park is monitored by the town and not state or national parks, there doesn’t seem to be someone regulating the space.

Huffman Gulch Campground in Rifle Mountain Park

There is a $5 day pass for the park that you can pay on site in cash. This is not the same as the state parks pass. 

This park is maintained by the town of Rifle, not the forest service or park service.

This park is absolutely stunning! There are sky high walls of red and orange rock on both sides and a creek running down the park with lush greenery everywhere. 

Plenty of camping areas located in the park but they do fill up fast on weekends. Sites are$10 plus$5 for each additional vehicle. They are smaller sites but with all the activities to get into you will get lost in the beauty that is Rifle Mountain Park. 

There is firewood for sale and group camping areas if you are in need of more space. This park is best known for its climbing routes and fishing. But it is a great place for biking and hiking too. 

This campground is in the middle of the park and is spread on both sides of the road. They are a little tight together but with all the greenery it feels more secluded. There are picnic tables and fire pits at each site and a small group camp spot. The camp host is very sweet but only seems to be there part time.

Quiet but Obviously Well Used Area

We had set up a small tent in a spot in Buffalo Creek and headed out for a hike and when we returned our tent had been stolen. We were just glad that we didn't put everything out. So we went in search for a more remote spot. We headed out to get to the backroad of Buffalo Creek through Bailey and found this spot. I think it might still be part of Buffalo Creek Recreation Area but it is after the split so we wanted to differentiate this one from the main camping area. 

The site was large (could easily fit a large RV) and tree lines but was pretty close to the road. There were cars going in an out but everyone was being super cautious and going slow. There were perfect trees to set up dog runs (see photos for rope lines). 

There were plenty of spots to use the bathroom that were hidden and far enough away from people but there was bathroom trash left all over the place and feces that was left unburied. Our dog quickly found and got into it. She got a bad stomachache after eating poo So I beg of all who camp, clean up after yourself!

After we did a trash clean up and burials, it was a pretty nice spot. Shaded, secluded, and only 4 miles away from Wellington Lake. There are also hiking trails close by and you can head down the road to hit the biking trails too. 

Be aware that there are sites on this road but people will still pull into parking areas and wander off behind other sites to camp. We were hiking around with the dogs and ran into (literally) a large encampment behind some big rocks that we could not see or hear until we were right on them. They were not camped in an actual camping spot. 

We also got to test out Campfare meals on this trip, I would recommend them for long backpacking trips but not really great for front country. They are pricey and work best as complimentary items to each other instead of stand alone. But on a through hike they would be a well received treat.

First to Review
Perfect high altitude get away

Kirby Gulch is free camping with hiking and creek access. This is a large free camping area with 43 sites.There are multiple styles of sites for camping. 

This campground is just past Burning Bear Campground and before you get to the pass summit. 

There are no bathrooms or picnics tables so please clean up after yourself. When you pull in off the main road, the road turns into a washboard and you drive up into a meadow with multiple sites for RV’s and tents. 

The sites surround the outside of the meadow. As you head into the loop you will get more tree cover and creek access from the sites on the left. The road heads back to open up to a few more secluded spots right on the creek. There are actual camp sites for you to use with semi-established fire rings and flat areas for tents. 

Small pull behind campers fit back here but not large RV’s. There isn’t space to turn around once you get on the road until you get to the end that has a parking area for the trail head. 

This campground was completely full the weekend of Memorial Day but most of the sites were empty during the week days. 

The hiking is great, it heads through treelines and along the creek up to a marshy meadow with beautiful views of snowy mountain peaks.

Creekside camping at it's finest

This campground is deeply hidden down a dirt road and under a cliff. The sites are secluded and well maintained. There are pit toilets throughout the sites. Fire rings are clean and even some of the campground have logs set up to sit on around the fire. 

The road to get up here is a pretty rough and I would say that RV's and small cars might have a bit of a hard time but it is doable. 

It is down the road from Wellington lake too so there is hiking, biking, swimming, and fishing all from one campground. 

The sites are smaller so it is better for tent camping rather than RV camping.

In order to get to our site, we even got to cross a little bridge over the creek. It made for an extremely sound night's sleep. The creek wasn't too high and was perfect for us to relax with our feet in.

Expensive but beautiful Lake front camping

This is such a beautiful site and with covid rampant, it was basically empty. You could only use the lake if you had existing reservations so it was pretty open and empty. 

The sites were well spaced out and there was plenty of space for tents and vehicles. The staff were friendly and accommodating and gave plenty of space while checking in. You check in at the front office before you head to your site. You can't get into the campground without a reservation so it felt really safe and secure. 

This is a privately owned campground and there is maintenance staff on site 24-7. There is also a general store and clean bathrooms. 

We only spent one night here but I wish we could have stayed longer.

Free camping but fills up fast on weekends

This place is great for outdoor enthusiasts. We stayed here a couple weekends in a row and we were able to try out some different spots and trails close to those spots. This free campground is perfect! 

There are some sites that are better than others for group sizes and it isn’t very RV friendly. 550 is a washboard road that ends up at Wellington Lake. You can get here from the Pine junction side or the Bailey side. 

Our site on this trip was#27 and we really loved it. It was downset from the road so we had a little privacy and the sites are large and far apart from each other so we were able to socially distance within our own group. There was plenty of tree coverage for rainstorms and shade but not too much to where you couldn’t find a tent site easily. 

There is an active fire ban in the area and the neighbors were lighting 5ft tall fires with gasoline which put us at risk. If you are going to be camping in BLM or Wildlife Areas please follow the restrictions and don’t put others at risk with no cell phone service. 

The trails and stream aren’t too far from the site so you can easily hike or bike there. We hiked out to the 96 burn area to explore and we ended up doing a nice 7 mile loop to get down to the creek for a cool down. 

There are no bathrooms so the first day we got there we did a trash clean up of the backwoods of our site from toilet paper left out there. 

This "campground" is not super large RV friendly so if you are in a large RV try and get site 13 or head to one of the established campgrounds down the road or try for the group camping area that you can see in my pictures.

Great Campground for Hikers and Bikers

This campground is set a couple miles down road 550 after all the free recreation area campsites.

The sites are pretty close together but there are well maintained pit toilets as well as a dumpster on site for trash. The surrounding area is filled with hiking and biking trails, including the Colorado Trail. 

The campground is over 7k feet of elevation and a lot of trails intersect so make sure you keep track of where you are and what trail you are hiking on for the day. Not many are loops on their own. 

There are a couple pit toilets places throughout the campground. Clean fire rings and picnic tables at all the sites. 

Keep your eyes out for ticks and mosquitos. We found a couple of ticks on the dogs after they ran through the tall grass and the creek. 

Across the road is a creek that is great for water hangouts and light fishing. We were here in May and the weather was about 70 during the day and 35-40 at night with plenty of shade and wind protection. It has sites for RV’s, tent, or van stay.

Great for overnight stop but noisy

I drive by this stop and intended to stay here for a night but the sites were all full. I parked for a few hours and had lunch and then headed into Valley of Fire for a hike. 

There are 7 legit sites but there were a lot of people that were just boondocked all around so it was hard to decipher who was with who and where. 

There are picnic tables and fire rings with an awning at each site that seemed well taken care of and the sites were big enough for pull throughs and tents. It was rocky though so bring a hammer or mallet for the stakes. 

I was told not to come here during bird hunting season as it is PACKED. But it is close to town, just outside of Valley of Fire so the views are gorgeous. And on wet years, you can see the lake in the distance. 

It was very noisy and I was hoping that was just because it was during the day. There were lots of big trucks driving by and since it is BLM there were atv's all about. 

Little known spot is nearby that is totally worth a visit is Roger's Spring. It is a beautiful little spring that you wouldn't even know was there if you weren't looking for it specifically, which adds to it's charm! I missed it the first 4 times I drove this route. I added pictures so you could see it. It is only about 20 mins down the road!

Great simple get away hike but camping is permit only

This area is owned by Clear Creek Open Space and they are currently in negotiations to gain more of the surrounding area. It is great for a hiking and picnic destination. We wanted to stay overnight so I reached out and got a permit for an overnight stay. 

From the parking area you will need to head down a beautiful little columbine lined trail to the water. There are ample spaces to pitch a tent or have a picnic. 

While we were there it was almost like we were far away from the city even though we were just in the foothills. I didn't hear one car or person other than our group. 

There aren't bathrooms, trash, or water so you will need to be prepared for that.

Free but busy

We had a great time staying for free at Rollins pass. We had a large group of bikers so we all hammock camped since there isn't much space for tents (lots of trees but not enough space to set up a tent). We were there for mtn biking and a show in Winter Park and it was an easy ride to and from town from the pass. There are lots of campers along the road since the top of the pass is the start of all the single track trails heading down into the town. 

I also stayed an extra night so I could leave early in the morning to hike James Peak and St. Mary's Glacier. It is easy access from here too. You will need to drive to the trailhead but it is less than a mile to the glacier and only a couple more miles to the peak. 

Even in Summer it is cold so be away and prepare yourself accordingly.

Super busy but great for dogs

This is a location that you only camp if you literally don't have any worries about being around people. It is ALWAYS packed due to the tons of hiking trails, huge dog park, and water access. 

I taught kayaking to little ones here and it was always a fight to get into the park, get to the water, and not get run over by boats and unexperienced (or entitled) people. 

The campground is well maintained but it sit really worth being able to be basically in a metropolitan city? For me I'll go somewhere more nature friendly and less crowded. 

BUT it is excellent for dogs. We love taking out dogs here because they can play in water, run their hearts out, and hang out with other dogs. It is pricey to get into the park though. $80 for a year pass to the state parks and another $25 for the dog park fees.

Great for fishing and hanging out

We had a large group here for a fishing intro trip and we were basically solo. We were able to hang around the water and have a safe camping space with ample space. There are tent pads and RV pull ins too. 

The bathrooms were well taken care of and the trash was picked up. There is a season for this campground so make sure it is open and it slightly snowed on us when we were out there in October.

Excellent for Group Camping

We stayed here as an after party for a wedding so it was the perfect spot for us to have a large group of people and multiple tent spots. There are tent pads and groomed areas for camping. The group sites are large and there are bathrooms provided in the group camp area. They are pit toilets but they were really well taken care of and the location was gorgeous. 

We didn't see another group there and we were there on a popular weekend (labor day). We were only 15 mins at most from Blackhawk so it was fun to go into town for an eventing to hang out at the casinos and get dinner.

This is a permanent residence park

This is a park for people who live in trailers and RV's that want to stay stationary for a while. You are not allowed to stay if you are staying for less than 5 days. It is for longer stays and is in the middle of Englewood which is busy and crowded. There isn't a nature feel at all in the area. You are right off a main road.

This is a permanent residence location

This is a mobile home park, which means that it is a stationary trailer park and some RV's have taken up permanent residence here and it isn't a location where you can pull into to camp for the night.

Only One Night Stay Allowed

This is an interesting spot to stay the night. It is right on the river and there are 1-5 sites with a playground, bathrooms, bbq pit, and a dump station. I'm not sure who takes care of this park but they have done a great job! 

It is not pet friendly so keep them on a leash and walk them off property.

It is a free site but you can only stay 1 night max. It is not for tents but it will fit RV's and campervans just fine. Maximum RV length is 35 feet.

The best thing about this site is that it is within walking distance of Three Barrel Brewing Company! Excellent beer and a legit pizza oven!

Easy access to sites and nice camp host

We stayed here on a trip between Pagosa Springs and Mesa Verde. It was a great stop as the campground is only $20 and it is only about 25 mins from Pagosa Springs so you can easily drive into the town and soak in the springs and then spend a semiquiet night in the trees. 

I say semi-quiet because it is right off the road but the sites go back deeper into the trees. 

But the bathrooms were super clean and the camp host is on top of people coming in a out and making sure the site is super clean.

It is right across from Chimney Rock National Monument so check that out too!