Kristin A.
Westminster, CO
Joined August 2018
Single night camping fix

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.

Perfect Quick Escape

Trees, trails and tranquility just an hour from Denver? Yes please! This is one of my new favorite spots -perfect for a quick weekend escape. We loved the roomy pull through spots for our camper, easy electrical hookups, super clean bathrooms and shower house. So many other campgrounds in Colorado have been hit hard by the pine beetle epidemic, but Reverends Ridge still has towering trees that make the loops feel private and remote. Dont mIss the easy hike to Panorama Point. From there you can let link to the rest of the extensive trail system through the park.

High Altitude Heaven

We missed the reservation window for this popular spot so spent the first night camped down the hill in a Forest Service road pull-off. Luckily we were able to pull in at 11:30am just as some folks were leaving and scored one of the few walk-up sites.

They say beggars can't be choosers, but we felt like we won the lottery because our site had million dollar views. After exploring a bit, we realized that every site had million dollar views.

This 9000foot high lake is a gem for kayaking, fishing and overall zen-ing. The lake was busy with folks doing all of these things, it never felt too crowded or overused.

The camp host and her young son were friendly, helpful and diligent and we loved seeing him "help" the sites and pick up rocks.

The road up to the site is bumpy and steep and bit dicey when wet, but once you've made it up here, you won't want to leave.

Second choice

I wish I could write a review about Cataract Creek campground, which is nestled in the trees 2 miles above Green MountaIn Resevoir. But even in October those 5 sites filled up too fast.
Instead we ended up at McDonald Flats on the south end of the lake near the boat ramp. I like sites with a few trees, no road noise, and limited views of my neighbors. This campground didn’t offer any of those. We had the sites and sounds of semis barreling down HWY 9 all night. Our neighbors were friendly and polite, but we were parked right next to them and heard their car doors as they set out at 6:30 am to go hunting. Regardless, we were happy to have the spot sInce most of the other campgrounds had closed for the season. ServIces lIke trash removal had been suspended for the season, the sIte was free, whIch was a nIce surprIse. The water levels were way too low in October to really enjoy the lake, but it would be a great camp for boaters in the summer. A hIghlIght of the weekend was takIng the 15 minute trek to Kremmling and hitting Grand Adventure Brewery. We loved theIr dog frIendly patIo, diverse beer list, tasty food and friendly service.

Great Location Close to Town

Needed a spot for to camp for a trail race at Snow Mountain Ranch and their campground had closed in early September. We were happy to find this little gem, which offered super easy access to the race, but also a great base to explore the Fraser Valley and Winter Park. You can easily access the trail system right from camp for epic mountain biking, trail running and hiking. I can imagine coming back here for the Jazz Festival or Art Market in the summer time.

Other folks have mentioned that beetle kill hit this area hard, and so the campground more exposed than most. If you are looking for a private shady spot in the pines, this isn't it. But the sites are clean and easy to pull through/ back into for RVs. They do offer water and clean vault toilets. Another plus is that campground is operated by the local Lions club, so the proceeds benefit local community organizations and the hosts really know the area.

Funky and Friendly Hot Springs in the San Luis Valley

Joyful Journey is a lovely little hot springs in the middle of the San Luis Valley. The Sangre de Christo Mountains tower in the distance and on a moonlit night, they positively glow from the farthest pool. The water in these springs have trace amounts of lithium which makes them even more relaxing than others I've tried.

The springs is popular and can be a bit crowded, so be sure to reserve your spot ahead of time. Bring your own towels, as they can't always keep up with demand and flip flops are also a must for the showers. However, camping lets you stay a bit later than other folks and being able to wonder across the parking lot to the campground after a good soak instead of driving is a huge draw.

Since the campground as its just an extension of the parking lot there is room for large rigs. It features all the all the basics with a clean and close shower house, electrical hookups and grills. The nightly fee includes access to the pools and continental breakfast in the morning. Pets are allowed for an additional fee.

There are also yurts, teepees and motel rooms available to rent.

Zillions and zillions of stars

Are you feeling lucky? Grabbing one of the few first come- first served sites at Canyonlands National Park is tough because this section of the park is immensely popular and there are only twelve available. But it's worth the gamble.

We arrived at Willow Flat Campground around noon on a Monday to find it nearly full. As other folks mentioned, the campground doesn't have electric or water, so it attracts a more rugged crowd. Larger rigs might find the pads too small, but it was perfect for my 13' foot camper and the vault toilets were clean and accessible. I had brought an extra bottle of wine in hopes that we might be able to share it with some friendly neighbors and trade adventure stories, but the sites were too large and private to be that kind of spontaneously social.

Staying right in the national park let us experience a bit of desert therapy on a deeper level. We walked to the Green River Overlook for the most spectacular sunset and then hopped in the car for a quick 5 minute drive to Mesa Arch at sunrise and saw the rocks glow florescent orange. Those pictures are the stuff social media is made for. But the best memory that I couldn't capture via my iPhone was the magic of seeing the Milky Way at midnight. Sitting under heavy blankets in the inky quiet of a night sky, filled with more stars than could have imagined, made us feel very lucky indeed.

Close to Durango but feels remote

Campground features shady sites that will accommodate big rigs. If you are tent camping you might feel surrounded, but most spaces are so far apart, we never heard a peep from our neighbors. Overall the campground was well run with super clean bathrooms in each loop. 15 minute drive to town makes this a great home base to explore Durango and the Animas Valley.

Classic Colorado

Loved this spot. Its got all my must haves - classic mountain views, sleeping to the sound of running water, tall pines and awesome camp host. The fact that it doesn't have showers or electrical hookups are a plus as well because it keeps out the riffraff. Finally, don't miss heading up the road to tour the ghost town of St Elmo for a glimpse into hard scrabble mountain life.