Jackson Lake

We chose Jackson Lake for it’s proximity to Denver and because it had a group camping area with RV hookups. This was a church weekend that included a wide age range as well as many different camping methods. This site also had a nice covered pavilion for our group meal. There were pros and cons to this location. Nice large area for camping with hookups and lots of privacy was certainly a “pro”. It also had a nice bathroom facility, a great group fire pit and easy access to the lake. Plains camping is very different from a mountain lake, however! It was really warm and then we ended up with a pretty strong string of storms. The lake had a nice little beach area near our site…..but it was realllllly green!! The kids didn’t mind much. Speaking of green, there were the toads! Lots and lots of toads at night….like covering the ground in a moving carpet! Nonetheless, it is an option for a group that worked out pretty well. I prefer the mountains, but not opposed to exploring the outdoors of the whole state! This is a Colorado State Park…..which there are 42 of BTW. Perhaps we will make a point of visiting them all!

Getting there from Denver: East on I-76. Take the second Wiggins’ exit (Exit 66). Turn left (north) on CO 39/CO 52. Drive approximately 9 miles. Drive ½ mile past Goodrich to T-intersection. Turn left onto County Road Y.5. Stay on County Road Y.5 (It will turn north after a couple of miles.) This will take you past the south side and into the main park area on the west.

Jackson Lake State Park









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Pearl Lake

Last summer we went to Steamboat Springs for a wedding. The wedding was held at Steamboat Lake Outfitters and we did a little half day excursion to Pearl Lake. The resort was a great little place! There are multiple cabins, a store, a restaurant and many opportunities for recreation. The cabins are different sizes and the prices are very reasonable. Horses are on site. You’ll note that they are also a hunting outfit when you go to the website link below.

This area is north of Steamboat Springs and seems to be pretty quiet. I haven’t been to Steamboat Lake, but perhaps this is a less populated choice. Pearl Lake is one of Colorado’s State Parks. We headed over to the lake for a half day of fishing and hanging out. Gorgeous lake. There is a campground at Pearl Lake as well–and based on others recommendations, I can say that it is a great find!

Getting there: From Steamboat Springs, go west two miles on US 40 to county road 129, then turn right. Go north 23 miles to Pearl Lake Road, turn east and drive two miles to the park.

Steamboat Lake Outfitters Resort

Pearl Lake Colorado State Park

This is the view from the front of the resort.

We had a storm just before the wedding ceremony and then it cleared up to be beautiful! (I think this was a really great place to have a wedding!)

Pearl Lake

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Woodland Park–Rainbow Falls

This was a group camping trip in the Woodland Park area. We went to an area called Rainbow Falls. There are lots of dispersed camping throughout the area. This is also a popular ATV area. It connects to Rampart Range and that’s where you find the camping that is set up for ATV type vehicles. This, of course, causes for noise concern. But, where we ended up it was pretty quiet–aside from the occasional bouts of shooting. Remember that national forest camping often means shooting.

Getting there…..
From Woodland Park take Hwy 67 for 10.5 miles north
Rainbow Falls road will be on your right

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Golden Gate Canyon

We have camped a couple of times in Golden Gate Canyon. This is a Colorado State Park. Both times we camped in Aspen Meadows Campground…..a tent only campground. There are other campgrounds in the park that have hook-ups. The sites are pretty spacious and we have been able to do group camping “of sorts” in this campground. This is a campground where you need reservations. Both times we were planning a church camping trip–so we called in the Spring when reservations opened up to get spots together. Lot’s of fishing is nearby as well. We went to Dude’s Fishing Hole.

Here is the link to the park for more information and also the link to Colorado’s State Parks.

Golden Gate Canyon




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This dispersed camping area had easy access to a reservoir and a small river…with camping on the river. The spots can be challenging to get down into depending on the spot…but the road is easy. This is Clear Creek Reservoir.

Getting there…..
170 west to exit 195
Co-91 S
Go to Hwy 24 west
Trail Road on your right
Go past reservoir….past private property….then dispersed camping will begin





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Devils Canyon

This is one of the best sites we have had! Although getting to Devil’s Canyon is a bit of an adventure. The 4 wheel drive road is a firm moderate….no problem for those that regularly do off road trails. Slow driving got our Envoy up the road…..

Getting there..
170 west to exit 240-Mt. Evans Road
Go to 10 mile marker….just past this about .3 mile is the Devil’s Canyon Road on your left….easy to miss. From here, stay on A road. It forks left then right….about 20 minutes up you will come to the loop…go right. This spot will be on your left. If you go a bit further and take a right on an almost hidden road there is another great spot.

IMPORTANT: Always stay to Road A! Signs can be confusing.

We had the mountain to ourselves it seemed! We saw very few others. Spectacular views.

The Panoramic View……..


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Raymond Cabin

This cabin is a great find! We did this trip during a fall weekend. Raymond is located south of Allenspark. It is right on the river and pet friendly! As a bonus, there is even a zip line across the river. The loft is great for kids—the master bedroom is on the main level.

Here is the link to renting the cabin….

River Hideout Cabin







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Green Mt. Reservoir

This was a group camping trip. We decided to try a “limited facilities” campground so that some would be a little more happy with the bathroom situation. This campground had a vault toilet that was a bit of a walk and was meant for about 50ish people to share (more about this later!)

Getting there:
West on 1-70 to Silverthorne
Take the Silverthorne exit and head towards Steamboat Springs..this is Hwy. 40
Green Mt. Reservoir is on your left—we took the first turn in (before you see the lake)

I will note here that the first intention was to camp above the reservoir at Cataract Lake–this is a great spot! However, it fills and so we had to drive around looking for a different spot. We ended up at Elliot Creek Campground.

As mentioned this was a limited facilities campground with one vault toilet. We got a pretty good group camping spot large enough for 3 tents and a pop-up. We took a day trip to Cataract Lake. Again, this is really a beautiful spot with hiking around the lake.

The downside to this campground…..Party Central! Limited facility campgrounds, especially so close to Denver means lots of parties till the wee hours of the morning. Could have been an active weekend…perhaps they are working on this problem. But, the cops eventually came. In the morning, we were also surprised to see all sorts of new campers around us in random places. Essentially they showed up in the middle of the night and just crashed. We did make sure that they moved 🙂

Lots to do around this area and there are lots of campgrounds. The trip wasn’t a bust by any means…but we are really leery of unhosted campgrounds.

Cataract Lake


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Rocky Mountain National Park–Lost Falls

This was our first backpacking trip. Just my husband and I went. We got our backpacking permit for 1 night. We chose to go to Lost Falls, which was 7 miles (to the falls). I won’t pretend to be an expert on backpacking….we researched and asked people and figured out what gear to buy and how much weight we should carry. I list this trip as a recommendation for a pretty hike and a good one for first timers…well, at least I made it anyhow.

Backpacking in Rocky Mt. National Park does allow for some conveniences. We had a fire pit and a occassional toilet.

We learned how to put our packs with food up into the tree to keep safe from bears.

We also learned how to clean our water and we couldn’t be without some luxury!

It was an adventure…..we probably still prefer car camping….but hope to do this more once in awhile.

For more about backpacking and “how to” in Rocky Mt. National Park….follow these links:

Backpacking 101

Rocky Mt. National Park Page

Guide to Trails in Rocky Mt. Park


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Grand Lake Cabin Weekend

Over Memorial Day weekend of 2011 we headed up to Grand Lake with our extended family. For this trip we stayed in 2 cabins on Shadow Lake. Here is the link to the cabins that we stayed in

Pelican and Osprey Cabins at Shadow Lake

These are fairly new rentals we were told—not new cabins–but new as rentals. It is recommended that you rent them together–you should! We had 14 people–5 kids.

Pelican Cabin has the better set-up for kitchen, eating area and bedrooms. Osprey has the kitchen in a bedroom and a small common area. Both have great decks–they are right next to each other. The location is fabulous–right on the lake! You have a dock that is fine for fishing or launching a kayak. It is not intended to launch a regular boat. The house that is next to the cabins is currently the person that is caring for the cabins. He is really friendly…fixed a few things, let us borrow 2 kayaks and also let us use his fire pit…and even gave us some fireworks 🙂

Shadow Lake was super quiet when we were there with only a few water skiers. We went into Grand Lake a few times and explored town and surrounding hiking areas. Fishing off of our dock was pretty good.





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