We took this trip the first weekend of June 2012. Camping the first weekend of June?! Well, normally that’s a pretty chilly weekend but because of the dry winter and hot spring we gave it a go. Of course, we ended up happy we did it as soon after the fires began raging out of control and the statewide fire ban was put in place. It was a bit chilly at times and we had a few storms…but plenty of good weather to enjoy this gem of a spot!
Getting there: To get to Yampa from Denver we took 170 to Silverthorne and then hwy 40 to 134 and then 131. You may continue on 170 to the Steamboat exit as well…… From Yampa, go 4 miles west on county rd 17 then 6 miles west on county rd 15.
This is a small “campground.” No fees, reservations or host…but there was a vault toilet. 10 spots. It was fairly full when we pulled in Friday afternoon. We pulled up next to the lake and repaired a fire pit and had a great spot! This was a group camping trip for us so there were actually 2 very large spots side by side. We thought this was Crosho Lake…as it turns out you go a few feet from our campsite up a little bluff and there is the bigger lake. However, we loved camping right next to this littler lake. This area is beautiful and it was very quiet despite having people nearby. Great hiking trails as well. You are in Routt National Forest.
Here is a slideshow showing the area…including other views of the campground and both lakes.
This camping trip was 8 years ago! However, before I posted, I made sure that the place was still in existence. Ute Lodge is outside of Meeker, Colorado. What a great find! They have cabins, rv camping, tent camping and even a yurt! Just above the campground they also have a private stocked lake. AND horseback riding. When we were there you could even stay in a tent that they provided–no setting up and taking down. Our kids–pretty little then–really enjoyed exploring this property. We found it to be quiet at the time and had a feel of “privately owned.” I remember most that the walk to the small lake above the property was really beautiful and made you feel like you had your own piece of paradise. As we have said, we mostly like to dispersed camp. However, Ute Lodge was very laid back and didn’t have that tourist campground feel to it. Would be anxious to know if it is still like this…..
Trappers Lake is nearby and they do have a little chunk of white river that is private for fishing. This is the gateway to Flat Tops Wilderness and White River National Forest is nearby. Beautiful!!
Here is the link to the resort: Ute Lodge Directions and a map
This is Trappers Lake…
This is the stocked lake and a view of the property below……
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
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!)
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
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.
170 west to exit 195
Go to Hwy 24 west
Trail Road on your right
Go past reservoir….past private property….then dispersed camping will begin
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!)
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.
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.
Categories: Grand Lake
Tags: cabin, lake