Imagine a night sky bursting with stars, as if a giant hand spilled a sugar bowl on black velvet. No city lights fade out the sky. Turn off the cell phone and breathe in the crystalline mountain air as you sit around a crackling fire.
Camping in Grand Lake is good for the soul. Take a breath and go with it.
Where to Camp
Winter Park is a great place to spend the night with nature. Know your camping options and plan ahead to make sure you get the spot you want!
High Elevation Camp Sites by Reservation
Many of Winter Park’s most popular campgrounds can be reserved as early as 180 days or as late as four days in advance online at www.recreation.gov. These reservation camp sites are near high elevation lakes (at 8,300 feet) and provide the perfect place for campers to boat, fish and swim:
- Arapaho Bay Campground is located on the eastern tip of Lake Granby.
- Stillwater Campground is located on the northern shore of Lake Granby.
- Green Ridge Campground is located at Shadow Mountain Reservoir.
- Willow Creek Campground is the only campground located next to Willow Creek Reservoir, a 300-acre, no-wake lake. It is open to canoes, kayaks and other non-motorized boats.
Because of the recent pine beetle infestation many trees have been cut down creating expansive views of the mountains, though keep in mind that there is little or no shade at these sites.
First Come, First Served Campgrounds
These popular campsites don’t take reservations and go quickly, so arrive early to ensure that you get a spot:
- Timber Creek Campground in Rocky Mountain National Park, about eight miles north of Kawuneeche Visitor Center. There is little shade because of the pine beetle infestation.
- Denver Creek Campground is located in the Willow Creek Valley along US Highway 125 at an elevation of 8,800 feet. It is open May through September.
- Idlewild Campground is located one mile south of the town of Winter Park on US Highway 40 at an elevation of 9,000 feet. It is open early June to Labor Day.
- Robbers Roost Campground is located next to US Highway 40 and the Fraser River in the upper Fraser River drainage near Winter Park at an elevation of 9,800 feet. It is open mid-June to Labor Day.
Forest Service Camping
When you are on National Forest lands you may camp within 300 feet of most Forest Service roads. Contact the Sulphur District Visitor Center at 970-887-4100 for a free Motor Vehicle Use Road Map (MVUM) that shows where dispersed camping is allowed.
Winter Park Camping Etiquette
Campers are usually an easy-going lot, friendly and respectful of others. There are a few simple rules to follow to ensure a good camping experience for everyone.
- Keep your site clean – Always leave your campsite cleaner than when you found it. Pack out trash or dispose of it in bear-proof receptacles at the campsite. Bears will find trash left out overnight.
- Control your fire – When you plan to leave the fire pit unattended, make sure your fire is out. Pour water on it and stir the coals. Stay abreast of local fire restrictions.
- Keep your water source fresh – Never use soap in lakes or streams. Instead, use biodegradable soap in a pan and dump it out on the ground or the fire grate.
- Mind your food & waste – There are an estimated 16,000 to 18,000 bears in Colorado. Hang food out of reach or in food-storage boxes located at the campground. Hungry bears have been known to rip open car doors to get at food, or anything smelling of food, including pet food.
- Only buy local firewood – Buy firewood locally to protect the forest—destructive insects are often found in firewood brought from out of state. Grand County is recovering from a severe Mountain Pine Beetle infestation.
So get away from it all, whether for a night or a week. There is a camping spot waiting for you.
Need more things to do in Winter Park this summer? Pick up our free seasonal guide in town!Tags: What to Do