Best Camping Sites

Rachel Rasmussen

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Even though the school year has started back up in full force, the Colorado weather still allows for more summertime activities. One of the best activities to enjoy over the weekend is camping. There are so many campsites around Fort Collins that it can feel overwhelming deciding which site to go to, so here are five of the best campsites to visit in Fort Collins.

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KELLY FLATS CAMPGROUND

Kelly Flats is a popular campsite located off Highway 14 near the Cache La Poudre River. It is a first-come, first-served campground with 29 sites available including four walk-in sites. Each site comes equipped with a tent pad, fire grate, and picnic table. It also features well-maintained outdoor bathrooms and drinking water. Campers can enjoy the open conifer forest setting along the riparian zone of the river. The main activities in this area include fishing and enjoying the sights and sounds of the Cache La Poudre River. For more information, feel free to call the Forest Supervisor’s office at 970-295-6600 or the USDA Forest Service at 970-498-1375.

HORSETOOTH RESERVOIR

Horsetooth reservoir is one of the most popular places for outdoor activities in Fort Collins. Its campsites have a variety of different features to choose from based on the kind of camper you are. Some sites are for people to set up tents, others have cabins with electricity and running water, and others are places specifically designed for RVs and campers. Campsites are given based on reservations and usually allow dogs and can fit between four to eight people. They allow visitors to enjoy the outdoors of Horsetooth Reservoir along with activities such as hiking, biking, rock climbing, swimming, and boating. For more information, you can call the Horsetooth Area Information Center at 970- 498-5610.

JACKS GULCH CAMPGROUND

Jacks Gulch is situated northwest of Fort Collins in a ponderosa pine forest with aspens and grassy meadows throughout the area. It also boasts an abundance of wild flowers during certain camping seasons. There are a couple different loops that people can choose from to camp in. The Columbine Loop has 27 sites and access to ten walk-in tent sites. It also has electrical hookups. The Yarrow Loop has 28 sites and no electricity. Something unique about Jacks Gulch is that it features an equestrian camp with five sites that each have four horse stalls and room for a horse trailer. Some popular activities include hiking, fishing, mountain biking, and some four-wheel driving. If you want more information, call the Canyon Lakes District Office at 970-295- 6700.

LORY STATE PARK

Lory State only offers backcountry camping. This means that there are no campgrounds, car camping, or RV camping available. Campers must access the camping areas by hiking at least two miles, one-way. Backcountry camping allows campers to enjoy the serenity of nature that isn’t close to other campers and has no car, RV, or camper noise. Because it is backcountry camping, there is no water, restrooms, or tent pads available for campers. People camping there are also not allowed to start fires but can use small camp stoves. For more information, call the park’s office at 970-493-1623.

COTTONWOOD CAMPGROUND

Cottonwood Campground is located in Boyd Lake State Park. It is more of a modern campground with 148 paved pull-through sites for vehicles up to 40 feet in length. The sites are on a grassy knoll that can accommodate tents, pick-up campers, trailers, and motor homes. All the sites have electric hookups, a picnic table, and grill. Scattered throughout the campground are three restrooms with showers. There is also playground equipment and horseshoe pits for family fun. You must have a reservation and valid parking pass to camp and pets must be on leashes at all times. To make a reservation and for more information, call the reservation office at 1-800-244-5613.

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