The Cache la Poudre River Campgrounds
There are just so many Poudre River Canyon campgrounds to enjoy while on your vacation to the Cache la Poudre River. Here are some more campgrounds that this area has to offer you and your family.
Kelly Flats Campground
The Kelly Flats Campground is found about 23 miles west of Highway 287 along the Poudre River at an elevation of 6600 feet.
This campground is situated on a large open meadow overlooking and along the river. There are two sections to this popular campground, one on each side of the river and connected by bridge. Most of the campsites are found on the meadow, but there are a few in a wooded area along the southern edge of the campground.
All sites have a picnic table and fire ring with a grate. You will find three water hydrants and four restrooms in the campground. Three of the restrooms are handicap accessible. The maximum RV length is 40 feet. All roads in the campground are paved.
This is a "first come" campground and is open from mid-May through September, depending on the weather. Fishing is the main activity along this stretch of the river, but hiking is also popular.
Big Bend Campground
Travel up the road 16 miles from Kelly Flats to an altitude of 7700 feet and you'll find the Big Bend Campground. This small, secluded campground is popular with wildlife watchers. There's a Bighorn Sheep viewing station that is maintained in the large open meadow that the campground is situated on. You'll have a chance to not only view the sheep, but elk and other wildlife frequent this out of the way campground.
There are 9 campsites in the campground. Most are suitable for rustic tent camping, although 6 sites will accommodate a small 20 foot RV. All campsites have a picnic table and fire ring with a grate. The road through the campground is gravel, complementing the rustic atmosphere. Although secluded, the one restroom is handicap accessible and there is one water hydrant. Big Bend is open year round and is a "first come" campground.
Big South Campground
Big South is the furthest up of all the campgrounds found in the canyon proper. It is located 47.5 miles from the turn-off at highway 287 and is at an altitude of 8440 feet. This is a small, rustic campground with only 4 campsites nestled between the highway and the river. Wildlife are seen frequently this far into the wilderness. Tent camping is your only choice here although the sites will accommodate a 25 foot vehicle.
The road through the campground is gravel and there is no water available so you will have to bring your own. The restroom is primitive and not handicap accessible. Weather dictates the opening and closing of this campground. Usually you can find it open from late May into September.
Chambers Lake Campground
You will find the turnoff to Chambers Lake about 51 miles west of Highway 287. The elevation of the Poudre River canyon rises steeply in this area and the forest turns into a mix of Aspens, Spruce, and Pine. The campground is found at the southwest end of the lake at 9200 feet.
There are 51 campsites at the Chambers Lake Campground and all are suitable for 30 foot RV's and found heavily wooded with lodgepole pine and aspen. This is a popular campground for fishermen. Whole families enjoy what the lake has to offer though, seclusion and a getaway from the fast-paced life.
Although formed over 900 years ago when a large earth tremor brought landslides down into this mountain valley, Chambers lake was expanded in 1882 for the purpose of holding more water and managing the water flow on the Poudre river. It was named in 1858 to honor a French trapper that was killed nearby. Nowdays it is the site of recreational activities too. Fishing is excellent here.
Reservations are accepted at this campground. The roads are paved and you will find 5 water hydrants and 6 restrooms. The season runs from June to September depending on the weather conditions at this high altitude.
Laramie River Road and the Tunnel Campground
A nice side trip to the Poudre River is the Laramie River Road. The turn-off for this road is just up from the Chambers Lake Campground. As the name implies, it travels along the Laramie River and is a destination for fishermen that want to get away from the crowds. It also take you into the Rawah Wilderness area of Colorado, noted for its fishing and elk hunting.
Water is a precious resource along the Front Range of Colorado. Much of the Poudre River water is managed. One of the management projects is a tunnel from the Laramie River to transport water to the Poudre. This Laramie-Poudre tunnel was dug between 1909 and 1911. It runs 2 miles through a mountain and is 8 feet high and 10 feet wide.
Nearby is the Tunnel Campground. This campground is found at the east and west branch confluence of the Laramie River. It is approximately 6 miles north of the Poudre River Canyon at an elevation of 8600 feet. This campground is well wooded with lodgepole pine and aspen. There are 49 campsites and all are suitable for RV's up to 40 feet. They are "first come" sites and are open from June to October.
You can hike to the famous tunnel across the road or into the adjacent Rawah Wilderness where you will see elk, bighorn sheep, beaver and other wildlife. This is a magnificent wilderness camping spot for those that want to get away from the heavy Poudre Canyon traffic.