San Isabel National Forest

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About San Isabel National Forest

If you wanna bag big peaks, San Isabel National Forest is your spot. With 19 of Colorado’s 14ers (mountains over 14,000 feet) within its 1.2 million acres, you’re gonna have to bring quite a few Bandits to celebrate with at the top of each (just be sure to pack them out with you)! Take your time though, because you might get distracted with the amazing trout fishing or find yourself at Ski Cooper making turns 'til they kick you out. The small mountain towns you’ll find nearby are filled with locals who have a deep enthusiasm for the outdoors, so when you swing in, buy a microbrew to share, and they just might tip ya on the best trails in the area. Over 300 days of sunshine will light your way through your San Isabel adventure, we’re sure you’ll be baggin’ peaks and takin’ names in no time!

Campgrounds in San Isabel

Parry Peak Campground

1. Parry Peak Campground

Cloaked behind the white waters of Lake Creek, Parry Peak Campground is landscaped by the area’s endemic towering ponderosa pines. A walk-in style...

Eva
Eva: Cute small campgound. Easy access to river, Twin Lakes and Mt. Elbert. Back sites best for long camping weekends. Have nice...
17 Saves
Lake Isabel Cabin

2. Lake Isabel Cabin

If you want to have an epic camping trip without the hassle of pitching a tent, this cabin has your name written all over it. “Modern” is one way...

7 Saves
Belle of Colorado Campground

3. Belle of Colorado Campground

Set your sails 10,000 feet above sea level in the beautiful Turquoise Lake among huge mountain peaks and a breathtaking forested wilderness....

7 Saves
Angel of Shavano Campground

4. Angel of Shavano Campground

Angel of Shavano Campground is a small, tranquil site in a forest of aspen and spruce. The site is named for the angel image that appears as snow...

Brian
Brian: Very well maintained - we had a lovely stay. There was also drinking water available at the time of our visit.
6 Saves
Lakeview Campground

5. Lakeview Campground

Lakeview Campground offers just that―a postcard-worthy view of Twin Lakes Reservoir. Situated atop of the pine and sage forests 9,000 feet above...

Eva
Eva: Great spot! Loops A and H are the best for views and groups camping together. Right at the base of Mt. Elbert and across from...
4 Saves
O'Haver Lake Campground

6. O'Haver Lake Campground

The campground is located on the shores of the placid O’Haver Lake in a forest of ponderosa pine and aspen. During the peak season, interpretive...

4 Saves
Cottonwood Lake Campground

7. Cottonwood Lake Campground

The sun shines bright on Cottonwood Lake, a perfect getaway for anglers, floaters, and relax-to-the-maxers. You’ve got a few serious mountains...

3 Saves
May Queen Campground

8. May Queen Campground

Royalty among postcard-worthy campgrounds, May Queen Campground is nestled within the western shores of Turquoise Lake, hugging the lake's...

3 Saves
Mount Princeton Campground

9. Mount Princeton Campground

Mount Princeton Campground is located in the popular Chalk Creek Canyon. The campground is in an open area without much shade. Visitors will find...

Alicia
Alicia: From 12pm on beware of surprise fast moving dangerous lightning storms at higher altitudes than the campgrounds: hike to...
2 Saves
Halfmoon East Campground

10. Halfmoon East Campground

Both the Halfmoon East and West Campgrounds are common favorites among the outdoor-savvy. Halfmoon East, specifically, is a high altitude testament...

Jackson
Jackson: If you just follow the road that goes through the campground it passes trailheads to Mt Elbert and Mt Massive, and if you...
2 Saves
Elbert Creek Campground

11. Elbert Creek Campground

This campground is the jump off y’all! If you want a place to pop-up your tent (or park your RV) but plan on spending lots of time out on the...

1 Save
Molly Brown Campground

12. Molly Brown Campground

Named after the Titanic’s “unsinkable” American socialite, Molly Brown Campground is a string of both walk-in and hook-up style campsites that grip...

2 Saves
Iron City Campground

13. Iron City Campground

Iron City Campground sits in the Chalk Creek Canyon, one of the most popular destinations in the valley. This is a small, quiet campground near...

2 Saves
Matchless Campground

14. Matchless Campground

Strike it rich with Instagram gold, or, more like silver at Matchless Campground. Situated ten-thousand feet atop the eastern shores of Turquoise...

2 Saves
Father Dyer Campground

15. Father Dyer Campground

“It looks like someone ‘dyed’ the lake a postcard aqua blue. ” Father Dyer Campground is situated within the blue-hued confines of Turquoise Lake,...

Karli
Karli: Escape the wind and walking/bike path traffic of camping on the lake - Father Dyer is a quiet, beautiful campground only 10...
1 Save
Whitestar Campground

16. Whitestar Campground

Massive glacial lakes, a world-famous hiking trail, and lung-bustin’ mountain biking. Are you in? White Star Campground is your jumping off point...

1 Save
Cascade Campground

17. Cascade Campground

Cascade Campground is a popular camping spot in Chalk Creek Canyon, at an elevation of 9,000 feet. The campground is partially wooded by Douglas...

1 Save
Alvarado Campground

18. Alvarado Campground

Near the Sangre de Cristo Wilderness, Alvarado Campground is in an ideal location for explorers. Take one of the many nearby wilderness trails to...

Kate
Kate: My favorite campground in the valley! There are lots of sites to choose from and the place was recently renovated so the...
1 Save
St. Charles Campground

19. St. Charles Campground

The San Isabel National Forest can be a busy place, so find some peace and quiet at St. Charles. This campground rests on the shores of St. Charles...

Mark
Mark: Bishop Castle and Lake Isabel are nearby. Get a spot on the St. Charles Creek of the campsite if possible. Lots of room,...
1 Save
Purgatoire Campground

20. Purgatoire Campground

So many options, so many activites; Purgatoire Campground is home to a well-accommodating amount of mixed campsites, both walk-in and hook-up. And...

Amber
Amber: My husband initially camped here with friends; he loved it so much he took me back a few weeks later! It was absolutely,...
1 Save
La Vista Campground

21. La Vista Campground

Located within a stepping stone from Lake Isabel and St. Charles Creek, Las Vista Campground served-up a well-packed tackle box of hydrophilic...

Amber
Amber: Even though this lake isn't the most beautiful one I've seen, it sure photographs well! The surrounding Aspens & pine trees...
1 Save
Hayden Creek Campground

22. Hayden Creek Campground

Hayden Creek Campground is a small, secluded, tranquil campground on the wooded banks of the creek. Sitting at the base of the Sangre de Cristo...

1 Save
North Fork Campground

23. North Fork Campground

North Fork Campground sits on the shores of the North Fork Reservoir. The high-elevation lake offers excellent fishing opportunities for rainbow...

1 Save
Twin Peaks Campground

24. Twin Peaks Campground

You know what they say: “the best things in life come in twos. ” And Twin Peaks Campground is well-versed with that dialogue. Nearly...

Coaldale Campground

25. Coaldale Campground

Coaldale Campground is quiet with a capital Q. Even in the thick of the summer camping season, the only sound you’re likely to hear is the babbling...

Southside Campground

26. Southside Campground

Southside Campground is a popular outdoor getaway amongst Lake Isabel goers. While not all too private, Southside Campground offers social...

Bear Lake Campground

27. Bear Lake Campground

Bear Lake Campground sits near the shores of Bear Lake and tributaries of the Cuchara River. The nearby Indian Creek Trailhead is a great starting...

Cordova Pass Picnic Area and Campground

28. Cordova Pass Picnic Area and Campground

A seasonally sensitive picnickers dream, Cordova Pass Picnic Area and Campground is brimming with quilt-worthy eating areas. However, be mindful of...

Lake Creek Campground

29. Lake Creek Campground

Looking for that elusive double rainbow? You're halfway there―Lake Creek Campground is within walking distance of Rainbow trail! Here, you’ll be...

Oak Creek Campground

30. Oak Creek Campground

Oak Creek Campground offers year-round camping, should weather be permitting. And, aside from its seasonal ease, Oak Creek Campground is within...

Ophir Creek Campground

31. Ophir Creek Campground

Ring-in the Memorial weekend with Mother Nature riding shotgun! Open from―yep, you guessed it―Memorial Day to Labor Day Weekend, Ophir Creek...

Printerboy Group Campground

32. Printerboy Group Campground

An all-’in’-one campground, Pinter Boy Boy Campground offers accessible walk-in, hook-up, and even centrally-located cooking shelter for the early...

Collegiate Peaks Campground

33. Collegiate Peaks Campground

Hold onto your graduation caps, kids! Snuggled under Mt. Princeton, you’ll find a perfectly tidy campground with quiet and restful sites with lots...

Mingus Ranch

34. Mingus Ranch

Do you fancy traveling back in time? Of course you do! Feel like an early 20th century homesteader (but with access to electricity) in Mingus...

Bootleg Campground

35. Bootleg Campground

Bootleg Campground is located on Colorado Trail near Chalk Creek. This is a popular pit stop for backpackers who are hiking from Denver to Durango....

Ponderosa Group Campground

36. Ponderosa Group Campground

Escape the heat at Ponderosa Group Campground. At 8,500 feet above sea level, it’s the perfect high-elevation getaway during the dog days of...

Bassam Guard Station

37. Bassam Guard Station

Constructed from humble beginnings in 1911, Bassam Guardstation sits in the vegetative confines of Buena Vista, Colorado. Diminutive but efficient,...

Davenport Campground

38. Davenport Campground

Make sure to pick-’n’-choose your closest camping buddies, this small campground packs a big punch. And you better get there early too; Davenport...

Kate
Kate: One of the first campgrounds in the area, Davenport has a lot of history. See if you can find one of the brochures available...
Monarch Park Campground

39. Monarch Park Campground

The Monarch Park Campground is a wooded site on the south fork of the Little Arkansas River. It gets pretty cool here at night, so come prepared!...

Eva
Eva: Site says closed for the season.
Chalk Lake Campground

40. Chalk Lake Campground

Social butterflies will love this scenic campground on the Chalk River (not Chalk Lake, which is a mile away). There’s not much privacy at Chalk...

Ryan
Ryan: This camp is in a really nice location, next too Mt Princeton and the Mt Princeton Hot Springs this is a great place to relax...
Angel of Shavano Group Area

41. Angel of Shavano Group Area

Angel of Shavano Group Camp Area is most suitable for tent campers. Chose a site along the river, or in the open meadow. Make sure to check out the...

Silver Dollar Campground

42. Silver Dollar Campground

Silver Dollar Campground is a lustrous, monetary gem situated within the shoreline of the equally enamoring Turquoise Lake. Aside from the...

Blue Lake Campground

43. Blue Lake Campground

Blue Lake Campground offers up an angler’s paradise, hugging the Cuchara River. But just make sure you stock your tackle box in a timely manner;...

Halfmoon West Campground

44. Halfmoon West Campground

Both the Halfmoon East and West Campgrounds are common favorites among the outdoor-savvy. Halfmoon West, unlike it’s more granola kin, offers...

Baby Doe Campground

45. Baby Doe Campground

Posted up at an altitude of nearly 10,000 feet in a shaded lodgepole pine and subalpine fir forest, Baby Doe Campground lies at the eastern shore...

Jennifer
Jennifer: You can see everyone - very open. Beware of mosquitos!
Tabor Campground

46. Tabor Campground

Tabor Campground completely ignored Drake’s lyrical mantra―and started nine-thousand-feet from the bottom. Here, you’ll be treated to accessible...

16 Reviews

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Hipcamper Jackson

If you just follow the road that goes through the campground it passes trailheads to Mt Elbert and Mt Massive, and if you follow it all the way it leads to an abandoned mine. Be forewarned, the road is very difficult and goes through a river, but a great hike.

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Hipcamper eva

Cute small campgound. Easy access to river, Twin Lakes and Mt. Elbert. Back sites best for long camping weekends. Have nice vault toilets, drinking water and easy access. Nice spot for quick trips.

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Hipcamper Amber

My husband initially camped here with friends; he loved it so much he took me back a few weeks later! It was absolutely, hands-down, one of the most beautiful campgrounds I've been to. It's far enough away that I think a lot of people don't go here. It was almost completely vacant. We had such a hard time choosing a site because they were all so lovely. There were vault toilets. Streams, creeks and lakes all over the place. Wildflowers were growing like crazy. My only complaint is that it rained SO much. Thunderstorms always happen in the NM or Colorado mountains-almost nightly. There was a trailhead in the campground that we hiked for quite a while. Rain got worse and worse and finally we went back to camp. Totally worth it.

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Hipcamper Karli

Escape the wind and walking/bike path traffic of camping on the lake - Father Dyer is a quiet, beautiful campground only 10 minutes walking/5 minutes biking distance from the lake. Clean outhouses, drinking water, and a super friendly campground hostess!

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Hipcamper Mark

Bishop Castle and Lake Isabel are nearby. Get a spot on the St. Charles Creek of the campsite if possible. Lots of room, great white noise from the river. Number 4 was great.

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Hipcamper eva

Great spot! Loops A and H are the best for views and groups camping together. Right at the base of Mt. Elbert and across from Twin Lakes. Nice vault toilets and lots of drinking water stations. Fire pits can be small and clustered near tables or grills. Pretty strict on dogs and trash but great campground!

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Hipcamper Brian

Very well maintained - we had a lovely stay. There was also drinking water available at the time of our visit.

Hipcamper Alicia

From 12pm on beware of surprise fast moving dangerous lightning storms at higher altitudes than the campgrounds: hike to summits in the EARLY MORNING in the months of July-August. Take cover & lie flat if lightning comes.

Hipcamper Amber

This campground was nice-we liked the sites that were tucked further in over the bridge, but they were all taken. Our site was fine, but it was RIGHT by the road and the traffic and headlights at night wasn't our favorite. We checked out some spots that were for dispersed camping up on the hill just as you turned in to clear lakes, and next time we'll go there. If you can get a site at this campground, definitely try for one right by the river that's set back in the trees. The whole area is beautiful though! Vault toilets and water made this place an easy camping experience, and fires were allowed.

Hipcamper Amber

Even though this lake isn't the most beautiful one I've seen, it sure photographs well! The surrounding Aspens & pine trees are gorgeous. We had site #10 I believe, & it was perched on a fantastic overlook of the lake. We did go fishing, but never caught anything. We had a vault toilet nearby and our site was really only suitable for tents. We pitched 2 tents and there was plenty of space. It's an easy walk all the way around the lake-lots to be seen and enjoyed. We awoke to 3 baby bear cubs in the tree directly above our tent, & mama bear "yelling" for them to come down in the middle of the night! They eventually obeyed and we all got some sleep! Visit nearby Bishop's Castle for an interesting adventure. We camp here every year.

Hipcamper Ryan

This camp is in a really nice location, next too Mt Princeton and the Mt Princeton Hot Springs this is a great place to relax after hiking the 14er. Chalk Lake is within walking distance of the lake and a lot of people like to fish there. Sunset is awesome from here and you have a great view of the Sawatch range.

Hipcamper Jennifer

You can see everyone - very open. Beware of mosquitos!

Hipcamper Kate

My favorite campground in the valley! There are lots of sites to choose from and the place was recently renovated so the facilities are very nice. There is easy access to great trails. The campground is situated high enough on the mountain slopes to have fabulous views.

Hipcamper Kate

One of the first campgrounds in the area, Davenport has a lot of history. See if you can find one of the brochures available in local information centers describing the development of recreation in the area. A few years ago, this campground was renovated to resemble its original state. The tables are all a beautiful log construction although I'm not sure how well they'll hold up over time. There is a group area available. Two hiking trails are accessed right at the campground and many more are nearby.