Escape the crowds at this rustic alpine village in the Rocky Mountains, a year-round outdoor adventure playground.
Surrounded by the Roosevelt National Forest, the small alpine village of Red Feather Lakes is a hidden gem for anglers and outdoor adventure lovers. There are 30 lakes surrounding the town, including six public fishing lakes. For views and thrills, drive the Cache La Poudre-North Park Scenic Byway or whitewater raft the river itself. Vast areas of wilderness and miles of trails beckon hikers, riders, and adventurous explorers, while a Buddhist retreat and massive stupa will help others find their zen. Three national forest campgrounds can be found just outside of town, with plenty more camping options for those venturing further afield.
Rivers and Forests Head south to experience the Cache La Poudre River, a designated Wild and Scenic River. You can camp alongside the river as it winds its way through the Comanche Peak Wilderness and the Cache la Poudre Wilderness. Elsewhere in the Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forests, find more than 50 developed campgrounds, including more than 20 in the nearby Canyon Lakes Ranger District, and plenty of dispersed camping options across 1.5 millions acres of forest and wilderness. Foothills and Plains For craft beers and nightlife, head east to the college town of Fort Collins. Just outside of Fort Collins, camp lakeside at Horsetooth Reservoir or find a backcountry spot at Lory State Park or the Horsetooth Mountain Open Space. Further south, Carter Lake outside of Loveland offers several developed campgrounds with easy lake access. To explore a unique ecosystem, head further east to the Pawnee National Grasslands, where a seasonal campground, unlimited dispersed camping, and plentiful wildlife await. North Park Head to the moose viewing capital of Colorado with a trip west to the North Park region. Enjoy small town life in Walden, Gould, and Cowdrey, or explore the abundant public lands surrounding, including the Arapaho National Wildlife Refuge and the vast peaks and alpine lakes of State Forest State Park. Camping options span developed campgrounds, backcountry camping, and a network of year-round cabins, yurts, and huts. Or go off-roading in the dunes of the North Sand Hills Recreation Area, where campers can take advantage of dispersed camping and campsites for large RVs. Wyoming With the Wyoming border less than an hour north, the Equality State makes for an easy getaway from Red Feather Lakes. Explore western history and cowboy culture at Laramie and Cheyenne. For outdoor adventures, explore the foothills of the Laramie Mountains at Curt Gowdy State Park, home to several reservoirs, water activities, and year-round camping. Or take advantage of dozens of developed campgrounds, plenty of dispersed camping, and millions of acres of wilderness at Medicine Bow-Routt National Forest.
For the warmest weather, visit Red Feather Lakes in summer, though be aware of afternoon storms, common in the summer and spring. Although Red Feather Lakes doesn’t usually get too crowded, public campgrounds can book up in summer, especially on weekends, when it pays to plan ahead. Fall colors are worth seeking out. Visit in winter to go ice fishing.
- Red Feather Lakes is above 8,000 feet, and some recreation areas and campsites are at even higher elevation. Be aware of potential altitude issues. - Campsites in Colorado state parks require advanced reservations. - Fishing licenses are required in Colorado for anyone over age 16 and in Wyoming for anyone over 14. Sections of the Cache La Poudre River are designated Wild Trout Waters with fishing restrictions in place. - Be bear aware, especially when camping. Store food and other attractants in a bear proof container, away from your tent. - Several State Wilderness Areas surround the town. An SWA pass, or hunting or fishing license is required for anyone 16 or older for access.