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.
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.
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.