Sunset Point Campground
Arapaho National Forest
Management: Arapaho National Forest
Size: 25 sites (non-electric). There is at least one double site for tents only. Most sites are back-in though there were a few pull through sites. Unfortunately, there were several campers here vs tents.
Cost: $24/night (first come first served, walk-up reservations only)
Environment: Lakeside/lakeshore. Tall pines. Gravel tent pads.
Cell Phone Reception: Poor
Privacy: Minimal. You can easily see your neighbors, but the lake views were great.
Dog Rules: Dogs on Leash. Clean up all pet waste.
Amenities: Vault toilets. Water. Host on site. Boat ramp. Dumpsters.
Operating Season: May - September
Trails Nearby: There are several trails nearby in Arapaho National Forest.
Let me start off by saying that this campground completely failed to meet my expectations. Although picturesque, and likely the best of the campgrounds in the immediate area, it was not my favorite. As you can see in the photo above, neighbors are right on your doorstep. And the volatile Colorado weather spanked us good. More on that to follow.
Everything on paper tells you that this is going to be good, and I do hope you have a better experience than I did. I think this campground has the potential to give campers a great experience. We just weren't that fortunate. I'm sure I'm a bit jaded because I arrived cranky and it went downhill from there.
We had just finished driving Trail Ridge Road in Rocky Mountain National Park. I had researched ahead of time and planned on camping in this First Come First Served campground in Arapaho National Forest after our big day doing what we came to Colorado to do in the first place. I looked at several National Forest campgrounds online, and this by far looked the best. We arrived after a torrential downpour just an hour prior, and everything was looking shiny and fresh. The lake was beautiful, and views of the mountains were all around us.
I drove through to do a first pass and select a campsite. The best ones are on the lake side, but there were good sites on the other side of the access road, too. Just no view of the lake. None really had any level of privacy, and there were a lot of campers. Most National Forest campgrounds are rustic and do not provide electrical hookups. Great for tent campers like me because they tend to be quieter. That didn't deter over half the campground from rolling in with a loud camper, though. Generators humming.
After selecting a nice site with lake access for my puppers to swim, I set about making camp. I was immediately frustrated by my neighbors and their off leash retrievers, going wherever they pleased. It got my dogs very upset, especially considering they wanted to go swimming. So now I had to worry about their dogs and mine as I began unpacking my gear and setting up my tent.
The dogs got to swim and chase frisbee on the expansive beach. The mosquitos were bad, though, so after a quick dinner we settled down in the tent for some reading. With hardly any warning, a HUGE storm ripped through our campground. I barely had enough time to rush to get the rain fly on my tent and dive back in before it was upon us. This was by far the worst storm I've ever been in while tenting. I was texting my emergency contact and letting her know, trying to decide if we should make a break for the car or stay where we were. The winds were unbelievable, plus hard rain, lightning, and thunder. I was worried the trees around us would drop limbs on the tent, or more likely, our tent stakes wouldn't hold and my dogs would panic.
You can see what it was like in this video (it got MUCH much worse after I stopped filming. Less amusing and way more serious. )
We survived, and the rest of the night was uneventful. The campground quieted and we had a restful sleep. The sunset was indeed magical, and the sunrise the next morning equally so. We woke early and headed out to do some hiking nearby. Trail Guide will be up soon for Doe Ridge. I had hoped to stay here for two nights and enjoy a zero day, but I couldn't stand the thought of being there any longer. The campground hosts were not my favorite and there was much too much socializing happening for my tastes. I like seclusion, peace, and quiet. So we moved on.
I'll let you be the judge on whether to stay here or not. I'm sure it has potential to be a great experience and that we were just unlucky.