Colorado State Forest Park can accommodate the vacationer that plans ahead or the spur-of-the-moment traveler. Tent campsites, backpacker sites, RV sites, cabins and yurts are all available in the 71,000 acre park.
Within those acres are incredible mountain vistas that include the Crags where some of the finest car-camping sites can be found. Broad forests of sub-alpine fir, Englemann spruce, lodgepole pine, Douglas fir, Colorado blue spruce, Ponderosa pine and limber pine are home to all sorts of critters. In fact the North Park is famous for the 600 moose that wander it. It is difficult not to see a moose there.
Hikers and backpackers can encounter bear, mule deer (like the one in Pic #1 swimming across North Michigan Reservoir), elk, bobcat, porcupine, marmot, beaver (especially in an area near the North Fork Canadian Yurt), and coyote. Watch the trees and sky for Blue Grouse, eagles, gray jay (the notorious camp robber birds), ducks and more.
Fisherfolk hook trout of all kinds in the lakes and the occasional arctic grayling.
Where to stay? Do you choose North Michigan Reservoir with its 48 campsites that border the lake? Most of them are shaded by tall pine trees and are just steps from the water. Vacationers might prefer one of the 6 cabins that sit along the shore. Hiking trails are easily accessible from any of the sites and you can cast a line from camp and hit the water.
Campsite 207 (Pic’s #2) isn’t shaded but it is right on the water. Campers have a flat spot to pitch a tent (Pic #3) that looks over the lake. Get out the tent in the morning and fish until the sun goes down (Pic #4).
Yurts are also available and make excellent base camps for exploring Colorado State Forest Park in all seasons. Staying at the North Fork Canadian Yurt is a great experience. There is a fantastic view of the Never Summer Ranges from the porch. Wild sage grows on the prairie in front of the yurt. On full moon nights the plants glow silvery green and scent the air. Hiking or skiing the yurts are warm, comfortable places to return to.
Campsites are also available at Ranger Lakes, Bockman, the Crags, and there are random sites dispersed all over the park. Campsites range from $8 – $18 per night. Cabins and yurts from $60 to $110. Go to the Colorado State Forest Park website for more information.
It is possible to find campsites without a reservation but reservations are recommended. It would be a bummer to get there and not have a place to stay. Visit the Moose Visitor Center on Highway 14 for day-to-day information about the park.