Bookcliff Campground at Highline Lake State Park west of Grand Junction is one of the best and most popular summer camping areas on Colorado’s Western Slope. The compact campground, sitting at the southwest corner of 160-acre Highline Lake, offers 31 shaded and grassy campsites for tents, RVs, and trailers. The park has 23 pull-through sites and a separate group camping area. Campers find restrooms with hot showers, laundry facilities, a dump station, and drinking water. No sites have electrical outlets. The campground, open year-round, fills up quickly on weekends from March through October so make an early reservation before arriving. Fees include a daily camping permit and parks pass, both available at the visitor center, west entrance, and automated dispensers.
- Bookcliff Campground and Highline Lake State Park make perfect base camps for exploring the Grand Valley area, including Grand Junction, Colorado National Monument, Dinosaur Hill, and Grand Mesa. The Moab region, including Arches and Canyonlands National Parks, is an easy day trip only 100 miles to the west.
- Highline Lake State Park is a tiny oasis in the desert, with tall cottonwoods and two lakes. Water skiers, swimmers, paddleboarders, windsurfers, jet skiers, and boaters enjoy Highline Lake’s warm temperature (it often reaches 80 degrees in summer months). Mack Mesa Lake has wakeless boating only, ideal for canoes and kayaks, birdwatching from overlooks, and fishing.
- The state park offers killer mountain biking terrain. Choose from six loops, ranging from the fun one-mile Blue Heron Ponds Loop to the six-mile 18 Hours of Fruita Loop. Highline hosts the grueling endurance bike race for both solo and team riders. It’s the premier event of the annual Fruita Fat Tire Festival. Near the park are trailheads for the 142-mile Kokopelli Trail to Moab and the excellent North Fruita Desert trail system with five trails totaling 73 miles.
Recommended season(s): Year-round.
—Stewart M. Green