Boulder Brook Backcountry Campsite is a three-site camping area near the junction of Boulder Brook Trail and North Longs Peak Trail on the east side of Rocky Mountain National Park. The campsite offers two individual and one group campsite that are usually used by backpackers doing a two-day trek from Bear Lake or Glacier Gorge to Longs Peak. The sites lie in forest just below timberline in a broad basin on Longs’ north flank. Access the sites by hiking up North Longs Peak Trail from Glacier Gorge Trailhead for 3.9 miles or from Sprague Lake Trailhead by hiking 2.8 miles and gaining 1,490 feet of elevation. The individual sites are on the west side of Boulder Brook Trail while the group site is directly south of the junction of Boulder Brook and North Longs Peak Trails. Allow three to four hours to backpack to the sites. A privy is at the site. Get water from Boulder Brook but boil or treat before use. The campsite is snow-free by mid-June.
- Find the campsite from the Beaver Meadows Visitor Center by driving west for 1.3 miles on U.S. 36 to a junction. Go left on Bear Lake Road and drive 5.7 miles to Sprague Lake Road. Turn left and drive 0.3 miles to a large parking area and the Sprague Lake Trailhead for Boulder Brook Trail. For the North Longs Peak Trail, continue west on Bear Lake Road to Glacier Gorge Trailhead. Pick up North Longs Peak Trail by hiking south past Alberta Falls to its junction with Loch Vale Trail.
- Find East Inlet Trailhead from the town of Grand Lake by turning east off U.S. 34 onto West Portal Road. Follow the road for two miles on the north side of the lake to the trailhead at the end of the road. Hike east for 6.9 miles on East Inlet Trail to Lake Verna. Look for a wooden sign on the left and follow a short path north to the campsite above the trail.
- A backcountry permit is required for all overnight camping in Rocky Mountain National Park’s backcountry. Get permits at the Park Headquarters Backcountry Office next to Beaver Meadows Visitor Center west of Estes Park, at Kawuneeche Visitor Center north of Grand Lake, or at the park website.
- You agree to obey National Park regulations for backcountry camping when you get a Backcountry Use Permit. The permit must be with you at all times and a tent tag must be displayed on your pack while hiking and on your tent. You must follow your planned itinerary so campsites aren’t overused or crowded. You also receive a tag to place on the dashboard of your vehicle, allowing overnight parking at trailheads without being towed.
- Practice a Leave No Trace ethic when camping at Boulder Brook Campsite. Pitch tents in designated areas near a silver arrowhead. Secure food and garbage. Black bears live here so stash food in a bear-resistant canister, which is required May to October at all campsites below timberline. Keep food, trash, and scented items in the container and store it 200 feet from the campsite. Don’t camp below dead trees; wind storms blow branches off them.
Recommended season(s): Mid-June to September.
—Stewart M. Green