You don’t always have to backpack deep into the wilderness to pitch a tent in a beautiful setting. Just get yourself to this campground west of Crested Butte. Located near a stunning alpine lake, with the Ruby Range of the Elk Mountains forming a dramatic backdrop, it’s among the prettiest national forest campgrounds in Colorado. It has 30 sites, toilets and firewood available for purchase, with a $16 per-night camping fee. Campers can while away the days fishing in the namesake lake, mountain-biking or ATV-riding on the many dirt roads and trails in the area. Hikers will find immense beauty in the basin above the campground, which is part of the Raggeds Wilderness, where no vehicles are allowed. And charming Crested Butte, with dining and shopping, is just nine miles east.
- This campground gets heavy use so be sure to make reservations.
- The peaks of the Ruby Range make a great day hike from this campground. Walk or drive up the rough road past the campground to where it becomes a trail and follow the good trail left into a pretty mountain basin. From here, Mount Owen and Purple Mountain present themselves to you, with amazing views of Rockies.
- The water system was not functional as of the summer of 2016 so check before going or be sure to bring plenty of extra water.
- Site no. 12. Camp there. That’s all you need to know.
Recommended season(s): Late June – early October.
—R. Scott Rappold