Campers Creek Backcountry Campsite, one of five campsites along popular Sandbeach Lake Trail, is a single site in a thick fir and spruce forest south of Campers Creek. The trail runs 4.2 miles from the Wild Basin Entrance Station to Sandbeach Lake. Wild Basin, in southern Rocky Mountain National Park, is a spectacular region filled with waterfalls, alpine lakes, pristine valleys, and soaring peaks. The camping spot is reached by a two- to three-hour hike that gains 1,290 feet. It’s a good campsite if you’re hiking to Sandbeach Lake, a stunning lake with a large beach and fine views of surrounding mountains. The campsite doesn’t have a pit toilet; bring wag bags for human waste. Dip water from Campers Creek, but treat or boil it before use. The site is clear of snow by early June.

Pro Tips

  • Find the trailhead by driving south from Estes Park on Colorado Highway 7 to Wild Basin Road. Turn right or west on Wild Basin Road and continue to the park entrance station. Sandbeach Lake Trailhead is beside the station. Hike up the trail for 2.3 miles, gaining 1,290 feet of elevation, to a wooden sign on the left. Follow the path across Campers Creek to the campsite. The turn is before the trail crosses the creek.
  • A backcountry permit is required for all overnight camping in Rocky Mountain National Park’s backcountry. Obtain 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.
  • To obtain a permit you agree to obey National Park regulations for backcountry camping. The Backcountry Use 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 Campers Creek. Pitch tents in designated areas near a silver arrowhead. Secure food and garbage. Black bears are 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.
  • There is no privy at the campsite. It’s best to pack in at least two RESTOP wag bags for human waste to avoid site contamination. Otherwise dig a six-inch deep hole and bury waste and toilet paper. Make sure you’re at least 200 feet from the campsite, water sources, and trails.
  • Recommended season(s): June to September.

    —Stewart M. Green


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