Desolation Backcountry Campsite sits off the Mummy Pass Trail above Hague Creek in northern Rocky Mountain National Park. The peaceful campsite is a good overnight spot if you’re backpacking up to Mirror Lake or over Mummy Pass. Moose are often seen in the bottomlands along Hague Creek. The single campsite, lying at 9,840 feet, is 2.3 miles from the Corral Creek Trailhead to the west. It’s reached by hiking a couple hours on Corral Park, Poudre River, and Mummy Pass trails. A wooden sign directs you to the site along a path marked with red arrowheads. No privy is at the site so bring wag bags for human waste disposal. Get water from Hague Creek. Treat or boil all water before drinking or use. The campsite is snow-free by early July.

Pro Tips

  • Reach Desolation Campsite from Fort Collins and Interstate 25 by driving northwest on U.S. 287 for ten miles. Turn left or west on Colorado 14 and drive 51 miles to a left or south turn onto Long Draw Road/Forest Road 156. Follow the gravel road for eight miles to the Corral Creek Trailhead on the left side of the road. Descend Corral Park Trail, losing 280 feet, to Poudre River Trail. Go right a short distance and then left on Mummy Pass Trail. Hike to a junction and go right on unimproved Hague Creek Trail for about 600 feet. The campsite is on the left.
  • 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 Desolation. Pitch tents in designated areas near a silver arrowhead. Secure food and garbage. Store food in a bear-resistant canister, which is required from May to October at all campsites below timberline. Keep food, trash, and scented items in the container and stash it 200 feet from your site. Don’t camp below dead trees; wind storms blow branches off them.
  • There’s no privy at the campsite. Pack in at least two RESTOP wag bags for human waste to avoid site contamination. In an emergency, 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): July through September.

    —Stewart M. Green


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