Happily Lost Backcountry Campsite is a great spot to get lost and found in the northeast corner of Rocky Mountain National Park. The single campsite sits in a dense conifer forest at 9,560 feet between the North Fork Trail and the North Fork of the Big Thompson River. A short path, marked with red arrowheads on trees, leads south from the trail to the site. The campsite has a privy on the north side of the main trail. Get water from the river but boil or treat before use. The campsite, 6.2 miles west of the Dunraven Trailhead, is reached by a five- to six-hour hike that gains 1,600 feet of elevation. The campsite is snow-free by early June.

Pro Tips

  • Find Boundary Creek Campsite from Estes Park by driving northeast for 7.5 miles on MacGregor Avenue/Devils Gulch Road to Glen Haven Post Office. Continue on Devils Gulch Road for another 1.7 miles to Dunraven Glade Road and turn west. Follow Dunraven Gulch Road for 2.2 miles to the Dunraven Trailhead. Do not drive or park on the road past the trailhead since its private property. Hike west on North Fork Trail for 6.2 miles, passing through Comanche Peak Wilderness Area, to a short path that goes south to the campsite.
  • 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 obtain 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 Happily Lost Campsite. Pitch tents in a designated area near a silver arrowhead. Secure food and garbage. Black bears are around so stash 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 store it 200 feet from your site. Don’t camp below dead trees; wind storms blow branches off them.
  • Recommended season(s): June through September.

    —Stewart M. Green

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