The Hole-in-the-Wall Backcountry Campsite is the first of five campsites along the popular Sandbeach Lake Trail, which runs 4.2 miles from the Wild Basin Entrance Station to Sandbeach Lake. The Wild Basin area of Rocky Mountain National Park is a scenic region of rocky peaks, pristine glaciated valleys, waterfalls, and lakes. The single-site camping area, located at 9,240 feet, is 1.9 miles from Sandbeach Lake Trailhead west of Colorado 7. It’s located in a dense lodgepole pine forest on the south side of the trail and Campers Creek. Campers Creek Campsite is just west of it. Hole-in-the-Wall doesn’t have a privy, so it’s best to bring wag bags for human waste. Get water from Campers Creek. Be sure to treat or boil all water before use. Allow two hours to hike from car to camp. The site is clear of snow by late May.

 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 1.9 miles, gaining 930 feet of elevation, to a wooden sign on the left. Follow the path across Campers Creek to the campsite.
  • 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 Hole-in-the-Wall. 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. The campsite is clear of snow by May 31. Cook with stove only; no fires.
  • There is no privy at the campsite. It’s best to pack in and out 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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