Koenig Backcountry Campsite is a stock site for horse and llama packers near Cascade Creek and Mirror Lake in northern Rocky Mountain National Park. It’s a great campsite if you’re packing up to the lake or heading into the Comanche Wilderness Area. The single campsite, named for a cowboy that lived here, is in a meadow along the forest edge at 10,680 feet. It’s reached by traveling 5.2 miles from Corral Creek Trailhead to the west. Allow five to seven hours to reach the site. There’s no privy, so bring wag bags. Get water from Cascade Creek but boil or treat before use. You need a stock backcountry permit to camp here. Rules include no grazing; clean up after stock; using only established hitchracks; and limited party size. The site is snow-free by early July.

Pro Tips

  • Reach Koenig 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, to Poudre River Trail. Go right a short distance and then left on Mummy Pass Trail. Follow it to a junction. Go left on Mirror Lake Trail. Turn left at a wooden sign 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 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 Koenig. 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 is no privy at the campsite. Bring at least two RESTOP wag bags per camper 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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