Peregrine Backcountry Campsite lies in a mountain valley by rushing Cow Creek in the northeast corner of Rocky Mountain National Park. The single campsite is a perfect overnight spot if you’re doing a loop backpacking trip around Lumpy Ridge or visiting lovely Bridal Veil Falls, a mile farther up Cow Creek. It’s a popular site so reserve early. The site has a privy and water is available from Cow Creek. Remember to treat or boil water before using. Fires are prohibited and stoves must be used for cooking. The 8,480-foot-high campsite is easily reached by hiking two miles on Cow Creek Trail from the Cow Creek Trailhead on the eastern edge of the park. The trail gains 640 feet. Hiking time is one or two hours. The campsite can also be reached from the Lumpy Ridge Trailhead.

Pro Tips

  • Reach the Cow Creek Trailhead from Estes Park by driving north on MacGregor Avenue/Devils Gulch Road to McGraw Ranch Road. Go left and follow the dirt road for 2.5 miles to the trailhead near McGraw Ranch. Park only in designated parking spots along the road. Hike west on Cow Creek Trail for two miles to a signed path about 400 feet past the junction of Cow Creek Trail and Bridal Veil Falls Trail. Walk up the short path 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 or at Kawuneeche Visitor Center north of Grand Lake and 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.
  • Use a Leave No Trace ethic when staying at Peregrine campsite. Pitch tents in designated areas near a silver arrowhead. Secure food and garbage to avoid black bear problems. 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 because windstorms can blow branches off them.
  • Recommended season(s): June to October.

    —Stewart M. Green

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