Kenosha Pass Campground

21 07 2012

South Park views from Colorado TrailGood morning from the top of Kenosha Pass.  Straddling the divide between the front range and South Park, this small Federal campground has 18 rustic sites.  The Colorado Trail crosses highway 285 at the campground making this an ideal spot for hikers and bikers to overnight or base camp.  At over 10,000 feet and set among groves of aspen and pine, the rustic facilities include hand pumped water and several clean vault toilets.  The entrance road and two gravel loops are badly in need of road grading.  In fact, this campground seems to have fallen off the repair list – many of the sites have missing or broken parking guides and picnic tables that are missing seats or some portion of the tops.

We’re in site #7, shown as side-by-side with #5, outside, back-in sites on the recreation.gov reservation site.  But upon arrival we find that #5 is on the inside of the loop and one site away from #7.   Nearly all of the sites are set on some angle making leveling a challenge at best.  We end up digging out below the rear tires, and raising the front on 5 blocks – and we’re still not level.  Site #7 has a unique rock outcropping that makes a nice backdrop between the campsite and the highway.  But, it also seems to be the playground for the kids – so it can get a bit noisy.

The Colorado Trail is Colorado’s premier long distance trail stretching almost 500 miles from Durango to Denver.  On Saturday we explore a small portion of the trail that heads southeast towards Denver.  In this part of the trail, outside the wilderness areas, bikers, hikers and horse-back riders are all sharing the trail.  Initially the trail is fairly level as we traverse the ridge overlooking South Park.  Eventually it gets a bit steeper, but arriving at an open area provides beautiful views across South Park and beyond to the Jefferson Lake area, the tall peaks along the continental divide and even some snow patches remaining near Breckenridge.  On Sunday we explore the trail going to the north leading toward Jefferson Lake, Breckenridge, Dillon and eventually turning south toward the Collegiate Peaks Wilderness. This side of the trail is much steeper, and we’re back in camp after a fairly short, but exhausting ride.

Other sites at Kenosha Pass Campground that would be possibilities include #22 (a long pull-thru) and #21 (inside across from #22), #14 & #15 or #10 & #11.  If site #5 was available, #6 on the outside is closer than #7.  There was no wireless network at Kenosha, however it is very close.  Full bars of T-Mobile service were available during most of our Saturday hike.

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