Now that we are the proud parents of a Tepui roof top tent, Ryan and I have increasingly been going car camping instead of backpacking. As we explore the front range for beautiful places to disperse-car camp, we have often found ourselves on National Forest land surrounded by crowds of rude “Denver-ites”… complete with huge RVs running their generators 24/7, obnoxiously loud groups, unsafe shooting practices, etc.
Feelings discouraged, we began to explore some locations further away from the Front Range. Lucky for us, we did not have to go far! While we frequently drive over Kenosha Pass on our way to southern Colorado, we rarely stop. However, I have always noticed many dirt Forest Service roads shooting off from the main highway. After some quick research, we came across Lost Park Road (Park County 56) on the west side of the pass (right by the town of Jefferson).
This location would quickly become a favorite. Only a two hour drive from Boulder (or less from Denver!) it is super easy and quick to get here but is apparently a well kept secret because we have always only had the place to ourselves! Once you turn onto Lost Park Road from the main highway (285) you drive down the private road for a short ways before you’re met with a cattle grate and a Forest Service sign.
Once you drive over this cattle grate, you are free to do whatever you want as long as you follow the rules of Pikes National Forest. Camping, shooting, 4-wheeling… whatever! We’ve seen it all. This road is nicely maintained and any passenger vehicle can pass it without issue.
This is where the fun starts– finding the perfect campsite. There are several roads that deviate from this main one, and this is where you will find endless amounts of sites. There are many spots on top of hills that overlook the entire valley, ones that are nestled deep into the aspens, or some in exposed grassy fields.
Be sure to allow plenty of time to explore these various roads to find the spot that fits your needs. The campsites that are easy to get to are usually filled with RVs and campers, but you can continue down some rougher roads to find total solitude.
On this particular trip Ryan, Fiona, and I came here to watch the Perseid meteor shower, so we found a nice spot in an open field. This is a perfect place for some stargazing!
One thing worth noting is that there are a lot of coyotes in the area. We never saw any, but we heard them yipping and howling in the area every night. So be extra careful to keep any food locked inside your car!