Pearl Lake State Park is a treasure trove of natural scenery just waiting for avid adventurers to come and explore. From the snow-capped peaks of Farewell Mountain in the distance to the mirror-still Pearl Lake, this diverse ecosystem offers a variety of ways to enjoy Colorado's breathtaking outdoors.
This is the perfect spot to bring the kids year-round for an RV camping trip. Whether you choose to pick wildflowers in the spring, fish in the summer, admire the golden foliage in the fall, or break in that new pair of skis in the winter, RV campers at Pearl Lake State Park will find activities to please every adventurer in the family. If you're traveling around Colorado in a big rig, though, you'll want to give this secluded spot a miss — only smaller RVs and trailers can be accommodated here.
But if you're camping at Pearl Lake State Park with a smaller RV, trailer, or tent, you're in luck. You'll wake up to stunning vistas of the lake, forest, and mountain bathed in a sunrise glow and fall asleep to the gentle sounds of the lake and forest. The best part about this park? It's nice and quiet, even during peak seasons, allowing campers to escape the daily grind and immerse themselves in the serene backcountry for which Colorado is famous.
The internal roads at Pearl Lake State Park are gravel and packed dirt. The wide roads offer plenty of room to accommodate vehicles, so driving around the park is easy whether you're in a car, truck, or small motorhome. Be advised that you’ll need to purchase a parking pass in addition to your camping fees.
Apart from the campground, two parking areas are available at Pearl Lake State Park for day-use visitors. One is located right by the lake and boat launch, and the other is located at the end of the forest service road. Both lots are gravel and packed dirt. Neither provide shade, so keep this in mind if visiting in the summer.
Pearl Lake State Park’s campground offers 36 sites spread across two loops. The upper loop has 23 sites which are more suitable for tent campers looking for a rough and rugged outdoor experience. Only vault toilets and drinking water hydrants are available in this loop.
The lower loop offers a flush toilet facility, but no showers. Campers who need to freshen up can find coin-operated shower and laundry facilities nearby at Steamboat Lake State Park. This loop also offers the park's only ADA-accessible site.
All sites at Pearl Lake are level and can accommodate small RVs and trailers up to 30 feet long. Please note that different sites have different maximum RV lengths; some sites may only accommodate trailers up to 16 feet long, so keep this in mind when making your reservation.
Speaking of reservations, campers must reserve their site in advance. Walk-in sites are not available at Pearl Lake State Park. Reservations up to six months in advance are available and strongly recommended for campers looking to snag a site during the peak season. Unlike most of Colorado’s state parks, which require campers to reserve their site at least three days prior to arrival, campers at Pearl Lake may reserve their site at any time.
Note that the campground is typically open from May to October, depending on weather conditions.
Prefer to go “glamping” at Pearl Lake State Park? Two yurts are available year-round and come complete with most of the creature comforts you'll need. These include electricity, heat, beds, a picnic table, and a fire ring. Guests must bring their own bedding and cookery. Please note that cooking is not allowed inside the yurts, but you're more than welcome to grill up your catch of the day at the fire ring outside.
The yurts are particularly popular in winter, after the rest of the campground closes, but you'll need to bring your snow gear along to access them. Due to heavy snowfall, the access road to the yurts is closed in the winter. A half-mile snowshoe trail accesses the yurts and takes under ten minutes to hike.
Bringing your dog along for your camping trip at Pearl Lake State Park? Your leashed four-legged friend is welcome to accompany you at your campsite for no additional fee. Pets are also permitted in the park's single pet-friendly yurt for an extra fee, payable to the visitor's center at nearby Steamboat Lake State Park.
Both yurts can be found in the campground's upper loop, but note that drinking water is not available in the winter.
The Pearl Lake Connector Trail is perfect for novice hikers. Clocking in at just over half a mile one-way, the trail takes approximately an hour to complete and offers postcard views of Farewell Mountain, Pearl Lake, and the surrounding forest. If you want to extend your hike, the trail connects to a longer six-mile trail network in the Routt National Forest. Keep your eyes peeled for wildlife along the way — including the western terrestrial garter snake. While this snake's venom is considered mild and not life-threatening, it's a good idea to bring a snake bite kit along just in case, particularly since this trail is in a remote area.
During the peak season from May to November, boaters can launch into Pearl Lake from the park's boat ramp. Pearl Lake is considered a prime spot for canoers and kayakers. Boats with gas and electric motors are also permitted, but note that only wakeless boating is allowed here to keep the waters calm for anglers. Additionally, all boats must be inspected at the visitor's center prior to launching. Boating season dates are subject to change depending on weather conditions.
Prefer to enjoy a low-key excursion at Pearl Lake State Park? Pack up the picnic basket and park the RV at the picnic area by the lake! Enjoy your packed lunch at one of the area’s picnic tables before heading out to the wildlife viewing platform to see what you can spot. More than 200 species of birds call the park home, including sandhill cranes, which migrate to the park each spring. You might also get a glimpse of a deer, fox, or salamander.
Fishing is one of the most popular year-round activities at Pearl Lake State Park, but when Old Man Winter arrives, anglers can cast into the lake's frozen waters in search of cutthroat trout. While other species of trout are occasionally reported, cutthroat is the most popular catch. Be advised that live bait is prohibited; only artificial lures and flies are allowed. The lake's ice cover is typically eight to ten inches thick, and though skiing and snowshoeing tracks are available across the frozen lake, practice caution while crossing the ice.
If you're camping at Pearl Lake State Park in winter and want to try your hand at snowshoeing, bring your warmest winter boots and outerwear — the snow here can be up to four-and-a-half feet deep in some spots! The park's hiking trails are carpeted with snow during the winter, when they double as multi-purpose routes for winter explorers. Those looking to snowshoe through Pearl Lake’s winter wonderland should check with local authorities for updated weather conditions.
The park's mile-long loop trail is an excellent place to break in your ski gear. Cross-country skiers at Pearl Lake State Park will enjoy the trail's gentle slope and mountain and lake views along the way. However, the cross-country skiing trails aren’t groomed. While this allows for a true backcountry experience, it also means that skiers will need to ensure their equipment can withstand the deep snow. Be prepared for a one-of-a-kind challenge if you plan to ski here during your RV vacation!