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, your partner, or take a solo trip at any time of the year. 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 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 mountains bathed in a sunrise glow and fall asleep to the gentle sounds of the water babbling and tree leaves whistling in the wind. Keep in mind, if you plan on staying overnight, only smaller RVs and trailers can be accommodated here. 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.
Located in northwest Colorado, Pearl Lake State Park is a fairly rural park but isn't too hard to access thanks to its location near Colorado Road 129. This road is paved and easy to navigate, but the internal roads at Pearl Lake State Park are gravel and packed dirt. This shouldn't be an issue when the weather is good since 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.
If you need to get any supplies before your stay at Pearl Lake State Park, you should consider stopping in at towns on the way to the park since there are none in the near vicinity to the park. Some of the places that you can stop include Steamboat Springs (around 26.5 miles away) and Hayden (around 48 miles away) if you are traveling from the south. If you are coming from Wyoming, you can stop at Baggs (around 57.5 miles away).
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. If you are staying in the campground, only small RVs and trailers up to 30 feet long can fit.
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. The yurts include electricity, heat, beds, a picnic table, and a fire ring so you will feel right at home if you choose to stay here. 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 since they are still open for use while the camping sites are closed. If you are interested in staying during the winter months, you will need to bring your snow gear along to access them due to heavy snowfall closing the access road to the yurts in the winter. A half-mile snowshoe trail accesses the yurts and takes under ten minutes to hike.
Bringing your dog along for your RV 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 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.
Pearl Lake State Park has one campground that offers 36 sites spread across two loops. The upper loop has 23 sites that 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, but you won't be too far from the amenities in the lower loop.
The lower loop has flush toilets, however, there are 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. If you are planning to visit the campground later in the season, make sure to call the park for more information on the exact closing date.
If you are looking for another RV-friendly camping option outside of Pearl Lake State Park, you should consider staying in the Dutch Hill Campground. Located within the Steamboat Lake State Park, the Dutch Hill Campground is only a 10-minute drive from the park so you won't have to travel too far to stay here.
There are plenty of site options for you to choose from in the Dutch Hill Campground, including a loop that contains sites with 50-amp electric hookups and a non-electric loop known as Bridge Island. Within the campground, you can also make the most of the marina and swimming beach and use some of the great amenities, including the coin-operated showers, laundry facilities, and a dump station.
Reservations for the Dutch Hill Campground can be made up to six months in advance, and since this is a popular campground, it is recommended that you make a reservation before you leave on your trip.
There are no tent-only sites available at Pearl Lake State Park, but if you are wanting to stay at the park in a tent, you can use any of the sites in the campground since they are also tent-friendly. Since all of the sites can be used by tents, you will have plenty of room to stretch out and make a great camping set up for the duration of your stay in Pearl Lake State Park.
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!
If you're staying in one of the two yurts 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 4.5 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.
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.
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. None of the picnic tables can be reserved in advance so all picnicking is available on a first-come, first-served basis.
During the peak season from May to November, boaters can have some fun out on the lake and launch into Pearl Lake from the park's boat ramp. Pearl Lake is considered a prime spot for canoers and kayakers, but if you have a boat with a gas or electric motor you can also hit the water with it. Please note that only wakeless boating is allowed here to keep the waters calm for anglers, and all boats must be inspected at the Visitor Center prior to launching. Boating season dates are subject to change depending on weather conditions.
Whether you love to hike or are a beginner, you will have some fun with the hiking trails in and around the park, especially the Pearl Lake Connector Trail. 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.