State Forest State Park | Outdoorsy

State Forest State Park
Guide

Introduction

State Forest State Park is a generously-sized Colorado state park that encompasses more than 70,000 acres consisting of thickly wooded forests, rugged mountain peaks, and calm lakes. A lot of natural wonders are packed in this enormous park as it features panoramic views of the Rocky Mountains and large forested regions of lodgepole pine, Colorado blue spruce, aspen, ponderosa pine, limber pine, and Douglas fir. There are over 90 miles of hiking trails exhibiting undeniable scenic beauty and the park’s flora and fauna.

The park features many lakes featuring crystal-clear waters as well as enormous peaks, including Lake Agnes and Ranger Lakes. The moose is the park’s show-stopping wildlife creature. The park is noted for its abundant population of moose extending up to 600, which can be easily observed all year round. The park’s Moose Visitor Center is immensely popular among the visitors for its outstanding displays and exhibits on the Moose population.

Camping at State Forest State Park is outstanding, with over 200 campsites scattered all over the park in five different campgrounds. RV camping is delightful here, with sites that feature 30- and 50-amp electric hookups. While RV camping at the park, you can take advantage of a wide range of recreational opportunities, which include mountain-biking, four-wheeling, fishing, boating, geocaching, wildlife viewing, hiking, horseback riding, telemarking, skiing, and much more. The park is open 24 hours every day, offering year-round camping. The best seasons to enjoy RV camping in State Forest are summer, fall, and spring. This is the perfect park for an RV weekend away and is only 140 miles north of Denver.

RV Rentals in State Forest State Park

Transportation

Driving

Colorado’s State Forest State Park is situated between Walden in Jackson County and Poudre Canyon in Larimer County on Highway 14. RVers traveling along this road to reach the park won't experience any height restrictions to their rigs. The park sits within the Medicine Bow Range and Never Summer Range of the Rocky Mountains and is easy to access via car or RV. If you need any supplies or want to dine at a restaurant, the city of Walden is located 16.3 miles to the west of the park, and you will find what you need there.

Once inside the park, grab a map from the office or the Moose visitor Center as there is a high chance of getting lost in the park’s enormous 71,000 acres. There are five campgrounds built at various locations throughout the park, and different facilities like an amphitheater and a dump station that you may want to locate, so having a map will come in handy. The roads within the park are dirt roads, so make sure to drive carefully and keep an eye out for pedestrians, wildlife, and other motorists. This is quite a large park, so driving is the quickest mode of transportation.

Parking

Don’t worry about parking your RV as there are sufficient parking options inside the park. Towed parking is allowed. There are restrictions on RV length, so make sure that your RV will not exceed the limit of your campground. A pass is required for all the motor vehicles entering the park, including RVs. Day visitors can park their vehicles at any of the numerous parking lots located throughout the park, often at trailheads or other attractions.

Public Transportation

Campgrounds and parking in State Forest State Park

Campsites in State Forest State Park

Reservations camping

North Park Campground

State Forest State Park's camping sites are spread all over the park in five different campgrounds. Just on the right side of County Road 41, you'll find the North Park Campground. This campground offers 29 campsites, nine of which are pull-through sites. The sites are pet-friendly, large enough to accommodate six people, provide clean drinking water, firewood, and restrooms with hot showers and flushing toilets, to name a few. The sites are non-electric, and no water or sewer hookups are available.

Within the North Park Campground, visitors can also find nine cabins to stay at if they would like to take a break from their RVs. Each cabin is permitted to sleep a total of six people at a time, but there are only enough beds provided for four people, so you may want to bring along an inflatable mattress. The cabins are available year-round, thanks to its electrical heating. You can bring along your pets during your stay for a nominal nightly fee.

Cabin visitors should bring along bedding, cooking equipment, utensils, charcoal, firewood, and matches. You will have to do the majority of your cooking over the fire ring, so come prepared. During the winter, certain amenities like water may not be available at the cabins, but you can bring along water containers and fill them up at the park.

North Michigan Campground

North Michigan Campground is located on the border of North Michigan Creek Reservoir. The campground is further divided into two sub grounds: North Campground and South Campground. Both campgrounds accommodate RVs no larger than 65 feet. The South Campground contains 27 RV sites with five being pull-through sites. The remaining seven sites in the South Campground are for tent campers only.

The North Campground comprises 10 RV camping sites, three tent-only sites, and six cabins. Both North and South campgrounds feature on-site amenities like picnic tables, grills, firewood, pet-friendliness, water, and toilets. The maximum site occupancy is six people per site.

The cabins all feature the same amenities North Park Campground. Cabins 3 through 6 can sleep six people a night and are ADA-accessible. Cabin 1 and 2 are large cabins and cabin 1 can sleep 21 people a night and cabin 2 can sleep 15.

Ranger Lakes Campground

Ranger Lakes Campground offers 32 electric campsites with 30- and 50-amp hookups, pet-friendliness, water, vault toilets, picnic tables, grills, and firewood. The maximum RV length is 60 feet. A dumping station can be found nearby across County Road 41. The campground is built within a short walking distance to Ranger Lakes. Six campers are allowed per site. Reservations can be made for early May to Late September up to six months in advance. Unreserved sites are given away on a first-come, first-serve basis.

Bockman Campground

Located one mile to the north of North Michigan Reservoir, Bockman Campground provides 52 campsites with 13 being pull-through sites. Site length varies, but there are some sites that are large enough for RV vehicles up to 114 feet long. No Wi-Fi is available. Campground amenities include picnic tables, barbecue grills, firewood, restrooms, horse corrals and stables, pet-friendliness, and water. No more than six persons are allowed on a campsite. Reservations can be made for the months of May to September and up to six months in advance.

First-come first-served

First-Come, First-Served Options

At some of the campgrounds, unreserved sites are given away on a first-come, first-serve basis.

Alternate camping

Crags Campground

You can find Crags Campground at the southern part of the park close to Lake Agnes and American Lakes. The campground is made up of 26 sites that are suitable only for tent camping. The road to the Crags Campground is very windy and steep, making it unsuitable for RVs and trailers. Sites have gravel driveways and are fitted with a picnic bench and fire pit for your use. Other site amenities include a restroom and pet-friendliness.

The campground is open from the beginning of July until the end of September. Tent campers looking for a tent-only campsite can reserve a site at the Crags Campground during those dates.

Primitive Camping

Campers looking for a more rugged experience can camp at one of the park's primitive camping sites. The majority of the sites are located together in one loop, but there are a couple dotted throughout the park. Included in these is a group site that can accommodate up to 42 people. Normal sites can sleep a total of six people a night. Pets are also welcome to join you on your rugged camping experience.

The sites are very basic and only have a fire pit for you to use. There are no restrooms or water facilities, so come prepared. During the winter, sites are more challenging to reach because of the snow.

Seasonal activities in State Forest State Park

Off-Season

Enjoying Winter Activities

Winter can be enjoyed to a great deal at the park, all thanks to its exciting winter offerings. The park’s 90 miles of hiking trails permit snowshoeing, snowmobiling, and skiing. Lake Agnes Trail, Gould Loop Trail, and Bockman Road are among the trails offering snowshoeing and skiing. American Lakes Trail and Ruby Jewel Routes also offer snowmobiling besides snowshoeing and skiing. Sledding, snow tubing, and ice fishing are also offered at the park to up the winter excitement. So make sure to bring your equipment along!

Every winter, the park organizes the Moonlight Open House, a delightful winter festival, usually twice a year, that calls out for great fun and celebration. The Gould Loop trail and Moose Visitor Center are decorated with lights, the Chocolate Cabin is stuffed with hot chocolate, and a potluck dinner is arranged at the beginning of the event.

Hiking, Biking, and Horseback Riding

For any outdoors and nature lover, it is impossible to stay inside the RV and not take advantage of the golden opportunity the park provides with its hiking, biking, and horseback riding trails. State Forest State Park offers 11 scenic terrains comprising over 90 miles of the park’s total area, each serving various purposes. For example, trails like the Gould Loop Trail, American Lakes Trail, Clear Lake Trail, Ruby Jewel Route, Diamond Peaks, Bockman Road, Montgomery Pass Route, and Mendenhall Route are used as multi-purpose trails. These are open for hiking, biking, and horseback riding, whereas the Lake Agnes Trail and Rangers Lake Nature Trail permit hiking, but not horseback riding and biking.

Birding and Wildlife Viewing

The abundance of wildlife at State Forest State Park will force you to step out of your RV to discover the park’s unusually charming animal and birds. The variety of bird species will render you speechless. Birds like steller’s jays, gray jays, red-winged and yellow-headed blackbirds, house finches, goldfinches, white-crowned sparrows, rufous, and black-chin and calliope hummingbirds are sighted frequently. Besides the park’s highlighted wildlife creature: moose, other wildlife that can be discovered in the park include deer, bears, marmots, bighorn sheep, mules, foxes, coyotes, and even porcupines, to name a few.

In-Season

Picnicking and Outdoor Games

For families and friends RV camping at the park, State Forest State Park has laid out picnic tables at various locations to make their camping experience even more pleasant. Various locations that you can picnic at are Lake Agnes, the Ranger Lakes Day-Use Area, County Road 41 (the park’s main road), and the Moose Visitor Center. During the winter season, picnicking is sometimes closed, depending on weather conditions.

If you are in an outdoor-gaming mood, park your RV at a nearby parking lot and begin geocaching. State Forest provides outstanding opportunities for geocaching, with 13 geocaches scattered all over the park. Gaming equipment and pamphlets can be found at the Visitor Center.

Fishing

When bring your motorhome to State Forest State Park, don’t forget to bring along your fishing equipment if you are a fishing enthusiast. Various lakes at the park are abounding with fishing opportunities during the peak season. Multiple species of trout like brook, brown, rainbow, and cutthroat are found abundantly.

The North Michigan Reservoir and Ranger Lake contain plenty of rainbow trout, while Lake Agnes and Kelly Lake are full of cutthroat trout. Anglers who struggle with mobility can make use of the ADA-accessible fishing pier found at Ranger Lakes.

Bait-use is only permitted at North Michigan Reservoir and Rangers Lake. At all the other lakes, only the use of lures and flies is allowed. Fly fishing is very rewarding along the Canadian River and the Michigan River.

Boating

State Forest State Park provides an abundance of recreational opportunities besides RV camping. While camping at the park during summer, step out of your RV to experience the pleasure of boating at the North Michigan Reservoir. Two boat ramps facilitate launching boats, canoes, and kayaks in the water. North Michigan Reservoir is closed for boating during the off-season. The use of motorized watercraft is permitted, but only at a maximum speed of 5 mph or less as not to disturb fellow campers in the nearby campgrounds. The park also requests that visitors make sure their boats have been inspected for Aquatic Nuisance Species and undergone the sealing process.

Find the perfect campsite.