A quick two-hour drive north of Denver sits Red Feather Lakes. The lakes are surrounded by the Roosevelt National Forest in the heart of Larimer County, Colorado. If you know where to look, this secluded spot is one of the less populated outdoor destinations in Colorado, making them perfect for those looking to avoid the mass camping crowds. Still filled with a variety of outdoor activities, Red Feather Lakes are the ideal weekend getaway for those with more mellow tastes.
Approximate drive time from Denver: 2 hours
Only 15 minutes south-east of the lakes sits Beaver Meadows Resort & Ranch. This mountain resort has anything and everything you need to enjoy your stay at the lakes.
The resort and ranch has a number of different lodging options including regular rooms, log cottages and cabins, and even Sioux style tipis. Between all of these options, you can fit up to 12 people with prices ranging from as low as $42 to $220 per night.
The resort also offers over 50 campsites available for only $25-30 per night. The resort is perfect for overnight stays or weekend-long trip and welcomes moderate and experienced campers.
The resort also offers a number of additional amenities like a full restaurant and bar and nightly bonfires throughout the week. You can also hike, hunt, fish, mountain bike, ATV, and horseback ride right at the resort before or after spending the day around Red Feather Lakes. With no fire ban effective at the resort campers can have fires only in the designated fire pits.
If you’re looking for a more classic camping experience, check out Dowdy Lake. Located within the Red Feather Lakes area, the campground has 60 sites with the ability to reserve your spot. This campground can get more crowded, in relation to the area, so if you’re hoping for something a bit quieter, dispersed camping within the national park might be your best bet. We heard that Deadman Road or Bellaire Lake are good places to lay your head.
What to Do
Along with hiking, fishing, hunting, mountain biking and many other outdoor activities, there are several must-see spots around Red Feather Lakes. Whether you’re staying for the day, the weekend, or even a whole week, these are some of the top locations for you to visit.
Deadman Lookout – Recognized as a National Historic Lookout, this old fire tower is found 14 miles west of Red Feather Lakes. Thanks to a group of faithful volunteers, the tower remains operational and open to the public during the summer (beginning July 14). The tower also acts as a radio communications spot for Roosevelt National Forest and the Larimer County Sheriff’s Department. The tower is the perfect place to get a full view of both the vast Roosevelt Forest and Red Feather Lakes.
Shambhala Mountain Center – Although it will be closed from July 15-26, 2018 the Shambhala Mountain Center is surrounded by views of the Rocky Mountains. A site for meditation, reflection, and exploring personal well-being and awareness, the mountain center has been a popular visitor spot 13 miles south of the Red Feather Lakes for over 40 years. They also offer a variety of educational programs, meditation sessions and guest lectures. Whether you want to explore the teachings of Shambhala or simply catch some of the great views from this mountain retreat, the Shambhala Mountain Center is a great day-long pit stop on your trip to the lakes.
Between the Red Feather Lakes and the surrounding Roosevelt National Forest, there is no shortage of beautiful hiking trails. There’s a slew of different types of hiking trails around Red Feather Lakes for experienced and amateur hikers alike.
Blue Lake Trail (11.1 Miles, Moderate) – The Blue Lake Trail is a simple 11-mile loop trail that explores the lush forest of Roosevelt Nation Forest. The trail also features views of the snow capped mountains and a number of different wildflowers that the area is well known for.
Mount Margaret Trail (7.2 Miles, Easy) – One of the most popular hiking trails in the area, the Mount Margaret trail offers a beautiful summit view of the Cache La Poudre Wilderness. The out-and-back trail is lightly trafficked and stretches over seven miles long. Again, this trail is filled with vast collections of wildflowers and offers visitors to see some of the La Poudre Wilderness’ wildlife.
Rawah Trail (25 Miles, Moderate) – Another out-and-back trail, the Rawah Trail stretches 25 miles long and is known for its light traffic. Found in the Rawah Wilderness, a short drive west of Red Feather Lakes, this trail is one of the harder trails in the surrounding area due to some severe water crossings and steep inclines. However, the tough trail proves worth it with outstanding lake views and an increased chance of seeing wildlife.
Lady Moon Trail (5.3 Miles, Moderate) – This trail takes hikers through the beautiful Aspen groves, providing plenty of mountainous views. Only a five-mile hike, the Lady Moon Trail is a quick and simple out-and-back hike with some of the best views in the Red Feather Lakes surrounding area.
North Lone Pine Trail (8.9 Miles, Easy) – This backcountry trail is another harder trail, despite it being marked as easy, for experienced hikers in the area to try out. The rocky trail is very lightly trafficked and features a number of different streams covered by lush trees. The shaded path is nearly ten miles long and perfect for hikers looking to bring their dogs with them.
Although Red Feather Lakes are not one of the most well-known wilderness retreats, in comparison to behemoths like Rocky Mountain National Park, they are perfect for those looking for a quiet spot to camp this summer. With so many wonderful spots in the surrounding area for visitors to keep themselves busy the lakes are not just quaint but instead filled with relaxing activities.
You will want to keep your car filled with gas as there will be plenty of driving from site to site, experiencing the different views and activities that Red Feather Lakes has to offer. If you are looking for tremendous lake, forest, and mountain views from your campsite this summer, Red Feather Lakes is the perfect destination for you.