Why camp here? Tucked away in the San Isabel National Forest on the banks of the Twin Lakes Reservoir, the scenery alone makes it a destination in and of itself. Throw in the largest glacial lakes in Colorado, excellent fishing and proximity to Leadville, Buena Vista and Aspen via Independence Pass, and the better question is “why not camp here?” There are trails for hiking, biking and OHVs, boat tours to the historic Interlaken Resort, kayak and canoe rentals and the well-stocked Twin Lakes General Store. The Dayton Room at the Twin Lakes Inn is a real treat; call ahead for dinner reservations during July and August.
There are two National Forest Service campgrounds here, White Star and Lake View. We camped in the former in the Sage Loop. There were trails leading away from our campsite, and one of them took us right to a sandy beach on the shore of the reservoir in about three minutes. The site was easily big enough for our 45-foot rig, with plenty of room for the truck and enough room between sites that you can enjoy the views and some privacy. The hummingbirds are hungry! Bring a feeder to hang from the lantern post and plenty of sugar to make extra food. Bring a jacket as well, the campground is 9,300 feet above sea level.
Other amenities: These are primitive sites, so there are no hookups. There are bathroom facilities and water spigots throughout the campground, although the spigots in our loop did not have nozzles that allowed for a hose connection. Bring an adapter if you’re planning to fill your tank, or haul your own water in. The sites have picnic tables and fire rings.
Connectivity: We had strong cell coverage through A&T, and wifi by using our phones as hotspots.
Fun fact: Twin Lakes was a busy transportation hub between the mining towns of Leadville and Aspen in the late 1800s. Stroll through the historic village, and make sure to stop by the visitor center to learn more about the history of this beautiful spot.
Would we camp here again? Absolutely. Can’t wait to go back!
What’s nearby? Leadville, the highest incorporated city in North America, is 20 minutes to the north. It’s full of museums, shops and restaurants. The paved Mineral Belt Trail loops the city and is a good way to explore the historic mining district. Buena Vista, which is about half an hour south, offers spectacular whitewater rafting trips on the Arkansas River, which has also recently received Gold Medal Waters designation, which means it’s one of the best trout fishing spots in America. The Top of the Rockies Scenic and Historic Byway runs through Leadville and Twin Lakes, over Independence Pass and into Aspen. It’s a breathtaking drive anytime, but even more so in the fall.
Getting here: Twin Lakes is located on Highway 82 off of U.S. 24, 15 miles south of Leadville.
Disclosure: I am the public relations representative for Lake County, Colorado, which includes Leadville and Twin Lakes. I did not receive any discounted services during this trip, and my opinions are my own based on personal experience.
Thanks for reading. Stay tuned for more Tales From the Empty Nest!