Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Cold Spring Campgrounds

Memorial Day Weekend Camping with a 5-month-old
24 – 25 May 2014

We finally took Knud Peter “Little Man” Hermansen on his first camping trip. I had been talking about camping as a family for several months but it was Alita who, so to speak, took the tent and ran with it. We really enjoyed the campsite and had a fun camping adventure with the growing family and friends.

Group Photo at the top of the Vista Hike

Choosing the Campsite

We settled on Cold Springs Campground in the Arapahoe National Forest near Black Hawk, CO. This modest campsite contained a mix of RV, car and walk-in sites. But the first thing that drew us to it was that it was less than an hour from Boulder. While we did not intend to bail, it was nice to know that if little man decided that he really no longer liked camping we could finish the night in our own bed. The campsite was also very close to Golden Gate Canyon State Park which gave us some great options for hikes (which we did not take advantage of . . . this time).

We stayed at Site 23 which was a surprisingly good choice. There were enough trees around to provide good cover as well as anchor sites for our tarp.

While not as fancy as other set-ups, the tarp performed well
We liked the far end of the campsite. Even on Memorial Day weekend the foot and vehicle traffic around this end of the campsite was pretty light. We camped with some friends and found that sites 19 and 23 made a good pair if you choose more than one. Even though they do not appear to be next to each other they were actually pretty close and easy to walk between

For the far end of the campsite I should point out that locations show on the reservations site map are approximate. For this end of the campsite I put down my own locations on this Google Earth kml file.

The campsite is also pretty family friendly. There is a playground but we did not use this – we had a thousand-plus acre playground all around us.

Hikes from the Campsite

The group of us that came up decided to do this hike that started from a "Vista" trail marker on the far end of the campground. It was a quarter mile round-trip hike that brought one to a beautiful vista that looked over the surrounding peaks and Highway 119. Rarely do you get such reward for so little effort. It was also very doable for the herd of kids that we had with us.

Vista Hike
Calling it a trail may be a bit generous. While it was easy to find a safe way to the top, it was not a well worn path.

As this picture shows, the Vista hike is more of a route than a trail
The other nice walk from the campsite was an old road the departed from near Site 20. It must have been part of the campground at some point because there was a bounty of old campsite markers and even an old toilet. We went about a mile down the road to where it intersected another dirt road. It was an easy walk even if you are carrying a baby (a rugged stroller may even have done the trick).

As a closing gear plug, we found  REI's Hobitat 4 to have ample space for two adults, a pack-n-play and a dog.

Suffice to say we'll probably pitch a tent here again.

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