The moment you turn off highway 14 into Chambers Lake Campground, you immediately feel a world away. As you pass the day use area and drive around a finger of the lake you notice the temperature dips a couple degrees from the road and you feel the stillness that accompanies mountain thin air. The only noise is the crackle of dozens of campfires and the muffled voices of happy campers.

I love the roar of the river but I also love the quiet of a mountain lake.

IMG_8101Some places are special. Places that encapsulate family memories that span generations.  We’ve camped at Chambers with my husband’s family for over ten years and they’ve been coming here from Illinois nearly every year for decades.

L learned to fish here with her g’pa, took her first canoe trip and discovered the world of constellations lying down on the boat ramp. And I’m sure C will follow in her footsteps in the years to come. Playing in the same rock forts as their dad and uncles did when they were boys.

IMG_7860There are 44 nicely spaced sites many with spectacular views of the lake, plenty of shade and areas to play.

IMG_5553The paved roads that go from loop to loop are perfect for strollers and evening walks. There is a playground and amphitheater, although in all the times we’ve camped here we’ve only ended up at the playground a couple times. There are far too many rocks to stack, trails to hike, canoe trips to paddle and fish to catch.

IMG_5574This year was no different. Wonderful memories were made and I even got to sneak one just for myself. One morning, while everyone slept, I got up, made coffee and sat in a chair overlooking the water. I watched a doe emerge from the woods across the lake and make her way down to the edge.


Before long my doe disappeared back in the woods as our campsite began to buzz with activity. My attention drawn now to two little girls in pajamas sitting on g’pa’s lap getting ready for another day of adventure.


The Details

Distance: Approx. 60 miles up the Poudre Canyon, 1.5 hours from Fort Collins

Amenities: Vaulted toilets, trash bins and water spigots make the campground comfortable but if you prefer dispersed camping there are great sites across the lake accessed by Larimer River Road that is just a mile east of the Chambers Lake Campground turn off.

Highlights: Star gazing! Views! Lake access! Wildlife! Large campsites! Proximity to great hiking! Family traditions!

Lowlights: Very Popular

Cost: $20/single site, $40/double site (An additional $9 fee when making online reservations, $10 fee when making phone reservations)

Availability: Most sites are reservable 4-180 days in advance (these sites fill up fast! If you want to stay here, I recommend reserving the site the full 180 days in advance, especially for weekends)

Hiking: Access to trails around the lake, not official and not maintained. Close to Blue Lake, Big South, Montgomery Pass, Long Draw Road (each less than 5 minutes away)

Elevation: 9,200 ft (Can get down right cold at night, be sure to bring plenty of layers)

Open Season: End of June or beginning of July depending on snow levels through mid September

Lake Info: Motorized boats are allowed, in wakeless speed only. Lake levels fluctuate.