Saturday, July 30, 2011

Cataract Campground, White River National Forest - A Small Campground with great hikes nearby

Campground and site #1 with best views of surrounding mtns
Camped over Fourth of July weekend, 2011, 23 weeks pregnant.  

Even though pregnancy has slowed me down this summer, I was determined to camp at least once this season; even with the holidays crowds we hit the road to camp north of Silverthorne Colorado.  After looking into the Green Mountain Res area, I found a more secluded campground southwest of the reservoir which had lots of trails nearby and hoped we could find a site there.  We drove out Friday afternoon, arriving at the campground near 6pm and there was just one spot left!  We felt very fortunate to get a site, although it ended up being mosquito infested and made for a weekend of swatting bugs and spending more time in the camper than usual; but it was worth it!  

Getting there:  From the front range head out I-70 west to Silverthorne Colorado, exit at the Silverthorne exit and take highway 9 north out of Silverthorne for 16.5 miles. Turn left on Heeney Road #30. Continue for 5.4 miles to County Road 1725 and turn left (the left turn is almost a big U-turn to start heading up the dirt road).   The campground is about 2.5 miles up the bumpy dirt road and it's very easy to find.  There is NOT any noticeable free forest service camping along this road, much of it is public land, and many 'no camping' signs are posted.   Large RV's and campers would not be able to easily turn around on this dead end road.  
Site #5 and the field next to the site filled with wildflowers
Specs:  There is no fee to camp here; but there is a $5 fee to use the 'day use' area farther up the road, click for my hiking report.  The campground has only 5 campsites; sites 1 and 5 are the most secluded; site #1 offers the best views and #5 offers the most shade; site #4 is pretty nice too for seclusion and some shade. There are picnic tables at each campsite and a pit toilet for the campers.  The campground is located along the Cataract Creek River, which was flowing very high when we camped here; however the river is below the campground and you can hear it better than you can see it from most campsites.   

Site # 5 and our Chalet!  We spent more time in the Chalet than we normally would have due to the large number of mosquitoes that persisted in biting us all throughout the day.  I don't know if our site was just the bad one for bugs, or if the other campers nearby had this problem as well.   Bring your best bug spray when camping by the river! 

Views as we walked up the road to the trailheads nearby.  Click here for my hiking report of the Cataract Lake Loop. 

Wildflowers are in full bloom with the wet season we have had!  There were more flowers here than I have seen in Colorado, above are some yellow daisies and purple wildflowers.  

Relaxing by the fire, while swatting mosquitoes, 23 weeks pregnant.

We had a great time at the campground and it was so great to have hikes within walking distance of our campsite!  I expect we'll be back to Cataract Creek again soon.  If you have camped here, or at other campgrounds in the area, please post your comments and experiences.  If anyone has any questions, please comment as well.  

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