Thursday, September 5, 2013

Campground Review: Lake Pueblo State Park Pueblo, CO

After dropping my daughter off at Denver International I headed south about 120 miles to the Pueblo, CO area.  Lake Pueblo State Park, at 4900 feet, lies in a geography markedly different from the high mountain park we had just vacated.  Lake Pueblo State Park is on the High Plains which seem to stretch endlessly to the east while the Greenhorn and Sangre de Cristo Mountains form a backdrop to the west.

Sangre de Cristo range under darkened skies.
The centerpiece of the park is, of course, Lake Pueblo.  Buttes and limestone cliffs rim the lake's irregular 60 mile shoreline around which are 4 separate camping areas and two marinas.  The 11 mile long lake is fed by the Arkansas River and was created by the massive Pueblo Dam which is 10500 feet long by 200 feet high.  The huge park comprises 12,900 acres around Lake Pueblo.

The limestone cliffs of Lake Pueblo.
There are over 400 campsites within the 4 areas, I stayed in the Northern Plains Campground which, given the fact that it was post-Labor Day and school time, was almost deserted and very peaceful.  Unlike our high altitude campground, temperatures during my stay were in the 90's, necessitating use of the Tank's AC from noon until dinner time.

The Tank at Lake Pueblo...not a lot of trees.
The terrain in the campground was scruffy vegetation intermixed with dried grass and gravel, almost desert-like.  After seeing this guy I refrained from hiking through the vegetation.

I rolled a small stone against him and he moved into the grass.
Because of the steepness of the limestone cliffs surrounding the lake it is really only accessible from the marina's ramps which is too bad for folks who carry kayaks on the roofs of their RV's (me) because you'd have to literally pack up camp, drive to the marina and then set camp back up after returning from the marina...nah.

Northern Marina....3 hour cruise anyone?
Campsites come with 30 amp electrical hookups, a sheltered picnic table and a fire ring.  Mine was close to being level and cost $20 per night.  Spacing of the campsites was very generous and the restrooms (no showers at mine but a couple of the other campgrounds had them) were kept very neat.  Park rangers patrolled the campground roads multiple times a day.  Verizon 4G comes in at 2 bars and Millenicom internet was 3 out of 4 bars.

View from the back door of the Tank.
I enjoyed my stay at Lake Pueblo State Park and it's wonderful post-Labor Day solitude but confess to having been spoiled by Stagecoach State Park and would have to rate Lake Pueblo a not so close second place.

Thanks for reading!