Kelsey Campground offers that special blend of being far enough from town that there is no corner store while being close enough that the drive to and from home is a part of the total pleasant getaway. Located southwest of Denver, CO at an elevation of 8,000 feet, Kelsey Campground offers a wonderful opportunity for individuals or families to enjoy the great outdoors. Nearby is a scenic overlook, trails and river fishing. Summer temperatures range from 75-80 degrees during the day to a pleasant 55-65 degrees at night. Wildlife is abundant in the surrounding areas. Host is available on-site.
At a Glance
Check in: 2 pm
Check out: 12 pm (noon)
Quiet hours: 10 pm to 6 am
Phone 877-444-6777 or visit www.recreation.gov at least 4 days in advance. Friday and Saturday night minimum required stay on weekends. Three (3) night minimum on holiday weekends. Walk-ups are exempt from the nightly minimum. Additional fees may be imposed by the reservation contractor.
Accessible,Tent camping,Camping trailer,Fee charged for some activities,Picnic tables,Toilets,Drinking water,Parking
$18.00 fee per site for overnight camping. Two (2) vehicles per site are included in the camping fee. $5.00 for a third vehicle.
$6.00 day use fee if not camping overnight.
Fees are payable by check or money order. Self servicing fee tube is available.
Golden Age and Golden Access Cardholder: 50% discount off the camping fee only.
Memorial Day weekend - Labor Day weekend
The following restrictions apply to this campground:
Maximum 8 persons per site, 2 tents and 2 vehicles or 1 recreation vehicle.
Dogs must be leashed at all times.
No discharge of firearms or fireworks.
Only licensed vehicles can operate inside campground.
Camping is NOT ALLOWED behind a LOCKED GATE.
Bears frequent the area and a bear closure order is in place. All bear attractants, both food and non-food items which can attract bears, should be kept in a bear resistant manner. Bear bags, bear boxes, and coolers within hard-sided vehicles are safer ways of storing attractants. Pop-ups, tents, and open-top vehicles are not safe storage areas. Tips for camping in bear country are available from camp hosts.
Buffalo Creek is 8 miles northeast, along Highway 126.Denver/Morrison is approximately a 1.5 hour drive northeast of campground via US Hwy 285.
The Interagency Senior Pass (previously known as the Golden Age Pass) and the Interagency Access Pass qualifies for a 50% discount at concessionaire run campsites. The discount only applies to the fee for the campsite physically occupied by the pass owner, not to any additional campsite(s) occupied by members of the pass owner's party.
Rocky Mountain Recreation Concessionaire
Appears on the following maps:
Pike National Forest
USGS Quad Green Mountain
National Geographic Trails Illustrated #135 (Deckers / Rampart Range)
National Geographic Trails Illustrated #105 (Tarryall Mountains / Kenosha Pass)
Contact the South Platte Ranger District at 303.275.5610 for more information.
From U.S. Highway 285 turn south at Pine Junction on to Jefferson County Road 126. Follow Jefferson County Road 126 16.5 miles south to the Kelsey Campground. The campground will be on the west (right) side of the highway.
Parking is available for either 2 vehicles or 1 recreational vehicle per campsite. Additional parking is available.
Buffalo Creek Recreation Area trail system is easily accessible from this area. As a popular mountain biking area, Little Scraggy trailhead is 3 miles north of the campground on Forest Service Road 550, just off Highway 126. A brochure for the biking system is here.
Hours of Operation:
Biking trails are open year-round but subject to snow drifts and mud.
Easy to Difficult
Camping & Cabins
There are 17 campsite at Kelsey Campground. Fifteen (15) sites are reservable, and site #4 is a first-come, first-served site. Site #1 is reserved for the host. Both site #16 and #17 are tents only.
This campground can accommodate both tents and recreational vehicles up to 30’ in length. No electricity, water or hooks ups available.
There are 17 campsite at Kelsey Campground. Fifteen (15) sites are reservable, and site #4 is a first-come, first-served site. Site #1 is reserved for the host. This campground can accommodate both tents and recreational vehicles up to 30’ in length. No electricity, water or hooks ups available.
River and Stream Fishing
Buffalo Creek is a popular fishing area for brook trout and is located 3 miles north off Forest Service Road 550. The Gold Medal waters of the South Platte River are just 5 miles south at the Wigwam Parking area. You must be legal with the Colorado Division of Wildlife and follow all local regulations.
State licenses required. Day use fees may apply at certain parking areas.
The Kelsey Overlook area is just north of the Kelsey Campground 1.5 miles on Highway 126. This pull off allows for a beautiful view of the valley below. Be sure to stop by in early as the morning fog lifts for a spectacular photo opportunity.
The drive down Highway 126 from Pine Junction affords some wonderful views of the valleys below. Pike's Peak can be seen in the distance as well as many other prominent rock formations and mountains.
Highway 126 turns into Highway 67 at the town of Deckers and continues to Woodland Park, and eventually Colorado Springs. From Pine Junction on Highway 285 to Colorado Springs is 65.6 miles and a good 2 hour drive.
Throughout this drive, you will notice the rejuvenation of the forest after several different forest fires. Along the road, the High Meadows Fire (2000), Buffalo Creek Fire (1996), and the Hayman Fire (2002) show various degrees of revegetation. Although it will take 150 years for the woods to look as they were previous to the fires, one can see nature slowly coming back to life.
1 Recreational vehicle up to 30 feet allowed
Universally accessible picnic tables and vault toilets are available.