South Platte Ranger District - Recreation

  

View of the surrounding moutains from Devil's Head Tower.

The South Platte Ranger District is located east of the Continental Divide in the central Rocky Mountains and lies adjacent to the Denver metro area in Park, Jefferson, Douglas, Clear Creek, and Teller counties. 

The South Platte District is 450,000 acres in size with elevations ranging from 5,800' along the South Platte River, to over 14,000' at Mount Evans.

Feel free to stop by our visitor center on Highway 285 in Conifer to inquire about current conditions, find out what's going on, and get maps you may need to enjoy your visit on our District. We have Devil's Head Fire Lookout and Smokey Bear T-shirts available for purchase.

Note: For camping near Morrison or Red Rocks Amphitheatre, contact Bear Creek Lake Park at (303) 697.6159, or Chatfield State Park at (303) 791.7275.

At a Glance

Fees Some day use areas & campgrounds have day use and/or camping fees.
Permit Info:
Open Season: Year-round
Restrictions: Please practice Leave No Trace and Stay the Trail ethics.
Closest Towns: Conifer, Aspen Park, Morrison
Passes: The Interagency Senior Pass and the Interagency Access Pass qualifies for a 50% discount at concessionaire run campsites and picnic areas. 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. Day use is free for holders displaying the Interagency Annual Pass.
Operated By: Forest Service
Information Center: 30403 Kings Valley Drive, Suite 2-115, Conifer, CO 80433 Phone: (303) 275-5610 Hours: Monday - Friday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Closed on Federal holidays and weekends

General Information

Directions:

South Platte Ranger District Office:

From Denver, CO take C470 to Highway 285 South (toward Fairplay, CO). Travel 17.5 miles along Highway 285 to Kings Valley Drive. The office is located to the right, on the upper/north level of the building.


Parking:

There is limited parking in front of the office. Trailers should park in the lower level lot on the south side of the building.


Recreation Map

Map showing recreational areas. Map Information

Activities


Bicycling

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Camping & Cabins

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Campground Camping

The South Platte Ranger District has 21 developed campgrounds containing a total of 341 campsites, and one group campground which can accommodate groups up to 125 people.

There is a 14-day stay limit anywhere in the Forest; vehicles must be parked in designated sites only. No vehicle parking behind barriers. Please call the District office with any questions or check Recreation.gov.

Current Conditions: Winter use: most campgrounds are closed during the winter season; those that remain open do not have water. All campgrounds that are open during winter are first-come-first-served.  Campgrounds that remain open year round are; Deer Creek, Lone Rock, Platte River, Ouzel, and Osprey.
Fees: Overnight use varies from $18 to $22, day use is $7.
Reservation info: Most developed campgrounds have sites that are available on a first-come, first-served basis.  However, some are set up to accept reservations for the peak camping season: Memorial Day weekend until Labor Day weekend.

To reserve a site call 1-877-444-6777 or visit Recreation.gov.  Reservations must be made 4 Day(s) ahead of arrival and can be made up to 6 Month(s) in advance. Minimum stay for weekends is Friday and Saturday; 3 day minimum stay for holidays. Check in time is 2 pm; check out is 12 pm. *TIP: Know the name of the campground you wish to reserve for. Those campgrounds that do not take reservations will not display their availability on Recreation.gov.
Permit: Interagency Senior Passes and Interagency Access Passes provide for a 50% discount at concessionaire operated campgrounds.
Usage: Because we are near Denver, our campgrounds see significant levels of use during the summer months. Those that accept reservations often see the highest use. There is no way of telling the availability of a first-come-first-served site before driving into the campground.
Hours of Operation: All campground are normally open from Memorial Day weekend in May to Labor Day weekend in September. Some campgrounds remain open throughout the year.
Rental info: Hook-ups (water/electric) and dump stations are NOT available at any site. Firewood may be available from campground hosts for a nominal fee.  Water is not available at ANY site during winter.

Areas for Campground Camping at South Platte Ranger District - Recreation

RV Camping

Areas for RV Camping at South Platte Ranger District - Recreation

Group Camping

Areas for Group Camping at South Platte Ranger District - Recreation

Dispersed Camping

Dispersed camping and parking is allowed in designated sites only on the South Platte Ranger District.   Designated sites are posted with "Parking" and "Tent" symbols.  Dispersed camping is primitive, undeveloped, frontcountry "car camping". Several areas across the District allow dispersed camping, however certain areas are closed to overnight camping and allow for day use activites only.

Remember: when dispersed camping, no toilets, trash service, or potable water, are available. Store all food and trash securely, and pack out what you pack in. Please practice Leave No Trace.

General areas for designated dispersed camping opportunities:

Near OHV trails, visit the Rampart Range Recreation Area. From Denver, take US Highway 85 South to the town of Sedalia. Turn west on State Route 67 for 10 miles. Turn south on Rampart Range Road/National Forest System Road 300. You will see designated sites along the road.

Near hiking, biking, and fishing, visit the Buffalo Creek Recreation Area. From Morrison, take US Highway 285 South approximately 21 miles to Pine Junction. Turn south on Jefferson County Route 126 for 13.5 miles. Turn west on NFSR 550. You will see designated sites along the road.

Near 4X4 roads, visit the Hall Valley area.  From Morrison, take US Highway 285 South approximately 35 miles to Park County Route 60. Turn north. After several miles, you will see designated sites along the road. Please respect private land in this area and do not trespass.

Other areas-

  • Guanella Pass: From Morrison, take US Highway 285 South to Grant. At the town of Grant, turn north onto Park County Route 62 (Guanella Pass Scenic Byway).  Designated sites are located along NFSR 118.E and 119.  However, no camping is permitted within the first mile of NFSR 119.  Camping at day use sites, trailheads, or along the Scenic Byway, is prohibited.
  • Kenosha Pass: From Morrison, take US Highway 285 South to Kenosha Pass. On the east side of the Higway, designated sites are located along NFSR 126 and 126.A.
  • Matukat area: From Morrison, take US Highway 285 South to Pine Junction. Turn south on to Jefferson County Route 126. Take 126 south to NFSR 211, also known as the Matukat road. Travel west on NFSR 211. Designated sites are located along NFSR 211 and 560.
Usage: Please observe these requirements when dispersed camping: 
  • Plan your trip; phone ahead for restrictions and special regulations.
  • Dispersed camping and parking is allowed in designated sites only.  Do not create resource damage by driving off-road, beyond designated parking locations, or behind barriers.
  • Developed sites, including trailheads and picnic areas, are closed to overnight camping and allow for day use activities only.
  • Locate your camp at least 100' from any water source.
  • Tread lightly, and avoid trampling sensitive vegetation.
  • Use catholes to properly dispose of human and pet waste; bury waste in a cathole at least 6-8" deep and 200’ from any water source. Packing out human waste using self-contained waste disposal systems is encouraged.
  • Campfires are allowed at overnight sites as long as fire restrictions aren’t in place. You may gather small amounts of down, dead wood for a campfire. Use existing fire rings; keep your campfire small and always make sure it is completely extinguished before leaving.
  • BEARS and other wildlife; When you go to the mountains and forest, you are in bear county. Do not leave ANY food, trash or other animal attractant unattended. Store all food and trash securely and pack out what you pack in. Failing to do so can result in a fine.
  • Also be aware that; where not otherwise restricted, camping or leaving camping equipment at any location more than 14 days within a continuous 30 day period, and/or occupying any campsite within three (3) miles of any prior camping or equipment location for a combined total of more than 28 days within any continuous 60 day period, is prohibited. No leaving camping equipment unattended for more than 24 hours.
  • In addition; discharging a firearm is prohibited within 150 yards of a residence, building, campsite, developed recreation site, or occupied area; or across or on a National Forest System road or a body of water, or in any manner or place whereby any person or property is exposed to injury or damage as a result of such discharge.

Areas for Dispersed Camping at South Platte Ranger District - Recreation


Climbing

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Fishing

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Hiking

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Horse Riding & Camping

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Nature Viewing

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OHV Riding & Camping

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Other Activities

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Outdoor Learning

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Picnicking

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Scenic Driving

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Winter Sports

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https://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/psicc/recreation/camping-cabins/recarea/?recid=12410&actid=34