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Guanella Pass Campground, Guanella Pass, Colorado

Campground Review from Randy

About.com Rating 5 Star Rating

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Guanella Pass Campground, Colorado

Guanella Pass Campground

photo courtesy Randy
We found this campground through Internet searches for primitive tent campsites, and we tent camped there in July 2009.

Describe your camping trip:

Guanella Pass Campground is located about 9 miles south of Georgetown, CO. It can be accessed via the Guanella Pass Scenic Byway on the outskirts of the town. This mountain pass runs between Georgetown and Grant, CO and was used as a shipping route for the mining companies in the 1800s. There are a total of 18 sites in this campground with 7 of those reserved for tents only. Level pads are located in each site along with a grill and picnic table. There is no electricity and only vault toilets are present. There is a small well-type pump for water. The campground sits at an elevation of 10,900 feet. Clear Creek runs through the middle of the camping area providing a very relaxing sound of rushing water right outside your tent or RV. While they cannot be seen from the campground due to the surrounding foothills, Mt. Evans and Mt. Bierstadt (two of the 54 "Fourteeners" that Colorado has to offer) are both close by with the Bierstadt trailhead just a few minutes drive away. Naylor Lake (private) and Silver Dollar Lake are also within easy hiking distance from the campground. Our family stayed here only one night on our way from RMNP to the Royal Gorge, but we certainly wished we had planned more time to stay. We will not make this mistake the next time we come to Colorado. It was definitely worth the visit and is a very nice hidden gem in the mountains.
Pros: The campground was exceptionally clean and appears to get less use than others we had passed at lower elevations. The hosts (Gwen and her husband) were very inviting and accommodating. The vault toilets were very clean and did not smell. The campsites are spread out enough and have enough natural barriers that you don't know that you have neighbors most of the time. The scenery is absolutely stunning and we were told by the hosts that a family of 4 moose had been present in the campground just a couple of days before our arrival. The biggest plus to this campground is the very low amount of traffic.

Cons: The biggest concern is that the access on Guanella Pass Scenic Byway south from Georgetown is undergoing major emergency roadwork until August of 2010 and requires road shutdowns for several hours at a time during the weekdays. The Georgetown Visitor's Center does a great job of updating the road-closure status each day. However, access from Grant, CO is unaffected. The scenic byway has many different surfaces from paved to gravel to washboard with deep potholes. Use caution. The only other con would be in regard to available firewood. The Reserve America Web site states that firewood is available at the campground. We were never informed of that and never saw any postings about that. Resever America also states that fishing is located within the campground, but we found that Clear Creek is too narrow and rocky to fish from this location. Nearby Silver Dollar Lake would be a better option as well as other lakes along the scenic byway on the way from Georgetown.
Nearby attractions: Georgetown is a long 9 miles to the north and only accesible at certain times due to road construction just outside of the city limits. Many hiking trails nearby with access to Mt. Bierstadt and Mt. Evans.
Further comments: If you're looking for the "out of the way" campground with no frills, this is definitely the one you want. We will definitely be camping here in the future and will plan more time to hike the surrounding trails. This campground is a wonderful resource that is hidden from the public, but shines like no other.
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