Are you heading to Colorado? You don’t want to pass up a chance for some Green Mountain Reservoir camping.
This area is truly a jewel. It’s amazing how beautiful it is, which makes it a place we love to explore.
A bit west of Denver in the north-central part of the state, the area lies within the 2.3 million-acre White River National Forest. This puts it right in the heart of the Rocky Mountains, with peaks soaring past 14,000 feet in elevation.
About Green Mountain Reservoir
Down below (at around 8,000 feet), the reservoir has 2,125 acres of surface area for fun on the water. Access to it is from State Highway 9, about 13 miles southeast of Kremmling.
Construction of the lake started in 1938 and was finished in 1943. A 309-feet-tall dam was built on the Blue River, which is a tributary of the Colorado River. It was part of what’s called the Colorado-Big Thompson Project to store water and create hydroelectric power.
This was a massive engineering undertaking that diverts the water to other parts of the state. It also provided incredible opportunities for outdoor adventures in this stunning part of the United States.
Best Time of Year to Visit Green Mountain Reservoir
Summertime is the best time for Green Mountain Reservoir camping. Unless you’re into ice fishing, pack your trip after the snowpack melts before the next cold season sets in.
The campgrounds are seasonal. Most open in May and close in September.
Things To Do While RV Camping at Green Mountain Reservoir
Boating is significant here. You’ll see practically every kind of watercraft floating by at some point. Personal watercraft like Jet Skis and Wave Runners are popular. So are skiffs and sailboats, ski boats, pontoons full of families, and even some luxury pleasure yachts. You may also spot lots of canoeists, kayakers, and windsurfers.
The Green Mountain Reservoir area is also a major destination for fishing. Anglers aim for sockeye salmon as well as several kinds of trout.
There are miles of trails along the lake and into the mountains. They are great for hiking and well as observing nature. You might see bighorn sheep along the rocky ridges or bald eagles nesting in the trees.
Note: There are some strict laws in place to help keep this area so pristine. For instance, all motorized watercraft have to launch from a monitored launch ramp. They also have to be inspected for species that are classified as aquatic nuisances.
Green Mountain Reservoir Camping
Along the reservoir are seven primitive campgrounds managed by the U.S. Forest Service. Each has vault toilets, fire grates, and tables but no water or hook-ups. Camping is on a first-come, first-served basis except at Cow Creek South, which has some reservation sites.
Unless otherwise noted, fees are $18/night, and there is a maximum stay of 14 days. There may also be additional vehicle fees.
Here is our list of the campgrounds along the Green Mountain Reservoir:
Elliot Creek Campground
Forest Rd 1809, Silverthorne, CO 80498
Located on the northwest shore of the lake, Elliot Creek campground has 24 sites, and 15 are for RVs. The dirt sites are wide open, and some are shaded. There are some isolated spots for tents near the lake. The nearest boat launch is across the reservoir in the town of Heeney. There is no water, and cell service is poor at best.
White River National Forest, Forest Rd 1804, Silverthorne, CO 80498
A bit farther to the east along the north shore is Willows Campground. There are 35 sites here that can accommodate RVs up to 25 feet. It’s right on the water and offers scenic views of the Williams Fork Mountains and the Gore Mountains. It’s a quick trip to either Heeney or Silverthorne.
Cow Creek North Campground
White River National Forest, CO-9, Heeney, CO 80498
Camping is no longer permitted on the beach itself here, but you can camp close to it at the Cow Creek North campground. There are 15 sites, and a few of them are nestled underneath a group of trees that provide shade. Unlike the larger Cow Creek campground immediately to the south, it does not accept reservations. Amenities are limited to vault toilets and metal fire rings, and there is no boat launch. Cell service can be decent, depending on your provider.
Cow Creek South Campground
Mile Marker 124 Hwy 9 North, Heeney, CO 80498
It is south of the other Cow Creek facility, but it’s actually on the lake’s northeast side. The campsite is not far from Silverthorne and has 44 dry camping sites in a scenic, shady setting. The nearest boat ramp, however, is on the other side of the lake. Unlike the other campgrounds, which are first-come, first-serve, you can make reservations through the Forest Service website.
McDonald Flats Campground
White River National Forest, Forest Rd 1699, Silverthorne, CO 80498
McDonald Flats has just 13 grass sites for RVs up to 30 feet. There also is a site for tents. It’s on the southwestern end of the lake and has a boat launch as well as bathrooms. However, it is near the highway, so you may hear traffic sounds during the day and night. It is located on County Road 30, and it’s just a short drive to Heeney.
Prairie Point Campground
Heeney Rd, Silverthorne, CO 80498
There are 30 sites here on the east end of the reservoir. RVs up to 25 feet long are welcome. Prairie Point is north of Silverthorne on what is known as the reservoir’s upper end. There are 33 sites, some with gravel pads, but it is dry camping only, like the other campgrounds in this amazingly scenic area. It’s a great place to camp and fish, especially when it’s not crowded.
If you love to embrace the beauty of the outdoors, Colorado has an abundance of unique destinations. Green Mountain reservoir camping is a refreshing way to enjoy the summer months. Don’t go there if you expect lots of comforts and amenities, but expect to find an incredible Rocky Mountain experience.