Pikes Peak is an impressive backdrop to the city of Colorado Springs. It rises 14,115 feet to the west, and beckons hikers, mountain bikers, runners and sightseers with its majestic rounded summit. Most people view the mountain from this direction, but if you drive up Ute Pass, you can see the peak from the other side. From the northwest, Pikes Peak looks craggier, more shadowy, and just as majestic. This is the side of Pikes Peak that holds the Crags, a much-loved hiking trail, a spur with the newer Devil’s Playground trail, and the Crags Campground.
What Makes It Great
Fourmile Creek bubbles gently through this campground that is deeply shaded by pine and aspen forests and dotted with cinquefoil shrubs and granite formations stacked like odd pancakes. Known for its primitive campsites tucked in stands of mixed pine, spruce and aspen, this site has 17 spots for tents, small RVs and small trailers. This is popular because of its scenic setting and its proximity to the Crags and Devil’s Playground trails (there’s also a portal for the Ring the Peak trail in this area). Both the Crags and Devil’s Playground trails start just beyond the last campsite.
Dispersed camping is allowed along the creek and in the forest, and inventive backpackers can find primitive backcountry sites a short distance from the main trail and campground. Campers here have easy access to a nearly 360-degree view of the Sangre de Cristo and Collegiate Peaks mountain ranges and the shimmering mountain reservoirs of the North Slope Recreation below.
Who is Going to Love It
This is a startlingly pristine area, given the amount of use it gets. It is a perfect portal to the deep Pike National Forest that stretches up the northwest flank of Pikes Peak. Because it is a primitive campground, with no modern conveniences (only pit toilets, fire rings and picnic tables), it isn’t overrun with giant RVs. This is the side of Pikes Peak that gets the most snow, so the season here is relatively short.
Directions, Parking, & Regulations
Deep in the Pike National Forest, the campground is managed by the Pikes Peak District of the U.S. Forest Service. From Colorado Springs, take U.S. Highway 24 west to Divide. Turn left on Colorado Highway 67. Drive 4.3 miles south and turn left on Forest Road 383. Drive 3.5 miles to the east to reach the campground, which is 1/8th mile beyond the large parking area for the Crags trail.
This is a very popular campground, and is also popular among the local bear population, so campers are asked to use bear-safe precautions. The campground offers easy access to the Crags and Devil’s Playground trails.
It’s open from Memorial Day through September. There are 17 campsites for tents, small RVs, or small trailers. There are no electrical hookups.