Camping in Buffalo Creek, CO
This is a nice area about an hour and a half outside of Denver. It is located in the Pike National Forest just outside of Buffalo Creek and Pine. Spots are designated by signs and situated sporadically up and down the road. There is no available water so make sure to bring plenty to drink and plenty to drown your fires.
I'd also like to say Happy Birthday to all those who served in the United States Marine Corps! Just by happenstance this article is being published on the Marine Corps Birthday. Semper Fi and thank you for your service!
Nation Forest Road 550 outside of Buffalo Creek, CO
Take the 285 South to Pine Junction, then turn left onto CR-126/Deckers Rd. Continue through the small towns of Buffalo Creek and Pine. Look for signs for Wellington Lake and NF 550 on the right. NF 550 is also the road to Wellington Lake, owned by Denver Water.
GPS File: BuffaloCreek.gpx
I have been coming here for years to get away from the rat race. There are a lot of nice spots marked by signs and, since it's the National Forest, it's free to camp. There are sites located sporadically along the road until you hit the Wellington Lake area. If you want to camp at Wellington Lake, Denver Water has their own fees and stipulations.
We got there on Friday night during some light rain. The Jeeps provided ample light to setup, which we did as quickly as we could. It was nice to have the Kelty Noah's 12x12 tarp, because I was able to throw that up really fast just to create a dry staging area for everybody. I like that tarp more and more everytime I use it.
The water drops were frozen to the topside of the tarp when I woke up that morning and the vehicle's thermometer read 32 degrees just as the sun was coming up. After some coffee we went out in search of firewood for that evening. There's not as much wood lying around as there used to be, but you can still find some here and there. Once you find it, that's when the work begins. Cutting, hauling, cutting, hauling, splitting. Just to be safe bringing a couple bundles wouldn't be a bad idea, if you're the campfire type that is. Eventually we were satisfied that we had enough for the night we moved on to other things.
I set up the camera to do a review on a DIY underquilt project I was testing while everyone else was off at the firepit. Later than night we got out the dutch oven and made some chilli with cornbread and lemon cake with cream cheese frosting for dessert. It was pretty spectacular as far as my taste buds were concerned.
It didn't rain the second night, which made it feel even nicer than the night before. The underquilt realy kept me comfortable during in the 32 degree range. We took our time putting away all our gear and relaxed for a while before making the drive back to the RV park.
Some of the sites are just about big enough for a couple tents and others are large enough for families or multiple families even. The area is first come first serve so make sure you get there early to increase your chances of getting the spot you want. The Colorado Trail also passes right through NF550 and is marked if you want to go exploring.
It would be nice if there was a stream for water, but then again that might make it crowded out there. It has always been my default choice when looking for something quick and easy where I don't have to do too much planning or research. It's less than 9,000 feet as well so it doesn't get as bitterly cold during winter as it can up in the high country and the trees do a good job of keeping the wind to a minimum. This isn't a spot to test your meddle going up a 14er, but it's a great place to get the family out for some fun without too much work!
Check it out next weekend, maybe we'll see you there! Don't forget to watch the short video below.
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