Chapman Dam Campground Camping Review

Rating: 5.8/10. From 36 votes.
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Camping Review of Chapman Dam CampgroundChapman Dam Campground Overview

Chapman Dam Campground is a large campground about 30 miles outside of Basalt.  There are a wide variety of campsites here at Chapman Dam Campground for everyone to enjoy. There is walk-in camping near the dam, tent and trailer camping near the lake, and campsites large enough for RVs in the meadow below the lake. The Frying Pan River goes right through the campground. This offers some good fly fishing if you don’t mind the willows.

This campground is higher in elevation and has not succumbed to the bark beetle infestation that is plaguing many of the great camping areas around Colorado. The campground is well wooded with pine and aspen. The area is covered with wildflowers. For wildlife viewing and convenience this is a great campground to enjoy.

Chapman Dam Campground Information

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Driving Directions:
Take I-70 west of Denver to Glenwood Springs, Colorado. Take exit 116(Highway 82) south to Basalt. At Basalt, take Frying Pan Road. Go 29miles to Chapman Campground.
8,600 Feet
84 Total Campsites: Group Standard Nonelectric (1), Rv Nonelectric (2), Standard Nonelectric (75), Tent Only Nonelectric (6)
Peak season is late May through early September.
Activities and Amenities:
Biking, Birding, Campfire Rings, Drinking Water, Firewood, Fishing, Group Camping, Hiking, Horseshoe Pit, Host, Interpretive Trails, Parking Area, Picnic Area, RV sites, Recycling, River Access, Trails, Trash Collection, Vault Toilets, Volleyball Courts, Wildlife Viewing, Dump Station
More Camping:
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Chapman Dam Campground Campsites

Most of the campsites here at Chapman Dam Campground are spaced out well. Some are a little close but these are mostly the RV campsites where you will have the extra privacy of the real walls of an RV or camper.

The elevation at Chapman Dam Campground is just less than 9000 feet. This is definitely something campers should keep in mind when camping here. It can be cold at night, even in the summer. With the high walls of the Frying Pan River valley, weather can sneak up on you quick when camping. So make sure to always keep warmer clothes and at least a poncho handy.

Most of the campground is between Chapman Reservoir and the Frying Pan River. This is the perfect habitat for bugs. It can be really buggy here during the summer months. Make sure to bring lots of bug spray and to keep your tents closed.

Campsite Amenities at Chapman Dam Campground

Campsite Amenities at Chapman Dam CampgroundThe picnic tables are mostly the wood and concrete kind. They are stable and cannot be moved. However, they may get dirty or have splinters so it is a good idea to have tablecloths and bench covers if possible. A few of the newer campsites have the plastic tables which are a bit nicer and easier to clean up. But don’t count on having one of these.

The fire pits here are a mix of different types. Most are the open campfire pits with the grate that swings open. However, there are a few that are different. The walk-in campsite campfire rings are really low to the ground which is great for heat and light. Just be absolutely sure that your fires are dead out. Embers can easily escape on a breeze.

Many of the campsites here at Chapman Dam Campground also have bear boxes. This is a great addition they are adding and should really help the bear issues in the area. Make sure that you never leave any food or coolers out. Clean up all your food spills. Bears can smell food from miles away. They are also attracted to coolers and will investigate them if they can see them. If you don’t have a place to store your edibles inside a car or RV, make sure to hang them at least 12 feet in the air.

  • Always put food away into a car.
  • Never leave coolers where they can be seen at a distance.
  • Clean up all trash food, scraps, shells, or anything else on the ground.

Remember to use local wood to help stop the spread of bark beetles. Never burn green wood or chop down living trees! Wood bundles can be picked up at Basalt just down the valley if deadfall cannot be scavenged.

Amenities at Chapman Dam Campground

Amenities at Chapman Dam CampgroundThere is water and trash service available here during normal season dates.

There is no electricity at any of the Chapman Dam Campground sites. Cell service cannot be expected here either. You may be able to get a bad signal but it is not something to count on when camping here.

This is an excellent place to watch wildlife. There is huge diversity here.  Careful and patient campers can expect to be rewarded. Make sure to have your cameras ready at all times so you can catch those moments when you spot wildlife. The meadow also makes a fine place to watch for birds. The lush wildflowers draw all kinds of birds from all over the region. Binoculars or a spotting scope are a great thing to have when camping at Chapman Dam Campground.

Due to the thick forest all around Chapman Dam Campground and its relatively remote location “at the end of the valley” expect to see wildlife in camp. Quiet campgrounds will definitely see deer, elk, and even moose wander through. Give wildlife their space and enjoy what they have to offer.

Chapman Dam Reservoir offers some nice quiet lake fishing. There is even a small fishing dock. It probably doesn’t fully qualify as ADA friendly but would be a great place to visit nonetheless. Small boats are allowed on Chapman Dam Reservoir as long as they do not have a motor. Canoes, kayaks, paddleboards, and belly boats are good here. Just please keep in mind others on the water and shore. The lake is small, so consideration needs to be made by everyone sharing the water.

The Frying Pan River runs through Chapman Dam Campground and offers some decent river fishing. The willows are very thick in places so parts of the river can be difficult to fish. It is a small river and not large enough for kayaking or rafting. It’s best to head down the canyon to Ruedi Reservoir if Chapman Dam Reservoir is full.

Activities Around Chapman Dam Campground

Ruedi Reservoir is a few miles north on the main canyon. It is a great place for large boats to fish, sail, kayak and more. There are several great areas for picnics and fishing.

There are a lot of jeep and 4×4 trails in the area to explore if that is your passion. Be sure to check out the local conditions, weather, and reports. A decent road can turn into a treacherous one easily.

The city of Basalt is just about 60 minutes away from The Chapman Dam Campground.  It is a bit far but on a stormy day it is a good place to find reprieve from the weather.

Final Thoughts on Chapman Dam Campground

Final Camping Review Thoughts on Chapman Dam CampgroundChapman Dam Campground near Basalt is a great place to go camping. The scenery here is good with the thick forests and lush vegetation. If you are lucky you might get lots of wildlife visiting in both the nearby meadows that are adjacent to the campgrounds as well in the campground itself.

The altitude can make it a chilly place to go camping. Be prepared for the weather changing very quickly here. The narrow canyon that the campground sits in makes it difficult to see any weather coming. Storms often blow up the valley quite quickly.

Remember to be animal aware and prepared for the weather and you should have a great time camping at Chapman Dam Campground.

Reserve a Campsite at Chapman Campground And Group Today!

If you have stayed at the Chapman Dam Campground, please leave a comment below. Remember to mention the exact campsite. This will really help other campers that are thinking about going to Chapman Dam Campground.

Rating: 5.8/10. From 36 votes.
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