Kenosha Pass Campground Camping Review

Rating: 5.2/10. From 78 votes.
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Kenosha Pass Campground Camping Overview

Kenosha Pass Campground Camping ReviewKenosha Pass Campground sits on top of Kenosha just before you enter South Park on highway 285. This is a nice mid-sized campground in Pike National Forest, set along the heavily wooded pass. The campground is rougher than many in the area. Luckily it sits just off the highway so you don’t have to drive far on the rough dirt road. The campsites are more natural than in other campgrounds. The sites have crude drives marked out for each one, but they are not graded or flattened. Each site has a wood table and a fire ring but there are no tent pads here. Take a good look at your site here before you choose, based on your camping needs to be sure you get a campsite that works for you. This campground is heavily wooded, giving you lots of protection from the sun and wind. Due to the high altitude of Kenosa Pass Campground, it can get cold here and the normal camping season is shorter than other places in Colorado.

Kenosha Pass Campground Information

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Driving Directions:
From Denver, travel south on Highway 285 through Pine Junction and Bailey. Continue 17.5 miles past Bailey on Highway 285 to Kenosha Pass Campground at the summit of Kenosha Pass. The campground is on the right side of the highway.
10,000 Feet
Total (18): Standard Nonelectric (18)
Peak season is late May through early September. Campground closed October through April.
Activities and Amenities:
Accessible Site , Accessible Sites, Birding, Campfire Rings, Drinking Water, Hiking, Host, Mountain Biking, Picnic Area, Self Pay Station, Trailheads, Trash Collection, Vault Toilets, Wildflower viewing, Wildlife Viewing, General Store, Horseback Riding Trails, Fishing, Historic Sites
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Campsite Details

The campsites here are rough, but if you are looking for a more natural and true camping experience, this would be a good place to stay. Too many of the popular camping locations have become groomed and manicured, taking away much of what is natural in the area and replacing it with their idea of “prime” camping conditions. You don’t find perfectly level places to pitch a tent or park your car out in the wilderness and you will not find many here either. Some of the campsites have flat driveways but uneven tent areas. Others have rough drives but nice places to pitch a tent.

The campsites feature large wooden and concrete tables. Most should be placed where they belong but you may find that someone has moved yours. Be aware of this and make sure your table, fire, and other gear are in locations that will cause the least amount of impact here.

Kenosha Pass Campground Camping Review - Campfire RingThe fire rings at Kenosha Pass Campground are both tall and wide with a large hinged grill that can be swung over the top for cooking. These are great to contain the fire but it can make it difficult to get some decent heat from the fire with the tall sides. This can be a problem on the cold nights high up on Kenosha Pass. If you build up your fire to get some heat from it make sure that you are very careful to contain it properly. Beetle kill is creeping into this area, and an errant spark or a fire that is not put out completely could easily start a wildfire here.

Each campsite has at least one decent place to pitch a tent, though many are not terribly flat. Make sure to clear the area well and face your tent in the right direction for the angle of the slope. See our guide on How to Pitch a Tent.

Most campsites have many trees and boulders mixed in which makes for a great natural campground. However, this means the grounds are not very handicapped accessible. There are a few campsites that are almost walk-in campsites due to the washed out turn offs and rough terrain. Because of this terrain there are usually at least a few campsites that are available. These available sites are almost always good for tent camping only. The parking areas are often steep and not built to accommodate trailers or RV’s.

For the most part the spacing of the campsites here is great. They are a little close together in some areas but with the thick pine forest in and around the campsites, you still feel like you have enough room to enjoy Colorado’s great outdoors.

Campground Activities

Kenosha Pass Campground Camping Review - Nearby PondThe Colorado Trail runs adjacent to the campground, offering campers an historic trail to go hiking and explore the wilderness around Kenosha Pass Campground.

There is a small pond and some wetlands across Highway 285 from the campground to the north east. This is a great place to bird watch and to go for nature photography. This small body of water attracts many animals from all around and is a great place to spot deer. Try watching the area around dusk and dawn for your best chance to spot some wildlife.

Kenosha Pass is at the mouth of the northern entrance to South Park which has a great many things to do depending on your interests.

Kenosha Pass Camping Summary

Kenosha Pass Campground Camping Review - Wooded CampgroundThe biggest thing to remember when heading to Kenosha Pass Campground is the altitude. This is a high mountain campground that is at about 10,000 feet. Even if you are a Colorado native, be prepared to deal with this high elevation, and bring plenty of water. It can get cold here, even in the middle of the summer, and you should be prepared for adverse conditions year round.

The campground itself is beautiful, heavily wooded in ponderosa pine and aspen. The campsites are a bit primitive but should be enough for most campers. It is a beautiful area and you are sure to have a different gorgeous view each day.

With access to South Park and the campground being off the highway this is a great place to set as your home base if you are hunting or just exploring the area. With the Colorado Trail next to the campsite you could easily spend a few days just exploring the area.

Due to the rougher nature and the altitude of the campground there are usually a few spots available, even on busy summer weekends. Keep Kenosha Pass Campground in mind if you are camping in South Park without reservations as you can use it as a backup location. However, I would suggest you book a few nights in early fall when the leaves start to turn and try to enjoy Kenosha Pass Campground when the aspen leaves turn before winter sets into the area. It will be well worth it.

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If you have been camping at Kenosha Pass Campground please post your likes, dislikes, and suggestions. Your fellow campers would love to hear from you!

Rating: 5.2/10. From 78 votes.
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