Tarryall Reservoir State Wildlife Campground 42

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Important Note: Tarryall Reservoir has recently undergone a lot of new changes. The following review was created prior to the changes. Please check out the comments below for the most up to date information. Once I am able to revisit Tarryall Reservoir I will update this review as I do with other ones on this website. Thank you for your patience and your updated comments!

Campground Overview

Tarryall Reservoir State Wildlife Campground Camping Review

Tarryall Reservoir is a medium-sized lake in the northern part of South Park in Colorado. Tarryall Reservoir State Wildlife Area is a wildlife refuge for many different animals and migratory birds. Tarryall Reservoir State Wildlife Area is a great place to camp if you can get a campsite. During the peak summer season it can be difficult to get a campsite here due to the fact that there are no fees. Also all campsites are available on a first come first served basis with no reservations possible. The campsites around Tarryall Reservoir can accommodate mid-sized trailers and RV’s. There are lakeside campsites as well as some campsites that are up and away from the lake on the south west side. Tarryall Reservoir is a popular place for fishing, photography and hiking. There are a few other campgrounds in the area if you discover that Tarryall Reservoir’s campsites are full. Twin Eagles Campground can be found further south on Tarryall Road.

Region: Northeast Colorado
Location: Google Map
Forestry: State Wildlife Area
Elevation: 9,000 Feet
Camp Sites: 17 Camping Sites
Cost: There is no fee to camp here.
Season: Peak Season is Mid May through September
Activities: Biking, Bird Watching, Camping, Fishing, Hiking, Hunting, Photography, Picnicking, Snow Shoeing
Amenities: No Trash Service, Vault Toilets, Well Water


Tarryall Reservoir State Wildlife Campground Wildlife AreaThere are three different campground loops here at Tarryall Reservoir Wildlife Area. If the two on the east side nearest Tarryall Road are full, try crossing the dam and checking the third campground on the south west side.

The campsites themselves are of average size and are all easily accessible with few trees. Each one has a rubber-coated grate-top table in the center. You might want to bring a tablecloth for the table, since the surfaces are uneven and difficult to wipe off. If you put a piece of cardboard or something similar on the table’s surface before you put the tablecloth on, your cups and food will rest on a more even surface.

IMPORTANT: Fire rings have been removed and fires are no longer allowed at Tarryall Reservoir Campground.

Tarryall Reservoir State Wildlife Campground Wildlife Area Campsite ReviewThere are no dedicated tent pads in the campgrounds at Tarryall Reservior Wildlife Area. Most campsites have plenty of flat areas to pitch a tent. Most of the campsites here also have pretty flat driveways so you should not have to worry too much about leveling a camper or a RV. If you are pitching a tent or two be aware of what you may be smashing when you do. Try to limit your impact on the campsites. If you plan on staying more than a few nights, it’s a good idea to move your tent every couple of days so you do not destroy the vegetation below.

The individual campsites at Tarryall Reservoir Wildlife Area are pretty close together. This can make the campgrounds feel cozy and even a little claustrophobic if you are looking to get away from people. However, most people who camp here will not spend the day in their campsite. Most will have boats for fishing here or at the very least, stake out their own piece of beach on Tarryall Reservoir. So even though the campsites are very close together, there aren’t a lot of people in them during the day. Just remember this at night when everyone is enjoying themselves or trying to get to sleep.

Activities in the Campground

Most campers come to Tarryall Reservoir State Wildlife Area for the fishing. Trout, brown and pike can be found in this lake. Tarryall Reservoir is big enough to accommodate everyone even if all of the campers here have boats on the lake. Observe any special regulations that are posted and make sure that you give your fellow anglers lots of room to enjoy themselves.

Off-roading with ATV’s and motorcycles is becoming more popular in the area. There are a few trails near Tarryall Reservoir that are popular for ATV’s and the like. There are many trails a few miles south of the campground where it flattens out in the valley. There are even a few campgrounds sprinkled about these areas so you do not have to go far to enjoy off-roading.

Bird watching and photography are also a great pastime to enjoy. The time of year will determine the animals and birds you are likely to see.

There are many hiking trails with historic importance in and around arryall Reservoir State Wildlife Area.

Final Camping Thoughts

Tarryall Reservoir State Wildlife Campground Wildlife Area ReviewTarryall Reservoir State Wildlife Area is a great place to go camping. It has the right mix of being close to nature, but not quite roughing it.

Having no fees can definitely be appealing as well but this factor also makes it a more popular destination. Without the ability to get reservations, you never know if you can get a camping spot here or not until you arrive. So I would definitely have a backup plan in case there are no campsites available. If you really want to camp here, it may be best to schedule your camping trip to start in the middle of the week. Your chances of getting a spot here during peak season will be much better if you do.

The campsites are nice and most give easy access to everything you would want to enjoy. Many are near the lake and the fishing here is often good. If you find that fishing in Tarryall Reservoir is not too hot, you can always move to Tarryall Creek for some fly fishing.

With all the other things to do in the area this can be a great place go camping. If you find Tarryall Reservoir lacking there are many other things to do in the area. The only way to really go wrong at Tarryall Reservoir campground is if you show up to find the campground full!


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Tarryall Reservoir State Wildlife Campground, 6.6 out of 10 based on 76 ratings

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42 thoughts on “Tarryall Reservoir State Wildlife Campground

  • Jim Cook

    We have been going to tarrryall since 1972 with our Children Grandchildren and now our Greatgrandchildren! My wife and i went for the day last week and found out you can no longer camp on the south side of the lake?? why did they stop camping there that cut down on the sights you can camp that was one of the best.

    • Camper T Post author

      My guess is that there was too much damage being done from irresponsible campers. However, that is only a guess as we have no affiliation with any of the campgrounds we review.

      It is very cool to hear you are keeping up the tradition of camping!

    • Camper T Post author

      This is a nice area for sure. There many different lakes in the area as well as a couple great rivers to fish in. Just be sure that you are not on private property as it is mixed in this area.

  • Sheelah Gonzales

    Over the past weekend we were up in the Non-fee area. My father lost his wallet. It a Harley Davidson wallet. If any one finds can you please mail to address on ID. It would really be appreciated. We had a blast and it’s an awesome place to camp and ride 4 wheelers.

  • Julia Mihalak

    Yeah.. All campsites across the lake like stated in other comments (taking the dirt road from the damn) have been closed to day area use only… So there are only the 2 loops off of the paved road open to camping now… :-( The rangers said it was because too many people were coming up to party and leaving trash and beer bottles behind, thus them removing all fire rings too!! Too bad that some people ruin it for the rest of us!! And I really Wish they would have posted a sign stating JUST that so people would know why!! I am thinking we could start a petition though to make the CO Parks & Wildlife re-open them, re-install the fire rings, and maybe get license plate info on the people who do camp (yes, meaning the rangers will have to do just a little bit more work from just checking fishing licenses..) and hold the individuals responsible themselves??? It is a small reservoir and the closing of the other campgrounds really makes it hard for people to find a spot unless you get there on a Wed or Thurs… And for the no fires, I am wondering is that just for the reservoir campsites or is that for ALL of Tarryall?? Like the hundreds of spots across the BLM land too?? Thinking it might be better to just camp in the BLM land and drive to the lake for fishing anyway… More privacy too that way.. We were lucky to find a spot in the few that are there for this past Memorial Day, but the no fire thing really sucked for cooking purposes!! And for warming up because it was COLD!!!

    • Camper T Post author

      Thanks a ton for the info! It is really disappointing that they closed those down. It has always frustrated me that the good campers seem to be punished due to what the bad campers do. I would love to see tickets and fines given to those campers that leave trash, leave fires going, or otherwise abuse our beautiful state.

  • Alan Ronn

    My sons and I had a very disappointing trip to Tarryall this week. We drove there from Colorado Springs on Monday, planning to camp for two nights and fish in the reservoir. We arrived Monday just before dark, driving in snow, and found things were not as portrayed on this web site. 1) We wanted to camp on the west side of the reservoir, but there is now no camping there–only day use; 2) Forget the tall fire rings at all camp sites–they are all gone, and no fires are allowed anymore; 3) The boat launch/inspection site is CLOSED on Tuesday and Wednesday, so we would not have been able to fish at all. None of this information was included in the website description of Tarryall!

    • Camper T Post author

      Thanks for the info on your recent trip. I’m sorry you had a disappointing trip. These are brand new changes to Tarryall. I wanted to get some verification of the changes before I made the changes to this article since I have not been there myself this year.

  • Loranna B McLaughlin

    The state has now closed all overnight camping on the south side. All fire-pits have been removed and there is a ban on all fires. They no longer let you camp with more than one camping unit at any site. Several spots have been removed from the north side. There are no signs but state personal are saying they will follow the same regulations as 11 mile. I have been going to Tarryall for 60 years and told to leave this weekend by state personal. I parked both the small RV 21ft and pop up (one slide) in one spot so other would have a spot and they ask me leave or go part in the wilderness area. They have enough personal to harass folks but not enough to clean the bathroom.

    • Camper T Post author

      Wow that is kind of shocking. Did they post new notices or are they enforcing these new regulations without warning? Really important to know since this is such a popular place and many people have been camping there a certain way for years. Thank you for the information!

  • Kim

    We are looking for a campsite for this Labor Day weekend..Our plan is to go early Friday morning. Do you think we stand a chance getting a site? I hear there are 100’s of sites so feeling hopeful !

    • Camper T Post author

      There is a crude boat launch area there. As far as motor restrictions I am not exactly sure. It might be wake-less water only. I do not think there is a launch fee there.

    • Camper T Post author

      Fire restrictions are popping up all over the state. With the weather quickly heating up the fire danger is on the rise. If you want to check current fire restrictions anywhere in Colorado check http://www.campoutcolorado.com/colorado-fire-restrictions-and-bans/ click on the area you are interested in and it will tell you where to get information for that specific area. Fire restrictions can change frequently so you should bookmark that page and check it before any camping trip.

    • Camper T Post author

      No, there is a sign listing no water contact sports allowed. Generally they are not allowed anywhere that there is not anyone on rescue duty such as a lifeguard or ranger.

  • Jim

    If you are looking for quiet relaxing camping – this is definitely not the place. We camped up in one of the gulches west of the reservoir that overlook it. While more spacious than the campsite loops by the shore, this area attracts folks who want to race back & forth on ATVs during the day and party all night with their music blasting. However, if that is your scene, go for it, you’ll love it.

  • Lara Stern

    My son and husband were camping at the reservoir on June 7-10 and when they left apperently his bike got left by the water. Wondering if anyone found it? It is a silver mountain bike. Thanks

    • Camper T Post author

      I am not 100% sure but I know that there is a lot of hunting in the area. It might depend on the season. I would try contacting the State Wildlife Department to be sure.

    • Camper T Post author

      That should work there. I think I saw other 5th wheels of similar size. As long as you look to the campgrounds on the highway side of the lake you should be good camping with your 5th wheel there.