Pinewood Reservoir Camping Overview
Pinewood Reservoir Campground is a little camping area that is on the shores of Pinewood Reservoir. The main campground is called Windy Pines and you quickly find out why they call it that. Sitting on a small hill on the side of Pinewood Reservoir, this rough campground always has a breeze blowing through it. Luckily the knoll has a good smattering of pines so that helps to cut the wind down a bit. There are two other campgrounds here at Pinewood Reservoir but each only has a few campsites in it. Pinewood Reservoir attracts a lot of day use from people along the front range, especially the Loveland area since it is only about 30 minutes west of the city. Pinewood Reservoir is a small lake and is wake-less water only. If you have a larger boat then you may want to stop by Carter Lake instead of Pinewood Reservoir. The most common activities here are fishing or hiking. The Ramsy-Shockley Open Space is on the southern side of the lake and is a popular place to hike. There are several other places nearby which offer a wide variety of outdoor exploration and adventures depending on what you like to enjoy in the Colorado outdoors.
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Pinewood Reservoir Campsite Details
The campsites at Pinewood Reservoir are mediocre compared to many of the other campgrounds around the state. They are more primitive and are not groomed in the same way you will see campsites taken care of by State Parks. There are a couple different types of campgrounds here. At the end of Pinewood Reservoir near the outlet on the east side, there are a couple campsites that are near the lake. These are out in the open and do not have any trees for shade. However, they do provide a bit of privacy, since there is only a couple on that end of Pinewood. Most of the day use people are going to go to the main mid-lake parking lot or all the way to the west and spend their time at the dam. If you are looking to camp right up next to Pinewood Reservoir to have easy access to boating or fishing, you will probably want to look at the campsites that are situated mid lake. These are situated right along the shore of Pinewood on the northern side and are ideal for those that are planning on spending some time on or near the water. The last place to camp is the Windy Pines Campground on your way to the dam. There is a good size hill that sticks up next to the lake and there are a dozen or so camping sites here. Most of them are not level and are the roughest of campsites here at Pinewood. However, these are also the only sites that will have some trees to shade your camp from the sun and offer some protection from the wind. These are also nice as the only people on Windy Pines should be campers. Day use outdoor enthusiasts will be elsewhere on the lake. About half of the campsites on Windy Pines are walk-in sites so if you see people in the campsites near the road make sure to check the ones around the side of the hill as they may very well be open and available. There are a few sites scattered around that do have power outlets. These will be the ones near the amenities and as of this review did not cost any more to use. There are vaulted toilets in each of the campgrounds and even one across the dam should you be enjoying your time near the inlet. The tables are loose here so you may find them in strange places. If that is the case you can scoot them to where you want them but please make sure it remains in the designated campsite. The fire rings here are large and have dual opening grilling grates. This is great for cooking and it is very nice to pull them back at night when you are ready to just kick back and enjoy the campfire. Be sure to check the kiosk at the campground before you start any fires. Since the lake is at a lower elevation than other campgrounds, the area is warmer, hence drier, and is often under restricted or banned fires. Make sure to pack a camp stove just in case.
Pinewood Reservoir Campground Activities
The main attraction here at Pinewood Reservoir is the lake. It’s small, about 100 acres when full, though the water level can fluctuate greatly depending on the water needs downstream. The fishing is good here and it is stocked a couple of times a season. The fish you will find here are trout and tiger muskies. Each of these fish has vastly different fishing techniques so if you are interested in catching both, make sure you go prepared. This is a great lake to boat and kayak on if that is your preferred method of enjoying Pinewood Reservoir. Pinewood Reservoir is long and narrow which keeps the waves down. Being wake-less water also means that are not going to get run over by a speed boat. The direction of boating is counter-clockwise though with the boating restrictions most boaters just go where they would like to troll. The other big attraction to Pinewood Reservoir is the Ramsey-Shockey Open Space and trailhead at the dam. There are a handful of fun hiking trails that take you up and around Pinewood Reservoir as well as the open space through the valley. Make sure to take your camera as there is a lot of wildlife that can be seen on these trips. The best time to see wildlife is in the morning or near dusk. Just make sure that you give yourself plenty of time to be back before the sun sets. It will set a lot earlier than normal when you are down in the valley. The Pinewood Reservoir campground can also serve as a backup camping place should you arrive at Carter Lake or Flatirons Reservoir only to find that they are full. You are not too far away and if you are looking for a larger lake or a change of scenery they are close alternatives. If the weather gets bad or you need something, Loveland is very close so you are never too far from the necessities.
Pinewood Reservoir Campground Camping Summary
All in all Pinewood Reservoir leaves something to be desired as a camping location. The campsites are primitive and are not well maintained. Many of the campsites are not level, making tent camping difficult and frustrating. However, the proximity of Pinewood Reservoir being so close to Loveland certainly makes up for some of these shortfalls. It is a good alternative should you try to find a campground at Carter Lake or Flatirons and they are all full. About half of the campsites are decent and if you are lucky enough to get one of these, your camping experience here should be a good one. If you get stuck with one of the crude, uneven campsites however, it might just be an exercise in frustration. Remember, if you are sleeping on a hill make sure your head is uphill or you will wake up with a horrible headache. With Pinewood Reservoir under 7000 feet in elevation and just inside the foothills, the weather is often warmer than many other places. So if you like it warm or hot weather this would be a good choice for you. This is also a great place to take first time campers or those that want to have a spontaneous overnight-er. It’s close and very accessible, so if anything happens you can just pack up and head back home without too much wasted time. Pinewood Reservoir definitely has its ups and downs. Hopefully this Camp Out Colorado review has covered most of the major things about Pinewood Reservoir camping and you can make your choice as a camper if this is the place for you.Reserve a Campsite at Pinewood Reservoir Today!
If you have been camping at Pinewood Reservoir Campground please post your likes, dislikes, and suggestions. Your fellow campers would love to hear from you!
Just returned from Pinewood Reservoir Campground. What a GEM of a place. Reserved quilckly and easily on line with Larimer County …cheaper midweek versus weekend… if your an RV Motorhome or Trailer bring your own water… spring has not allowed water service to nearby wells stations yet… 50/30/20 amp service in some sites… not all level but you can accommodate your own needs.. we were in space 9… on a bluff overlooking the lake… what a great space… we spent time kayaking… hiking and mountain biking… restrooms are clean and well stocked… WHAT a gem…. cant wait to go back…
In September 2017 we were told by a ranger that Pinewood was not stocked due to planned work at Flatiron. That work was delayed so Pinewood would not be stocked in 2018 either. The fishing was terrible at that time. Has anyone heard any updates on that situation?
Just a heads up that Pinewood Campgrounds got a full remodel and upgrade in 2015! They are no longer rustic and “primitive”. Come on out and re-review sometime!
Will do. I think I was up there during the work the last time. I will head on up there and update our review.
Hey, some of us like rustic, non-electric, and sparsely populated! Especially when the view is good. Lack of level is not good though – seems like thats something that could easily be corrected by a few railroad ties and fill dirt.
They have done some recent work here to increase the quality of the camping area. But it is definitely still more rustic than other campgrounds. :)