West Lake Camping Overview
West Lake Campground is a smaller campground just off of County Road 74, right before you get to the city of Red Feather Lakes. West Lake is a fairly small recreational lake, about 25 acres in total. Small, powerless boats such as belly boats and kayaks are common here and the shores are often lined with anglers. The campsites are well spaced and taken care of. The campground itself is only open from late May to Late September, but you can access West Lake for day use during the off season by using the parking lot on the west side near the dam. The fishing here is often very good and with the recreational areas set up on the hill to the south of the lake, it offers excellent views of the valley. 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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West Lake Campsite Details
This is not a very big campground but it is well maintained. The main campground runs up and down the southern side of West Lake. Many of the campsites are right up next to the lake, which can be great for those outdoors people that love to fish. If you will not be fishing, you might look at some of the campsites on the hill to the south west of the campground. Here you can get a little bit more cover from the wind with the trees and fewer bugs further away from the water.
Most of the campsites here at West Lake will accommodate all but the biggest of trailers and RV’s. If your vehicle is under 40 feet in length, you should be fine. Almost all of the campsites here are nice and flat, making it very easy to level out your RV or camper.
Due to the size of the campground, some of the sites are smaller than you may find elsewhere. There are also a few sites that are crammed together a little close. However, the bark beetle problem seems to be well managed here and there are still plenty of trees to help separate each campsite.
Every campsite has at least one tent pad, though some of them are irregular in shape and will not accommodate tents larger than 12’ a side. So make sure that you cinch up your tent if it happens to extend past the tent pad.
There are also nice wood slatted tables here that are secure and well used. Make sure to remember to bring table cloths to cover them up to keep from getting splinters or avoid the residue from the last camper.
Each site also contains a large fire ring. These are the tall, immovable fire rings that contain the fire nicely. The tall fire rings tend to shoot any light or heat you get from the fire up and away from people around the campfire. The rack on the fire ring cannot be removed or flipped to the side, which is very annoying. However, it does have multiple settings so you can raise and lower it. As always, remember to buy your firewood in the area. This helps to keep the bark beetle infestations contained. Keep a look out in the area for where they may be clearing trees that have been killed by bark beetles. It is likely you can get all the wood you want for free from the forest service. Just make sure to leave the wood for the next camper and not take it home.
There are vaulted outhouses on both ends of the campground which are taken care of quite well. You’ll also find dumpsters and fresh water to use when the campground is open.
There are a couple of walk-in sites at the far eastern edge of the campground that cannot be reserved. So if you happen to have a spontaneous trip and end up at West Lake without reservations, you still may be able to find one of these walk in campsites available.
West Lake Campground Activities
There are a great many things to do at West Lake and the surrounding area.
Besides just enjoying the beautiful scenery in this glacial formed valley with its tall rock formations, there is usually good fishing to be had down on the shores of West Lake. When the lake is full, the shores on the campground side can be steep, so the prime fishing holes get filled up quickly. However, a short walk will take you to the dam and day use area where there are lots of good places to fish. If you want a little more room to yourself, you can walk to the other side of this small lake and find more flat areas along the north shore.
There is no swimming in West Lake, but you can use small, motorless watercraft. In the mornings and the evenings it can get pretty crowded with belly boats and small rafts, so make sure that you are considerate and give everyone the room they need.
If you want to go for a walk or a hike, there is a trail at the east end of West Lake that leads over the hill to Dowdy lake, a much bigger lake with many campgrounds around it. There are a few popular hiking trails further down the valley a few miles that you can explore. Or you can head further up the valley towards Dead Man’s Pass where there are many other great places to see.
Just down the road east of West Lake is Parven Lake, a Colorado State Division of Wildlife research lake. No camping is allowed here but you can fish for trout, kokanee, and tiger musky here with fly and lure only. You must sign in and follow the strict fishing guidelines at Parven Lake, but it is well worth the trip. It is a great little lake with loads of large and beautiful fish. Even if you don’t fish, this can make a great afternoon hike around the lake. You are sure to see lots of wildlife in this area.
West Lake is just a few miles away from Red Feathers and Beaver Meadows so there is a plethora of other non-camping related activities such as golf, bowling and much more. This is a good thing to keep in mind if the weather gets bad and you want something else to do.
West Lake Campground Camping Summary
West Lake Campground is a popular and busy campground all season long. It is a small campground and not many sites will be available if you show up on a Friday afternoon during the normal camping season. So if you want to give this little gem a try, make sure to reserve your campsite ahead of time. There are a few other campgrounds around such as Dowdy Lake Campground and Bellaire Campground. They too are very popular and are usually pretty full during the normal camping season.
With a variety of things to do both at West Lake and nearby, this is a very popular and enjoyable campground. It is only a little over an hour outside of Fort Collins which makes its relative distance also very attractive to overnight camping and those that are just learning to camp.
West Lake is a nice place to go camping for all kinds of campers and makes for a great place for new campers to start learning about what it means to really camp out in Colorado. Just make sure you have a reservation or a backup campground to try, since it is almost always full on the weekends during camping season.Reserve a Campsite at West Lake Today!
If you have been camping at West Lake Campground please post your likes, dislikes, and suggestions. Your fellow campers would love to hear from you!
Had a Bear in our camp every night we camped there. Would wake us up couple of times every night. We were camping in a tent things got a little tense.
Yikes! Doesn’t sound like very good relaxing camping sleep.
Make sure to have anything smelly put away in the car. Coolers and boxes of food should also be locked up. Even things like toothpaste and deodorant should be in the car.
Also, if a bear is in camp I do not think it is bad form to check your neighbors to make sure they have good bear habits as well.
Just got back from a 5 day camping trip up at West Lake. We arrived mid week and hoped for a walk up site (there are 7 walk up first come first served sites). There were a few sites to choose from when we got there.
Quiet place during the week and very well maintained. Electric sites and some tent sites. Water spickets available around.
Nice lake and a nice trail all around the lake. Also trail that leads to Dowdy Lake.
Great access point, close to Bellaire Lake, Beaver Meadows, Dowdy, National Forest Access roads (Lost Lake, Creedance Lakes, Molly’s Lake, and Red Feathers.) Small convenience store in walking distance as well as a good cafe.
It certainly is a nice little lake with good access to lot of things nearby. Thanks for your thoughts on West Lake!