If you and your pooch are looking for a pretty place to pitch your tent in Colorado’s San Isabel National Forest, you’d be barking mad not to check out Monarch Park Campground. You won’t exactly be living like a king at Monarch Park -- there aren’t any showers, electricity or RV hookups in sight.
But if you’re willing to "ruff" it a bit, you can reap the benefit of Monarch Park’s fabulous location. The sites sit surrounded by trees at the base of Monarch Ridge, a towering mountain pass, and some sites are perched on the banks of the South Fork Arkansas River, while others enjoy views of a gently burbling creek. You’ll also have access to tons of amazing outdoor recreation options not far from camp. Monarch Park’s high elevation means that you and your pupper will have no trouble staying cool even in the height of summer, but it does get pretty chilly at night, so wrap up warm! Wildlife spotting opportunities abound, and deer have been known to casually wander through camp. The US Forest Service has designated Monarch Park as a light-usage campground, and some sites are available for walk-ins, but it’s still best to make your reservation early. Prices start at $20 per night.
You won’t be long searching for adventure around Monarch Park! Looking for a short but scenic hike? Look no fur-ther than the Waterdogs Lake Trail, a three-mile out-and-back stretch with moderate inclines stunning views of the lake. The trail is pretty rocky, though, so watch your step! At fifteen miles, the Monarch Crest Trail is a longer route with sweeping vistas, but it’s popular with mountain bikers, so keep an eye out for speeding cyclists. In the late spring and early summer, the wildflowers lining the trails burst into a riot of color. Keen anglers might try to cast their line in the river, which is home to a significant population of brook trout.
Wifi isn’t available at Monarch Park, and cellular coverage ranges from spotty to non-existent. You might want to consider your camping choice carefully if you need to stay in constant contact. Otherwise, set that out-of-office email and relax! Drinking water is also available on-site. Remember to bring waste bags for your doggo, and have a furrific time!