Make no bones about it, the campground at San Luis Lakes State Wildlife Area is proof that you can have a proper Colorado wilderness getaway without sacrificing all of your creature comforts! San Luis Lakes has showers, electricity hookups, and a dump station available on-site. Best of all, since the preserve’s change in designation from a state park to a wildlife area, camping is free with a valid fishing or hunting license, both of which are available online, or with a $36 annual access permit.
The location is certainly striking! Desert landscapes may not be the first things that come to mind when you think of Colorado, but the preserve sits in the shadow of the Great Sand Dunes National Monument. The campground is just a bone’s throw away from the lakes, and you can expect fantastic views of the Sangre de Cristo mountains in the distance. Careful though -- the sites aren’t shaded, so be sure to take precautions during the summer months. Unfortunately, the sites aren’t reservable, so it’s best to get there early if you’re camping on a weekend.
You and your pooch are sure to find something to do during your stay! Avid anglers will be glad to know that the lakes are well stocked with trout and carp, and you can cook your catch on one of the grills provided with each site. If you’re barking mad about birdwatching, you’re in luck! The wildlife area is home to all sorts of feathered flying critters, including brewer’s sparrow, sage thrush, and all sorts of ducks and gulls attracted by the wetlands. Keep in mind that some parts of the lakeshore are closed during the summer to protect nesting habitats! Hound dog hikers will find nine miles of trails to sniff and explore, and if you’d like to venture a little fur-ther afield, the Great Sand Dunes National Park boasts some more challenging Fido-friendly routes.
Wifi isn’t available at the campground, though most cellular networks should receive at least some coverage. Fires are permitted, but there’s no drinking water -- you’ll need to bring your own bottle. Remember to bring waste bags for your four-pawed pal, and have a pawesome time!