Best campgrounds to relieve stress, take a hike at before, after finals

April 18, 2017

Gabbie Matl

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     High stress might cause students to scramble to write their painfully long essays and study for soul-wrenching tests.

     But once the calamity of finals is over, students should reward themselves and take a break to enjoy our colorful state by camping.

     Whether you make a day trip or spend the night, these are some great areas that are within an hour’s drive from campus that will show you what Colorado has to offer.

Thunder Ridge Campground

Rampart Range Road, Woodland Park, Colo.

Opens April 27

     This beautiful spot located in a ponderosa pine forest overlooks the Rampart Reservoir. Several trails, at 14 miles long, circle the reservoir, making it a great location not only for canoeing/kayaking and fishing, but also hiking and mountain biking.

     The reservoir has rainbow and mackinaw trout, and other trails in the area if you want to use this as a base camp.

     The camp is a dog friendly facility that provides water, fire rings and vault toilets. Camping sites are available on a first-come-first-serve-basis.

Mueller State Park

21045 CO-67, Divide, Colo.

Open year-round

     Over 50 miles of trails are available for hikers and campers alike to give nature-goers the opportunity to experience the beautiful area.

     Hiking, camping, mountain biking, horseback riding and nature study are the park’s main attractions, as acres of aspen and conifer forest house a variety of wildlife.

     Mueller has many campsites that are open to motor homes, trailers and tents with electrical outlets, water and bathrooms.

     Camping reservations must be made at least three days in advance, and range in price from $16-$20.

Painted Rocks Campground

5438 Painted Rocks Road, Woodland Park, Colo.

Opens May 26

     Painted Rocks is a nice, shady campground that works well as a base camp if you are staying in the area.

     Outside of the sandstone outcroppings that give the site its name, this area doesn’t have many trails or attractions in itself.

     The campground is close to Manitou Lake and the Centennial Bike Trail, which provide opportunities for biking, canoeing, fishing and bird watching. The Rainbow Falls OHV Trail System and North Divide OHV Trail System are also nearby, which are good for off-road vehicle enthusiasts.

     The campgrounds have fire rings, water and vault toilets, but no electricity. Reservations must be made four days in advance, with a fee of $20 per night.

South Meadows Campground

The Pike and San Isabel National Forests, Woodland Park, Colo.

Opens April 20

     This campground provides a scenic spot for campers or day trippers to rest or hike Pikes Peak and Mount Deception, and visitors can enjoy the many other attractions in the area. These hikes provide a great opportunity for hiking, biking, fishing and off-roading.

     Like the other sites, South Meadows has water, fire rings and vault toilets, but no electricity. Campground fees range from $20-$34 per night. Most sites require reservations to be made at least four days in advance.