We hit the free camping jackpot with this one! While Hot Sulphur Springs, Colorado isn’t entirely close to anywhere it proves to be a nomadic destination in and of itself mostly due to the Pioneer Park Campground. This campground could also be used as a base camp for exploring the western side of Rocky Mountain National Park, but located 27 miles from the western gate it is a bit out of the way.
The Pioneer Park Campground is a free, numbered camping area. It has 14 sites located in two clusters. The first cluster sits on the edge of town and also along the river. They are located in a flat field area on the northern side of the Colorado River. A short drive north along the river and further into the park is the second cluster of sites. This grouping is much nicer in my opinion. They are surrounded by tall trees. Across the access road is the Colorado River. It feels more secluded than the first grouping of sites located closer to the small town.
Length of Stay
You can boondock in this amazing location for a maximum of 14 days.
There are portable toilets found near the campground. There is also a running water public toilet located across the river which can be accessed on a walking path bridge. The bridge is located between the two camping areas. The bathroom is behind the playground and adjacent to the horseshoe area.
There is a water spigot on the backside of the flush toilet building. It is low to the ground and easy to miss. I found it on our last day. By that time our holding tank was empty.
While the camping area doesn’t have showers they can be obtained at the Hot Sulphur Springs Resort across the railroad tracks. Located very close to the first set of camping spots. The showers are included with the $20 access fee. There is always the option of bathing in the river as well… this is what I did. $20 is a bit steep for a shower.
There are no tie-ins available.
Recreation at Pioneer Park
The obvious recreational activity here is soaking in a hot sulfur pool at the hot springs at the Hot Sulphur Springs Resort. We did not partake because the weather was already hot and a hot pool didn’t appeal to us then. However, we did take a look and the establishment looks very nice. There is a $20/person entrance fee. There are many pools to choose from with varying temperatures available and each temperature is listed.
Fishing in the Colorado River is another obvious recreational choice.
The Pioneer Park also has a free 18 hole disc golf course.
There is also a nice city park on the other side of the river. This can be found by walking across the pedestrian bridge located within the park. The city park has the above mentioned public toilets, but it also has an elaborate playground and an ENERGI workout area. This is a unique find for sure. The workout spot has several different stations for a full body workout. Each station is supplied with images and instructions on how to use the gear for different levels of workouts. The area also has a pavilion, community garden, and a horseshoe competition area. Finally, it has what I think is a unique looking skateboard or perhaps rollerblade track. I’ve never seen anything quite like it.
Not much here. There is a small gas station that has some food choices, but if you need to resupply then the City Market in Granby, Colorado is your destination. It is about a 12-mile trip east.
The small town of Hot Sulphur Springs has a total of four restaurants. We tried two of them and while both were good they varied widely in their appeal.
Dean Public House – Unique Tapas cuisine. We had the corn fritters, buffalo burgers, and the bacon pizza. All of which was very good albeit a little pricey. If you are a foodie this is your spot, but if you like cheaper comfort food try the Dari-Delite.
Dari-Delite – Burgers, hot dogs, fries, onion rings, and shakes. Nothing fancy about this unique looking road-side eatery but it is good. We also found almost exclusively that the clientele was locals. Can’t go wrong eating where the locals do.
Internet at Pioneer Park
No wifi at Pioneer Park, but the Verizon LTE is screaming fast. I clocked it at 17 Mbps download and 12.5 Mbps upload. The entire campground is between 3 and 4 bars so no need to even turn on our WeBoost amplifier.
Negative Aspects of Pioneer Park Campground
The only negative aspect to this free camping spot from our point of view is the fact that it sits adjacent to railroad tracks. During our stay, it seemed like the trains only came through about six or so times a day starting around 8 AM and the last one passing through about 9:30 PM. This wasn’t a huge deal since it wasn’t during sleeping hours. We have camped near railroad tracks in the past and barely gotten any sleep so the fact that this one seemingly shuts down after 9:30 PM was really nice. It also might be a fun adventure to take the train up the canyon as at least one of the trains each day was a passenger train.
Here again, you will have to make a trip to Granby, Colorado as the nearest laundromat is Granby’s Eastside Laundromat. It appears to be the only “nearby” public laundromat.
Conclusion for Staying at Pioneer Park
If you are looking for an amazing free camping spot that feels secluded with lots of recreational opportunities, some surprisingly good unique eateries, and also has amazingly fast LTE speeds than you will feel like you hit the jackpot with the Pioneer Park Campground in Hot Sulphur Springs, Colorado.