Labor Day marks ‘last hurrah’ for some camping families |

Labor Day marks ‘last hurrah’ for some camping families

— Camping areas will be busy this Labor Day weekend as families try to get in one more trip before the school year ramps up.

"This is the last hurrah for a lot of people," said Kent Foster, U.S. Forest Service recreation program manager with the Hahn's Peak Ranger District in Steamboat Springs.

Some area campgrounds are expected to be full this weekend, but there still are options for people who have not yet made a reservation.

In the Hahn's Peak Ranger District around Steamboat, Foster said people can expect the campgrounds that accept reservations to be full. Those campgrounds are the Hahn's Peak Lake, Seedhouse and Dumont Lake campgrounds. About a third of the sites at those campgrounds are saved for walk-ins, so Foster said people have a good chance finding a site if they get there early.

The advice is the same for the five campgrounds that do not take reservations. The Granite Campground is closed because of tree removal operations.

For more information, contact the Hahn's Peak Ranger District by calling 970-870-2299.

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Campgrounds that offer amenities like running water and bathrooms also are plentiful to the south in the Yampa Ranger District. All eight campgrounds are open, and they do not accept reservations. For more information, contact the Yampa Ranger District by calling 970-638-4516.

For those looking to rough it but enjoy the luxuries of car camping, dispersed sites away from campgrounds are located off many Forest Service roads. Many of those sites are free and have a fire pit, which can be used now that fire restrictions have been lifted in the area forest. Foster said people still should use caution with fires because conditions are dry.

Camping options are somewhat limited at area Colorado state parks.

The Yampa River State Park just west of Hayden is expected to fill up, but some spots remain. Reservations may be made three days in advance. For more information, call 970-276-2061.

Sites are booked for the weekend at Steamboat Lake and Stagecoach state parks, but people can call to see if there have been any cancellations. Steamboat Lake may be reached at 970-879-3922, and Stagecoach may be reached at 970-736-2436.

For families looking for a day trip, those parks also are offering family-friendly activities during the long weekend.

Stagecoach has a Stagecoach Furry Scurry at 11 a.m. Saturday. The dog-friendly event is put on to encourage responsible pet ownership and entails a one-mile hike. A $5 donation gets your pet a goodie bag with an event bandana, doggy trail mix, treats, coupons and swag. Pets must be leashed.

At 1 p.m. Saturday at Steamboat Lake, the park will offer free crawdad catching at the Bridge Island Footbridge.

To reach Matt Stensland, call 970-871-4247 or email

Fire safety tips

When traveling, find out if there are fire restrictions in effect where you plan to visit and prepare accordingly.

Smoke in cleared areas and dispose of cigarettes properly.

Consider bringing a camp stove for your camping trip or picnic.

Leave the fireworks at home. Possession or use of fireworks on public lands is prohibited.

Don’t park your vehicle in dry weeds or tall grass. The hot catalytic converter on your car can start a fire in a very short time.

Make sure your all-terrain vehicle (dirt bike, 4-wheeler, 3-wheeler) has an approved spark arrester and current state registration.

Bring a water container and shovel so you can make sure your campfire is extinguished completely before you leave. Smother your campfire with water and dirt, and stir embers until they are cool to the touch.

Leaving a campfire unattended is a finable offense.

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