It was Day 8 of our South Dakota road trip. That morning, we woke up at the Cedar Pass Campground in Badlands National Park. We ate a quick breakfast, packed up the tent and drove the Badlands Loop Road as we made our way out of the park. After driving through South Dakota, Nebraska and Wyoming, we arrived at Cherry Creek State Park Campground in Aurora, Colorado in the early evening. After tent camping in this urban oasis, Buddy and I are sharing 6 Things You Should Know About Cherry Creek Campground including the pros and cons of camping at the Cherry Creek State Park.
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Cherry Creek Campground
Cherry Creek Campground is in Cherry Creek State Park in Aurora, CO. Located within the Denver-metro area, the campground is often referred to as Denver’s “backyard” or as an “oasis” within the city. The heart of Cherry Creek State Park is the Cherry Creek Reservoir, an 880-surface area reservoir. The campground is to the east of the reservoir, a little more than a half mile or about a 10-minute walk from the Swim Beach.
Cherry Creek Campground is open year-round, however in the winter the showers, laundry facilities, and dump station might be closed. There are tent, RV, and groups sites available at Cherry Creek Campground. We camped at a tent site in mind-July on Cottonwood Grove Loop. It was a quiet site, and we did not have any fellow camping neighbors near us during our time at Cherry Creek Campground.
Cherry Creek State Park
In addition to camping, Cherry Creek State Park offers many activities including trails for biking, hiking, and horseback riding and, of course, water sports. If you are interested in fishing, boating, jet skiing, kayaking, canoeing, and stand-up paddle boarding. Rentals are available at the Marina. If you visit in the winter, there are also winter activities, like sledding and ice fishing, but those activities dependent on snow conditions.
Eager to visit family in New Mexico, we did not hike or rent a kayak during our time at Cherry Creek State Park. I do wish we would have made time for one hike as the wildflowers and the butterflies and other flying insects were lovely.
6 Things You Should Know About Cherry Creek Campground
The Pros of Cherry Creek Campground
1. Nice Facilities
The Cherry Creek Campground facilities are nice. They had ample laundry facilities and vending machines at the center near the campground. And although the Cherry Creek State Park has both compost and flush toilets, the facilities near the campground are flush toilets. But the best part about the campground are the shower facilities. The showers are big and clean.
- When we visited the campground, the showers were coin operated. However, they have since moved to a card system. Bring your debit card if you plan on using the showers.
- The showers close at a certain time. Campground staff closing the facilities rushed me and Buddy out of the showers during our stay. Check the bathroom’s opening and closing time and plan accordingly.
2. Camping with all the amenities
Cherry Creek Campground is a great alternative to a hotel in Denver. Especially if you are on a tent camping road trip.
First, if you are on a car camping road trip, you are already traveling with all your gear packed and ready to go! It is easy to make a pit stop at Cherry Creek Campground, an urban camping haven.
Second, if you are on a car camping road trip and need to stock up on supplies, a pit stop in the Denver metro area is a great place to make some purchases.
Lastly, if you are on a car camping road trip and need a break from preparing meals at campsites, there are many local and chain restaurant options surrounding Cherry Creek Campground where you can grab a quick bite. And yes, the campsite has WIFI.
Tip: Call or reserve your campsite online in advance!
We stayed at Cherry Creek Campground because Denver was the second to last stop on our 10-day camping road trip. And we preferred to camp rather than stay in a hotel since we had all our gear ready to go. I also love that we had the option to eat breakfast at a local restaurant after packing up our tent the next day. After nine days of preparing breakfast, lunch and dinner at campsites and cabins, I needed a break!
3. The wildlife
The urban wildlife at Cherry Creek Campground is plentiful. Especially the birds. In fact, Cherry Creek State Park offers many opportunities for bird watching along the trails.
The best part of the stay at Cherry Creek Campground was the wildlife. It was lovely listening to the symphony of birds chirping in the morning. The parks wildflowers and butterflies inspired a Movement Postcard. And in the morning, we awoke to a young child who was following a “wabbit” who happened to wander close to our tent. The “wabbit” was indeed a chipmunk. It was delightful to see all this wildlife in the heart of a large metropolitan area.
The Cons of Cherry Creek Campground
4. Denver traffic
Depending on when you are arriving at Cherry Creek Campground, you may hit Denver traffic. Navigating through stop and go interstate traffic right before your camping trip, might not be the most relaxing. Some campers might prefer leaving the hustle and bustle of the city for their camping adventures. If driving on wide open roads and passing gorgeous scenery on the way to your campground is an essential part of your camping experience, then this may not be the spot for you.
However, you won’t necessarily hit traffic on your way to Cherry Creek Campground. Check-in is at 1 pm and if you are arriving at that time, you may miss traffic.
We arrived in Denver in the late afternoon and did hit freeway traffic both coming into Denver and once in the Metropolitan area. We did not account for Denver traffic when planning our drive time. It took an extra hour to arrive to the Cherry Creek Campground than expected. But we arrived with plenty of daylight. And just enough time to explore the area and make dinner.
5. Freeway noise
Speaking of traffic, at the Cherry Creek Campground, you can hear the freeway traffic in the distance. The campground is near the intersection of Interstate 225 and Colorado State Highway 83. From some places in the campground, the interstate and passing cars can be seen in the distance. Camping in an urban area where views of the Rocky Mountains also include views of the interstate is not the preference of every camper. But Cherry Creek Campground does offer the Denver community a quick and fun get away.
The freeways are far enough away from the campground that the sound was not bothersome to us. We watched someone get pulled over while sitting around the campfire. That was a first for us!
The Cherry Creek Campground is by the Cherry Creek Reservoir. As such, there are mosquitos and other flying insects that can bite and bother, especially around dawn and dusk. Mosquito repellent is a must when camping at Cherry Creek Campground.
Buddy and I were fine at our campsite with a little bit of mosquito repellant. But Sal, who mosquitos absolutely love, had to sit in the tent during peak mosquito times. Even with mosquito repellant, the flying bugs were feasting on him!
“The amenities were great, especially when we were tired at the end of our trip. I liked this place; I would like to visit again.”
We enjoyed our time at Cherry Creek Campground and would stay again when we pass through Denver on another car camping road trip.
Have you camped at Cherry Creek Campground in Aurora, CO? What did you think of your urban camping experience? Let us know in the comments below.
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