Lodgepole Creek: Camping, Hiking, and Fishing Tips


Lodgepole Creek, a hidden gem in the heart of Colorado, boasts an impressive elevation of 9,900 feet above sea level. This picturesque creek runs through a valley along Jefferson Creek, facing the majestic Jefferson Hill.


  • Lodgepole Creek offers a stunning natural environment with diverse outdoor activities.
  • The creek is home to various trout species, making it an ideal spot for fishing enthusiasts.
  • Visitors to this location can explore hiking trails, observe wildlife, and enjoy camping in the surrounding area.

Exploring the Natural Beauty of Lodgepole Creek

Lodgepole Creek, a significant United States tributary of the South Platte River, originates in the western Nebraska panhandle region, meandering through southeastern Wyoming into Colorado before merging with the South Platte River. It is to the East of the Pawnee National Grassland in Northeastern Colorado, near the borders of Western Nebraska and Southeastern Wyoming.

This waterway traverses mainly rural terrain in the Rocky Mountains, serving a crucial role in the hydrological dynamics of the area by bolstering the natural resources and water capacity of the South Platte River network.

The landscape surrounding Lodgepole Creek makes this location a sight to behold, with groves of aspen and mixed conifer trees creating a serene atmosphere. The best time to visit for scenic beauty is during the fall when the aspen trees transform into a vibrant display of orange hues.

Lodgepole Campground, located near the creek, offers over 30 reservable campsites with amenities such as picnic tables, vault toilets, drinking water, and grills. This campground serves as an excellent base for exploring the natural wonders of the area.

Hiking and Trekking Trails Near Lodgepole Creek

One of the most notable hiking opportunities near Lodgepole Creek is the Colorado Trail, a 471-mile trail that extends from Denver to Durango. This epic trail offers an unforgettable experience for avid hikers and backpackers.

For those seeking a shorter hike, the West Jefferson Loop Trail is accessible from the campground. This 11-mile foot path reaches the Continental Divide, providing breathtaking views along the way.

When hiking in the area, be sure to wear appropriate footwear, bring plenty of water, and follow Leave No Trace principles to preserve the natural beauty of the wilderness.

Wildlife and Nature Observation

Lodgepole Creek and its surrounding area are home to a diverse array of wildlife. Visitors can spot deer and elk in the sub-alpine regions, while bighorn sheep and mountain goats are common above the treeline.

Birdwatchers will delight in the opportunity to observe various species, including the majestic Sandhill Cranes that nest in the area every spring. Remember to maintain a safe distance and avoid disturbing wildlife while observing and photographing them in their natural habitat.

Fishing Opportunities at Lodgepole Creek

Fishing enthusiasts will find Lodgepole Creek to be a paradise, with rainbow, brown, mackinaw, and brook trout swimming in its downstream flow of water. The nearby Jefferson Lake, spanning about 182 acres, also offers excellent fishing opportunities.

To fish in the area, a valid Colorado fishing license is required. Anglers can purchase licenses at the Steamboat Lake State Park Visitor Center. Be sure to follow all fishing regulations and practice catch-and-release when necessary to maintain the health of the fish populations.

Camping and Overnight Stays

Lodgepole Campground is the perfect spot for camping near Lodgepole Creek. The campground offers a peaceful creekside setting with incredible recreation and views of the Rocky Mountains. Reservations can be made through Recreation.gov, and it is essential to book in advance, especially during peak seasons.

When camping, follow all campground rules and regulations, such as properly disposing of waste, keeping noise levels down, and respecting fellow campers. Remember to store food securely to avoid attracting wildlife.


What are the top three hiking trails near Lodgepole Creek, and what are their difficulty levels?

1. Colorado Trail – Difficult, 471 miles long.

2. West Jefferson Loop Trail – Moderate, 11 miles long.

3. Pitkin Creek/Lake Trail – Moderate to Hard, 10 miles round trip.

What types of fish can I expect to catch in Lodgepole Creek?

Lodgepole Creek is home to rainbow, brown, mackinaw, and brook trout.

Are there any permits required for fishing or camping at Lodgepole Creek?

A valid Colorado fishing license is required for fishing in Lodgepole Creek and the nearby Jefferson Lake. Camping at Lodgepole Campground requires a reservation. Additional information can be found through Recreation.gov.

What are the best months to visit Lodgepole Creek for wildlife observation?

Spring is an excellent time to observe nesting Sandhill Cranes, while fall offers the opportunity to see the aspen trees change color.

How can visitors participate in local conservation efforts at Lodgepole Creek?

Visitors can contribute to conservation efforts by following Leave No Trace principles, properly disposing of waste, and respecting wildlife and their habitats. They can also support local organizations dedicated to preserving the natural beauty of the area. Additional information can be found on the Colorado Parks and Wildlife conservation page.


About the author

Shannon Persad

As a seasoned journalist and Colorado native, I bring a deep-rooted connection and comprehensive understanding of Colorado to my work at ReadyColorado.com. My appreciation for the state’s rich history, vibrant culture, and pressing environmental issues drives my commitment to exploring its evolving landscape—from the bustling urban centers to the tranquil mountain towns.