Note: Our reviews are from the perspective of full timers “glamping” in a 40-45′ big rig. Our focus is on maneuvering, site attributes, hookup quality, internet access, proximity to services, etc. We are self contained and usually don’t use any campground toilets, showers or laundry so we don’t always report on them. We tend to favor state and federal parks because they tend to be more private and more in tune with nature.
Website: Boyd Lake State Park
Easy access, GPS should take you there without incident. Detailed directions here.
Date(s) of Stay: October 5, 2017 arrival, October 8, 2017 departure
Known as a water-sports haven for northern Colorado, the lake lies at the western-most edge of the plains at the foot of snow-capped Long’s Peak and the mountains of the Continental Divide. With over 1,700 surface acres of water, Boyd Lake State Park has something for everyone: boating, fishing, camping, picnicking, swimming, hiking, biking, and hunting. Cottonwood campground is located within the park and has 148 60′ long pull thru campsites (60 open year-round), each has 20, 30 and 50 amp electric hookups (no water or sewer), a picnic table and grill. While the Colorado State Parks site says the campground can handle “vehicles up to 40′ in length”, Reserve America lists all sites as 60′ long and the site type as “> 40 feet”. There is no problem or restriction for 45′ rigs here, but note you will not fit on the site with a tow attached. Three restrooms with showers, playground equipment and horseshoe pits are scattered throughout the campground.
Reservations can be made at Reserve America but be aware that the booking window for an online reservation is 72 hours in advance of your arrival. Within the 3 day booking window sites will show as walk up only.
Daily rate was $24 per night for an electric only hookup site, but be forewarned, in addition, there is a $10 flat charge (ouch) for making an online reservation. So while the $24 daily rate may seem at first glance to be a reasonably good deal the reservation fee really drives up the cost of a short stay. To add insult to injury, staying at any of the CO State Parks also incurs an additional daily State Park Entrance Fee ($8 here, but fee varies by specific park). A one night stay here with all fees would set you back a whopping $40! A 10 day stay would amortize the reservation fee and result in a $33 daily rate including daily entrance fee.
Now maybe the $33 is an acceptable rate for a full hook up site, but it seems a little expensive for just electric. If you are planning on staying more than 8 or 10 nights at Colorado State Parks within the year, the best approach to mitigate that daily vehicle fee is to purchase an Annual Pass. We suggest physically purchasing the pass at the first campground you visit. At St. Vrain and Boyd Lake, the Annual Pass fee was $70, but may vary at other parks (cost at Cherry Creek was $73 for example). Note that the Annual Pass not only covers the entrance fee for your motorhome, but for your towed vehicle as well – as long as it is connected when you arrive at the park.
Knowing that we would be staying at several other Colorado State Parks (5 parks over 21 days to be exact), we purchased the Annual Pass. It turned out that without it, we would have paid $160 in entrance fees, so we saved $90! Good deal! Plus the annual pass is valid for 13 months from date of purchase.
Additional info – for a motorhome towing a car, the Annual Pass will be for the motorhome and attached to the lower right corner of the motorhome windshield. When registering at the park, make sure you arrive with your tow vehicle connected and be sure to get a free Towed Vehicle Pass for the dates of your stay. The Towed Vehicle Pass will also get you into any other Colorado State Parks for the dates of your stay. Note that if even if you do not purchase an Annual Pass, the Daily Vehicle Fee will still apply to the motorhome and the Towed Vehicle Pass will still be free.
Overall Impression – 3.2/5
After seeing how well maintained St. Vrain State Park was, we were a little disappointed with this State Park. The day use area appeared to be well maintained but the campground area was in need of updating. Although the roads and sites were asphalt, they were in need of repair. The 148 sites are arranged in 6 approximately equal “feather” shaped loops (A-F), each consisting of two rows of pull thrus. See the aerial view or the campground map for perspective. All sites are approximately the same shape and size with an arched “eyebrow” shaped pad. Most sites appeared level although that will vary based on the sometimes rough condition of the asphalt. The sites near the lake at the end of the loops had the most pleasant views. During the week the campground was relatively quiet but as usual the activity picked up when the weekend came.
Size – 3/5
All sites here are listed as 60′ pull thrus but the site pads are “arched” in an eyebrow shape requiring some jockeying to get a big rig properly situated. While adequate for our 45′ rig there is no way the tow could stay attached. In fact it was even a bit of a squeeze parking it once detached. Our pull thru site was #36 but all sites appeared to be about the same size and shape. Decent space between sites composed of grass/gravel. All sites included a fire ring and picnic table.
Privacy – 2/5
None to speak of between sites but spacing was good.
Convenience – 4/5
Walmart, grocery stores, other retail and restaurants are close by – most within 10 minutes. Close to several sightseeing opportunities described in this post and Rocky Mountain National Park.
Physical Surroundings – 3/5
With the surrounding snow capped mountains, the lake and the trees scattered throughout the park, the campground had a country feel to it even though it was fairly close to suburbia. The sites near the lake at the end of the loops had the most pleasant views.
Maneuverability and Roads – 3/5
The pavement was a little narrow but with gravel shoulders it was plenty wide enough for any size rig to maneuver throughout the park. No issues with low branches.
Peace & Quiet – 3/5
During our stay, the campground was fairly quiet, surprisingly even on the weekend. Some minor traffic noise.
Utilities – 2/5
- Sewer – None, there is a two way dump station on the main access road adjacent to Loop C.
- Satellite – Reception for the most part should be good, however there are a few mature trees so there may be some exceptions. We had no issues on Site #36.
- WiFi – None.
- Cellular signal – Verizon: Strong signal, Good LTE data performance. AT&T: Strong signal Very Good LTE data performance.
- Over-the-Air (OTA) TV – We scanned and picked up 51 channels so most of the primary networks should be receivable.
- Power – 20/30/50A pedestal in good condition. Voltage was strong at 124 volts on both legs. No errors or outages during our stay.
- Water Pressure/Quality – None.
What We Liked
– Location, close to conveniences
– Decent spacing between sites
What We Didn’t Like
– Arched site pads
– Roads and sites were in need of maintenance
– Daily entrance fee (charged by all Colorado State parks)
Would We Return?
Yes, if we had an active annual pass. No, for a short stay without the annual pass due to cost. Lack of sewer or water hookups at the site would also probably encourage seeking out other accommodations such as St. Vrain State Park which has full hookups.