Painted Rocks Campground is my favorite campground in this region of the state. This small campground is one of a trio of campgrounds near Manitou Lake in Woodland Park. While my favorite site 16 is beautiful and backs to a trail to the “painted rocks”, several sites in this campground are equally lovely. This campground is small and designed for smaller campers or tents only. There are no hookups, though water spigots are available throughout the loops to fill water jugs. No dump station is available here, but there is a campground in Woodland Park to dump.
Site 16 is optimum due to perfectly placed trees and the ease of parking of the camper in the back-in location. Since we were here in 2020, they have cut some of the lower branches that had been challenging for parking. A table, campfire ring, and perfectly spaced trees for hammocks are closely located to the camper. A short walk takes campers to Manitou Lake, a small lake perfect for younger fishing enthusiasts and kayakers. Swimming in this lake is prohibited. Several picnic sites are set up and admission to this federal area is included with your camping reservation.
As is always the case here, it rains or storms in the summer afternoons. On our visit, there was a big rain storm in the forecast. As a result, when we got up one day, all the other campers in our loop were packing and left by 10 a.m. to avoid the storm. What actually happened was that the storm moved in much later than expected. We got kayaking, fishing, s’mores and some hammock time in before a drop fell from the sky.
And when it did finally rain, it was much less severe than predicted. The result was a vacant campground in the middle of summer that was quieter than any place we camped all year. The morning after the storm, we drove into Woodland Park to get biscuits and gravy and donuts from the Donut Mill in Woodland Park. The biscuits and gravy were so good and worth the drive into town.
Interestingly, there were dozens of hummingbirds in the area this year. We have a hummingbird feeder on our camper and these birds were enjoying the food from the moment we placed it outside. After attending the hummingbird educational program at Cherry Creek, we learned about the amount of food these birds must consume to fly each day. The hummingbirds at this spot shared the feeder with each other and were thrilled to have the extra food. Wildflowers were abundant due to the generous amounts of rain this summer. They have not been that abundant in our previous trips to this location.