Lake Isabelle Colorado Camping: Your Perfect Guide to Enjoy Colorado Nature

Lake Isabelle Colorado Camping: What you can expect

Lake Isabelle Colorado camping is an experience that we will always cherish. There are many things that we loved about this camping trip, but our favorite thing was the stunning beauty of the lake and its surroundings.

From the moment we arrived at the lake, we were struck by its crystal-clear waters and the majestic mountains that surrounded it. The lake is nestled in the heart of the San Isabel National Forest, which is known for its rugged beauty and abundant wildlife. We spent hours exploring the forest, hiking along its trails, and taking in the breathtaking views.

Another thing that we loved about Lake Isabelle Colorado camping was the variety of recreational activities available. We spent our days fishing for rainbow, brook, and brown trout in the lake, and our evenings roasting marshmallows over a campfire. We also took advantage of the many hiking trails in the area, which offered stunning views of the surrounding mountains.

One of the things that made our camping trip even more enjoyable was the excellent facilities at the St. Charles Campground. The campground is well-maintained and offers clean restrooms, picnic tables, and fire rings. We also appreciated the convenience of having potable water available at the campground.

Overall, our favorite thing about Lake Isabelle Colorado camping was the opportunity to disconnect from the hustle and bustle of everyday life and immerse ourselves in the natural beauty of the area. We would highly recommend this camping trip to anyone looking for a peaceful and rejuvenating outdoor experience.

Best Time to Visit

When planning a camping trip to Lake Isabelle, it’s important to consider the best time to visit. The weather in Colorado can vary greatly depending on the season, and this can greatly impact your camping experience.

The peak season for camping at Lake Isabelle is during the summer months, from June to September. During this time, the weather is mild and pleasant, with daytime temperatures ranging from the mid-70s to low 80s. Nighttime temperatures can drop down to the low 40s, so be sure to bring warm clothing and a good sleeping bag.

If you prefer to avoid the crowds, consider visiting Lake Isabelle in the shoulder seasons of late spring or early fall. During these times, the weather is still pleasant, but there are fewer people around. Keep in mind that the weather can be more unpredictable during these times, so be sure to check the forecast before you go.

Winter camping is also an option at Lake Isabelle, but it’s important to be prepared for cold and snowy conditions. The campground is closed during the winter, but you can still hike or snowshoe into the area and camp in the backcountry.

In summary, the best time to visit Lake Isabelle for camping is during the summer months from June to September. However, if you prefer fewer crowds, consider visiting in the shoulder seasons of late spring or early fall. And if you’re up for a winter adventure, be sure to pack accordingly and explore the snowy landscape.

How to Get There

If you’re looking for a serene getaway in Colorado, Lake Isabelle camping is a great option. To get there, you’ll need to plan your route carefully. Here are some tips to help make your journey as smooth as possible.

By Car

Driving is the most popular way to get to Lake Isabelle. If you’re coming from Denver, take I-25 south to Colorado Springs, then take Highway 115 south to Penrose. From there, take Highway 50 west to Pueblo, then take Highway 78 west to Beulah. Finally, take Highway 165 west to Rye, and then follow the signs to Lake Isabelle.

By Plane

If you’re flying in, the closest airport is Colorado Springs Airport, which is about 70 miles away from Lake Isabelle. From there, you can rent a car and drive to the lake.

By Train

There are no train stations near Lake Isabelle, so you’ll need to take a train to Denver or Colorado Springs and then rent a car or take a taxi to the lake.

No matter how you choose to get there, make sure to plan ahead and bring plenty of supplies for your camping trip. With its stunning natural beauty and peaceful atmosphere, Lake Isabelle is a must-visit destination for any outdoor enthusiast.

Camping Rules

When planning a camping trip to Lake Isabelle, it’s important to be aware of the regulations in place to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience for all visitors. Here are some of the main regulations to keep in mind:


All campsites at Lake Isabelle are reservable, and it’s recommended to make your reservation in advance to ensure availability. Reservations can be made online through or by calling the reservation line at 1-877-444-6777. Same-day reservations can also be made if sites are available.


Campfires are allowed in designated fire rings only. It’s important to check the current fire restrictions before starting a fire, as they can change depending on weather conditions. Always make sure to fully extinguish your fire before leaving it unattended.


Lake Isabelle is home to a variety of wildlife, including black bears, mountain lions, and moose. It’s important to store all food, trash, and scented items in a bear-resistant container or vehicle to prevent attracting wildlife to your campsite. Never approach or feed wildlife, and keep a safe distance at all times.

Essential Camping Gear

When preparing for a camping trip at Lake Isabelle in Colorado, it’s important to have the right gear to ensure a comfortable and enjoyable experience. Here are some essential items to consider bringing along:


A sturdy and reliable tent is crucial for a good night’s sleep. Look for a tent that is appropriate for the number of people in your group, weather conditions, and any other specific needs you may have. Don’t forget to bring a ground cloth or tarp to protect the bottom of your tent from rocks and moisture.

Sleeping Bag and Pad

A warm and comfortable sleeping bag and pad are essential for a good night’s sleep. Choose a sleeping bag with a temperature rating appropriate for the expected nighttime temperatures. A sleeping pad will provide insulation from the ground and add extra cushioning for comfort.

Cooking Supplies

Cooking supplies are necessary for preparing meals during your camping trip. A portable stove, fuel, cookware, utensils, and a cooler are all important items to consider bringing along. Don’t forget to pack food and snacks that are easy to prepare and won’t spoil quickly.


A reliable source of lighting is important for navigating around camp at night. A headlamp or flashlight will come in handy for setting up camp, cooking, and going to the bathroom. Consider bringing extra batteries or a rechargeable option.

Clothing and Footwear

The weather in Colorado can be unpredictable, so it’s important to pack clothing appropriate for a range of conditions. Layers are key, as temperatures can vary greatly throughout the day. Sturdy and comfortable footwear is also important for hiking and exploring the area around Lake Isabelle.

If you are looking for more Camping tips and inspirations, check out our other Camping content!

Nearby Attractions

There are plenty of attractions near Lake Isabelle Colorado camping that visitors can explore. Here are some of the most popular ones:

  • San Isabel National Forest: This forest is a great place to explore the natural beauty of Colorado. It offers visitors a variety of outdoor activities, including hiking, fishing, camping, and picnicking. The forest is home to many wildlife species, such as elk, deer, and black bears.
  • Sangre de Cristo Mountains: These mountains are located near Lake Isabelle and offer visitors breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape. The mountains are home to a variety of hiking trails, ranging from easy to difficult, and offer visitors the chance to explore the area’s natural beauty.
  • Wet Mountain Valley: This valley is located near Lake Isabelle and is home to a variety of outdoor activities, such as hiking, fishing, and camping. Visitors can also explore the area’s historic sites, such as the Frontier Pathways Scenic and Historic Byway.
  • Westcliffe: This small town is located near Lake Isabelle and offers visitors a variety of shops, restaurants, and galleries to explore. The town is also home to several historic sites, such as the Historic Jones Theater and the Westcliffe Heritage Center.
  • Lake Pueblo State Park: This state park is located about an hour’s drive from Lake Isabelle and offers visitors a variety of outdoor activities, such as boating, fishing, and camping. The park is also home to a variety of wildlife species, such as bald eagles, coyotes, and mule deer.

Overall, there are plenty of attractions near Lake Isabelle Colorado camping that visitors can explore. Whether you’re interested in outdoor activities, historic sites, or small town charm, there’s something for everyone in the area.

Wildlife and Safety Precautions

When camping at Lake Isabelle, it’s important to remember that you are in the heart of nature. While it’s exciting to see wildlife up close, it’s important to keep a safe distance and respect their space. Here are a few safety precautions to keep in mind:

  • Keep all food and scented items in bear-proof containers or hung from a tree at least 10 feet off the ground and 4 feet away from the trunk. This will help prevent bears and other animals from being attracted to your campsite.
  • Do not approach or feed any wildlife, including deer, elk, moose, or bears. These animals are wild and can be dangerous if provoked or feel threatened.
  • Keep a safe distance from any wildlife you encounter. Use binoculars or a telephoto lens to get a closer look without getting too close.
  • If you are hiking, stay on designated trails and avoid disturbing any wildlife habitats.

In addition to wildlife safety, it’s important to take general safety precautions while camping at Lake Isabelle. Here are a few tips to keep in mind:

  • Always carry a first aid kit and know how to use it.
  • Be aware of your surroundings and watch for hazards such as uneven terrain, slippery rocks, or fallen trees.
  • Keep a flashlight or headlamp with you at all times in case of emergencies or if you need to navigate your campsite at night.
  • Check the weather forecast before you head out and be prepared for changing weather conditions.

By following these safety precautions, we can ensure a safe and enjoyable camping experience at Lake Isabelle.

Health and Hygiene

When camping at Lake Isabelle in Colorado, it’s important to prioritize health and hygiene to ensure a safe and enjoyable trip. Here are some tips to keep in mind:

  • Bring plenty of hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes to keep your hands and surfaces clean. This is especially important when using shared facilities like bathrooms and picnic tables.
  • Pack a first-aid kit with essentials like bandages, antiseptic, and pain relievers. It’s also a good idea to bring any prescription medications you may need.
  • Practice good food safety by keeping perishable items in a cooler with plenty of ice. Don’t leave food out for extended periods of time, and make sure to cook meat thoroughly.
  • Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water throughout the day. It’s easy to get dehydrated at higher altitudes, so make sure to bring enough water for your entire trip.
  • Use sunscreen and wear protective clothing to prevent sunburn and other skin damage. The sun can be intense at higher altitudes, so it’s important to take precautions.

By following these simple tips, you can help ensure a safe and healthy camping trip at Lake Isabelle in Colorado.

Leave No Trace Principles

As responsible campers, it is our duty to ensure that we leave the environment around Lake Isabelle, Colorado camping area in the same or better condition than we found it. This is where Leave No Trace principles come in. These principles are guidelines that help us minimize our impact on the environment while camping.

Plan Ahead and Prepare

Before embarking on a camping trip, it is essential to plan ahead and prepare for the trip. This includes researching the area, knowing the regulations and rules of the camping area, and packing the right gear. By planning ahead, we can minimize our impact on the environment and ensure a safe and enjoyable camping experience.

Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces

When camping around Lake Isabelle, Colorado, it is important to camp on durable surfaces such as established campsites, rock, gravel, or dry grasses. This helps to minimize our impact on the environment by avoiding damage to vegetation and soil. It is also important to camp at least 200 feet away from lakes and streams to protect riparian areas.

Dispose of Waste Properly

We must always dispose of waste properly when camping around Lake Isabelle, Colorado. This includes packing out all trash, leftover food, and litter. We should also use established toilets or dig a small hole at least 200 feet away from water sources to bury human waste. This helps to prevent the spread of disease and contamination of water sources.

Leave What You Find

We should always leave the natural environment around Lake Isabelle, Colorado, as we found it. This means not disturbing or removing plants, rocks, or other natural features. We should also avoid building structures or digging trenches that could damage the environment.

Minimize Campfire Impact

Campfires can have a significant impact on the environment. We should always use established fire rings or fire pans when camping around Lake Isabelle, Colorado. We should also use only dead and downed wood for fires and ensure that the fire is completely extinguished before leaving the campsite.

Respect Wildlife

We should always respect the wildlife around Lake Isabelle, Colorado, by keeping a safe distance and avoiding feeding or disturbing them. We should also store food securely to prevent attracting wildlife to our campsite.

By following these Leave No Trace principles, we can minimize our impact on the environment and ensure that the natural beauty of Lake Isabelle, Colorado, is preserved for future generations to enjoy.


What are the camping options near Lake Isabelle?

There are several camping options available near Lake Isabelle, Colorado. The Lake Isabel Recreation Area has two campgrounds, La Vista Campground and St. Charles Campground. La Vista Campground is a developed campground with RV sites and walk-in tent sites, while St. Charles Campground is nestled among aspen and tall Douglas fir trees. Both campgrounds offer access to St. Charles Creek for fishing. Additionally, Lake Isabel Cabin is available for guests who prefer a more comfortable camping experience.

What are the rules for camping in San Isabel National Forest?

Camping in San Isabel National Forest is subject to rules and regulations. Visitors are required to obtain a permit for overnight camping, and campfires are only allowed in designated areas. Additionally, visitors are expected to practice Leave No Trace principles and pack out all trash and waste.

Is it possible to paddle board on Lake Isabelle in Colorado?

Yes, it is possible to paddle board on Lake Isabelle in Colorado. The lake is a popular destination for non-motorized boating, including paddle boarding, kayaking, and canoeing. Visitors are encouraged to bring their own equipment or rent from nearby outfitters.

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