Camp Lakeside At This Beautiful Western US State Park

Imagine waking up to the smell of fresh alpine air, breathtaking views of a crystal clear lake, and the sounds of birds filling the sky. Camping lakeside at Pearl Lake State Park in Colorado can make this your reality. This beautiful Western U.S. destination offers an off-the-grid outdoorsy experience — without requiring you to travel too far from society.

Pearl Lake State Park is located north of Steamboat Springs, a Northwest mountain town nestled within the Rocky Mountains. The park, which is over 250 acres, is brimming with lush pine forests, colorful flowers, and untouched wildlands. The lake sits at the base of Farwell Mountain, a prominent peak in this mountainous region. The natural reservoir is home to over 200 species of birds, ample amphibians, and deer. Small critters, including red foxes, muskrats, and elusive minks, also frequent the wooded area. From tent camping to yurts, Pearl Lake State Park offers accommodations for outdoor adventurers year-round.

Accommodations at the park

There are 36 traditional campsites that include a picnic table and a fire ring. These sites can be rented for $28.00 per night. However, from October 1st to April 30th, the price per night drops to $18.00. Each pet-friendly site can accommodate tents, trailers, and even small motorhomes. The campground is divided into an upper loop and a lower loop that borders Pearl Lake. For the most unobscured lake views, book a dwelling between Campsite 24 and Campsite 32.

Want to level up your Pearl Lake experience? Opt to stay in one of the park's two yurts. These quirky lodgings include ​amenities such as heat and power, skylights, two sets of bunk beds, a picnic area, and screened windows so you can listen to the calming sounds of the Colorado wilderness without worrying about bugs. The yurts cost $90.00 per night and accommodate up to six visitors. Though the campsites are closed during colder months, the yurts can still be reserved for a lakeside winter getaway. However, they are only accessible by snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, or snowmobiling that time of year. 

Campers at traditional campsites and yurts will have access to refillable drinking water stations and restrooms on-site. Given the popularity of this secluded Colorado oasis, making a reservation ahead of time is a good idea. You can reserve a campsite or yurt at Pearl Lake online or by phone up to six months in advance.

Activities to do at Pearl Lake

While you may not be allowed to swim in Pearl Lake, there's no need for water lovers to fret: You can take advantage of sunbathing on the shores, wakeless boating, and watersports. Paddleboard Adventure Company offers paddleboard and single kayak for under $100.00 per day, as well as canoe and double kayak rentals for $110.00. Heading to the lake with friends or a larger group? You can even rent a SUPSquatch — a massive paddleboard that fits seven people — for two hours for $145.00. Moreover, nature and wildlife lovers can hike the .6-mile ​Pearl Lake Connection Trail. The route provides exceptional views of the lake scenery before connecting with the Coulton Creek Trail, which weaves through the breathtaking Routt National Forest.

Pearl Lake might ice over during snowier months, but the state park remains as lively as ever. Winter sports enthusiasts can set off cross-country skiing or snowshoeing through Colorado's wilderness; there are no groomed trails, meaning it's a true backcountry experience. Inside the warm yurt, you can view the frosty lake, Farwell Mountain, and snowy, forested landscapes. You'll likely spot an ice fisher or two patiently waiting on the frozen waters. On your next trip to Colorado, spend a night at the serene Pearl Lake to get away from it all.