SP Campground Review – Carpios Ridge, Trinidad Lake State Park, CO
A nature-rich and peaceful campground up on a ridge overlooking Trinidad Lake in south-central CO.
Note/ Trinidad Lake SP also has a second no-hookup FCFS campground called South Shore located on the opposite side right on the lakeshore, but I did not review that area. This review is for Carpios Ridge only.
- Site Quality = 3.5/5
Pretty, but somewhat mixed-quality sites here. There are 63 camping sites located around 2 main loops. Sites are a mix of gravel and paved, mostly back-in with a very few select pull-throughs & pull-outs. Site separation with a few exceptions is good, and each site has a nice “sitting area” containing picnic table and fire-pit. Most sites also have tent pads. All sites have electric (50amp) with 7 sites offering full hookups (50amp/water/sewer). Main ding is site levelness and privacy which is a total mix throughout. There are many quite unlevel sites, and some of the sites (esp. the inner loop sites) are rather too open with no real shade or privacy. Outer-loop sites tend to have more trees and privacy, and the some even have water views (water views start with slice views at site 37 and continue through 45, 46, 47, 48, 50, 52 and 53).
Note/ To help choose a site, the State Park has released some handy dandy PDF documents listing all the sites in the campground, whether they have shade and whether they are level or not. We used it to book our site #49. Very helpful!
Note #2/If you can’t book one of the “water view” sites (which are very popular) try booking one of the sites opposite the water sites. Our site #49 had a slice view out the front, as does site #51 and #54.
- Facilities = 4/5
Good selection of facilities here. There is a nice, new central bathhouse and laundry with clean flush toilets and very spacious showers. Only a select few laundry machines, but they look decent and prices are fair ($1.50 wash, $1.00 dry). On-site dump station and several threaded water spigots located around the campground. Main ding? The showers are pay-only ($0.50 for 3 mins).
- Location = 5/5
There is a very nice location to explore the area. You are right outside the historic town of Trinidad (which has a Safeway, museums, churches and a lovely brewery), on the lake surrounded by miles of hiking trails. The campground is set well-back from the main road so it’s extremely quiet and you have all the shopping/eating/groceries you could within short reach in town.
- Pet Friendliness = 5/5
This is another great location for the paws. Good space around camp and lots of pretty hiking trails around the ridge. No real easy hiking trail down to the water from Carpios Ridge (the one trail we tried was completely washed-out, plus the shore by the lake on this side is extremely sticky/muddy), but there is easy access to good/solid shoreline on the South Shore side. So, if you want to go swimming with doggie just drive the few minutes over to the other side of the lake and find a spot to hang.
Overall Rating = 4.4
BONUS ALERT = Camp by a beautiful lake in Southern CO!
Summary: We wanted a quiet and nature-rich stop in southern CO and this campground fit the bill. Trinidad Lake State Park is a huge park centered around the Trinidad Reservoir that offers 2 main camping locations -> a primitive-only campground called South Shore which is down by the lake level and a hookup campground called Carpios Ridge which is up on the ridge-line overlooking the water. It was hot when we were here so we stayed at the latter, and this review is only for that campground. The sites in Carpios Ridge are quite nice with just a few main dings. The sites are a mix of either gravel or paved with spacious “sitting areas” containing picnic table, fire-pit and tent pad. All sites offer 50amp hookups, with 7 sites that offer full hookups. Main ding is that many sites are unlevel and have little or limited privacy. The outer loop sites generally have more trees/privacy while inner-loop tend to be rather bare. Also, despite being on the ridge only very few sites have actual water views (water views start with slice views at site 37 and continue through 45, 46, 47, 48, 50, 52 and 53). However the campsites are nicely spaced and the entire campground is set nicely back from the main road so it feels both quiet and nature-rich. Lots of trails access directly from camp, plus there is access to the water for fishing or doggie-swimming. Also nearby Trinidad has everything you could need for groceries plus several museums, churches and a most excellent brewery. We enjoyed our stay here and would certainly come again.
Extra Info: Good cellphone signal -> 3 bars of Verizon LTE unboosted, and 2 bars of ATT LTE unboosted. 63 total sites of which 7 are full-hookup (50amp/water/sewer) while the rest are electric-only (50amp) . All sites can be reserved on-line. Sites cost $20/night for electric, $24/night for full hookups, but there is also an ADDITIONAL $7/day day-use fee for using the State Park which must be added onto the price (you can buy a yearly Colorado SP pass to cover the day-use fee for $70). 14-day stay limit. On-site dump station and several potable threaded water spigots around camp.