Chalk Lake

38.71278, -106.23389
18660-18668 Chalk Creek Drive Nathrop Colorado 81236 US

Chalk Lake is a very popular campground with an array of recreational opportunities like hiking, mountain biking and off-road vehicle riding. Visitors also enjoy fishing at Chalk Lake and Chalk Creek. 

Chalk Creek Canyon offers scenic views and stark contrasts between white chalk-like canyon walls and dense pine forests.

The campground is situated near the shore of Chalk Lake at the edge of a stand of Douglas fir and aspen trees. The lake sits at an elevation of 9,000 feet in Chalk Creek Canyon, which gets its name from the soft, white, chalk-like kaolinite canyon walls. Kaolinite is a clay mineral that was deposited by percolating hot springs. 

Chalk Creek can be accessed from the campground. It flows 27 miles eastward from the Collegiate Peaks before joining the Arkansas River. Chalk Lake is a mile east of the campground. 

A variety of wildlife makes its home in the area, including chipmunks, hummingbirds, birds of prey and mule deer. 

Afternoon thundershowers are common during July and August.

Reservation Information

For Reservations Call: 877-444-6777

Campground Information

Know Before You Go:

  • Do not climb chalk cliffs
  • Be bear aware; keep all food out of sight in approved containers or locked inside your vehicle and remove all food from area after eating
  • This is a high elevation facility; please use caution when traveling from lower elevations
  • This facility has first-come, first-served sites
  • No hookups available
  • Parking is limited; a $5 fee will be charged for extra vehicles
  • Click here for more information on Pike and San Isabel National Forests
  • Don’t Move Firewood: Prevent the spread of tree-killing organisms by obtaining firewood at or near your destination and burning it on-site. For more information
Camping & Recreation

Chalk Lake is heralded as a great family fishing spot with rainbow, brook and brown trout. Motorized boats are not allowed on the lake. Chalk Creek also offers fishing, and it’s best above Cascade Falls. 

Plenty of off-road vehicle trails are near the campground. Recommended rides include Mount Antero, Baldwin Lake, Tincup Pass, Hancock Pass, Pomeroy Lakes, Hancock Lakes and Williams Pass. 

Chalk Creek Trailhead can be accessed nearby and provides access to the extensive Colorado Trail, which extends nearly 500 miles from Denver to Durango.

Take a day trip to the historic ghost town of St. Elmo, just 15 minutes from the campground. An old saloon, county courthouse and many other historic structures remain from the days of its mining glory. Rock hounds come to the area in search of quartz and aquamarine. 

The city of Salida is 45 minutes away, where visitors can take a scenic tram ride, experience a zip-line, play a round of mini golf or go whitewater rafting on the Arkansas River.

Services & Facilities

The campground offers single-family sites, a few of which are accessible. Each site is equipped with a picnic table and campfire ring. Accessible vault toilets are provided. Firewood is sold on-site.

Within Facility
  • Accessible Sites
  • Accessible Vault Toilets
  • Campfire Rings
  • Creek Access
  • Drinking Water
  • Firewood Vendor
  • Fishing
  • Hiking
  • Horseback Riding
  • Host
  • Hot Springs
  • Lake Access
  • Scenic Drive
  • Self Pay Station
  • Swimming
  • Trash Collection
  • Water
Within 10 Miles
  • Historic Sites
  • Off-Road Vehicle Trails

GPS Info. (Latitude, Longitude):
38.71278, -106.23389
38°42’46″N, 106°14’2″W

From Buena Vista, Colorado, take Highway 285 south to Nathrop. Turn west on County Road 162 and travel 8 miles to the campground.

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