Resting amid the wide meadows at the headwaters of the Colorado River and the pine forests of the Never Summer Mountains, Timber Creek Campground offers visitors to the park a more intimate experience on the less populous western side of Rocky Mountain National Park. While visitation is heavy throughout the high summer season and will likely be filled to capacity, Timber Creek is set far away from the relatively dense Estes Park and its many hotels, vacation homes and shops. As a result, campers here will be more intimately connected with a wilderness experience. Timber Creek is frequently visited by a wide range of mammalian visitors, including elk, deer, moose and bears. The best campsites are flanked by a broad meadow and the Colorado River, which begins its 1,450-mile journey to the Gulf of California in the Never Summer Mountains just 10 miles away.
While the wilderness trails are arguably not as spectacular as those in the eastern half of the park, there is still a lot to explore here, including the ruins of a mining boom town, Lulu City, the Continental Divide Trail up Mount Ida and the East Inlet Trail. Indeed, this part of the park receives less than a quarter of Rocky Mountain National Park’s four million annual visitors, so moving about this part of the park will be much simpler and freer than the hordes that ascend upon Bear Lake.
There are a total of 98 campsites at Timber Creek. Twelve of these are reserved for RVs, although only when the campground is at capacity. While some sites are reserved for RVs, no hookups are available. The National Park Service also makes regular use of the campground’s amphitheater, where it presents evening programs about the park’s history, wildlife and poetry. It is a popular destination for anglers, who cast their lines in the nearby Colorado River. The Holzwarth Historic Site is within walking distance and showcases the history of the Kawuneeche Valley.