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Camping
Camping

​​Whether you spend your day playing on land or on the water, you'll find a place to spend the night in one of our 141 campsites in three campgrounds, accommodating everything from the largest motor homes to the smallest pup tent.  Please check the fees page for camping rates. View the North Sterling Camping Brochure for additional information.  NOTE:  The fees listed in the Camping Brochure link above are outdated, and will be updated as soon as possible. Reserve a campsite at North Sterling State Park online now!

Pet Policy

You may notice that when searching for a campsite to make reservations on ReserveAmerica's website, our campsites do not appear as results when searching for pet-friendly parks in northeastern Colorado - this is due to a programming error, not our actual pet policy.  Pets are permitted at North Sterling State Park. The only areas that pets are not permitted are on the swim beach, ski beach, and inside the Camper Services Buildings.  All pets must be on a leash and under control at all times.  This is for your safety and your pet's safety.  You don't want your friendly dog running up to say Hello to an unfriendly dog, a cactus, or a rattlesnake!  Please remember to clean up after your pet.  See the Family Activities page for more pet-friendly ideas.

Elks Campground

Elks Campground can be found at the north end of the park, with 50 developed campsites including 30-amp electrical hookups, shade shelters, picnic tables, and fire pits**.  Some campsites also have groomed high-use tent pads, but tents may also be pitched on the grass near the campsite.  A centrally-located camper services building offers a meeting room, flush restrooms, coin-operated showers, and laundry facilities from April to October.  Elks Campground is open year-round, but water systems are winterized from October to April to prevent freezing.  For winter campers, a vault restroom is located in the southwest corner of the large boat ramp parking lot, near the Visitor Center. View the Elks Campground Map.

**Note: Site 15 is designed for handicap access, and includes a grill pedestal instead of a fire pit.

Inlet Grove Campground

Just inside the South Entrance, Inlet Grove Campground offers 50-amp electrical hookups, shade shelters, picnic tables, fire pits, and all sites have a high-use tent pad.  Tents may also be pitched on the grass near the campsite.  A flush restroom building sits in the center of the campground, and a camper services building sits on the hill at the entrance to the campground, providing a meeting room, flush restrooms, coin-operated showers, and laundry facilities from April to October.  Trails lead from the west end of the campground to Sunset Point, from the east end of the campground to the Footbridge and the South Shoreline Trail, and up to the park amphitheater (where Saturday Night Campfire Programs are held) and the camper services building.  Inlet Grove Campground is closed seasonally from October 1st to May 1st.

Chimney View Campground

Chimney View Campground offers basic, non-electric campsites.  Each site includes a pull-through driveway, a shade shelter, picnic table, fire pit, and a high-use tent pad.  Tents may also be pitched on the grass near the campsite.  A vault restroom sits in the center of the campground, and a camper services building located at the east end of the campground provides flush restrooms, coin-operated showers, laundry facilities, and a meeting room.  The park amphitheater, where Saturday Night Campfire Programs are held, is a short walk from the east end of the campground.  A trail leads from the north side of the campground down to the Swim Beach.

Regarding Generators: Generators are permitted in Chimney View, but you MUST turn off your generator during quiet hours from 10pm to 6am.  This includes "quiet" generators.  Many visitors in this campground sleep in tents with relatively thin walls, and the sound from a generator can carry a considerable distance and disturb other visitors in this open prairie park.

Regarding Weather: Chimney View Campground is located at the top of a ridge, and is exposed to the wind and other weather conditions (moreso than the other campgrounds).  Be prepared for the weather forecasted for your trip, and be prepared to respond to changing conditions.  Many visitors have found it beneficial to invest in heavy-duty tent stakes.

View the Inlet Grove and Chimney View Campground Map.

Holiday Weekends at North Sterling

Campsite reservations for holiday weekends fill up fast at North Sterling.  This large, spacious lake has plenty of elbow room for every kind of watersport and recreational activity, which makes it a great holiday weekend getaway for the whole family.  Remember, reservations can be made up to six months in advance, and we recommend at least two months in advance for busy weekends - to get your choice campsite for the major holiday weekends, or to get several campsites together with friends and family, book early!

  • Memorial Day Weekend:  Friday, May 24th through Monday, May 27th
  • Father's Day Weekend:  Friday, June 14th through Sunday, June 16th
  • 4th of July Weekend:  July 4th falls on a Thursday in 2013
  • Labor Day Weekend:  Friday, August 30th through Monday, September 2nd

Make your reservation early to guarantee your favorite campsite!

Frequently-Asked Camping Questions:

​What if I can't get a reservation for a holiday weekend?

In 2013, all three campgrounds will be available for reservations, including Chimney View Campground.  If all our campsites are reserved on a holiday weekend, then we will have none available for first-come, first-serve campers.  There are several nearby camping areas that may meet your needs, or you may want to check with other Colorado State Parks.  Typically, we send out a news release within two weeks of a holiday weekend to let you know which parks still have campsites available - check the main Colorado State Parks page for more information.

Can I make a reservation for this weekend?  ...for tonight?

Campsites may be reserved up to six months ahead of time, but no less than three days in advance.  Reservations are taken through the website or by phone to the reservation office - not at the park.  Reservations for Friday night can be made no later than Tuesday.  Park staff cannot "hold" a campsite for someone who is not here.  Park staff may be able to let a visitor know approximately how many campsites are currently open, but they cannot guarantee those campsites will still be available when a visitor arrives.

Do I really need a reservation?

From May to September, reservations are typically necessary on weekends to ensure that a visitor has a campsite with electrical hookups, but our overflow campground often has sites open and available on a first-come, first-serve basis.  During the week, reservations may be necessary depending on your campsite preferences, but electric campsites are often available somewhere in the park on any given weekday.  From October to April, a reservation is generally not necessary unless you would like to guarantee the use of a specific campsite.

Do you have any sites open for the holiday weekend?

Within three weeks of the holiday, the answer is usually No.  Campsite reservations for holiday weekends fill up fast at North Sterling.  This large, spacious lake has plenty of elbow room for every kind of watersport and recreational activity, which makes it a great holiday weekend getaway for the whole family.  Remember, reservations can be made up to six months in advance, and we recommend at least two months in advance for busy weekends - to get your choice campsite for the major holiday weekends, or to get several campsites together with friends and family, book early!

Can I still get a campsite if I arrive late at night?

When the entrance gates are not staffed, self-serve camping permits, vehicle passes, and a drop box are available at the South and Elks entrances for campers who arrive after-hours.  Reservation lists are usually posted in the gate bulletin boards for visitors to find thier reserved campsites, and for walk-in visitors to find an unreserved campsite.  Reservation cards are also posted in the number post at each site, so walk-in campers can be certain they aren't taking a reserved site. There is no required check-in time, but camping permits and reservations expire at noon the next day, and campers are expected to purchase an additional camping permit or vacate the campsite at that time. During the off-season (October to April), plenty of campsites will be available.

Why do I have to leave the campsite at noon?

Camping permits and reservations expire at noon.  Another reservation may be starting, and other campers may be arriving to purchase a campsite.  After vacating the campsite, boaters and other visitors with a valid park pass are welcome to park RVs in the large parking lots to enjoy the remainder of their afternoon.

I haven't been there before.  What do the campsites look like?  Are there any trees?

The campgrounds at North Sterling are very open and are generally not "secluded" - we are on the prairie, after all.  In the Photo Gallery, you will find two pictures of campsites in Chimney View and Elks Campground.  One of our planned projects is a set of campsite pictures that we can post on the website for you to view, but it hasn't been completed yet.  (Are you interested in volunteering to help?  We could use a volunteer to photograph campsites in late May or early June during weekdays when the sites are empty!)

Elks Campground has a number of trees around 10ft to 20ft tall, and provide moderate shade and some privacy between campsites.  Over the last three years, more than 120 tree seedlings and saplings have been planted throughout Inlet Grove, but most are not tall enough to provide shade or privacy yet.  Chimney View Campground has very little soil over the bedrock, and we can't plant trees in most areas there.

Please, help us take care of your trees!  We do want them to grow tall and strong, for you and your families to enjoy.  On your trip, remember these

tips:

  • Don't tie a dog leash, clothes line, or other weighted rope to the tree's trunk or branches (use the picnic table leg or shade shelter instead).  These quickly cut up or abraid the tree's bark, leaving it exposed to disease and rot.  Look around the campground and the park, and you're sure to find trees that are dead on one side and healthy on the other, because the bark was damaged on one half.  A large, tall, healthy tree has no problem surviving minor bark damage, but the trees on our park are much smaller and already struggling to survive and thrive in the prairie climate.

  • Give your tree a drink of water!  At the end of your trip, pour out your clean cooler water, melted ice, or water jugs around the base of the tree.  (If the tree has mulch around the base, be sure not to expose the roots!).  Please DON'T pour soda, iced tea, alcohol, grey water, sewage, fertilizer, or any other kind of food or chemical onto the tree - it's not healthy for you or the tree!