By Kyle & Olivia Brady | Founders of Drivin' & Vibin' | We use affiliate links and may receive a small commission on purchases.
Horsetooth Reservoir camping is an affordable and awesome experience perfect for the whole family. Located just west of Fort Collins, Colorado, this man-made reservoir has been hosting outdoor activities since 1950.
Today we’ll share our three favorite campgrounds on (or near) Horsetooth Reservoir. After that, we’ll drop the deets on 5 cheap activities in the area!
All the campsites we mention will have a unique “Horsetooth Reservoir Camping Vibes” score. This score is based on price, location, experience, and online reviews.
Let’s dive in!
South Bay Campground
Approx. Price: $20 and up
Ideal for: The campers who want to be in nature. Tents, RVs and vans will all be welcome at South Bay.
Pros: The scenery is simply stunning. Many sites have direct waterfront views. There are also a large variety of sites to choose from – primitive to 50amp with full hook ups. Many reviewers have said that South Bay Campground is the best bang-for-your-buck campground in all of Fort Collins.
In addition to the campsites, South Bay also offers a few cabin rentals and group camping sites.
Cons: The nearby highway causes ambient road noise 24 hours a day. Also, if you like cell connectivity, you’re gonna hate South Bay. Most reports say there’s minimal-to-no connectivity depending on your provider. A cell booster may help you make that signal stronger.
Horsetooth Reservoir Camping Vibes: 9.6/10 The price is awesome and the location is awesome! South Bay has maximum Colorado camping-vibes. Pack the s’mores, load up the kids and head down to the reservoir for a memorable weekend.
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Inlet Bay Campground
Price: $25 and up
Ideal for: Nature lovers! This is another county park that can accommodate tents, vans and most RVs.
Pros: Views for days. Inlet Bay and South Bay share many of the same aesthetics – waterfront sites, plenty of deer, green grass and shade trees.
Unlike South Bay, online reviewers have reported much stronger cell coverage at this site.
Cons: There is a large marina at Inlet Bay. This is great for boaters, but it creates a lot of traffic. In fact, if you don’t have a waterfront site, you’ll probably have a site that backs up to this busy road.
Also, the party vibes are strong at Inlet Bay. Depending on the weekend, it may be a little too rowdy for you!
Horsetooth Reservoir Camping Vibes: 8.4/10 We think you’ll really like this spot for all the same reasons you’ll like South Bay. It gets a small deduction in points for the increased traffic.
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Fort Collins / Lakeside KOA
Approx. Price: $55 and up
Ideal for: Family RVers (in big or small rigs) wanting full hook ups. Cabin renters will have options here as well.
Pros: KOA’s really know how to operate a full service RV park with amenities for both parents and kids. This park features family activities like fishing, mini-golf, bike rental and paddle boats. For exercise, walk on their nature trail or play a game of pickleball.
If you’re looking for an easy weekend trip, the KOA could be a great campground for you.
Cons: The location isn’t right on Horsetooth Reservoir. It’ll take about 15 minutes to drive there (7.8 miles). The KOA may have fewer “camp-vibes” than the two previously mentioned sites.
Horsetooth Reservoir Camping Vibes: 7.3/10 Despite it’s location (not directly on the reservoir), this KOA receives much praise. Your RV family trip will be a lot easier with the amenities and activities on-site. And, a 7.5 mile drive isn’t that bad!
5 Cheap Activities at Horsetooth Reservoir
There are 29 miles of hiking trails at Horsetooth Reservoir. If you’re on a family outing (and need an easy hike), try out the Horsetooth Falls & Horsetooth Rock trail. The falls might not impress you, but the rock overlook is something special! Clocking in at just over 5 miles, it shouldn’t be too hard.
If you’re looking for a longer trail, try out Horsetooth Mountain trail. It’s about 9 miles long and has 2,000 feet of elevation change.
Both of these trails allow dogs, but they must be kept on a leash.
If you want to get out on the water, boat rental at Horsetooth Reservoir is a great option. You can rent fishing boats, pontoon boats & jet skis. The starting price is around $70 an hour.
If you have your own boat, there is a boat launch on the reservoir. Keep in mind that your boat will have to be inspected before entering the water.
If you have the appropriate skills, bouldering has been a popular activity at Horsetooth Reservoir for years! Some even call it the birthplace of modern boldering.
There is a wide variety of rocks to climb – beginners and experts find this an ideal spot to work on their craft.
Kayak & Paddle Board
Maybe we’re biased because we love our Oru foldable kayak (it’s literally “life size” origami”), but the reservoir is perfect for non-motorized water activities as well.
Inlet Bay Marina offers kayak, canoe, paddle board and hydro bike rentals. These start as low as $10 an hour. The canoe can hold two people, all other options are for single users.
A family of four can take a 3 hour canoe trip for just $60. That’s a pretty sweet deal.
Now that you know the perfect Horsetooth Reservoir campground for your needs, its time to enjoy camping! Camping here is all about unwinding. Bring a game of corn hole, or just enjoy a campfire meal, disconnected for the weekend serves us all well.
Horsetooth Reservoir camping prices start around $20 a night.
Free Camping Is Great, Too!
If you want to get out an explore beyond Horsetooth Reservoir, check out our 20 favorite free campsites in the USA – many in Colorado.
North of Fort Collins – near Laramie, Wyoming, we’ve found some of our favorite spots to camp as well!