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.

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.

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

Hiking

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.

Boating

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.

Bouldering

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.

Camping

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!

Become a FREE CAMPING INSIDER and join the 100,000 campers that love to score the best site! Simply enter your email below.

2 Comments

  1. Just a little further west of Fort Collins CO we camped in our 39’ class A DP at State Forest State Park about 30 miles east of Walden CO on CO Hwy 14. Elevation is approx 9200 ft. Not much cell service (our Weboost gave us 1-2 bars. Electric only. BUUUUT, WE SAW MOOSE!!! Pretty cool

  2. Very informative, you certainly make us feel that we can make more of an educated decision based on the pros and cons in your writing. We hope to be fortunate enough to visit South Bay one day, since you make it sound pretty spectacular. Currently it’s a little far west for us to embark on a weekend excursion but if we can plan a longer trip South Bay sounds like it would definitely be an option. I know you are more of an RV traveler, but you did mention this place would welcome tents, which is us, how are the tenting sites themselves? Are they flat, spaced out at all private, and are there any sites in particular that you would recommend?

    -Kimberly and Spencer
    http://www.lazylittlecamper.com

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