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Camping at Primitive Loop

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Basic Information

State Forest State Park is located in North Central Colorado and is known for its stunning mountain scenery, diverse wildlife, and numerous recreational activities. The Primitive Loop is a backpacking and camping route within the park that offers a more secluded experience in nature.


The park spans a large area bordering the Medicine Bow Range and the Never Summer Range. The Primitive Loop is situated within this terrain and encompasses a variety of landscapes.

Permits and Reservations

  • Camping Permits: To camp within State Forest State Park, including the Primitive Loop, you typically need to obtain a camping permit. These permits ensure that the park can manage visitors and protect the natural environment.
  • Backcountry Regulations: Since this is a more remote area, you need to follow backcountry camping regulations. This usually includes guidelines on campfires, waste disposal, and wildlife safety.
  • Reservation System: Depending on the season and park policy, you might need to reserve your spot ahead of time, particularly during the busier summer months.

Camping Options

The Primitive Loop offers dispersed camping spots along the trail. These areas do not provide the amenities you'd find in developed campgrounds.


Primitive camping means there are few or no amenities. You typically won't find running water, toilets, or established fire pits. Campers need to be self-sufficient and practice Leave No Trace principles.

Access and Parking

Access to the Primitive Loop typically requires a hike from one of the park's main parking areas. Ensure you have a map and know where to park in order to access the trailhead that leads to the Loop.

Seasonal Availability

  • Summer: This is the busiest season and the best time to hike and camp due to the favorable weather conditions.
  • Winter: The park is open year-round; however, the Primitive Loop may be challenging to access in winter due to snow and ice.
  • Spring/Fall: These seasons can be unpredictable with changing weather conditions, and snow can still be present in spring or arrive early in fall.

Safety Considerations

  • Wildlife Encounters: The area is home to wildlife like moose and bears. Campers need to take precautions to avoid attracting wildlife, such as using bear containers for food storage.
  • Weather: Be prepared for sudden weather changes and bring appropriate gear for cold nights and rain.
  • Altitude: Some of the Primitive Loop may be at high altitude, so acclimatize properly to avoid altitude sickness.


  • Hiking: The Primitive Loop is a premier hiking destination, with trails ranging from moderate to difficult.
  • Wildlife Watching: The park is known for abundant wildlife, including the chance to see moose.
  • Fishing: Some areas within the park provide opportunities for fishing, so bringing a rod could be worthwhile if you are interested.

Additional Tips

  • Water: You'll need to carry in your own water or have a way to purify natural water sources.
  • Navigation: A GPS and physical map are important as trails may not always be well-marked.
  • Local Regulations: Check the State Forest State Park website or contact park authorities for the latest information on rules and regulations before heading out.

Remember, information can change, and it's crucial to ensure you have the latest updates and understand the rules and requirements specific to the Primitive Loop before planning your camping trip.

Location of Primitive Loop
Other Campgrounds in State Forest State Park
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