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  • Meagan Butler

Wellington Lake in Bailey, Colorado

Wellington Lake

State: Colorado

City: Bailey

Rating: We rated the Wellington Lake campground ★★★★ / ★★★★★ (4/5)

Back in January, just after the new year started, Pat and I began planning what we’d do for the 4th of July. Since the summer is prime camping season in Colorado, we knew that if we didn’t secure a campsite early, we’d most likely miss out on camping over the holiday weekend. We originally planned to go to Gunnison and Crested Butte with our class A for the long weekend, but when our friends told us about the beach-front group campsite they secured at Wellington Lake, we quickly changed our plans. Phil and Andrea have a T@G, and they swore we’d have an unforgettable time if we went camping with them instead.

Any time I take my T@B, I have a good time, so of course, I was excited to go to Wellington Lake with my friends. My only worry about staying at this campground was the primitive conditions. While I am self-contained and have the use of my bathroom, heater, and my solar panels, my poor husband isn’t comfortable in the T@B. He’s gone out a few times with me, but each time it’s just awkward and achy for him because the small interior doesn’t accommodate his six-foot-six, broad-shouldered stature.

After talking with Phil and Andrea, they told us that we should buy an EZ-Up 10 x 10 shelter with a Camping Cube. Since they have a T@G, they needed a place to change clothes and keep their gear, so they purchased and fell in love with their EZ-Up shelter and Camping Cube, and convinced Pat that it was the perfect side shelter for the T@B. The shelter was perfect. Even though Pat was essentially tent camping next to me, he had plenty of space to stand up inside, and he set up a cot and made his shelter almost like a little add-on-room.

We stayed in site #18, which is a beach-front group site large enough for everyone who came with us on the trip. We had the T@B, the T@G, and our friends Sean and Audra rented a small class C RV, and our other friends Cali and Adam came and tent camped with us.

Major Points of Interest

There isn’t a lot around the lake, which makes it perfect if you want to disconnect. Wellington Lake is about 12 miles outside of Bailey, Colorado. The dirt road is narrow and pot-holed in some places, so off-road vehicles or cars and trucks with higher clearances work best.

The Park’s Amenities

  1. Firewood

  2. Fire pits

  3. Picnic tables

  4. Day-use area

  5. Vault toilets

Not Available At Wellington Lake

  1. Pool

  2. Electric

  3. Water

  4. Sewer

  5. Dump Station

  6. Cable TV

  7. Wifi

  8. Laundry

  9. Work out room

  10. Propane

  11. Satellite Service

  12. Cell phone service

What did the dogs think?

This place is a pet’s paradise. Teddy and Pippa gave it eight out of eight paws up. Pets are allowed off-leash at Wellington Lake, but I don’t trust my little spaniels off-leash yet because they chase anything that moves, so they stayed on a leash. The dogs spent a lot of time lounging on their place boards in the sun and watching the ducks pass by. They even slept in the dirt, and as much as I am not a fan of my dogs getting dirty, they loved it, so I can’t deny them that happiness, can I? The dog’s favorite part about Wellington Lake was the beach and the lake. It’s not always easy to find a pet-friendly beach. Since our beach was our campsite, the dogs got to play in the water and take a ride with me on my paddleboard. Even though Teddy did an amazing job paddling with me a few weeks ago, I wasn’t sure that Pippa would like the water or the board. Teddy and Pippa were beyond happy on my paddleboard, and even though they may have been tempted to chase the fish they saw swim past, they just chilled on the board. I’m pretty sure the dogs smiled more than once, and when they weren’t smiling, they had their face turned to the sun and let their ears blow in the wind. It was pure-pooch joy.

Which RV Did We Take?

We took my 2017 320S NüCamp T@B Outback on this trip since the class A isn’t permitted on the roads near Wellington Lake, and my T@B is made for dirt roads and boondock camping. Since we didn’t have hookups, we took full advantage of the sunny days, and we recharged my batteries with our Zamp solar panels.

Wellington Lake is a diamond in the rough. I almost hate to brag about how great this campground is because then more people will find out about it, and it will be harder to secure a spot here!

The Campground

The lake is clean and clear, and many of the campsites line the lake’s perimeter. Wellington Lake is the ideal lakeside mountain campground. The tall mountains that surround the water are covered in evergreen trees, and the air smells like a mountain paradise.

The campground is primitive, so it’s best to have the ability to be off-grid for a few days. Larger rigs won’t fit on the narrow dirt roads around the lake, so if you plan on staying here, make sure your rig is permitted inside of the campground. The road leading to the campground and around the campground is bumpy, so secure your eggs and your gear! Trust me!

There are not many amenities here, but for the camping Wellington Lake offers, this place is perfect. It’s not luxury camping, but if you don’t feel rested and relaxed after staying here, you are doing something wrong! My favorite part about camping at Wellington Lake was the lake views right outside of my T@B door. I also loved paddling intermittently throughout the day without having to prep my board each time I wanted to go on the water.

The only reason I gave this campground a four out of five stars is that it’s primitive in every sense. The bathrooms are a little rustic, and getting here isn’t as easy as driving on a smooth road. Other than that, the only issue we had was with the people walking through our campground from the day-use area to try and find a secluded beach. The reason that section of the beach was excluded because it was our campsite. More than once we had to ask people to walk around our campground, or we had to ask kids to stop riding their bikes across my solar-panel hookups.

I will certainly stay at Wellington Lake again. I’ll just have to plan a trip when I don’t need to have a phone signal or the internet because there is NO service of any kind at this campground!

Other Bits

When you arrive at the campground with a T@G and T@B in tow, people take notice. Why? The campers are cute! While we were checking in, we noticed a couple looking at our campers and pointing in our direction. That happens a lot, so we just ignored them, but while we were setting up, they came over to say hello. It turns out that they have a T@G, and they were staying just around the lake from us. Even stranger? I’ve talked to the wife on more than once occasion on Facebook and Instagram, so we knew each other online but not in person! After hanging out a few different times over the weekend, it looks like we’ve got some new camping friends. What’s even better? I’ve got another girl camper to travel with! Experiences like this make me love being a girl camper even more.


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