Sometimes We Luck Out and Find A Gem… or Two

Karla Locke
4 min readOct 10, 2022


Gem #1

It was a perfect Fall Day. The air was crisp with an autumn coolness, and fluffy white clouds floated leisurely amongst the backdrop of a cerulean sky. As we ascended uphill, each mile added a breathtaking landscape scattered with Fall colors.

We reached our destination late in the afternoon. Tired from a long day’s drive, we crested the hill to the entrance of Curt Gowdy State Park in Wyoming, the scenery greeted us with a calming serenity that beckoned us to stay. So we did.

This gem of a park is nestled in the foothills just west of Cheyenne and on the edge of Medicine Bow National Forest. The campgrounds are spread out with a focus on the lake and reservoir. In the summer, I imagine the lake is bustling with activities while the loud hum of boats and jet skies fill the air, but in the Fall, it was peaceful and quiet. A relaxing oasis that fed the soul with gentle quietness.

Some of the sites come with electricity only, a few with electricity and water, and the rest provide no service. There is no dump station in the park, so keep that in mind. There are bathrooms (vault toilets) spread throughout the park providing the basic needs. The sites are spread out so neighboring sites are nearby but not close. The sites come with a priceless feature no matter the location — a view. Whether it is a view of the lake or the surrounding hills, nature provides a beautiful show.

There are a variety of trails weaving the way around the park, an invitation to stroll and enjoy each step. Cruise around on a bike to explore the many offerings within the park or enjoy the solitude of floating on the lake in a canoe or small boat. No matter how you experience Curt Gowdy State Park, it will be a memory to cherish for a lifetime.

Curt Gowdy State Park in Wyoming

Gem #2

Chatfield Dam State Park… why did it take so long to discover you.

I grew up in Denver, Colorado. As a child, many would spend hot summer days at Cherry Creek Reservoir playing in the water. Chatfield Dam seemed so far away. While visiting our son, we decided that Chatfield State Park’s campgrounds sounded more like a place to pleasantly unwind after family obligations all day — we were right. Cherry Creek campgrounds would have been closer, but it is smothered by the bustling noise and busyness of the large city, not a peaceful way to enjoy our stay.

Chatfield Dam State Park sparkled with Fall colors littered throughout. Each loop has different offerings, we stayed in D loop, a newer loop, which offered full hookup and large sites, most of which are pull-throughs. Well maintained and clean, you could see the pride in each campsite. No wonder it is a favorite with the locals.

I was pleasantly surprised to find a nice building in our loop with clean bathrooms and showers. I was even more pleasantly surprised to find a nice size laundry room in the building.

This large park offers a variety of outdoor activities; miles of trails for walking or bike riding, fun on the water, fishing or bird watching, a model airplane park, wildlife viewing areas, a corral for horseback riding, and so much more.

Unfortunately, we were too busy to enjoy what the park had to offer, but what a great excuse to visit again. This time we will plan WAY ahead.

Unlike Curt Gowdy State Park, Chatfield Dam was close to stores and was based at the foothills of the Rocky Mountains.

When you find a gem… Treasure It. Enjoy It. And add it to your list of favorite places to camp.

Chatfield State Park



Karla Locke

My creative self needs an outlet, I do this with writing and photography and the occasional thought and opinion.