Wellington Lake Not What it Used to Be
We went camping last weekend to a place we first found in the mid 1980's. We hadn't been there in about 5 years since we had been living in Oklahoma, so the trip was highly anticipated and as such... highly disappointing.
Wellington Lake is a beautiful place located just south of the town of Bailey Colorado, off HWY 285 about 12 miles. But camping there nowadays is like camping in my small backyard without any fences between me and the neighbors and the neighbors are all camping in their yards too... YIKES!
In the "old days" lol, it was a secluded spot few knew about... mostly locals in the Bailey Conifer area. I recall taking my daughter's entire softball team including parents there in the mid 1990's and spent less than me and my wife and son spent this past weekend.
In the past few years Castle Mtn Recreation decided to double or triple the number of campsites, double or triple the prices and nickle and dime you to death in between. It cost us $55 for two people for two nights including fishing... not including the $25 of firewood I had to buy because it's against the rules to bring wood in (pine beetles) etc. The couple in front of me in line.... yes I said line, to pay was charged $88 just for the fishing fee as they had like 5 kids... holy crap.
They now have more rules than they do fish in the lake, like campfires completely out by 10pm, they lock the gate at 8:30 pm and no moving the fire rings dammit!
On Sunday my son was unable to get to the water to throw out a line without doing it from the middle of someone's camp or on top of other fishermen (and fishergals), it was woodstock.
In my opinion they have ruined this once great camping spot. Too many campsites, too many people for the water frontage access and too many rules (probably from having too many people).
So... if you are in Colorado and want a beautiful place to camp... Wellington Lake is that for sure, but don't go on the weekend. It's like being at the mall.
However, those of you reading this in Oklahoma can still enjoy the beauty and low cost of Lake Tenkiller... my favorite place in Oklahoma.