Black Mountain, Freeman Reservoir offer camping, hiking

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If you're looking for a secluded place to enjoy a hike or camping trip, Freeman Reservoir and Black Mountain might be what you're looking for.

Located at 8,800 feet, Freeman Reservoir provides opportunities for hiking, camping, fishing, horseback riding or just having a picnic with the family.

The reservoir, which is north of Craig in the Routt National Forest, typically opens in mid-June.

Rachel Franchina, recreation program manager for the U.S. Forest Service's Hahn's Peak and Bears Ears ranger district, said the target opening date this year is June 21.

There is a little more snow this year, so the reservoir will open a few days later than normal.

The reservoir will be open from June through the end of October.

Fishing in the reservoir is one of the more popular activities at Freeman.

The reservoir is stocked with cutthroat trout, one of Colorado's native fish.

There are corrals for horses near the reservoir as well.

A $5 daily use fee is required at the reservoir. Pay at the self-service station and post the required sticker to your car's windshield.

A campground also is available by the reservoir. The campground has 17 units and campers can keep one for 14 days. Cost is $12 per day, and the campground has running water.

The park is generally the busiest during hunting season in the early fall, Franchina said.

The road to Freeman Reservoir turns right off Colorado Highway 13 11.8 miles north of Craig. The reservoir is marked along the highway. Take the gravel road 9.9 miles and find the reservoir just past the forest entrance.

Take the turn just before the Freeman Reservoir turn to get to Black Mountain, the hulking flattop mass visible from most points in Craig. The area is popular among hunters during the early rifle seasons, but it also provides an abundance of primitive camping opportunities and hiking trails.

Keep heading along the road over Black Mountain and you'll eventually find Sawmill Campground. Be aware, the road usually isn't clear until about July 1. The campground has seven sites and it's relatively quiet, so you should be able to get a site at almost any time.

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