With cozy campfires, a wide range of activities, and grand stretches of scenery, camping is something that people can and should enjoy all year round. But if you’re planning a wilderness getaway, it’s easy to become overwhelmed by all the different places you can visit. That’s why we highlighted some of the best camping spots in Colorado for you. Whether you’re looking for trails to hike or cute towns to explore, any of these campgrounds are a solid pick for your dream trip.
Known as one of the most iconic landscapes in Colorado, the Maroon Bells are home to three different campgrounds. Each one resides within the woods near West Maroon Creek—which, by the way, look especially beautiful in the fall. The park also boasts a breathtaking view of the twin mountains, which you can see in the reflection of Maroon Lake’s clear waters. It’s all located near Aspen, so if you’re looking to explore off the campground, you can check out the amazing shops and restaurants in town.
Waiting just an hour outside Denver, Guanella Pass is a perfect weekend getaway. You’ll find the campgrounds around the gorgeous national byway, which follows the old wagon trails of miners who used to travel through the valley. As a result, there’s plenty of history to explore alongside the scenery. Visitors can also try their hand at the nearby Mounts Bierstadt and Evans (both standing at over 14000 feet) or spend their evenings relaxing under the iconic star-filled sky.
Cache La Poudre
Another scenic byway, Cache La Poudre holds campgrounds from Walden to Fort Collins. There’s plenty to explore and do, from the usual sight-seeing and hiking to whitewater rafting down the Cache la Poudre River. At either end of the byway, both Walden and Fort Collins have much to offer visitors. Walden is a historic town with a quiet, western atmosphere, while Fort Collins has some great restaurants and brewery tours for you to enjoy.
Forests of fir and spruce dot this campsite near the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. Visitors can explore the granite rock formations and the open alpine meadow stretching out to Bear Lake. There is easy access to the nearby Indian Creek Trail—a popular 14-mile route for hiking, biking, and horseback riding. It’s also an immensely popular spot for casual and serious fishers to catch some great trout.
One of the many gorgeous campgrounds within Rocky Mountain National Park, Moraine is known for its abundance of wildlife. It’s not uncommon to spot black bears, sheep, or moose in the distance. There are also plenty of deer, elk, and coyotes that wander closer to the actual campsites. For any visitors who want to hike into some of the higher mountains, the campground near Fern Lake Trailhead is the best spot. If you’re looking to explore further, there is also a free shuttle running from the campground to the Bear Lake trails and the nearby town of Estes Park.
Campers looking to avoid the crowds of Rocky Mountain National Park can head for the Colorado State Forest, home of the Crags campground. It offers all the beauty and exploration of other popular spots, including access to the ever-popular Pikes Peak. However, rougher access roads result in fewer RVs making it that far up the trail. This means you have a better chance to find a spot during the weekend, and once you’re there, you can enjoy more peace and quiet.
Mesa Verde National Park
Campers at Mesa Verde will enjoy the peaceful landscape and multiple trail options, but the biggest draw is undoubtedly the park’s 4000+ archaeological sites. Dating back to 550 CE, these ancient sites are home to the structures of the Ancestral Pueblo peoples who lived in the area for centuries. As some of the best-preserved ancient structures in the United States, these sites make Mesa Verde a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Buffalo Pass has an ideal location, sitting just outside of Steamboat Springs and the two nearby hot springs resorts. There’s plenty to do in this nearby cowboy town, including local restaurants and tubing down the Yampa River, making it a great place to explore all year round. In the campground itself, visitors can find trails all along the pass. You’ll also discover several lakes to admire or fish in, including Summit Lake, which is easily accessible from the top of the pass. In the winter, skiing and snowmobiling are popular throughout the area.
Located within Great Sand Dunes National Park, Piñon Flats offers a camping experience like no other. Visitors have access to the trails exploring 700-foot high sand dunes—or if you’re feeling more playful, you can try your hand at sandboarding. Massive sand dunes aren’t all this campground has to offer. Forests, lakes, and, of course, gorgeous mountain ranges surround the area, easily making this one of the best camping spots in Colorado.
Oh Be Joyful
This picturesque campsite leads into the 65000-acre forest of Raggeds Wilderness, so there’s plenty to explore. The river and shade from the trees make this a cool escape during the summer, and the views will mesmerize you throughout fall and winter, as well. It’s also not far from Crested Butte—a charming town full of shops, restaurants, and pubs to fill up a day spent exploring the area. Oh, and did we mention it’s free?
Angel of Shavano
Tucked between two ridges and covered in the dense San Isabel National Forest, the Angel of Shavano campground is perfect for anyone looking for a more secluded getaway. Fishers can make their way to the North Fork Reservoir, while anyone looking to spend some time hiking or biking can check out the Colorado Trail. However, if you’re hoping to have a remote, peaceful experience, Angel of Shavano is the spot for you, too.
No matter what kind of camping experience you’re looking for, Colorado has something for you. Get out there and explore some of these iconic campgrounds today. When you go, don’t forget to prepare for the unpredictable weather by bundling up with one of our Colorado hoodies.