Ultimate Guide to the Best Camping in Colorado: Top Picks for 2024

Best Campgrounds in Colorado

If you’re after the best camping in Colorado, look no further. Though spoiled for choice—much like those seeking out Colorado’s best natural hot springs—residents and visiting campers can enjoy the fact that Colorado is home to a lifetime’s worth of campsites. From the wilderness of Gunnison National Park to the cultural backdrop of Mesa Verde, camping in Colorado encompasses options for all—from seasoned backpackers to family adventurers. Jump right into our expert selection to plan your trip with confidence.

Top Considerations

  • Rocky Mountain National Park provides an idyllic camping experience with a host of activities, including hiking, fishing, and horseback riding, complemented by a variety of campsites that offer stunning natural views and wildlife spotting opportunities.
  • Colorado offers a plethora of camping opportunities, ranging from the unique terrain and activities of Durango and the adventure-laden Gunnison National Park to the rustic and secluded tent camping locales of North Central Colorado, catering to a diversity of camping preferences.
  • For those seeking unique lodging, Colorado’s camping scene includes family-friendly options near Fort Collins, traditional campgrounds with equestrian facilities in Roosevelt National Forest, and distinctive stays in cabins, yurts, or treehouses that offer a blend of comfort and wilderness.

Spectacular Camping Experiences in Rocky Mountain National Park

Rocky Mountain National Park Glacier Basin Campground in Colorado

Immerse yourself in the stunning landscapes of Rocky Mountain National Park. Located in the heart of the majestic Rocky Mountains, 65 miles northwest of Denver and less than 50 miles southwest of Fort Collins, the park is the perfect place to elevate your camping game. Known for its unparalleled beauty, the park offers an array of camping experiences with various sites amid picturesque surroundings, including trickling creeks, rushing waterfalls, and forested areas shaded by Aspens and Pines. The National Park Service ensures that your visit to this breathtaking national park will be memorable.

Fishing, horseback riding, and hiking are just a few of the activities you can enjoy whether you reserve a spot at Aspenglen, Glacier Basin, Timber Creek, or Moraine Park. The park’s trails lead to postcard-perfect destinations like Alberta Falls, The Loch, Bear Lake, and Ouzel Falls, each offering unique landscapes and experiences, from tranquil alpine lake loops to dramatic waterfall views.

For the more adventurous campers, challenging trails like Flattop Mountain, Deer Mountain Summit, and Twin Sisters Peaks reward climbers with panoramic vistas across the Rockies. Overlook Ranch near Estes Park, conveniently located minutes away from Lake Estes and park entrances, offers panoramic views of the Rockies if you’re looking for accommodations near the park.

Camping Near Durango: Unique Terrain

In Southwest Colorado, the La Plata County town of Durango offers a diversity of camping experiences, mirroring the diversity of its terrain. From historic sites and stunning landscapes to a variety of outdoor activities, camping adventures are among the most popular and unique things to do in Durango.

The campgrounds near Durango cater to both seasoned campers and novices, offering a diverse range of experiences. Some highlights include:

  • The serenity of the San Juan Mountains
  • Mountain biking on rugged trails
  • Exploring nearby hiking trails
  • Fishing in the Animas River
  • Enjoying scenic views and wildlife spotting

Each day brings a new adventure to Durango’s campgrounds.

Immerse yourself in the tranquil beauty of the Colorado night sky as you gather around a campfire at sunset. The great outdoors is one of the things Durango is famous for, and there’s no better way to experience it than camping.

Unforgettable Gunnison National Park Campsites

Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park in Colorado

Gunnison National Park, nestled in the heart of Colorado, is a source of unforgettable camping experiences. The park boasts scenic campgrounds, breathtaking canyon views, and a plethora of outdoor activities, making it a must-visit destination for camping enthusiasts.

The South Rim Campground is a favorite among campers, offering magnificent canyon views and year-round camping. For a more rugged experience, try dispersed camping at Blue Mesa Reservoir, where you can enjoy water sports, rock climbing, and ATV trails.

Gunnison National Park offers a blend of adventure and scenic views that is simply unmatched, whether you’re camping at the Rosy Lane campground nestled near the Taylor River or exploring the adjacent Hartman Rocks Recreation Area near Blue Mesa Reservoir.

Tent Camping Gems in North Central Colorado

Uncover hidden gems that offer rustic and secluded tent camping sites amidst stunning natural surroundings in the heart of North Central Colorado. Whether you’re a seasoned camper or a novice, these campgrounds promise a memorable outdoor experience.

Clear Creek Getaway, near historic Idaho Springs, offers 13 sites with incredible mountain views and access to outdoor activities such as river rafting and fly fishing. For a more rustic experience, Arapaho Valley Ranch in Granby provides tent sites surrounded by the Arapaho National Forest, boasting panoramic views of the Colorado River Valley.

North Central Colorado offers an enticing array of tent camping gems, including:

  • Lost Lake Dispersed Camping Area near Red Feather Lakes offers a remote nature experience with regulations to protect the lake environment.
  • Pawnee Campground and Guanella Pass Campground are located in Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forests.
  • Prospector Campground near Idaho Springs offers a rustic camping experience.

White River National Forest: A Camper's Paradise

Old Crystal Mill Site in White River National Forest in Colorado

Immerse yourself in the camper’s paradise of White River National Forest, located approximately midway between Vail and Aspen. With various campgrounds and many outdoor activities, this national forest promises an unforgettable camping experience in the heart of Colorado.

Campgrounds like Difficult Campground, Lost Man Campground, and Silver Bell offer unique features such as first-come, first-served sites, reservable spots, high altitude settings for majestic views, and some even require visitors to bring their own water. For a more adventurous experience, the forest provides dispersed camping experiences, allowing backpacking and undeveloped car camping along designated Forest Roads.

White River National Forest offers a blend of comfort and adventure that is truly a camper’s paradise, whether you’re camping at the Prospector and Silver Bell campgrounds or venturing into the wilderness for some dispersed camping.

Exploring Colorado Springs' Campgrounds

Explore the diverse campgrounds of Colorado Springs and unleash your spirit of adventure. Nestled in the shadow of Pikes Peak and near the stunning Garden of the Gods, these campgrounds offer unique experiences that cater to various camping styles.

Garden of the Gods RV Resort offers views of Pikes Peak and the Rockies, features two heated swimming pools, and provides free Wi-Fi, situated in close proximity to Cave of the Winds Mountain Park. The Garden of the Gods Recreation Area allows for camping, hiking, and nature watching, known for its scenic beauty and rock formations.

Though unsuitable for trailers or RVs, the Mount Herman Road Camping Area provides stunning views of the Front Range and Pikes Peak for those seeking more secluded camping experiences. Whether you’re camping at the Garden of the Gods RV Resort or seeking a more primitive experience at Mount Herman Road Camping Area, Colorado Springs offers a variety of campgrounds that cater to every camper’s preferences.

Mesa Verde National Park: Camping Amidst Ancient Wonders

RV Camping in Mesa Verde National Park in Colorado

Camp amidst ancient wonders in Mesa Verde National Park in Southwest Colorado and take a step back in time. Home to over 4,700 archaeological sites, this national park offers a unique blend of ancient culture and modern comforts, making it a must-visit destination for camping enthusiasts.

Providing modern comforts such as:

  • picnic tables
  • fire pits
  • showers
  • a camp store
  • a coin-operated laundromat

Morefield Campground is in the northeast part of Mesa Verde National Park, just 15 miles east of the Cortez community. The campsite offers 267 tent-, trailer-, and RV-friendly sites, along with 85 tent-only campsites. The park’s mission to preserve and enhance knowledge about the Ancestral Puebloan culture adds to the unique camping experience, allowing you to appreciate both nature’s beauty and the ingenuity of past civilizations while camping under the starlit Colorado sky.

Colorado Trail Camping: Trekking Through the Centennial State

Embark on a trek through the Centennial State on the famed Colorado Trail, which originates just miles from Historic Downtown Durango and runs for nearly 500 miles, terminating just southwest of Denver. With camping options along the way and breathtaking scenery, this trail offers a unique camping experience combining adventure and the great outdoors.

Popular among hikers and outdoor enthusiasts, the Colorado Trail offers stunning scenery and well-maintained paths suitable for a range of activities. Whether you’re a beginner or a veteran hiker, the trail offers a variety of segments that cater to your skill level and preferences, each promising a unique experience and stunning views.

Campgrounds along the Colorado Trail, such as Little Scraggy Camp, provide necessary amenities along with access to trails. Successfully navigating the Colorado Trail involves being prepared with the right gear and planning for resupplying.

Southern Colorado Camping Escapades

South Mineral Campground in San Juan National Forest in Colorado, Near Silverton

Embark on unique camping escapades in Southern Colorado, where the diverse landscape offers countless adventures. From the towering sand dunes of Great Sand Dunes National Park to the serene lakeside spots at Eleven Mile State Park, Southern Colorado promises camping experiences that will leave you with unforgettable memories.

Great Sand Dunes National Park offers unique camping experiences at Piñon Flats Campground, just a short distance from the towering sand dunes, while the nearby Zapata Falls Campground affords views of the Dunes, San Luis Valley, and the San Juan Mountains.

For a more aquatic experience, Eleven Mile State Park Campground is located along the Eleven Mile Reservoir, providing activities like boating and fishing, while Lake Pueblo State Park’s Arkansas Point Campground offers sites suited to both tent and RV campers, with access to boating, kayaking, fishing, and on-land trails for hiking and biking.

Finally, Southwest Colorado’s best ski towns are significant draws, but camping in the region is fantastic. Beyond the Durango area and Mesa Verde National Park, the San Juan National Forest is great for tent and RV camping.

Options Abound for Camping in Colorado

Camping in Colorado is an experience like no other. From the majestic Rocky Mountain National Park to the unique terrain of the historic town of Durango, from the breathtaking views of Gunnison National Park to the rustic charm of North Central Colorado, the state offers a wealth of camping experiences that cater to every preference and skill level. Whether you prefer dispersed camping near Durango or a glamping cabin outside of Denver, these scenic spots are sure to deliver.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much are campsites in Colorado?

Campsites in Colorado can range from free for dispersed camping in some areas to over $100 per night for RV parks and private campgrounds, but on average, prices are around $20 to $40 per night for a basic tent or RV campsite.

What are some of the best campgrounds in Rocky Mountain National Park?

The best campgrounds in Rocky Mountain National Park include Aspenglen, Glacier Basin, Timber Creek, and Moraine Park. Happy camping!

What unique camping experiences are available in Colorado?

In Colorado, you can have unique camping experiences such as staying in cabins, yurts, and treehouses. Consider exploring these options for a memorable camping adventure.

If you're ready to move to Colorado, call Colorado Property Group of RE/MAX with Durango Homes for Sale at (970) 946-0601 to reach a local real estate agent who can help you find your dream home.

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