Today, camping is an increasingly popular weekend activity. People go for it to get away from the city noise, take the edge of week-long exhaustion, strengthen the relationship with a loved one, connect with nature, learn the art of pitching tents, burning campfires, outdoor cooking, etc.
Why camp in Colorado?
Colorado (the Centennial State) is home to countless beautiful places to camp. The state occupies part of the Rocky Mountains, Colorado Plateau, and Great Plains, and therefore boasts an extremely diverse landscape covered with a tapestry of rivers, streams, hiking trails and pathways, etc. All this makes the area an attraction for tourists, businesspersons, authorities, campers, etc. Here you can visit the Rocky Mountain National Park, marvel at the beauty of Garden of the Gods, enjoy the scenic views of the Maroon Bells, and go for a stay in one of the best campgrounds.
Choose between the best camping spots in Colorado
Campgrounds and campsites are located away from large cities, mostly in or close to national parks, rivers, lakes, and natural tourist destinations. Many of them provide amenities, which are not available for wild campers: water and electricity supply, flush toilets, Wi-Fi, parking lots for RVs etc. Places to camp include tent pitches where campers can set up their tents and stay in them for several days. However, spots differ in size, type, and price, and not all of them provide all these goodies. They can be categorized in the following way:
- Primitive campgrounds do not have water supply, electricity, or sewer hook-ups.
- Partially hooked up camp spots offer electricity and water, but no sewer systems.
- Fully hooked-up places to camp are the best, as they provide all three amenities.
Some large spots offer all blessings of civilization, including stores, restaurants, entertainment centers, etc., which make them comparable to resort areas.
Colorado abounds in natural attractions, and it is home to a variety of camping sites of all types, ranging from primitive to best-in-class glamping areas. Here you can find the best spot and activity for yourself and your companions, regardless of your preferences and budget.
What should I be aware of when camping in Colorado?
- Prior to booking in, please check information about the camp place. There may be restriction arising from the necessity of preventing damage to wildlife. For example, you should not exceed a catch size specified by the administration.
- Please do not leave trash or food behind and leave the camping spot as clean as it was when you were moving in. Douse the fire after using a fire ring and take fire precautions.
- Feeding wild animals is forbidden. If you feed a bear or fox, you may accidentally attract more animals and put yourself, your loved ones, and the staff in danger.
- The best spots to camp in Colorado oblige dog owners to keep their dogs leashed, regulate the number of campers, tents, vehicles, etc. per site, RV length, firework use, etc. Please check the organization’s pet policy and regulations.
- Take precautions if you are planning to go boating, canoeing, fishing, or any other water activity. Do not go for it without wearing a life jacket.
- If you are traveling with your family or friends, always stay together when hiking and do not leave anyone far behind, especially children.
- Whatever camping location you choose, always check guidelines, because they differ from place to place.
- Many camping spots in Colorado are placed high above sea level (8,000-12,000 ft). Please take this factor into consideration if you have experienced symptoms of high-altitude sickness before. Do not visit elevated sites if you have a history of cardiovascular disorders.
Best camping sites in Colorado
Pearl Lake Campgrounds
Located near the Steamboat Lake and in the middle a beautiful mountainous landscape, the campground offers breathtaking views and numerous facilities for campers and nature fans. It is among the best places to camp in Colorado. The Pearl Lake campground includes numerous sites and pitches, as well as boat rentals that offer unique opportunities for fishing, boating, canoeing, etc. It should be noted that motorized boats are not allowed, and there are catch limits.
There are a good number of campsites, and they are well suited for hikers, backpackers, RV, and trailer campers. Besides, they have water supply, flush and non-flush toilets, picnic areas, fire rings, barbecue grills, etc. The diverse wilderness provides an ample choice of outdoor activities like hunting, birdwatching, wildlife photography, hiking/backpacking, equestrian rides.
May Queen Campground (Turquoise Lake)
This camping spot has 27 campsites, including walk-in sites (for privacy lovers) on the western shore of Turquoise Lake, Colorado. It is placed at an elevation and overlooks a beautiful pine forest. The campsites accommodate campers with tents, RVs, and trailers and provide amenities like hand-pumped water, vault toilets, and a trash removal service (there are no hook-ups). Each campsite has tent pads, a picnic area with a fire ring, grate, and table.
Because the campground is located on a lake shore, it offers fishing and boating options (kayak, canoes, etc.). Hikers can enjoy a trip down a 6.4-mile trail and explore the area around the lake. It can be the best spot for horse-riders, mountain bikers, wildlife photographers, and history fans, who can visit the famous Leadville – an old mining town.
Zapata Falls is situated at the bottom of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, near Blanca peak. Its beautiful views, inviting atmosphere, and polite personnel will make you want to stay over here for a bit longer than you have planned.
Located 12 miles from Great Sand Dunes national Park, the camping spot gives numerous scenic views of the San Juan Mountains, as well as the San Luis Valley and Dunes. Even though the camp place is not rich in water, you can enjoy the gurgle of a cold stream and marvel at Zapata Falls.
This place to camp offers the best options for sandboarders and sand sledders. Zapata Falls is just another bright example of Colorado’s unique and diverse nature. The camp spot works on a year-round basis.
Twin Peaks Campground
It is another example of the best Colorado camping ground. It is located in the middle of a fantastic mountainous area, which is overlooked by pebbles like Mt. Elbert, La Plata Peak, the Elk, Sawatch mountains, etc. You will begin to enjoy the sceneries as you drive down Highway 82.
Twin Peaks is among the best first-come, first-served campgrounds. It offers sites that are best suited for tent, RV, and trailer camping. The service does provide amenities like drinking water, toilets, picnic tables, fire rings, etc. This place to camp offers numerous hiking trails, which will leave tons of bright and everlasting memories.
If you would like to spend a weekend in the best camping spot in Colorado, book in beforehand. If you haven’t for some reason and realize that it is already packed, you can move a little further and put up at Lakeview or Parry and enjoy a similar experience. It should be noted that it is located 12,000 ft high above sea level, so if you want to visit this spot, be sure you do not have high altitude sickness. Besides, campers should not leave food unlocked or unattended, because the place is home to a lot of wild animals.
The facility is found in the middle of a quiet and beautiful area that presents a scenic mountainous skyline and offers a stay on the shore of a crystal-clear lake. Apart from countless hiking trails, Lakeview Campground offers options for fishermen, boat fans, and mountain bikers. This place to camp is situated close to Mount Massive – one of Colorado’s highest peaks.
Lakeview is located 29 miles north of Buena Vista and offers sites for tent and RV campers. There are no hook-ups, so there are vault toilets. However, the facility does provide drinking water, picnic areas, fire rings, barbecue grills, etc. One more thing: there are lots of bears in the area, so do your best to keep yourselves and your food safe.
White Star Campground
White Star is another place to camp in Colorado, located near the Twin Lakes Reservoir. Here you can enjoy fishing and boating, try breathtaking hiking trails, mountain climbing, mountain biking, equestrian rides, and marvel at the surroundings from a mountain peak. The area has a rich flora and fauna, so you can go hunting, birdwatching, and make exciting pictures of wildlife.
The facility offers a basic set of amenities, which includes drinking water (hand-pumped), fire rings with grates, vault toilets, camping pads, parking lots, etc. It is suited both for tent and RV/trailer campers. If you are heading to this ground, please, take a lifejacket with you and be very cautious when hiking. Be sure you do not have high-altitude sickness.
Mount Princeton is among the smallest yet best camping spots in Colorado (it has 17 sites). Located near Chalk Green Canyon, it offers quite a bit of hiking trails stretched across a beautiful and diverse landscape. Another wonderful experience you can get here is watching and/or bathing in Mount Princeton Hot Springs, which are located close to the campground.
Prior to settling in Mount Princeton, it is necessary to check its regulations. For example, the administrations do not allow camping or campfires outside campgrounds located along the canyon for safety reasons. Camp sites are best suited for tents, RVs, and trailers. Campers with dogs should use leashes.
Mount Princeton is more of a primitive campground, as it has no hook-ups. Drinking water is available through handpumps, and there are vault toilets.
🏕 Why do many campers choose Colorado campgrounds?
Colorado includes the Rocky Mountains, Colorado Plateau, and Great Plains. Each of these areas is beautiful in its own way, so anyone can find something to marvel at, regardless of tastes or preferences. The diversity has pretty much encouraged businesspersons to build and run camping spots.
📦 What is the best type of campground?
Camping facilities differ in the availability of basic amenities and therefore price. Primitive campgrounds offer tent pads without electricity- and water supply, or sewer hookups. Partially hooked-up camping sites do provide electricity and water, but there are no sewers. Fully hooked-up campgrounds are the best, as they do provide all these amenities.
💡 Is camping in Colorado safe?
Campgrounds strive to prevent accidents by limiting the use of fire, interactions with wildlife, setting boating, bathing, and fishing rules (e. g. wearing life jackets). Every camper must check these rules prior to booking in and strictly abide by these during the stay.