Camping in Colorado

      What you need to know before you go camping in Colorado.

      Your Go-To Colorado Camping Guide

      Colorado beckons outdoor enthusiasts with its majestic peaks, vibrant wildflower meadows, and star-studded night skies. Treat yourself to waking up to crisp mountain air, breathing in the scent of pine, and feeling the sun warm your face. Whether you’re a seasoned camper or a curious newbie, Colorado offers an unforgettable adventure.

      Choose from diverse landscapes: hike through Rocky Mountain National Park’s alpine paradise, camp beneath towering sand dunes in Great Sand Dunes National Park, or explore the red rock wonders of Garden of the Gods. Cozy up by a campfire as night falls, roast marshmallows under a blanket of stars, and lose yourself in the magic of the outdoors.

      Best Places To Camp In Colorado

      Rocky Mountain National Park

      Encompassing iconic peaks like Longs Peak and Trail Ridge Road, the park offers stunning alpine scenery, diverse wildlife, and numerous campgrounds. Popular options include Moraine Park and Glacier Basin, known for their breathtaking views.

      Rocky Mountain National Park Colorado

      Great Sand Dunes National Park

      Forget the beach, embrace the surreal beauty of towering sand dunes reaching 750 feet! Climb, slide, or sandboard down these giant slopes, then gaze at the Milky Way unobscured by light pollution. Piñon Flats Campground puts you steps away from the dunes, while Zapata Campground offers a quieter experience near wetlands teeming with birdlife. Pack your sense of adventure and sunscreen!

      Great Sand Dunes National Park Colorado

      Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park

      Feel dwarfed by the dramatic grandeur of this 2,000-foot-deep canyon carved by the Gunnison River. Hike along the rim for dizzying overlooks, or descend into the depths on thrilling trails. Stay at South Rim Campground for epic sunrise panoramas and stargazing sessions that will leave you speechless. Don’t forget your camera and sturdy hiking boots!

      Black Canyon Of The Gunnison National Park Colorado

      Colorado National Monument

      A wonderland of otherworldly sandstone canyons, mesas, and rock formations sculpted by wind and time, hike through the dramatic Monument Canyon, explore ancient petroglyphs, and witness breathtaking sunrises and sunsets painting the rocks in vibrant hues. Saddlehorn Campground offers convenient access to trails and overlooks while offering solitude under the starry sky. Embrace the geological wonders!

      Colorado National Monument

      Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre & Gunnison National Forests

      Get lost in the vastness of this interconnected forest complex, encompassing scenic mountains, valleys, and shimmering lakes. Explore the Grand Mesa, the world’s largest flat-topped mountain, hike through wildflower meadows in the West Elk Mountains, or paddle on Curecanti National Recreation Area’s turquoise waters. Campgrounds like Grand Mesa and Curecanti offer diverse experiences for every outdoor enthusiast. Pack your exploration spirit!

      Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre & Gunnison National Forests Colorado

      Pike National Forest

      Home to the iconic Pikes Peak, this forest promises spectacular landscapes. Challenge yourself to the summit hike, drive the scenic Pikes Peak Highway, or explore the numerous trails winding through diverse ecosystems. Camp near Eleven Mile State Park for boating and fishing fun, or choose Barr Lake Campground for breathtaking sunsets behind Pikes Peak. Get ready for breathtaking vistas!

      Pike National Forest Colorado

      Things To Do In Colorado

      Cripple Creek

      Step back in time to the Wild West era in this historic mining town. Explore old mines, gamble in historic casinos, and learn about the town's colorful past at the Cripple Creek District Museum.


      A vibrant capital city, buzzing with art galleries, museums, and trendy neighborhoods, Denver is a must-visit when you’re in Colorado. Visit the Denver Art Museum, stroll through the historic Larimer Square, or catch a show at the Red Rocks Amphitheatre, a renowned open-air venue nestled amidst dramatic rock formations.

      Trail Ridge Road

      As the highest continuous paved highway in North America, winding through breathtaking mountain scenery, feel free to take a drive down this scenic route when you’re in Colorado. Stop at overlooks for panoramic vistas of valleys, glaciers, and snow-capped peaks. Keep an eye out for alpine wildlife like pikas and ptarmigans.

      Sand Creek Massacre National Historic Site

      Learn about the tragic history of the Sand Creek Massacre, a turning point in the ongoing conflict between settlers and Native Americans. Pay your respects at the memorial and gain a deeper understanding of this significant event.

      Animas Forks Ghost Town

      This abandoned silver mining town is nestled in the San Juan Mountains. Explore weathered structures, imagine the lives of miners, and capture eerie photographs of this forgotten outpost.

      Bent's Old Fort

      Step back in time to the fur trade era at this reconstructed adobe fort on the Arkansas River. Explore exhibits showcasing the lives of fur trappers, traders, and Native Americans, and experience living history demonstrations.

      Crested Butte Mountain

      A vibrant mountain biking scene in Crested Butte, this stunning location offers trails for bikers of all skill levels. Conquer challenging routes, enjoy scenic valleys, and experience the thrill of mountain biking in the Rockies.

      Painted Mines Interpretive Park

      Wander through vibrant hues of red, white, and purple in this otherworldly landscape of eroded clay formations. Hike amidst colorful canyons, photograph captivating geological wonders, and witness the artistry of nature's brush.

      South Colony Lakes

      At this cluster of alpine lakes nestled amidst breathtaking peaks, hike to the Lower Lake for stunning reflections, or venture further for panoramic mountain views. Immerse yourself in the quietude of nature, listen to the whisper of wind through pines, and reconnect with the wilderness.

      Bishop Castle

      Marvel at the whimsical creation of Jim Bishop, a self-taught builder who dedicated over 60 years to constructing this unique castle. Explore the intricate stonework, climb spiral staircases, and marvel at the dedication and artistry poured into this ongoing project.

      Carousel of Happiness, Nederland

      Ride a merry-go-round carved entirely from recycled wood and powered by human strength. Discover the hikayats (stories) embedded in each animal figure, experience the joy of community-driven art, and create a heartwarming memory in this quirky town.

      Ouray Ice Park

      Experience the thrill of challenging frozen waterfalls amidst stunning scenery. Learn ice climbing techniques, conquer vertical ice formations, and enjoy the unique winter wonderland of Ouray, known as the "Switzerland of America."

      The Colorado Campground & Lodging Owners Association (CCLOA) is the professional trade association for those who operate Colorado outdoor hospitality businesses: campground, RV park, resort, glamping, and other lodging options for outdoor enthusiasts.

      Featured Colorado Parks

      Inspiration From Our Nearby States

      Book an RV in Colorado

      Craving breathtaking mountain vistas, vibrant wildflowers, and star-studded nights under the Milky Way? Ditch the crowded hotels and book your Colorado RV adventure today! Explore hidden gems, camp by majestic peaks, and relish campfire evenings under the vast sky. Your home-on-wheels awaits, offering freedom, flexibility, and unforgettable memories. Don't wait - secure your RV and hit the road to Colorado's wild beauty.

      Frequently Asked Questions

      Yes, reservations are required for camping at all Colorado state parks. You can reserve online or by phone up to six months in advance. National parks and forests may have different procedures, so check their websites for details.

      1. Choose your destination: Consider factors like desired scenery, activities, desired amenities, and accessibility. Research different options like national parks, state parks, forests, and private campgrounds.
      2. Determine your season: Each season offers unique experiences. Summer is popular but crowded, while spring, fall, and winter offer solitude and different landscapes.
      3. Check for reservations: Most Colorado state parks require reservations. National parks and forests may have different procedures. Book early, especially for popular destinations and peak season.
      4. Gather your gear: Pack essentials like a tent, sleeping bag, sleeping pad, clothing for layers, footwear, headlamp, and first-aid kit. Adapt your gear for the chosen season and location.
      5. Research the area: Check for fire restrictions, weather forecasts, trail closures, and any special permits needed. Familiarize yourself with the area and Leave No Trace principles.

      Colorado enjoys four distinct seasons, each offering unique camping experiences. Summer (June-August) is peak season with warm days and cool nights, but also crowds and higher prices. Spring (May-June) and fall (September-October) offer pleasant temperatures and fewer crowds. Winter camping (December-February) requires proper gear and preparation, but rewards with stunning snowy landscapes and solitude.

      Some of the most popular spots include:

      • Rocky Mountain National Park: Experience alpine scenery, diverse wildlife, and iconic peaks like Longs Peak.
      • Great Sand Dunes National Park: Climb towering sand dunes, stargaze under vast skies, and explore unique ecosystems.
      • Mesa Verde National Park: Step back in time at cliff dwellings of the Ancestral Puebloans amidst canyons and mesas.
      • Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park: Hike dramatic cliffs, explore the depths of the canyon, and witness breathtaking sunrises.
      • San Juan Mountains: Discover charming towns, scenic drives, hot springs, and abundant outdoor activities.

      Absolutely! Colorado is a camper's paradise, offering diverse landscapes, stunning scenery, and a variety of camping options from national parks and forests to state parks and private campgrounds. With mountains, meadows, sand dunes, canyons, and more, there's something for everyone.

      No, dispersed camping (camping outside designated campgrounds) is generally not allowed on public lands in Colorado. You must camp in designated campsites to protect the environment and ensure everyone has a safe and enjoyable experience.

      National parks and forests may have additional restrictions, so always check their regulations.

      Costs vary depending on several factors:

      • Campground type: State parks generally have lower fees than national parks or private campgrounds.
      • Site amenities: Campsites with hookups, showers, or other amenities will cost more than basic sites.
      • Season: Peak season often comes with higher rates.
      • Group size: Fees may be based on the number of people or vehicles.

      Expect to pay anywhere from $10-50 per night for basic campsites and upwards of $100 for premium sites with amenities.

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