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8 Places Where to Go Camping in Colorado

8 Places Where to Go Camping in Colorado

Are you daydreaming of unplugging and spending some time in the great outdoors? Make camping in Colorado your next getaway! 

Colorado is known for its nature and what better way to immerse yourself in it than by spending a night camping in the mountains?

Colorado is full of campsites with stunning views and great hikes to explore. Whether you have one night to spend under the stars or are planning a long camping trip, my list of places to camp in Colorado will help you decide which of the many beautiful places to visit. 

No matter where you pick, you’ll be immersed in a beautiful part of the world!

1. Rocky Mountain National Park 

Rocky Mountain National Park is one of the most visited national parks in the U.S. and it’s one of the best places to go camping in Colorado.

The scenic views and wildlife here are some of the most beautiful in the area. Located near Estes Park, this national park offers hiking and biking trails, places to picnic, fishing areas, and scenic drives through the Rocky Mountains.

There are five different campsites within the national park to choose from all with a variety of different amenities. Whether you’re camping in a simple tent or RV or you need specific facilities, you’ll be able to find a campground that fits your needs. 

The best part is that you will be staying in one of the most beautiful places in Colorado! This is a very popular place to visit, so plan ahead and make your reservations early.

Getting to Rocky Mountain National Park

From Denver, drive 45 miles northwest on I-25 N and US-36 W to Lyons. From here, turn left onto S St Vrain Dr and continue onto CO-7 W until you reach the entrance to Rocky Mountain National Park. 

Your trip from Denver to Rocky Mountain National Park should take around 1.5 hrs. 

Campsites in Rocky Mountain National Park

Moraine Park Campground – This is the best campground in Rocky Mountain National Park as it has lots of facilities and a great location. It is accessible by car and can accommodate RV’s although there are no electrical hookups. 

ACCESS: Located on the east side of Rocky Mountain National Park, the entrance to Morain Park campground is located right at the Moraine Park Discover Center. 

Aspenglen Campground – A much smaller drive-in campground on the east side of the national park with only a handful of sites but most facilities. Better suited to tent camping as there is no dump station. 

ACCESS: Pass the Rocky Mountain National Park Sign near the Fall River Visitor Center on the east of the park and immediately take the Aspenglen Camping road. 

Glacier Basin Campground – The second biggest campground in RMNP, located just south of Moraine Park on the East side of the park. Drive-up sites are suitable for tents and/or RVs however there are no power hookups available. 

ACCESS: Take Bear Lake Road near the Beaver Meadows entrance and follow the signs.

Longs Peak Campground – Small tent-only campsites in a forest at a high elevation (9,500 ft). Has vault toilets but no water so campers must bring their own. 

ACCESS: 20 minutes south of Estes Park on Hwy 7

Timber Creek Campground – The only campsite on the west side of Rocky Mountain National Park, Timber Creek is located on the Colorado River.

ACCESS: 8 miles north of the Grand Lake entrance to RMNP

Moraine Park Aspenglen Glacier Basin Longs Peak Timber Creek 
# Sites101 tent-only13 tent-only73 tent-only26 tent-only30 tent-only
BookingReservation onlyReservation onlyReservation onlyReservation onlyReservation only
OpenYear-round (closed for 2023)Late May – late SeptemberLate May – early Septembermid-JulyLate May – late September
ToiletsFlush toiletsFlush toiletsVault toilets
Food StorageX
Drinking WaterX
Garbage Disposal
Firewood for SaleX
Dump StationXX

2. Maroon Bells

Maroon Bells is one of the most iconic views in all of Colorado. More than 300,000 make the trip to Aspen to see Maroon Bells each summer and fall. 

Though you can complete this beautiful hike in a day, why not spend a night in the stunning Maroon Creek Valley? 

In the summer season, three campgrounds are available to spend a night under the stars and wake up to the iconic views of the yellow aspen trees against the lake and two 14,000-foot mountains surrounding you. 

Make your camping reservation here to make sure you can find a campsite that works for your needs. Reservations open for booking in late May and this is a popular area to camp, so be ready to book if you are interested in spending a night in Maroon Bells.

Getting to Maroon Bells

From Aspen, take CO-82 W to Maroon Creek Rd, and continue on for 5 miles until you reach the Maroon Bells Welcome Station. The drive will take just 15 mins. 

Campsites in Maroon Bells 

Silver Bar Campsite – Small and primitive campground with just 4 sites. Tent-only and walk-in with centralized toilets. 

ACCESS: Located opposite the Maroon Bells Welcome Station. 

Silver Bell –  The biggest campground in Maroon Bells with 14 campsites on the side of Maroon Creek. Some are tent-only, or walk-in sites, and others are standard sites suitable for RVs (without electrical hookups). A handful of sites are reserved for first come first serve availability but it’s wise to pre-book if you can. 

ACCESS: Pass the Maroon Bells Welcome Station and you will find it on your left. 

Silver Queen – Nearby Maroon Creek with views of Pyramid Peak but just 5 sites available for both tents or RVs (no hook-up). This is the only campsite with drinking water available.  

ACCESS: After entering the park at the welcome station, continue past both other campsites until you reach Silver Queen.

Silver BarSilver BellSilver Queen
# Sites4145
BookingReservation recommendedReservation recommendedReservation required
OpenJune – early October June – early OctoberJune – early October
ToiletsVault ToiletsVault ToiletsVault Toilets
Food StorageXXX
Drinking WaterXX
Garbage DisposalXXX
Firewood for SaleXXX
Dump StationXXX

3. Piñon Flats Campground in Great Sand Dunes National Park

The Great Sand Dunes are one of the most unique sights in all of Colorado. Though Colorado is known for its mountains, these sand dunes provide a different kind of awe and fun that will be sure to impress anyone who visits! 

If you want to wake up to views of these spectacular dunes, then book a campsite at Pinon Flats Campground located within the park. 

With 88 individual sites with restrooms, toilets, water spigots, and a place to wash dishes, this campground provides a great base to spend a day or two in the Great Sand Dunes. Make sure to make a reservation in advance. 

Note that not all the campsites here are the same size. Do your research before booking to ensure your equipment fits within your allotted space. 

PRO TIP: Don’t miss out on renting a sand sled and sledding down the dunes! Learn more about sandboarding and other things to do at the Great Sand Dunes here.

  • # Sites: 88
  • Facilities: Flushing toilets, drinking water, food storage lockers, 
  • Booking: Reservation only
  • Open: April – October
  • Access: From the entrance to Great Sand Dunes National Park, continue 5 miles north on the main road to the campground. 

Getting to Great Sand Dunes National Park

From Denver or Colorado Springs, take the I-25S to Walsenburg. From here, follow US-160W to CO-150N to arrive at Great Sand Dunes National Park. 

The journey will take around 3 hours and 40 mins from Denver or 2 hrs 40 mins from Colorado Springs. 

4. Staunton State Park – Camping in Colorado

This state park opened in 2013 but has become a favorite of many Denver locals with its close location to the capital city

Staunton offers a quick escape from city life with 3,800 acres of land to hike, camp, and explore. The park is full of pristine nature, scenic views, and amazing wildlife. Come here to fish, hike, bike, or rock climb and you’ll be sure to enjoy your time in Colorado’s newest state park!

Staunton offers 25 tent campsites in three different areas of the park. Each site has a tent pad, picnic table, and a bear-proof food storage box. There are toilets on site as well for campers to utilize. 

Note that all the sites here are walk-in sites located between 180-800 yards from the parking lot and reservations are required. 

Park passes are $10 per vehicle and a basic campsite will cost you $28.

  • # Sites: 25 walk-in-only sites
  • Facilities: Picnic tables, food storage, vault toilets, water hydrants (in parking lots)
  • Booking: Reservation required
  • Open: Year-round
  • Access: Park at the Meadow Parking lot and follow the signs to walk to your campsite. 

Getting to Staunton State Park

From Denver, leave the city to the South West on US-285 S. Exit at Elk Creek Rd and continue onto Stauton State Park Road. The whole drive takes around 40 mins. 

5. Turquoise Lake Recreation Area in San Isabel National Forest

Are you a lake lover? Then head to Turquoise Lake for your next camping trip! There are eight campgrounds to choose from all located along the 1,800-acre lake with amazing mountain views all around. This is a popular place to come to fish, hike, climb, bike, or camp. 

The most popular campsites are Baby Doe Campground and May Queen Campground, though each of the eight campgrounds offers beautiful views and great accommodations. 

Turquoise Lake is heavily visited in the summer months so make your reservation early here. Reservations for a campsite begin at $26.

Getting to San Isabel National Forest

Turquoise Lake Recreation Area in San Isabel National Forest is about 2 hours drive west of Denver. Take CO-91 S all the way to Leadville North where you can turn onto HWY 24 which will take you to San Isabel National Forest.  

Best Campsites in Turquoise Lake Recreation Area 

Baby Doe – This campsite is found in a forest on the east shore of the lake and many of the sites are very close to the water. There are sites suitable for both tents and RVs but no electrical hookups are available. 

ACCESS: Follow Turquoise Lake Road north around the lake until you see signs for Baby Doe campsite.

May Queen – Located at the far west end of Turquoise Lake this campsite is shaded by a forest and close to the day-use area. 

ACCESS: Take Turquoise Lake Road all the way to the opposite side of the lake from the entrance. Here you will find May Queen Campsite. 

Baby DoeMay Queen
# Sites5127
BookingReservation onlyReservation only
OpenLate May – Early SeptemberLate May – Early September
ToiletsVault toiletsVault toilets
Food StorageXX
Drinking WaterX
Garbage DisposalXX
Firewood for Sale
Dump StationXX

6. Black Canyon of The Gunnison National Park

Source: NPS

This national park in western Colorado is often overlooked but is a truly stunning place to pay a visit! 

With its deep rocky gorges that have been carved out over time by the Gunnison River and all the amazing wildlife to see here, the Black Canyon of the Gunnison makes for a great place to spend a night in nature. This is an especially beautiful place to see the stars as it’s located far out from major cities. 

There are two campgrounds along the two rims of the canyon to choose from with a variety of setups for all types of campers. The cost to reserve a campsite is $21 for an electric campsite or $16 for a non-electric campsite. 

Getting to Gunnison National Park

Montrose is the closest town to Gunnison National Park and it’s located just a 20 min drive from the South Rim. Follow US – 50 E from the town to reach the entrance to the park. 

Campsites in Black Canyon

South Rim Campground – South Rim Campground is located a mile from the Visitor Center and has 88 campsites available. Some have electric hookups while others are more basic. Both of these campgrounds fill up quickly in the summer so make sure to be early when making a reservation.

ACCESS: One mile from South Rim Visitor Center

North Rim Campground – More remote and has 13 unpowered campsites dispersed in the forest. 

ACCESS: Follow North Rim Road until you reach the site. Note the last 7 miles are unpaved. 

South RimNorth Rim
# Sites8813
BookingReservation recommendedFirst come, first served
OpenYear-roundYear round
ToiletsVault toiletsVault toilets
Food Storage
Drinking Water
Garbage Disposal
Firewood for SaleXX
Dump StationXX

7. Mueller State Park

If you’re heading out into nature to see wildlife, then head to Mueller State Park for your next camping trip. 

This state park is known for its diverse wildlife such as black bears, deer, hawks, and elk. It’s located west of Colorado Springs, approximately a two-hour drive from the capital city of Denver. 

There are over 100 campsites in Mueller State Park as well as amenities such as toilets, showers, a dump station, and a playground. A daily vehicle pass will cost you $9 while campsites range from $28 for basic campsites to $36 for electric hookups. 

If you’re looking for a hike to do during your time in Mueller State Park, head out on the Dome Rock trail for stunning views and amazing wildlife along the way.

  • # Sites: 99 Electric sites + 22 walk-in sites
  • Facilities: Flushing toilets, camper services building, firewood *for sale), showers, dump station, playground
  • Booking: Reservation only
  • Open: Year-round
  • Access: Follow the road from the entrance to Mueller State Park to the end where you will find the campsites. 

Getting to Mueller State Park

From Denver, the drive to Mueller State Park will take just under 2 hours. Drive South on the I-25 S to Colorado Springs, then take US-24 to reach W Hwy 24 to arrive at Mueller State Park.   

8. South Mineral Campground in San Juan National Forest

Located in San Juan National Forest, this popular campground has it all, including huge rock walls, vibrant green hills, and stunning turquoise lakes. Red cliffs in the distance top off the scenic views surrounding this campground. 

There are 26 campsites that are all first come, first serve. Sit and enjoy the calming sound of the nearby waterfall or get out and explore the area around the campground. Either way, you’ll be surrounded by stunning nature and you’ll leave feeling more one with nature!

The hike to Ice Lakes is a must-do while staying at South Mineral Campground. With outstanding views, bright blue lakes, and many wildflowers along the way, this hike is sure to provide some amazing memories from your trip.

  • # Sites: 26 non-powered sites
  • Facilities: Vault toilets, drinking water, trash cans
  • Booking: First come, first serve
  • Open: Mid-May to September
  • Access: Follow Forest Road 585 outside of Silverton for 4 miles to the campground
  • Cost per campsite: $34

Getting to San Juan National Forest

From Montrose, drive 2 hours straight down the US-550 S which will take you all the way to your destination. 

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