Best Camping In Colorado

A Collection Of Colorado’s Top Campgrounds To Visit

Best Campgrounds In Colorado to Visit

With more than 13 million acres of protected public land, Colorado is home to 11 different National Forests. These national forests contain the most breathtaking landscapes in the entire Rocky Mountain region. As a result, Colorado state has arguably some of the best campgrounds and camping spots in the entire country.

Not only is Colorado a beautiful state, but you have access to so many different outdoor activities that you and your family can enjoy! Hiking, river rafting, hunting and fishing, horseback riding, or just escaping the noise of city life, are just a few ways you can savor your camping experience.

In this article, we’ll be exploring some of the places you can visit to experience the best camping in Colorado. Whether you’re a first-time or experienced camper, this list will give you some great places to explore for your next camping adventure.

Browse the best camping in Colorado spots below. Click on any of these links to jump to the Colorado campground you want to see:

The Best Camping In Colorado

1. Glenwood Canyon

Hanging Lake Colorado Camping

We’re big fans of hot springs here at Our Community Now, and one of our favorite spots to go camping has to be in Glenwood Canyon Resort, which is just a short drive away from the Glenwood Hot Springs Resort.

At Glenwood Canyon, you can enjoy camping right next to the Colorado River, as well as hike an active volcano nearby, Dotsero Crater.

Plus, it offers the perfect setup no matter what your style of camping is, whether that be in an RV or tent.  It’s truly the best of both worlds; you can sleep under the stars at night and soak in the natural mineral-rich waters by day.

Hanging Lake is another breathtaking site to see while you’re visiting Glenwood Springs.  The lake is located at the top of a 1.2-mile trail that is well worth the effort.

The hike is about 3.2 miles round trip and will take you about 2 hours to complete, so set aside about a half of a day for exploring.  During your trip there, you will discover a large waterfall that sits behind Hanging Lake which flows from the limestone cliffs into the lake below.

If you’re spending time in Glenwood then do yourself a favor and catch the shuttle that will take you from the Hanging Lake Welcome Center directly to the trailhead.  Be forewarned, that the hike is pretty challenging in spots so be sure to wear a good pair of hiking boots and pack enough water.

Kristina Shriver | Our Community Now at Colorado

Glenwood Springs, Colorado’s favorite Hot Springs town features two stunning camping resorts and a variety of free campsites around town. The Flat Tops Wilderness Area surrounds Glenwood Springs and the hill sides of Sunlight Mountain Resort offer beautiful off-grid campsites close to town.
Bair Ranch is one of the oldest family-owned and operated working ranches in Colorado.

The Glenwood Canyon makes for a beautiful backdrop and plays host to tons of onsite activities. Offering gorgeous rustic log cabins and lodging for groups of all sizes, High Canyon Adventures give guests an authentic Colorado ranch experience. Onsite activities include ATV tours, big game hunting, cookouts, horseback riding, off-road adventures, and whitewater rafting.

Glenwood Canyon Resort is located in Glenwood Canyon alongside the Colorado River just minutes from Glenwood Springs. Offering a diverse choice of lodging types to meet guests’ every need including tent sites, glamping, suites, large RV sites, and cabins.

Visitors can also find beautiful free campsites near Sunlight Mountain Resort, overlooking Glenwood Springs with stunning views of Mount Sopris and the Roaring Fork Valley.

For more information on the variety of stunning outdoor adventures in Glenwood Springs visit VisitGlenwood.com!

Marlene Neidert | VisitGlenwood.com

2. Green Ridge Campground, Arapaho National Recreation Area

Green Ridge Campground Colorado Camping

Photo Credit: fs.usda.gov

The Rocky Mountains are filled with ideal camping spots for whatever type of camping you are seeking. Yet, our favorites are located inside the Arapaho National Recreation Area near Granby and Grand Lake. We enjoy hiking, kayaking, and fishing when camping.

Green Ridge Campground is ideally situated along the shores of Shadow Mountain Lake and the Colorado River while providing stunning views of the mountains. It has less shade than we’d like, but it’s quiet and has easy access to the water.

With 78 non-electric camping sites, there is plenty of accommodations for campers with tents, trailers, and RVs.  Each camping site contains a tent pad, fire grate, and a picnic table so you can really set up your home base the extent of your trip.

There are park restrooms, trash services, and drinking water facilities as well as a boat ramp available so you can easily load your boat into the lake.

Nicky Omohundro | Littlefamilyadventure.com

3. Dumont Lake Campground on Rabbit Ears Pass

Dumont Lake Campground

Photo Credit: Dumontlake.com

There are lots of good places for camping in Colorado, but one of the best ones for wildflower lovers would be the Dumont Lake Campground on Rabbit Ears Pass 22 miles southeast of Steamboat Springs U.S. Highway 40.

Bordering on the continental divide, the campground is surrounded by meadows that are thick with flowers of all kinds in late July. Hikers can take the nearby trail up to Rabbit Ears Peak where you can see expansive views in all directions.

The trail is an easy to moderate hike of about five miles round-trip. And Dumont Lake itself is a pretty little lake that offers fishing, boating, or if you prefer, a nice place to sit and relax.

The Dumont Lake Campground has both small campgrounds as well as day-use areas. The campsites here are exceptionally private and roomy, and most of them have clear views of the alpine meadow around the lake.

Visitors and campers also have access to three restroom areas and fresh drinking water pumps.  This campground should be opening sometime in early July, assuming all the recent snow up there melts by then.

Karen Price | Colorado-Hiking-Vacations.com

4. Moraine Park Campground, Rocky Mountain National Park

Photo Credit: nps.gov

Rocky Mountain National Park has some of the best camping available in Colorado.  One of the campsites that we absolutely love is Moraine Park Campground.

This Colorado campground is located in Rocky Mountain National Park, near the Beaver Meadows Entrance on Highway 36.  It is particularly great for hiking and people that simply love the outdoors.

You can enjoy really cheap prices and there is always a really high possibility you will see wildlife.  Some of the most common wildlife there include mule deer, Rocky Mountain elk, Black bears, coyotes, bighorn sheep, and moose.

Facilities are great for both RVs and tents, as the roads are paved.  Moraine Park Campground has single-family tent-only sites, walk-to tent sites and RV sites without hookups.

Moraine Park Campground is clean and you surely want to talk to the rangers as they are super friendly. This always makes the experience better because you can learn and explore the area fully.

Boris | traveltipsor.com

5. Forest Service Road 260, Gray’s & Torrey’s Peaks

Gray's and Torrey's Peak Best Colorado Camping

For me, the best camping in Colorado is located at Forest Service Road 260 just before Montezuma and on the south side of Greys Peak.  There are tons of free camping options in Colorado, but there are three things that make me love this area for camping more than any other.

To start, it’s a short drive from Keystone or Montezuma so if you need to grab food, beer, or anything else, you can.  Secondly, this campground is in the middle of an old mining area which totally makes you feel like you went back in time!  Thirdly, you have access to one of Colorado’s best 14ers, Grays and Torrey Peak, from the south side which is a way better approach.

Also, you’re only a few miles drive from Montezuma, which is filled with great hikes, off-roading adventures, and a creek that runs through the area giving you access to a fresh water supply.  Just a mile before the Argentine Pass Trailhead has the best free camping (about where the arrow is) but all along that road 260 up until the trailhead you can find a lot of free camping.

Free Colorado camping map

The roads a bit tough for an RV to get all the way in, trust me I’ve tried, so it’s better for you tent campers. As long as there hasn’t been too much rain, most cars can make the drive.  Although it is better if you can make the drive using a 4×4.

Robyn Robledo | Nomads With A Purpose

6. Pinon Flats Campground, Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve

Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve Colorado Campground

While there are so many incredible places to camp in Colorado, one of the most unique camping experiences we had was at the Pinon Flats Campground in Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve.

We’ve seen a handful of locations with dunes and well, the ones here are literally the tallest in North America! The campgrounds here have plenty of trees for shade with an epic view of the Great Sand Dunes and surrounding mountains.

We had to walk barefoot across the Medano Creek before summiting the sand. Then, we rented sandboards and spent an equal amount of time tumbling down the dunes as we did riding down them.

We also hiked about 6 miles of the Sand Ramp Trail which runs along the outskirts of the dunes and gives you a more immersive experience of the surrounding flora.

Colorado is an incredible playground and to choose just one campground as the best is difficult, but you’ll surely be hard-pressed to find something more unique than these uniquely placed piles of sand.

Nathan & Shelby | We Who Roam

7. Columbine Campground, Montrose, Colorado

Uncompahgre Plateau Colorado

Photo Credit: fs.usda.gov

The Divide Road (FR 402) near Montrose, Colorado, is one of our favorite places to spend time under the stars.

The Divide Road slices across the Uncompahgre Plateau, and there are numerous designated and undesignated camping areas along its 40-mile course.  This area definitely has some of the best camping in Colorado due to all of these beautiful camping areas.

One of the top formal campgrounds is the Columbine Campground, which has six designated campsites with tables and fire rings/grills. We use this campground as a basecamp for hiking, OHVing, horseback riding, and mountain biking.

It is a no-fees pack-in, pack-out campsite, so there is no drinking water or trash collection provided.  Also, you don’t need to have a reservation to camp here, because it is a first come first serve site.

Don’t miss out on the changing aspen leaves in the fall – the area hosts some of the largest aspen stands in Colorado state!

Josh Tenneson  |  Nomad Colorado

8. Lone Eagle Peak, Crater Lake Campground

Photo Credit: alltrails.com

It’s extremely difficult to pick the very best camping spot in Colorado, if not impossible. There’s just so much to see and explore, and so many options for all skill levels and preferences.

Whether you’re car camping with the kids, or planning an easy overnight fishing adventure, or trekking a 20+ mile out-and-back trail, it’s all at your fingertips.

If we had to narrow it down to one of our all-time favorite spots, it’s hard not to mention Lone Eagle Peak.

You can set up base camp at Crater Lake Campground.  You take the Cascade Creek Trail to Mirror Lake and Crater Lake and end up at one of the most picturesque spots in Colorado.

And when you get there, it may look a little familiar. Hint: just check out the packaging design on our Pad Thai.

Drew Carone | BackpackersPantry.com

9. Cedar Ridge Ranch in Carbondale, Colorado

Cedar Ridge Ranch in Carbondale, Colorado

Photo Credit: CedarRidgeRanch.com

For those with young kids, glamping is a great alternative to camping since it provides a blend of nature activities with family-friendly amenities. We recommend the Cedar Ridge Ranch in Carbondale, Colorado!

They offer a variety of options such as safari tents, cabins, and yurts. There are plenty of activities to keep you busy as well. There’s a small pond where you can fish (catch and release), a ranch with plenty of animal encounters, and even regularly scheduled Alpaca Yoga.

The town of Carbondale is also a short drive away, with various breweries and restaurants, as well as access to outdoor fun like rafting, biking, and horseback riding.

Above all, Glamping at the Cedar Ridge Ranch offers a wide variety of family-friendly activities making it a great place to camp for everyone.

Rod | TheJetsettingFamily.com

10. Lost Park Campground Jefferson, Colorado

Photo Credit: southparkheritage.org

Lost Park campground is located just before the town of Jefferson, Colorado about 80 minutes southwest of Denver.  From Jefferson, you travel north of Highway 285 and turn right on to County Road 56 aka Lost Park Road.  Drive 20 miles to the end of the road and the trailhead is located just before the Lost Park Campground.

At an elevation of 10,000 feet, the campground has a total of 12 campsites that are first come first serve for $15.  Although there are plenty of free dispersed campsites on the way back along a nice flowing creek.

There are toilets, tables, water, and fire rings included at the campsite.  It’s a great place to set up basecamp in Park County that’s not too far from Denver and away from I-70. It’s by the Lost Creek Wilderness, which features some crazy landmarks and scenery.

Matt | UncoverColorado.com

11. Creedmore Lakes, Arapaho & Roosevelt National Forest

Creedmore Lakes Colorado

Photo Credit: backwoodswanderers.com

There is no shortage of great campsites all around Colorado. However, I prefer to go wild camping (also known as dispersed camping when done within a National Forest). The wilderness around Creedmore Lakes is particularly great for dispersed camping.  Creedmore Lakes are located just over an hour and a half northwest of Fort Collins.

Wild camping gives you a chance to truly unplug and connect with nature. There aren’t any annoying camp neighbors blasting music on their iPods, nor will your kids be begging for screen time when there is literally no source of electricity anywhere in sight.

However, wild camping should be taken seriously. You don’t want to be the jerk that ruined the pristine nature or contaminated the local water system. Follow the rules of Leave No Trace religiously: Pack out whatever you brought in, dig a cat hole well away from a water source when going to the bathroom, and use existing fire rings whenever possible.

There aren’t any amenities when you wild camp, so you’ll also need to be prepared with gear like a water filter and first aid kit. Even though bear sightings in Colorado are pretty rare, you still need to hang a bear bag or use a bear canister (keep food out of your tent!). Remember, bears aren’t the only animals which will eat your food. Imagine how much it would suck to cut your camping trip short because a squirrel ate all your food.

Finding a wild camping spot on public land in Colorado is pretty easy but you still need scout out your campsite well before nightfall so you have time to set up camp. You should never drive over meadows to get to your wild campsite, so be prepared to carry all your gear from your car to the site. Otherwise, you’ll be stuck with campsites right off the road, which doesn’t exactly deliver a wild experience.

Diane Vukovic | MomGoesCamping.com

12. CanyonSide Campground Larimer County, Colorado

Canyonside Campground Colorado

Canyonside Campground is located in the beautiful scenic Poudre Canyon in Larimer County, Colorado.  It’s right across from Cache La Poudre River.

This very scenic campground has everything you could want in a Colorado retreat especially if you like your camping with a few more amenities.  I would even go as far as saying that this campground could qualify as ‘glamping’ due to its comforts.

There are tent sites, RV sites, and cabins that you can rent during your camping trip.  This is my #1 pick for the best Colorado campground.

Tim Vee | ColoradoHighLifeTours.com

13. James M. Robb Colorado River State Park

Fruita Campground

Photo Credit: cpw.state.co.us

There’s no one perfect spot to camp in Colorado: there are HUNDREDS! But camping in Colorado can be tricky – whether you’re booking a spot months a head of time, or trying to find a primitive camping area at the last minute, it can take some effort, but is well worth it!

The best camping in Colorado is going to be different for everyone.  Depending on what they have planned for their camping trip there are a lot of campsites to choose from.  I prefer to camp near trails or a body of water. That usually means I can either mountain bike or go standup paddleboarding right from camp.  Then afterward, get right back to relaxing back at my campsite.

My recommendation for great camping experience is James M. Robb Colorado River State Park.  This park is split into five areas that run along the Colorado River west from Debeque Canyon to Fruita.  The five sections (Island Acres​​​, Corn Lake​, Colorado River Wildlife Area​, Connected Lakes​, and Fruita​) are known as the ‘string of pearls.’  Out of these five areas, two (Fruita and Island Acres) offer sites that you can reserve for tent and RV camping alike.  Each has its own unique recreation opportunities.

These campsites are very family-friendly and offer plenty of different activities for your loved ones.  For example, paddleboarding, white water rafting, hiking, biking, fishing, and hunting are just a few of the activities that are offered.  Depending on what type of camping you’ll be doing, campsites cost around $20-$35 per night.

In addition to James M. Robb Colorado River State Park, here are a few other ideas for the most scenic camp spots in Colorado.

Lauren Forcey | ColoradoInfo.com

The Best Camping In Colorado Conclusion

As you can see, Colorado has so many amazing campgrounds and open areas that you can escape to for your next camping adventure.  Whether you’re looking for a set campground that has amenties included or to do a little more off-grid camping there are plenty of options that you can find in Colorado.  We hope that our guide on the best camping in Colorado gave you a few new places to add to your list and explore this year.

Thanks to all of our contributors and their great recommendations.  And remember that for any of your camping supply needs, be sure to attend the Off-Grid Expo this October.

If you have a recommendation of your own for the best camping in Colorado or just want to weigh in on what you thought about our guide, we’d love for you to leave a comment below!  Don’t feel like leaving a comment?  Just leave a star rating.