Colorado, a state known for its breathtaking landscapes and diverse outdoor activities, is a haven for campers and nature enthusiasts. In this blog post, we will guide you through some of the top Colorado campgrounds that you must visit for a truly memorable camping experience.
Table of Contents
1. Rocky Mountain National Park
Rocky Mountain National Park offers campers a chance to immerse themselves in the stunning beauty of the Rockies. With over 250 campsites spread across five campgrounds, you can find the perfect spot for your outdoor adventure.
- Moraine Park Campground: With 245 sites, this campground is the largest in the park. It offers easy access to the park’s most popular trails and breathtaking views of the Continental Divide.
- Glacier Basin Campground: At 8,500 feet, Glacier Basin offers 150 campsites and panoramic views of the surrounding mountains. This campground is ideal for hikers and backpackers looking for easy access to the park’s backcountry.
- Aspenglen, Timber Creek, and Longs Peak Campgrounds: These smaller campgrounds provide more intimate settings for campers looking to escape the crowds. Each campground has its unique charm and attractions.
2. Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness
The Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness is home to some of the most iconic peaks and picturesque lakes in Colorado. The area features several campgrounds, each offering a unique experience for visitors.
- Maroon Lake Campground: This campground sits at the base of the famous Maroon Bells and offers 24 campsites. Reservations are required and fill up quickly, so plan ahead to secure your spot.
- Silver Bell, Silver Queen, and Silver Bar Campgrounds: These campgrounds, located along Maroon Creek Road, provide campers with easy access to the Maroon Bells Scenic Area and Maroon Creek Trail. These campsites offer beautiful views, and reservations are recommended.
- Snowmass Lake and Capitol Lake: For those seeking a more remote experience, the backcountry campsites at Snowmass Lake and Capitol Lake offer solitude and incredible vistas. Backpacking to these campsites requires a permit and a good level of fitness.
3. Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve
Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve boasts the tallest sand dunes in North America, making it a must-visit destination for campers seeking a unique Colorado experience.
- Pinon Flats Campground: This campground features 88 sites, with amenities such as restrooms, potable water, and picnic tables. Visitors can easily access the dune field, Medano Creek, and the park’s many hiking trails.
- Backcountry Camping: For a more rugged adventure, campers can obtain a permit to camp in the park’s backcountry. The park offers multiple backcountry camping zones, including the dunes themselves and the surrounding mountains.
4. Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park
The dramatic cliffs and deep gorge of the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park make it a truly awe-inspiring destination for camping enthusiasts.
- South Rim Campground: Located near the visitor center, this campground offers 88 sites with a mix of reservable and first-come, first-served spots. Campers can enjoy breathtaking views of the canyon and easy access to several scenic overlooks and hiking trails.
- North Rim Campground: This smaller, more secluded campground offers 13 sites on the less-visited North Rim. The remote setting and lack of amenities make it an excellent choice for campers seeking solitude.
5. Mesa Verde National Park
**Mesa Verde National Park** is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that showcases the well-preserved cliff dwellings of the Ancestral Puebloan people. Camping in Mesa Verde allows visitors to explore this unique archaeological treasure while enjoying the beauty of the surrounding landscape.
- Morefield Campground: Nestled in a canyon surrounded by lush vegetation, Morefield Campground offers 267 campsites, including some with full hookups for RVs. Amenities include restrooms, showers, a general store, and laundry facilities. The campground’s location provides easy access to the park’s main attractions, including Cliff Palace, Balcony House, and Long House.
6. Eleven Mile State Park
Situated amidst the majestic Colorado Rockies, Eleven Mile State Park attracts fishing enthusiasts, boating aficionados, and camping lovers alike, making it a sought-after destination. The park’s vast reservoir and surrounding forests offer a scenic backdrop for a variety of recreational activities.
- North Shore, Rocky Ridge, and Lazy Boy Campgrounds: These campgrounds offer a combined total of 355 campsites, including both basic and electric hookup sites. Campers can enjoy fishing, boating, and hiking, as well as spectacular stargazing due to the park’s remote location and high elevation.
7. Garden of the Gods
Garden of the Gods is a National Natural Landmark known for its striking red rock formations. Camping near this geological wonder allows visitors to take advantage of the park’s many outdoor activities, such as hiking, rock climbing, and horseback riding.
- Garden of the Gods RV Resort: This privately-owned resort offers a range of accommodations, from tent sites to full-hookup RV sites and cabins. Amenities include a swimming pool, playground, and dog park. The resort is conveniently located just a short drive from Garden of the Gods and other local attractions, such as Pikes Peak and the Manitou Cliff Dwellings.
8. Colorado State Forest State Park
Colorado State Forest State Park is a sprawling wilderness area that encompasses over 71,000 acres of forest, meadows, and alpine lakes. With a variety of campgrounds and backcountry camping options, this park is perfect for those seeking solitude and serenity.
- Ranger Lakes, North Michigan, and Bockman Campgrounds: These campgrounds offer a mix of reservable and first-come, first-served sites. Visitors can enjoy fishing, hiking, and wildlife viewing, as well as the stunning fall foliage that the park is known for.
- Backcountry Camping: The park has numerous designated backcountry campsites for those looking for a more remote and primitive camping experience. A backcountry permit is required, and campers must practice Leave No Trace principles.
In conclusion, Colorado’s diverse landscape and abundance of outdoor activities make it a premier destination for camping enthusiasts. From the iconic peaks of the Rockies to the unique geological formations of Garden of the Gods, there’s a Colorado campground for everyone. Whether you prefer a comfortable RV resort or a remote backcountry site, these Colorado campgrounds offer unforgettable experiences that will leave you longing to return.