Campers in Colorado know the joy of camping in the great outdoors. No other place can surpass the Centennial State for breathtaking mountain scenery and clear rivers, lakes, and streams. The number and variety of camping options are staggering from the Rockies to the rolling plains. Pitch a tent by a lake, backpack into the wilderness, or opt for a few more “luxuries” by RV camping with water and electricity hookups and other amenities. No matter your camping style, you’ll find the best camping in Colorado at these 12 best places to go camping in Colorado.

1. Oh Be Joyful Campground

Oh Be Joyful Campground, Places to go camping in colorado

Located five miles from the charming mountain town of Crested Butte, Oh Be Joyful Campground lives up to its name. The area serves as the gateway to the Ragged Wilderness which spans 65,443 acres of the Gunnis and White River National Forests. You’ll be nestled in a valley with gorgeous mountain views.

Enjoy wildlife, hiking, and mountain biking at Oh Be Joyful. The campground’s namesake stream features huge waterfalls and is surrounded by an array of wildflowers in summer. Anglers can fish and kayakers can paddle the clear, refreshing water. Nearby attractions include Lake Irwin Loop Trail and Recreation Center and Angel Pass.

The campground can accommodate shorter RVs, but there are no hookups. Sites are on a first-come-first-serve basis. You’ll only pay $10 per night for a designated site, and $5 for an overflow site. The campground is open all year, but camping is the best spring through fall since parts are inaccessible in winter.

Amenities:

  • family-friendly
  • dogs allowed
  • picnic tables
  • fire rings
  • vault toilet
  • horseback riding

2. Angel of Shavano

If you are looking for a more remote location to set up camp, make Angel of Shavono your camping destination. A three-hour drive from Denver, it’s easy to find a secluded spot. The 20 individual campsites are within the San Isabel National Forest offering natural beauty, peace, and solitude.

For great hiking and mountain biking, the 486-mile Colorado Trail is nearby. Anglers will find fishing in the North Fork Resevoir, rivers, and streams.

At Angel of Shavano, you have the choice between campground camping, cabin rentals, RV camping, and group camping. Sites are shaded with aspen and spruce trees. No reservations are accepted, but the remote location usually means plenty of secluded sites are available.

If you choose one of their historic cabins, reservations are recommended between Memorial Day and Labor Day. They can be made at www.recreation.gov. Dispersed camping can be found along the 4 x 4 roads.

The fee is $20 per site for overnight camping. One RV or two vehicles are allowed.

Amenities:

  • drinking water, hand pump
  • vault toilet
  • dogs allowed when leashed
  • gold panning
  • rockhounding
  • OHV trails

3. Kelly Place Bed & Breakfast

Sleep under the stars with a Bed & Breakfast nearby. Kelly Place is mostly a B&B, but they offer four sites for tent camping with your own tent. The sites are in an old orchard near stunning red rock cliffs and ancient Anasazi ruins.

Kelly Place is located between Mesa Verde National Park and Hovenweep National Monument in a narrow canyon and the desert. Fire pits and ground fires aren’t allowed since the area is almost always under a fire ban. Charcoal grills are provided at each site.

Miles of hiking trails lead to the adjacent Canyons of the Ancients National Monument and the Anasazi Ruins. Explore caves in red rock canyons with overhanging cliffs. You may find a few waterfalls after a good rain.

What makes camping at Kelly Place unique is the opportunity to enjoy a glass of wine or a beer with a view of the Sleeping Ute Mountain. The next morning, breakfast is served to all guests and campers.

Amenities:

  • toilet
  • potable water
  • pets allowed
  • picnic table
  • showers
  • Wi-Fi

4. Buffalo Pass

Buffalo Pass Colorado Camping

Camp near Steamboat Springs and two hot springs resorts at Buffalo Pass Campground. The proximity to one of the state’s best resorts makes Buffalo Pass best some of the best camping in Colorado. The campground is 11 miles to the top from Steamboat Springs.

Two-wheel drive vehicles can’t make it to the top. You’ll need a 4 x 4 to get there. The best sites to camp are at the Dry Lake and Summit Lake campgrounds. Dry Lake has 8 sites and Summit Lake has 15. Four of the sites are pull-through. All are basic and non-reservable for tent and trailer camping. Dispersed camping is allowed shortly past the Dry Lake campground.

The Campgrounds are open all year for recreation, but the road is closed from December 1st to June 30th. Find maps at uncovercolorado.com. Take your own water.

Amenities:

  • toilets
  • hiking trails
  • OHV east of the start
  • fishing
  • cabins available

5. Maroon Bells

Maroon Bells is one of the best places to go camping in Colorado for breathtaking scenery. The twin peaks in the Elk Mountains are mirrored off of Maroon Lake. The three campgrounds at Maroon Bells are also some of the most popular in the state. Because of demand, access for vehicles is limited to between 7 and 9 a.m, and 5 to 7 p.m. daily.

The three wooded campgrounds are situated by West Maroon Creek. Tent camping is available at Silver Bell and Silver Bar campground’s walk-in sites. Silver Queen campground has six sites for RVs. Reservations are required for all three. No dispersed camping is allowed.

The campgrounds are open all year. Eat, shop, and play at nearby Aspen.

Amenities:

  • scenic area
  • hiking trails
  • fishing
  • fire rings
  • leashed pets allowed
  • picnic tables

6. Guanella Pass

Another scenic place to camp in Colorado, Guanella Pass summits at 11,669 feet. Located outside Georgetown, the views are especially stunning in the fall. Plenty of outdoor activities are available including fishing, hiking, and biking.

There are three reservable and one non-reservable campground. Reservable campgrounds include Guanella Pass with 18 sites, Geneva Park has 26, and Burning Bear has 13. The Clear Lake campground has 8 non-reservable sites. In all, 11 sites are suitable for RVs.

The camping season at Guanella Pass runs from July 1st to September 19th and June 11th to September 11th. Eat, shop, and explore the historic district in nearby Georgetown.

Amenities:

  • tent pads
  • picnic tables
  • fire rings
  • charcoal grills
  • potable water
  • vault toilets
  • trash dumpsters

7. Moraine Park

Best Camping in Colorado, Moraine park

Find some of the best camping in Colorado at Moraine Park Campground inside the Rocky Mountain National Park near the Beaver Meadows entrance. The area is especially good for campers who want to enjoy great hiking.

The central location offers easy access to the town of Estes Park and the Fern Lake trailhead leading west into higher altitudes for spectacular views. You’ll likely spot wildlife such as coyotes, elk, and deer along the way.

The campground has 245 sites and includes RV sites with no hookups, single family-only tent sites, and walk-in tent sites. Hiking, scenic driving, fishing, and horseback riding are some of the fun activities.

Free shuttles connect Moraine Park to the hiking trails at Bear Lake and to the restaurants and shopping at Estes Park. The campground is open all year. Reservations are recommended from Memorial Day to late September.

Amenities:

  • flush toilets
  • paved roads
  • gravel parking spurs
  • picnic tables
  • solar shower stalls
  • drinking water

8. Pinyon Flats

Pinyon Flats campground is one of the best places to go camping in Colorado for stargazers, thanks to clear skies and a high elevation. It’s located in the Great Sand Dunes National Park where dunes rise to over 700 feet. The park is located between the San Juan Mountains and the Sangrede Cristo Mountains. The area resembles deserts like the Sahara and Gobi.

Activities to enjoy include sand sledding, sandboarding, and hiking to the top of the dunes for panoramic views. During the month of May, meltwater overflow creates a delightful splash park.

The campground features 88 sites for tents and/or RVs. The sites fit RVs up to 25 feet and are restricted to a maximum of two vehicles. There are no hookups. Make reservations up to six months in advance at recreation.gov.

Amenities:

  • flush toilets
  • restrooms with sinks
  • water spigots
  • picnic tables
  • fire grates
  • campground store
  • trash dumpsters

9. Big Creek Lake

Campers looking for solitude will find it at Big Creek Lake campground. It’s located about 34 miles northwest of Walden near the Wyoming border. The campground sits at an elevation of about 9,000 feet near the Mt. Zirkel Wilderness and includes about 150 miles of a remote area.

Campers have access to blue alpine lakes, picturesque rivers, and rugged summits. Activities include hiking the Seven Lakes Trail to Big Creek Lake, fishing, and boating. The campground is situated by a lake with a boat ramp. The lake is divided into sections for motorized and non-motorized watercraft. Tents and RV sites are non-electrical.

Amenities:

  • vault toilets
  • boat ramp
  • picnic tables
  • grills and fire rings
  • horse corral

10. Turquoise Lake Recreation Area

Turquoise Lake Recreation Area in Colorado

Active campers will find plenty of adventures at the Turquoise Lake Recreation Area. It’s located in the beautiful San Isabel National Forest near Leadville. The area features majestic mountains, evergreen forests, and a 1,800-acre lake.

Activities for campers include fishing, boating, hiking, and four-wheeling. Take an easy hiking or biking excursion on the paved 12-mile Mineral Belt Trail Loop. The loop starts in Leadville about four miles east of the lake.

There are eight campgrounds in all offering both tent and RV camping. The sites at Belle of Colorado are tent only. All are at a crisp 10,000 foot-high altitude. Dispersed camping is not available.

Amenities:

  • picnic tables
  • toilets
  • drinking water
  • fire rings

11. Sunshine Campground

Experience the wilderness while being close to city amenities at the Sunshine Campground located eight miles east of the town of Telluride. It features 15 sites in an aspen forest by a mountain lake. You’ll enjoy spectacular views, especially in the fall.

All 15 sites are tent-only, ensuring peace and solitude. Some sites have views of Sunshine Peak. The single loop campground is paved. Reservations are not required. Summer is the busiest season for Sunshine Campground. Keep in mind that camping sites are first-come-first-served.

Enjoy the shops and restaurants at nearby Telluride, one of Colorado’s most picturesque towns.

Campers are required to keep food in a hard-sided vehicle or a solid, non-pliable camping unit.

Amenities:

  • composting toilets
  • potable water
  • fire grills
  • picnic tables

12. Dunston Hot Springs and River Camp

Get a taste of “glamping” while experiencing a romantic old western ghost town. Dunston Hot Springs and River Camp provide campers with rustic, yet elegant accommodations. Choose from well-appointed cabins from one to five bedrooms or eight luxury tents.

The tents are situated on Cresto Ranch, a former cattle ranch from the 1800s. The prospector-style tents sit on anchored wooden platforms. The restored ghost town includes an old saloon serving an upscale menu.

All meals and beverages (except liquor) all included in the nightly rates. Use of the hot springs, mountain bikes, Wi-Fi, and laundry are also included.

Amenities:

  • running water
  • housekeeping
  • sauna
  • restaurant
  • wood-burning stoves
  • lounge area

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