8 Beautiful Places to Camp in Colorado

Make the most of Colorado’s gorgeous landscapes at these noteworthy campsites.

Mountains behind a forest lake

Rocky Mountain National Park is just one of the many beautiful places to camp in the Centennial State.

Photo by Shutterstock/Phanom Nuangchomphoo

It’s no secret that Colorado has unparalleled access to the outdoors, with 4 national parks, 42 state parks, and 11 national forests offering myriad opportunities to enjoy fresh air.

For those looking to escape the city life for a weekend, there are some pretty incredible places to pitch a tent (or park an RV) in the Centennial State, be that in the grass-covered plains of eastern Colorado, the rugged mountains of the Rockies, or even the desert canyons out west.

Whether you’re a backcountry enthusiast or glamper, here are some of the top places to spend the night outdoors in Colorado.

1. Glacier Basin Campground, Rocky Mountain National Park

Surrounded by the roughly 14,000-foot-high Rocky Mountain peaks, meadows filled with alpine wildflowers, and pristine lakes, Glacier Basin offers a quintessential Rocky Mountain National Park camping experience. Located in the northeast portion of the park, it’s located near popular roads like Bear Lake and the Trail Ridge. There’s a stop located inside the campground for the park’s free shuttle bus, which guests can use to reach a variety of trails.

Each campsite is equipped with a picnic table, firepit, and tent pad; flush toilets and drinking water are also provided. Note that Rocky Mountain is one of the eight national parks requiring advance permits to enter.

How to book a campsite

You can reserve a campsite online. Rates are $35 per night. All 150 campsites are available by reservation only. Some campsites can be reserved up to six months in advance, while others are released a week out.

Snow-capped mountain behind a lake

The breathtaking Maroon Bells in Colorado are well-loved by photographers.

Photo by Sean Xu/Shutterstock

2. Silver Bar Campground, White River National Forest

The Maroon Bells are considered some of the most photogenic mountains in North America—the twin bell-shaped, maroon peaks, both standing more than 14,000 feet tall, dramatically frame the crystal-clear Maroon Lake near Aspen. One of the closest places to camp near Maroon Lake is the bare-bones, walk-in-only Silver Bar Campground. It has only four tent sites and a vault toilet, but campers will have near-private access to the famed peaks in the early morning.

How to book a campsite

The sites are bookable online; rates are $15.

3. Campfire Ranch, Almont

Campfire Ranch’s original location on the Taylor River in Almont (the brand also has outposts at Red Mountain Pass in Silverton and Wash Gulch in Crested Butte) is a well-located base camp for mountain biking adventures in the area. Here, the views include sheer granite walls, towering pine and spruce trees, and the rushing Taylor River. There are 10 campsites, all limited to six people, equipped with tent pads, picnic tables, a firepit, a charcoal grill, and an unlimited supply of firewood. There’s also one two-person micro cabin with two twin beds. The site is equipped with vault toilets and a well-water pump.

How to book a campsite

You can make reservations on the Campfire Ranch website. Summer 2024 reservations for Campfire Ranch in Almont open on May 3. Rates start at $67.

Orange clouds in sunset over a flat lake

Stagecoach State Park is a 1,650-acre playground for outdoor adventurers.

Photo by Fuel For The Sole/Shutterstock

4. Harding Spur Campground, Stagecoach State Park

Near Steamboat Springs in the Yampa Valley, Stagecoach State Park sits on a 765-acre reservoir and is best known for its fishing opportunities: Rainbow trout and northern pike are plentiful in the Yampa River tailwaters. The full-service marina means the park is also great for kayaking, canoeing, and stand-up paddleboarding. Harding Spur’s 18 non-electric campsites are simple, with just tent pad setups—but the water access is hard to beat.

How to book a campsite

Reservations can be made online or by calling 1-800-244-5613. Camping fees range from $18 to $36 per night. You can book reservations up to six months in advance.

5. Bright Star Campground, Cortez

Located on 40 acres of arid desert near Mesa Verde National Park and Canyon of the Ancients, this former church camp offers mountain views and a slew of amenities, including filtered drinking water, bathrooms with hot showers, a community kitchen stocked with complimentary coffee, a hammock and table tennis pavilion, and even free Wi-Fi. Guests can either bring their own tent, hook up their RV, or rent a tepee, cabin, or yurt.

How to book a campsite

Bright Star Campground is bookable on Hipcamp.com; rates start at $35 per night.

Two steep, dark brown cliffs with a river cutting between them

The Gunnison River has shaped the rock of this national park for about 2 million years.

Photo by T.Schofield/Shutterstock

6. South Rim Campground, Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park

Sometimes called the Grand Canyon of Colorado, Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park is renowned for its towering cliffs, some as high as 2,700 feet, creating one of North America’s steepest gorges. For adventurers and nature enthusiasts, it offers opportunities for hiking, rock climbing, wildlife spotting (including elk, coyotes, black bears, and bobcats), and camping.

Located near the visitor center, the South Rim campground is the biggest of the park’s options, with 88 campsites among gambel oak and serviceberry bushes. Each site has a firepit and a food storage locker (and 23 have electric hookups).

How to book a campsite

Individual sites are bookable online; nightly rates start at $20.

7. Ramble Camp at Great Sand Dunes, Great Sand Dunes National Park

  • Book now: Ramble Camp
  • Type: Car- and walk-in tent camping

Spread across 640 acres, Ramble Camp offers a dune-side camping experience and views of the Sangre De Cristo mountain range. Each of the 25 campsites is placed at least 100 feet apart and uses dark sky–compliant lighting. The most basic hike-in sites offer just a tent pad, while some of the more posh ones include Solo Stove smokeless firepits surrounded by Adirondack chairs and a personal outdoor kitchen with a Camp Chef two-burner stove, gas grill, sink, prep space, solar-powered outlets, café lights, and a picnic table.

How to book a campsite

Sites are bookable on Ramble Camp’s website. Rates start at $59 for a standard stay and go up to $499 for a 12-person group site.

8. Kinship Landing, Colorado Springs

Kinship Landing, a boutique hotel in downtown Colorado Springs, offers a unique way to urban camp—guests can pitch a tent on its turf-covered rooftop Camp Deck. The camp site is available for groups of up to six people and includes access to a private heated bathroom with a sink, shower, toilet, and Brooklinen towels. There are also spots to hang your hammock and a Bluetooth speaker system. The first floor has a bar and restaurant, and local eateries like White Pie Pizza and Shuga’s are within two blocks—you’re in the heart of downtown, after all. And while you’re not exactly roughing it, there are stellar views of Pikes Peak.

How to book a campsite

The Camp Deck is available on Kinship Landing’s website for $89 per night, plus tax.

Bailey Berg is a freelance travel writer and editor, who covers breaking news, trends, tips, transportation, sustainability, the outdoors, and more. She was formerly the associate travel news editor at AFAR. Her work can also be found in the New York Times, the Washington Post, National Geographic, Condé Nast Traveler, Travel + Leisure, the Points Guy, Atlas Obscura, Vice, Thrillist, Men’s Journal, Architectural Digest, Forbes, Lonely Planet, and beyond.
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