Happy Camper: Your guide to Colorado’s best campsitesAmanda Molitor
‘Tis the season for sleeping under the stars – or your tent, or in your car, or in a yurt – depending on your preferred method of camping. Summer is the perfect time to plan a trip outdoors filled with exploring, adventure, and lots of s’mores. With a state as incredible as Colorado, figuring out where to camp can be a tough decision. Use this list of a few of the best campsite in Colorado to map out your next wilderness weekend.
Hit the Road for Epic Car Camping
Why lug all of your camping gear into the woods when you could drive it? Car camping is a fun and relatively hassle-free way to see Colorado’s wild side.
- Mueller State Park – Just 45 minutes from Colorado Springs, this state park offers awe-inspiring views of the Continental Divide and includes 134 campsites that come complete with a fire ring and picnic table.
- Lakeview Gunnison – Set on Taylor Park Reservoir, this campsite is great for fisherman or those looking to do some off-roading. Driving into Lakeview Gunnison is very easy and you’ll love the views of the lake.
- Saddlehorn Campground – Located in the Colorado National Monument territory, campers who visit Saddlehorn can take in view of the red rock canyon and spend their days hiking, cycling, rock climbing and more. There are 50 campsites with their own fire rings and picnic tables as well as restroom facilities on site.
Try a More Luxurious Take on Camping
Spending the night in a sleeping bag or in the car isn’t for everyone. Glamping gives you an all access pass to nature while providing the royal treatment you might expect to find in a hotel.
- Arapahoe Valley Ranch – This 200-acre ranch in Granby, offers an elevated camping experience in your choice of tipi or a tent. Each tent comes with a queen-sized bed, a kitchen, a fire pit, and much more.
- Tenesee Pass Sleep Yurts – Located near Leadville, the Nordic center offers ample terrain for cross-country skiing, fine mountain dining, and some of the plushest, overnight yurt sleeping around. quipped with handcrafted log beds (with linens), wood stoves, kitchenette, sink, water, dining area, and solar lighting. If you choose to do some cooking on your own, the yurts provide necessary cookware and dishware for minimal cooking.
- Royal Gorge Cabins – These luxe cabins offer modern amenities with a rustic aesthetic – perfect for your next Instagram post. Offering both single queen tents and double queen tents, each is equipped with bed linens, chic furnishings, a sitting area, reclaimed wood desk, plus outdoor porches with seating.
Get Out of Town at These Dispersed Campsite
Go off the beaten trail by finding a dispersed campsite. There are plenty of public paid developed campgrounds and undeveloped primitive campsites that are free for you to use around Colorado.
- Buffalo Pass – This area, near Steamboat Springs, has about 15 dispersed campsites that fill up quickly during the peak camping season – show show up early! You’ll find the campsites about a quarter mile past the Dry Lake campground. Most 2WD cars will be fine to camp on the Steamboat-side of the pass. Further up near the top and the rest of the pass, high-clearance 4×4 is recommended. For your GPS: County Rd 38, Steamboat Springs to Highway 14, Walden.
- Guanella Pass – Just outside of Georgetown, this scenic byway reaches an elevation of 11,699 ft. and offers incredible views. There is plenty of dispersed camping options on both sides of the pass. The 22-mile, 2WD pass is open year-round and takes about an hour to drive. To get there from Georgetown, take Co Rd 381/Gunella Pass Roadout of either the historic district or in ‘downtown’ Grant on Highway 285. For your GPS: Guanella Pass, Georgetown to Grant
- Twin Lakes – Neighboring Mount Elbert and Mount Massive, Twin Lakes is a stunning setting for your next camping trip. Dispersed camping can be found in the hills above the lakes. Keep an eye out for sites situated on the dirt roads off CO-82 in Twin Lakes. There are also additional sites ten miles south on Hwy 24 at Clear Creek Reservoir. For your GPS: Twin Lakes, CO 81251
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