10 Best Camping Sites in Colorado

Rocky Mountains, dunes, spectacular lakes, and rustling plains — you can find all of that in Colorado. The state is an outdoor paradise, providing the camper with ample opportunity to explore to their satisfaction.

Colorado is the Spanish word for red earth (the state’s soil is colored red) and was named so when Spain colonized the state. Located in the west of the United States, the state features a varied landscape and has some of its most exciting landmarks. The well-known Rocky Mountains and the Mesa Verde National Park are the prominent points of interest in the state. 

Denver, the state’s capital, is also its largest city and has a busy downtown. The state records over 300 days of sunshine yearly, so you are advised to go with lots of water. You cannot go wrong when picking campgrounds in Colorado. The state has many enticing places to camp, so much that you’ll be spoilt for choice. Many campgrounds have conveniences like water and showers and give the camper access to outdoor activities. 

Whether you are camping for the first time or camping has become second nature, the state has multiple options in so many categories, and it can be confusing to pick a campground for yourself. Here we take a look at the best campgrounds in the state.

1. Timber Creek Campground

Timber Creek Campground - Grand Lake
© Grand Lake

Nestled in Rocky Mountain National Park’s western section, the Timber Creek Campground is one of the best campgrounds in the state. The Rocky Mountain National Park has a little over 140 lakes, five excellent campgrounds, and more than 300 miles of hiking and running trails. The scenery and peaks here are fantastic and mind-blowing.

Timber Creek Campground sits in between gorgeous peaks, and its location alongside the Colorado River means you get to see locals fishing for rainbow trout. There are no reservations, but with the campground’s 100 sites, finding a spot should not be difficult. Each site is provided with picnic tables and potable water. Also, there are parking lots for Recreational Vehicles. 

The most extensive natural Lake in Colorado, Grand Lake, is close to the campground and has a 256feet depth. You can choose from the many recreational activities on the Lake. They include water skiing and boating. Horseback riding and hiking are great ways to explore the trails around the campground.  

During the fall, the campsites are less crowded, and you are just in time for the elk rutting season. Many visitors come to have a glimpse of wildlife. Moose, mountain goats, coyotes, and birds like falcons and bald eagles make for excellent viewing. Just be sure to keep your distance from the animals.

2. Angel of Shavano Campground

Angel of Shavano Campground - 5280
© 5280

Colorado has 53 peaks above 14,000 feet, and 19 of these peaks are located in the San Isabel National Forest. Angel of Shavano Campground is somewhere in between these peaks. The quiet and relaxing atmosphere here makes the campground a haven for solitude seekers. 

The campground gets its name from a purported visiting angel who makes an appearance in the winter season. There are 20 campsites with lots of shades from the trees around the area.

The campground is particularly popular among hikers trying to get one of the 14,000 feet peaks into their CV. There is a 500-mile trail that passes by the campground. Although there are no electrical hookups, RVs are welcome to the park.

The camp’s amenities include picnic tables, grills, and a fire ring. The restroom is a vault toilet, and you can drink from the hand pump available. Lying at an elevation of over 9000 feet, you will have to be wary of elevation sickness and drink as much water as you can.

3. Dowdy Lake Campground

Dowdy Lake Campground - Roadtrippers
© Roadtrippers

Situated in the Roosevelt National Forest, Dowdy Lake Campground sits along the magnificent Dowdy Lake’s shore side. The campground is part of Red Feather Lakes, a gigantic outdoor recreational area spanning 612,000 acres.

You can get stunning views of the Lake and the trails that are surrounding the area. Oh, you also get access to the many beaches scatters around Red Feather Lakes. You can explore Dowdy Lake with canoes, kayaks or go for a good old swim.

Very popular amongst outdoor lovers, it might not be easy to secure reservations during peak periods. There are 70 campsites on the ground; 60 of these sites have full electric hookups. The other ten sites have been exclusively earmarked for tent camping and do not have hookups. Only 30 spots are open all through the year. Amenities at the campground include picnic tables, a tent pad, vault toilets, and potable water. There is also a fire ring with grills.

Campers are allowed to come with boats or canoes to explore the nearby Lake. While in the area, you can also check out the Cache La Poudre River, which is perfect for fishing and kayaking. You can also explore the well-groomed trails surrounding the campground.

4. Elk Creek Campground

Elk Creek Campground - Kari M
© Kari M

Blue Mesa Reservoir is Colorado’s biggest body of water. Along the reservoir’s north is the Elk Creek Campground. The area is famous for its numerous canyons and mesas. The campground is in the heart of the Curecanti National Recreation Area. Historians believe that humans inhabited the area about 10,000 years ago, and dinosaur fossils have been excavated there recently.

You can get breathtaking angles of the San Juan Mountains and the Blue Mesa Reservoir on the campground. Elk Creek is ideal for tents. Those looking to camp hammock style might be disappointed as there are very few trees in the area. The campground, which operates seasonally, doesn’t open until late spring and closes by early fall.

The campground provides grills, picnic tables, and electric hookups on select sites. In summer, the shower is coin-operated. You can go for a swim or fish in the Blue Mesa Reservoir. Alternatively, mountain biking and hiking are open for exploration.

5. South Mineral Campground

South Mineral Campground - Outdoor Project
© Outdoor Project

Beautiful scenery is a certainty at the South Mineral Campground. The calm turquoise lakes, along with red and gray contrasts of the surrounding cliffs, are fantastic to see. Located among the San Juan Mountains, the campground is very popular, and It is not difficult to see why people throng this campground.

The best time to visit the campground is in the off-season, as it can be hectic during the peak. There are no reservations, but if you can’t get a site, there are places on the South Mineral Road reserved for camping.

The campground provides shades, picnic tables, potable water, and trash disposal. You can fish in their nearby mountain stream or go hiking along the challenging Ice Lakes Basin Trail, a 7-mile trail that allows you to admire the natural beauty all around.

With a peak of 9,800 feet, the campground is pretty high up there. Make sure to carry lots of water on your way up.

6. Mueller State Park Campground

Mueller State Park Campground - Travels with Birdy
© Travels with Birdy

Views of the scenic Rocky Mountains greet you upon entering Mueller State Park Campground. The park is shaded by a forest of pine, fir, and source trees. Located in between the two cities of Colorado Springs and Denver, the campground is ideal for those willing to tour the state while camping. Formerly a hunting ground for Native Americans, the campground is named after W.E. Mueller, who settled in the area during the gold rush.

The Mueller State Park Campground is over 5,000 acres large and attracts Recreational Vehicles, tents, and trailers all through the year. Amenities at the campground are superb and include showers and a Laundromat. There are areas specially designed for horseback riders along with equestrian tracks.

There are campsites tables, grills, a dump station, and a comfort station provided at the location. Electric hookup is also provided at each campsite.

Hunting is permitted at the campground during hunting season. Trails are also available for hiking and backpacking in the summer. Winter provides opportunities for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. Alternatively, you can fish in several ponds or enjoy the many trails for mountain biking and horseback riding.

7. Piñon Flats Campground 

Piñon Flats Campground  - Johnathan V
© Johnathan V

One of Colorado’s attractions comes in the form of the Great Sand Dunes National Park, a sea of sand that stretches for miles on end. The Piñon Flats Campground is located in this park. Some of the scenery at this park includes North America’s tallest dunes.

The campground holds plenty of Native American history and relics. Over 15 Native American tribes still have an attachment to the area surrounding the park. There is proof that humans inhabited these parts about 1100 years ago. 

The amenities at this park include picnic tables, tent pads, fire grates, a drive-up convenience, and restrooms. Hookups for recreational vehicles are not available at this campground.

Hikers frequent this campground often. If you intend to hike the dunes, note that shades do not exist, and the sand can get hot. Take lots of water with you, and anything else to protect you from the sun. Visitors also love to go sand sledding down the dunes.

8. Ruedi Marina Campground 

Ruedi Marina Campground - Outdoorsy
© Outdoorsy

To the west of the Continental Divide is Ruedi Reservoir, where the Ruedi Marina Campground is located. The campground has some scenic views, and at night, you get a great view of a star-filled sky.

Bordered by conifer forests, the campground is ideal for outdoor enthusiasts, as it offers opportunities for escapades on water and the land. Eight wilderness regions can be accessed from the campground. Rivers, high peaks, and wildlife are abundant in the area surrounding the reservoir.

Tent, hammock, trailers, and recreational vehicle campers would find the location suitable for camping. Some camp amenities are fire pits, a boat ramp, drinking water, picnic tables at all campsites, and a drive-up convenience.

Campers can swim, ride on a boat, go water skiing, or fish in the imposing reservoir. There are other smaller rivers in the area where you can go whitewater rafting. Mountain bikers and hikers will have a field day exploring the several surrounding trails. Boat ramp and jeep trails complete the list of exciting activities at the campground.

9. Goldfield RV Park

Goldfield RV Park - TripAdvisor
© TripAdvisor

Exclusive to recreational vehicles, the Goldfield RV Park is located bang in the middle of Colorado Springs.

The RV camp is a perfect destination for campers on a budget and looks to have a good time. Electric Hookups are provided for recreational vehicles, along with a parking pad. Full amenities are also offered at the park, including showers and restrooms. There is even a free Wi-Fi service at the location.

Many visitors to the campground commend the cleanliness and orderliness of the park. Staffs are also very responsive and can be especially helpful if you wish to explore the city’s nightlife.

10. Golden Eagle Campground

Golden Eagle Campground - Lisa P
© Lisa P

Operated seasonally from May through September, the Golden Eagle Campground is located in the beautiful city of Colorado Springs. Golden Eagle is a campground that has it all. From hiking trails to fishing ponds, every outdoor lover would love it here. The environment is picturesque, with wildflowers and epic mountain views making it one of Colorado’s most loved campgrounds.

Mother Nature has blessed the campground with a bit of everything. A five-mile hiking trail, scenic lakes, and the abundance of wildlife here, meaning you can never run out of activities at the park.

There are 125 campsites, with 75 of them equipped with electric water. The sites have full hookup access and Wi-Fi services. You can choose to go fishing or hiking if you wish to enjoy the outdoors.

Conclusion

Camping is a great way to connect with the outdoors. With its range of Rocky Mountains, Colorado provides you with the opportunity to fulfill that yearning for adventure. There are so many exceptional campgrounds littered all over the state. Now you know our top picks, pack your gear and explore whichever one tickles your fancy.

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