The Best Places to Go Camping in Colorado

Find the perfect camping spot in the Mesa Verde National Park
Find the perfect camping spot in the Mesa Verde National Park
Mandi Keighran

Colorado is a sprawling state covering an area of 67m acres (27m ha), with terrain ranging from snow-capped mountains and grass-covered plains to lakes, rivers and streams. There are more than 13,000 campsites here, so you’re sure to find the perfect spot to pitch a tent – whether you’re looking for luxury glamping or secluded wilderness.

1. Navajo State Park

Park

A wide-angle view over a lake, with a marina in the foreground and tall, orange mountains in the background
© DLouise303 / Alamy

This 2,100-acre (850ha) park is on the north shore of the Navajo Reservoir, near the New Mexico border. It’s popular with boaters, with pontoon boats and paddle boards able to be rented from the nearby Two Rivers Marina. There are 138 campsites for you to choose from in the park, or you can explore further afield; Los Piños River Camp is only a half-hour drive away.

2. Los Piños River Camp

Camping

A river winds through a green valley in Colorado, with trees on either side
© Gabe Palmer / Alamy

If you’re searching for a campsite that requires minimal planning and equipment, but offers maximum immersion in nature, this is it. Los Piños River Camp is set up with the standard Tentrr kit, including a canvas tent and bed with linens, so, as Campkeeper Kim says, you just need to pack your toothbrush and hiking boots. While you might feel like you’re secluded in the wilderness, the site is actually just 18mi (29km) from Durango and 1mi (1.5km) from grocery stores and restaurants. You can even catch your own dinner on the nearby Los Piños River, which is home to rainbow, German brown and cutthroat trout.

3. Ridgway State Park

Park

A white teepee in Colorado, with snow-capped mountains in the background
© Design Pics Inc / Alamy

There’s no shortage of outdoor adventure in this State Park, which has been called the Switzerland of America thanks to its dramatic snow-capped peaks and pretty lakes. You can go fishing and hiking, and spot wildlife throughout the year. In winter, there are opportunities for ice climbing, skiing and snowshoeing. There’s plenty to do in the surrounding wilderness too, including camping at Firewood Campsite near Lame Fork on the Gunnison River.

4. Firewood Campsite

Camping

Trees in rural Colorado, with a partially obscured mountain in the background
Courtesy of Firewood Campsite / Tentrr

Looking for a remote site where you can enjoy everything great about the great outdoors of Colorado? Pitch a tent under the ponderosa pines in this valley campsite, overlooking West Elk Mountain. You’ll see roaming elk and deer, and the site is less than 2mi (3.2km) from Lake Fork on the Gunnison River, where you can unwind with some trout fishing. It’s also just steps from a Bureau of Land Management trail leading into the Powderhorn Wilderness, a 62,050-acre (25,110ha) wilderness area. Remember to bring your own bear container; the Campkeepers also suggest a four-wheel drive for easy access to the site.

5. Victor

Architectural Landmark

A rusted mine in Colorado, in front of mist that obscures the view of a forest
© Steve Krull Mountain Scenery Images / Alamy

The city of Victor was founded in 1891 after gold was discovered in the area, and it was at the heart of the state’s mining boom alongside neighboring Cripple Creek. Today, you’ll still find plenty of references to that past at the City of Gold Mines, from gold mine tours to the Victor Lowell Thomas Museum. Looking for a place to stay with spectacular views? Head to the 100 Mile Overlook campsite at 105 West Ranch, just 15 minutes from town.

6. 100 Mile Overlook at 105 West Ranch

Camping

A white tent with a double bed open onto a wooden terrace with wooden chairs at 100 Mile Overlook at 105 West Ranch
Courtesy of 100 Mile Overlook at 105 West Ranch / Expedia

This private 48-acre (19ha) campsite sits at an elevation of nearly 10,000ft (3,048m) above sea level, making it the highest Tentrr site in the world – and the far-reaching views are everything you’d expect. The site is surrounded by enormous aspen trees and the 14,115ft (4,302m) Pikes Peak – the highest summit of the southern Front Range of the Rocky Mountains – towers above. It’s just a 15-minute drive to the town of Victor or 25 minutes to the larger town of Cripple Creek, which offers mining tours, gold panning, casinos and restaurants. Check out the on-site Adventure Gear Shed, which is packed with fun equipment for hire, from fishing rods to SUP boards to mountain bikes.

7. Littleton

Architectural Landmark

A brown cow eating green grass with her calf curled up at her feet
© David Muenker / Alamy

Just south of Denver is the historic downtown of Littleton, with charming turn-of-the-century buildings, antique shops, galleries, and lots of bars and restaurants. Grab a craft beer at Jake’s Brew Bar, or settle in for Cajun classics at NoNo’s Cafe. To discover the local history, pay a visit to the Littleton Museum, which is located on 40 acres (16ha) adjacent to Ketring Lake and is home to two 19th-century living history farm sites. For a taste of the surrounding wilderness, head 20 minutes southwest toward Deer Creek Canyon Park; there you’ll find Satori Farm, a secluded mountain getaway with campsites.

8. Satori Farm Cayenne

Camping

A white tent on top of a wooden terrace at Satori Farm Cayenne
Courtesy of Satori Farm Cayenne / Tentrr

Satori Farm, just 40 minutes from Denver, offers the best of both worlds: a secluded mountain getaway that’s just a short drive to the lively town of Littleton. The Cayenne campsite itself boasts two luxury Tentrr signature tent set-ups, surrounded by beautiful ponderosa pines, making it ideal for families or larger groups of friends. There are plenty of hiking trails just minutes from the tent, and if you’re looking for water sports, including boating and fishing, Chatfield Reservoir and Bear Creek Lake Park are both just a half-hour drive away.

9. Satori Farm Habanero

Camping

A white tent on a wooden terrace overlooks a green forest view at Satori Farm Habanero
Courtesy of Satori Farm Habanero / Tentrr

The Habanero campsite on Satori Farm is nestled amidst mature ponderosa pines. It boasts a luxury Tentrr signature tent set-up with a timber deck, and a canvas tent with a queen-size bed. The nearby Deer Creek Canyon Park has a variety of hiking and biking trails just minutes away, while South Valley Park and Hildebrand Ranch Park are a short drive away.

10. Capulin

Architectural Landmark

Two sandhill cranes flying over brown Colorado wetland
© Sipa US / Alamy

This tiny town lies directly south of the Monte Vista National Wildlife Refuge, one of only three refuges in the San Luis Valley that provides for more than 200 bird species and other wildlife. The valley itself is surrounded by three mountain ranges: the Sangre de Christo, the Saguache and the San Juan. Just south of Capulin, you’ll find the Trujillo Canyon, which is home to the 35-acre (14ha) Camels and a Yurt campsite.

11. Camels and a Yurt

Camping

Camels in a beige field at Camels and a Yurt
Courtesy of Camels and a Yurt / Tentrr

Looking for a campsite with a difference? Book a stay at this yurt, next to a field housing a herd of camels and donkeys in Trujillo Canyon. The comfortable, fully-furnished yurt is set apart from the main house on the 35-acre (14ha) oasis, and the entire property is off-grid, so you can properly disconnect from technology and reconnect with nature. There’s a pretty creek on the site and Campkeeper Matt even offers tours of the working farm.

12. Fort Garland

Architectural Landmark

Wide-angle view of Colorado wilderness, with green mountains in the background and a road in the middle distance
© Jim West / Alamy

This town alongside US Route 160 has a name inspired by the historic Fort Garland, which was built in 1858 to protect settlers in the San Luis Valley. It was abandoned in 1883 and today is the Fort Garland Museum, where you can explore adobe buildings and discover Hispanic folk art. For some seriously good BBQ, head to Woody’s Q Shack in nearby Alamosa, which serves up championship-winning smoked meat. Looking for the best spot to camp? It’s just ten minutes away at Campe Diem, a wild 65-acre (26ha) property on the side of a mesa.

13. Campe Diem

Camping

A green mountain in Colorado, with a dirt track in the foreground
Courtesy of Campe Diem / Tentrr

This wild campsite is set on the side of a mesa in Costilla County. Pitch a tent on one of the many private plateaus, nestled in pinyon pines, and enjoy the silence and uninterrupted mountain views. The campsite is just a ten-minute drive from Fort Garland, and a half-hour drive to the impressive Great Sand Dunes National Park. Mountain Home Reservoir – where you can fish, swim and picnic – is also just 2mi (3.2km) away. Fancy an al fresco dinner? The friendly Campkeeper can serve up an NY-style pepperoni pizza followed by gelato ice cream.

14. Dolores

Architectural Landmark

Exterior of the Anasazi Heritage Center, a one-storey brick building with a circular courtyard, near Dolores, Colorado
© Alpha Stock / Alamy

The town of Dolores, between Durango and Telluride, is located on the site where an Ancestral Puebloan civilization lived 1,400 years ago. Today, visitors can discover what life was like for these ancient Native Americans at the Anasazi Heritage Center, which is also the Visitor Center for the Canyons of the Ancients National Monument. The history of this railroad town is also celebrated, immortalized by an exact replica of the original train depot and the restored Galloping Goose narrow-gauge railcar. Nearby McPhee Lake, the second-largest body of water in the state, is a paradise for fishers and boaters, and you can pitch a tent at the Second Chance Ranch just south of town.

15. Mid Camp

Camping

A tall mountain in the sun and below a slightly cloudy blue sky
© Jeffrey Ross / Alamy

The Second Chance Ranch is nestled in the Summit Ridge, overlooking Mesa Verde National Park. The privately owned ranch offers secluded sites for bare-bones camping beneath the spectacular night sky with plenty of wildlife, sunsets and mountain views. It’s just a short drive from the mighty Dolores River, where you can rent paddleboards and kayaks, or try your hand at fly-fishing. Looking for a fishing buddy for the day? Campkeeper Don is an avid fisherman who can share his local knowledge. There’s also a vast trail system on-site for hiking and mountain biking.

Culture Trip Summer Sale

Save up to $1,395 on our unique small-group trips! Limited spots.

toast-message-image
close-ad
Edit article