My family and I love to go camping in Colorado! It’s such a fun, inexpensive way to see the state. Families on a budget, young couples, and anyone looking for a cheap vacation can appreciate Colorado camping trips!
As a Colorado local, I have so many favorite places to go camping. These include shady, scenic sites in the Arapaho National Forest, Roosevelt National Forest, White River, and more. Beautiful mountain views are all over the state, like those in the San Juan Mountains and Rocky Mountain National Park.
In this article, I’ll share the best camping spots in developed campgrounds. Many feature convenient amenities plus nearby opportunities to explore Colorado’s great outdoors!
Table of Contents
- 11 Best Places to Go Camping in Colorado
- Moraine Park Campground, Rocky Mountain National Park
- Silver Bell Campground, Maroon Bells Scenic Area
- Piñon Flats Campground, Great Sand Dunes National Park
- Chatfield State Park Campground
- Twin Peaks Campground, Twin Lakes
- Morefield Campground, Mesa Verde National Park
- Piñon Campground, Lathrop State Park
- South Rim Campground, Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park
- Grand Junction KOA Holiday, Grand Junction
- Lone Duck Campground, Pikes Peak Area
- Pelican Campground, Jackson Lake State Park
- FAQs About Camping in Colorado
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11 Best Places to Go Camping in Colorado
Moraine Park Campground, Rocky Mountain National Park
A RMNP campground with great views of Longs Peak
You can tent or RV camp at Moraine Park Campground. The campground does not have hookups, but does have a dump station. Campers will need to purchase a pass to Rocky Mountain National Park, and pay separately for their campsite. However, campers do not need a Timed Entry Permit to get into the park, as your campground reservation replaces that.
From this valley, you’ll get beautiful views of the Rocky Mountains and Longs Peak, one of the best Colorado 14ers. The Discovery Center and Amphitheater nearby are great spots to learn more about the area.
There are several other campgrounds in the park as well, and lots of RV camping in nearby Estes Park. On the west side of Rocky Mountain National Park, look for campgrounds in Grand Lake.
👉 Pro Tip: Moraine Park Campground is open year-round.
Silver Bell Campground, Maroon Bells Scenic Area
A beautiful spot on Maroon Creek, surrounded by aspens
Silver Bell Campground has sites for RVs, tent-only sites, and walk-in sites. It also has several sites set aside for first-come, first-served camping — although those fill very quickly in summer months.
The campground is situated along Maroon Creek, about 4 ½ miles from Maroon Lake. You can either walk or drive to the lake from the campground. It’s also surrounded by aspens and subalpine forest, and the rugged beauty of the mountains.
This campground does not have water, so make sure to bring plenty of your own!
📚 Related Reading: If you’ll be in the area for a few days, be sure to check out the many things to do in Aspen!
Piñon Flats Campground, Great Sand Dunes National Park
Camping next to the tallest dunes in North America
I just camped here for the first time, and was not expecting the spectacular dune views from the campground! Piñon Flats is the only developed campground inside the National Park boundary, and you’re within walking distance of the dunes.
If it hadn’t been cloudy, we’d have headed back to them after dark. Stargazing here is said to be amazing! It’s part of the reason why visiting Great Sand Dunes National Park ranks as one of the best things to do in the USA this summer!
👉 Pro Tip: Piñon Flats is only open from April – October, and you’ll want to nab reservations as soon as you can!
Chatfield State Park Campground
An urban camping spot with plenty of amenities
This Colorado state park just outside of Denver makes for a great trial run before you take kids (or adults who have never camped) on a longer trip. My family has camped here to work on Scout skills, and love to visit for an easy change of scenery.
With quite a few amenities for a campground, it’s just about as luxurious as you’re going to get (and one of the best places to go camping near Denver).
Twin Peaks Campground, Twin Lakes
RV and tent camping at the base of Colorado’s tallest mountain
Twin Peaks Campground is close to the Mt. Elbert Southeast Trailhead, leading to the summit of Colorado’s tallest peak. Here, you can also admire the views of the Sawatch Range. Experience this area by fishing, paddleboarding, or hiking around the surrounding mountains and Twin Lakes, two of the best lakes in Colorado.
📚 Related Reading: The town of Leadville is near Twin Lakes, and has plenty of things to do if you’ll be camping for a few days.
Morefield Campground, Mesa Verde National Park
The ancient structures at this World Heritage Site inspire people of all ages
The Morefield Campground inside Mesa Verde National Park allows tent and RV camping. The store, showers, and other services are located in the campground village, which you can drive or walk to from your site. There are hikes you can start right at the campground, and the cliff dwellings are just a short drive away.
⛈️ Be Prepared: Every time we camp, we get hit with at least one rainstorm. I bring this rain jacket every time, and it’s kept me dry even in monsoon-like storms.
Piñon Campground, Lathrop State Park
A scenic campground within walking distance of a lake and golf course
Lathrop State Park has two lakes, so you can choose where you want to spend your day. Martin Lake allows motorized boats for waterskiing and jet skiing, and also has a swim beach. Horseshoe Lake is for paddlers only, with canoeing, paddleboarding, and other water activities.
Lathrop is also Colorado’s only state park with a golf course, which you can walk to from the campground.
South Rim Campground, Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park
A bare bones campground within walking distance of the Visitor Center
The South Rim Campground is the larger of the two campgrounds at Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park. It’s also the only one open year-round.
Loop B has electric hookups for RVs, and the camping sites are partially shaded by oaks and bushes. You can reserve campsites from mid-May to mid-September, and the rest of the year, sites are first come, first-served.
This Colorado national park is one of the Centennial State’s most incredible places, and you’ll be awestruck by the canyon carved by the Gunnison River over millions of years!
Grand Junction KOA Holiday, Grand Junction
A full-service campground between Colorado National Monument and Grand Mesa
KOA campgrounds feature plenty of amenities, and often there’s enough to do that you may not leave camp! However, this campground is situated near picturesque rock formations and a national landmark, so you’ll want to get out and explore. Along with RV and tent sites, there are also cabins for rent here.
Lone Duck Campground, Pikes Peak Area
A family campground at the base of Pikes Peak
This campground is in Cascade at the bottom of Pikes Peak, one of the best places to visit in Colorado. You’ll be in a great spot to access hiking trails.
You’ll also be just a short drive from Colorado Springs, so you can spend a day exploring all the things to do there as well! Lone Duck has RV and tent sites, plus cabins to rent.
🥾 Looking for hiking ideas? Check out my list of the Best Hikes Near Colorado Springs!
Pelican Campground, Jackson Lake State Park
Lakeside campsites with plenty of amenities for an easy camping trip
Voted one of the “Top 15 Park Beaches” by Reserve America, Jackson Lake allows visitors to swim, boat, fish, and bird watch. There’s also an OHV track in the park. The state park and many of the campgrounds are open year-round.
FAQs About Camping in Colorado
What are the camping rules in Colorado?
Camping rules in Colorado for dispersed camping include:
– A 14-day limit in national forests. Campers can’t stay longer than that within a 28 day time period.
– Making sure the area where you camped looks the same or better than it did when you arrived. Leave no trace!
– Not camping within 100 feet of a water source, at developed trailheads, or in picnic and day-use areas.
Dispersed camping means camping in undeveloped areas, mostly found on national forest land. Developed campgrounds have their own rules, which are usually posted on-site and on the campground’s website.
Where can I camp for free in Colorado?
You can camp for free in many places in Colorado’s national forests and on Bureau of Land Management (BLM) land. You won’t have the amenities of a developed campground, so you’ll need to make arrangements for water and pack-out any waste.
Do you need a reservation to camp in Colorado?
You need a reservation to camp in many Colorado campgrounds, especially during peak season. If you plan to camp at a developed campground that requires reservations, you should do so as soon as your plans are finalized.
Campgrounds in the Centennial State fill up quickly, especially in popular areas like national parks, by 14er trails, near alpine lakes, and other well-known Colorado sights. All Colorado state parks now require a reservation as well.
Is camping popular in Colorado?
Camping is popular in Colorado, both with locals and people traveling from around the world. In 2020, Colorado had a total of 209,046 camping reservations. This doesn’t count those who camped at first-come, first-served sites!
The pandemic encouraged many people to get outdoors and try camping. This, in part, caused the number of people camping in Colorado to go up by 110.8% from 2015-2020. [Source]
Whether you want to go camping in Colorado in the mountains, next to a lake, or in a beautiful national park or forest, hopefully I’ve given you plenty of ideas. If you’re exploring a lot of Colorado, be sure to check out our Ultimate Colorado Travel Guide.
I hope I’ve helped you find some great spots to go camping in Colorado!
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