Colorado locals and visitors love to get outdoors and fortunately, there are plenty of places to go camping near Denver!
Even if you live nearby, there are lots of reasons to enjoy Denver camping. It’s a great way to test out new gear and practice camping skills before you head out on a longer trip. It’s also just a fun way to shake things up a bit!
As a Denver local, I’m here to share some of the best places to go camping near Denver. Grab your mummy bag and let’s get going!
Table of Contents
- 9 Best Places to Go Camping Near Denver
- Cherry Creek State Park Campground
- Aspen Meadow Campground, Golden Gate Canyon State Park
- Moraine Park Campground, Rocky Mountain National Park
- Belle of Colorado Campground, Turquoise Lake
- Clear Creek RV Park, Golden
- Chatfield State Park Campground
- Bear Creek Lake Campground, Lakewood
- Rainbow Lakes Campground, Nederland
- Sawmill Hiker Campground, White Ranch Park
- FAQs About Denver Camping
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9 Best Places to Go Camping Near Denver
Cherry Creek State Park Campground
A camping spot that’s close to civilization but with lots of outdoor activities
The Cherry Creek Reservoir is a great spot for swimming, fishing, and boating. In winter, you can cross-country ski, sled, and sometimes ice skate depending on the conditions. The park also has stables and horseback riding trails, as well as a model airplane field.
👉 Pro Tip: Be sure to check out Nate’s extensive list of Things to do in Denver if you’d like to explore the nearby Mile High City!
Aspen Meadow Campground, Golden Gate Canyon State Park
An affordable campground surrounded by aspen trees
Aspen Meadow is a tent-only campground, but campers are still able to drive to the sites. There is water available, and the sites have brush and trees that will keep them at least partially shaded.
If you’re camping in an RV, Golden Gate Canyon State Park has another campground, Reverend’s Ridge, that allows motorhomes and trailers. Both campgrounds are open year-round and require advanced booking.
Moraine Park Campground, Rocky Mountain National Park
Year-round camping in Colorado’s most popular national park
🗺️ Distance from Denver: 1 hour and 30 minutes to 2 hours | Google Maps | Destination Website | Amenities: dump station, firewood for sale, ice for sale, flush toilets, staff or volunteer host on-site, potable water
Moraine Park Campground is known for its views of Longs Peak, one of the most iconic Colorado 14ers. It’s one of the few campgrounds in Rocky Mountain National Park that’s open year-round.
Be sure to visit the nearby Discovery Center or check out a program at the amphitheater. There is a lot more camping outside the park in nearby Estes Park as well.
👉 Pro Tip: While you do need to pay both the campground fee and the entrance fee for the park, you don’t need to apply for a Timed Entry Permit. Your campground reservation serves that purpose.
Belle of Colorado Campground, Turquoise Lake
A tent-only campground with mountain lake views
This is a first-come, first-served campground for tents only, found along the shore of Turquoise Lake near Leadville. You can fish, swim, or boat in the lake, and there are plenty of hiking trails nearby. The campground is only open from late May or early June until the day after Labor Day.
Clear Creek RV Park, Golden
Creekside camping within walking distance of downtown Golden
Clear Creek RV Park is right on the creek. On hot summer days, there’s a convenient spot down the street where you can rent inner tubes. Clear Creek Trail is next to the campground and follows the water right into downtown Golden, one of the best places to visit in Colorado.
👉 Pro Tip: Despite the name, there are tent sites as well as RV sites available here in summer.
Chatfield State Park Campground
A suburban spot with lots of outdoor activities and amenities
Chatfield State Park may be just a short drive from Denver, but inside the park, you feel like you’re a world away. The reservoir allows motor boats along with waterskiing and jetskiing, and you can paddleboard or kayak.
There are also horse stables so you can go horseback riding. If you’re camping with your pup, you can also enjoy a massive off-leash dog area.
Bear Creek Lake Campground, Lakewood
A campground right off the freeway, offering fishing and lake activities
Reservations for this campground are available from April 1 – October 31. You’ll find both tent and RV sites at the campground, each located near outdoor activities at Bear Creek Lake Park.
There are three different lakes at the park where you can swim, waterski, fish, and paddle. There’s also an archery range, hiking and biking trails, and a visitor center with a variety of ranger talks and hikes. You’d never know you were still in the Denver metro area.
Rainbow Lakes Campground, Nederland
A sparse campground with great views of the Indian Peaks Wilderness
This campground above Nederland is light on amenities, having no water, electricity, hookups, or showers. Make sure to bring enough water for drinking, and all your other needs!
There are 18 first-come, first-served campsites that will fit a tent or small trailer. Pets are allowed but must be leashed. This less-developed campground is big on views of the Indian Peaks Wilderness, and you’ll find Rainbow Lakes Trail nearby, one of the best hikes in Colorado.
👉 Pro Tip: We use this Ranger Ready insect spray when we camp. It’s DEET-free and smells so much better than many other repellents!
Sawmill Hiker Campground, White Ranch Park
A walk-in campground with few amenities but pretty views of the foothills
Sawmill Hiker Campground is in the foothills of Golden, with nice views of the rolling hills all around. The sites are semi-primitive, and you’ll need to pack everything in to your campsite.
You’ll also need a permit, which you need to get at least 24 hours ahead of time. The permit costs $12 and allows up to three nights of camping.
FAQs About Denver Camping
Where can I camp for free in Colorado?
You can camp for free in Colorado within many national forests and on Bureau of Land Management (BLM) lands. This guide to free camping in Colorado lists many beautiful spots in the state.
Can you Boondock in Denver?
You can boondock in Denver within one of several developed campgrounds. Boondocking is governed by city and state ordinances. Aside from paid campsites, you may have a hard time finding anywhere to boondock until you get into the nearby Arapaho National Forest.
Is dispersed camping still allowed in Colorado?
There are a few rules for dispersed camping. You can’t stay more than 14 days in one spot, you can’t camp within 100 feet of a water source, and you need to leave no trace.
Whether you want all the amenities or a primitive experience, hopefully, you’ve now found camping near Denver that suits your tastes! For more ideas, check out our list of the best weekend getaways from Denver.
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