View from the Bear Creek Lake Campground, one of the best places for camping near Denver

Camping Near Denver (9 Best Places, By a Local) 

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!

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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

An RV in the Cherry Creek State Park Campground
Cherry Creek State Park has swimming, boating, biking trails, and more! (photo: Arina P Habich / Shutterstock)

🗺️ Distance from Denver: 35 minutes | Google Maps | Destination Website | Amenities: full RV hookups, showers, laundry facilities, dump station, pet-friendly

Cherry Creek State Park offers year-round camping, although some of the amenities are only available in summer. Note that reservations are required to camp at all Colorado State Parks

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

Fog over the Aspen Meadow Campground
The aspens at Golden Gate State Park are beautiful…and plentiful!

🗺️ Distance from Denver: 45 minutes to 1 hour | Google Maps | Destination Website | Amenities: tent pads, potable water, showers 

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

Scenic view while on a camping in Moraine Park Campground
Everywhere you look at Rocky Mountain National Park, you’ll find amazing views!

🗺️ 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

The Turquoise Lake under the clear blue sky
Turquoise Lake is great for paddleboarding or fishing

🗺️ Distance from Denver: 2 hours | Google Maps | Destination Website | Amenities: vault toilets, potable water, picnic table, fire rings, pedestal grills, firewood

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

People enjoying water tubing in Clear Creek
You’re right next to the creek, perfect for a day in the water! (photo: Vicki L. Miller / Shutterstock)

🗺️ Distance from Denver: 25 minutes | Google Maps | Destination Website | Amenities: full RV hookups, pet-friendly, dump station, laundry, showers

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

The clear blue sky over the Chatfield State Park Campground

🗺️ Distance from Denver: 30 minutes | Google Maps | Destination Website | Amenities: full RV hookups, flush toilets, shower facilities, laundry, potable water, firewood, sanitary waste station

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.

👉 Pro Tip: If you want to spend a day exploring nearby towns, check out Littleton and Highlands Ranch!

Bear Creek Lake Campground, Lakewood

A campground right off the freeway, offering fishing and lake activities

View from the Bear Creek Lake Campground

🗺️ Distance from Denver: 25 minutes | Google Maps | Destination Website | Amenities: potable water, showers, dump station

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

The Indian Peak Wilderness wooden signage
(photo: Steve Boice / Shutterstock)

🗺️ Distance from Denver: 1 hour and 25 minutes | Google Maps | Destination Website | Amenities: picnic table, fire grates, vault toilets, and trash services, bear lockers

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

View of a bonfire in Sawmill Hiker Campground
Be sure to read fire restrictions before sparking up a bonfire!

🗺️ Distance from Denver: 45 minutes | Google Maps | Destination Website | Amenities: picnic table, toilets, pet-friendly

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

View from a campground near Denver

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?

Dispersed camping is still allowed in Colorado. The Bureau of Land Management allows dispersed camping on most BLM land, and you can also camp on national forest land

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.  

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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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One Comment

  1. Cherry Creek and Chatfield are almost impossible to get into, you have to reserve a campsite almost a year ahead of time. For us regular people there’s like no chance of camping anywhere around Denver, unless camping facilities make half reserve and half first come first serve again. There are people that love to camp but don’t have credit cards to reserve a site 90-120 days ahead of time. Things need to go back to the way it was, camping is now something for the well off or rich people now.

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