UPDATED SEP 15, 2020
Whether you're a seasoned camper looking for some scenic vistas or just want to escape the city for a bit, Denver has you covered. Check out this list of our favorite camping spots near the city!
The masses invade Telluride each summer mostly for music festivals, mountain biking, rock climbing, and hiking in one of the most scenic places in the country. But also camping. Town Park Campground tends to be crowded, so consider taking the road less traveled to Alta Lakes. You'll likely need high clearance on your vehicle to get there, but the 20 lakeside, dispered campsites are nothing short of magic.
In recent years, Fruita has landed on the map as a camping destination for Front Rangers. What’s all the hype? Mild temperatures in the early months of spring and late into the fall make for perfect early- and late-season camping. The 57-site 18 Road BLM Campground and nearby 35-site NFD Campground have vault toilets but no potable water. But that doesn't turn many weary mountain bikers off. For those who aren’t there to bike, it’s also within a quick drive to Colorado National Monument, perfect for hikers and climbers alike.
To say that there are a few camping options around Salida would be an understatement. There are a lot of great camping options in this valley that host all different kinds of thrill-seekers, from mountain bikers to climbers to rafters. Not sure where to stay? Let us point you to Angel of Shavano Campground. If it’s solitude that you’re after, and you’re itching to bag a 14er, then this camping area should surely tick both of those boxes (and more!).
You may catch wind of Kendall Campground’s established neighbor, South Mineral Campground, just a few miles northeast of town. But again, it's likely to be crowded by RVs in the warmer months. Instead, you should take advantage of the free dispersed camping at Kendall. It's right on Mineral Creek and has adventure-inspiring, mountainous views. Exploration is encouraged, the swimming is great, and if you just can't unplug for the weekend, the cell service is suprisingly strong.
If you’re lucky enough to land a spot at this campground (one that is VERY popular during peak summer season), the sunsets and sunrise on the rim of the canyon will be beyond words. For fun, there are plenty of short hikes that skirt the rim, and even some that descend into the canyon. But if you do so, mind the bears — this naturally beautiful scenery is a host for black bears who also enjoy the breathtaking views.
Just eight miles northeast of town, Dry Lake Campground offers a remote feel while also being in close proximity to the resort and hot springs. The eight campsites are first-come, first-served and the each come with a picnic table and fire pit grate for grilling up some dogs after a long day on the mountain.
Looking for a beach getaway? While it might be missing the ocean, this big pile of sediment just at the base of the Sangre de Cristo Range is pretty spectacular. Score one of the 21 designated campsites along the Medano Pass Primitive Road starting at Piñon Flats Campground. The best news? There are no fees associated with this more primitive style of camping. And if there's room in the truck for your snowboard, and you can head up to Medano Pass for some epic sandboarding.
Oh Be Joyful is a fitting name — there’s little to fuss about when you’re posted up by the edge of the Slate River, just north of Crested Butte. The road there is pretty well-maintained but offers a bit of adventure with non-mandatory river crossings. The BLM-managed campground has 12 vehicle sites and 18 for tent-only tucked away in a grove of aspen trees. Come autumn, there's no better sight for miles.
True, it may be a bit cushy in comparison to neighboring dispersed camping, but this established campground is worth the haul from the Front Range. Just a short drive north of Durango, Haviland Lake is a welcome oasis in the hot summer months. Most of the sites are shaded and provide a picnic table and level platform for anyone with mobile camping rigs. Plus, kayaking and fishing are encouraged in this neck of the woods, with close proximity to hiking and mountain biking.
Consider Camp Dick a soft place to land after a full day of climbing. Skirting Allenspark and just beyond Estes Park limits, it’s the perfect quick retreat from the city. While most campgrounds in the park don’t allow dogs, your fur babies are welcome in this area. Keep in mind that this is a paid site with limited amenities, but at least there's drinkable water, vault toilets, and trash service.
Trying to get out of town for the weekend without joining the I-70 bustle? Consider heading west of Colorado Springs. Just north of Pikes Peak in Divide, CO, The Crags offers a jagged, scenic campground with both established and backcountry access. While this is a popular spot, it's not overrun by RVs, so you’re likely to land a spot on a Friday or Saturday night. Get an early start up Pikes Peak or an afternoon jaunt up The Crags Trail for some incredible views.
Oil Well Flats is the new hot spot for mountain bikers and trail runners who are looking for a weekend getaway, with mild temperatures for year-round adventures. Signage makes for an easy discovery, and campsites are free, dispersed, and first-come, first-served. It’s also a stone’s throw away from Shelf Road (a popular climbing area) and close to Royal Gorge.
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