Where to Camp in the Centennial State
Visitors driving across the Colorado border are greeted by a sign reading, “Welcome to Colorful Colorado.”
Colorado is, indeed, colorful and breathtakingly beautiful, no matter what time of year you visit. With temperate summers and stunning falls, not to mention the spring wildflowers and winter skiing, it’s always a good time to visit the Centennial State.
Here are our picks for the best campgrounds in Colorado.
1. Buffalo Pass – Steamboat Springs
Buffalo Pass is a wilderness playground in Steamboat’s backyard. Beginning only minutes from downtown, it’s 11 miles to the top and 32 miles to Highway 14 near Walden. Camping, hiking, OHV trails and lakes are found along the way. Learn more.
2. Guanella Campground – Georgetown
Guanella Pass Campground is located about 7 miles south of Georgetown on the South Fork of Clear Creek on the Guanella Pass Scenic Byway. Located at an elevation of 10,900 feet on the Arapaho Roosevelt National Forest, visitors to the campground can also enjoy hiking and fishing in the area. The Guanella Pass Scenic and Historic Byway follows an old wagon route that linked the mining towns of Georgetown and Grant, Colorado. Learn more.
3. Fun Valley – South Fork
Fun Valley Family Resort is located in southwestern Colorado on Highway 160 approximately 5 miles west of South Fork Colorado and approximately 14 miles east of Wolf Creek Pass. Fun Valley is surrounded by two million acres of the beautiful Rio Grande National Forest at an elevation of approximately 8,500 feet. The South Fork of the Rio Grande River runs through the park and portions of the park are shaded by majestic Pine, Spruce and Willow trees. Learn more.
4. Little Molas Lake Campground – Silverton
Little Molas Lake features 10 campsites ‐ 4 are double, 3 have hitching rails for stock animals, and 5 will accommodate RVs. Campers are limited to no longer than a 14‐day stay. Campsites have fire grates but no tables. There is no drinking water or trash service offered. Campers must pack out their trash. Motor vehicles must stay on roadways and spurs. There are toilets in the campground and at the trailhead for the Colorado Trail. The trailhead, which is located just past the campground, has 13 vehicle parking spots and 7 large parking spaces for horse trailers. Parking for fishing and day use is offered near the lake. Little Molas is stocked by the Colorado Division of Wildlife. Learn more.
5. Kelly Flats Campground – Fort Collins
Kelly Flats is a first-come, first-served campground located adjacent to Colorado Highway 14 and the Cache La Poudre River. There are 29 sites available including four walk-in tent sites. This is primarily an open conifer forest setting but there is a variety of vegetation found along the riparian zone of the river. Each site contains a tent pad, fire grate and picnic table. The primary activities in this area include stream fishing and enjoying the ambience of the river as it flows through the campground. Learn more.
6. Painted Rocks – Woodland Park
Painted Rocks Campground is located a short distance from Manitou Lake and the Centennial Bike Trail in central Colorado. The rustic campground is named for the sandstone outcroppings in the area that resemble colorful streaks from an artist’s paintbrush. Learn more.
7. Oh-Be-Joyful – Crested Butte
Oh Be Joyful Recreation Area received its name from a nearby mountain stream that features spectacular waterfalls. This high-elevation area provides fantastic mountain views that are complemented by beautiful trees and magnificent wildflowers. During times of high water flow, visitors can enjoy world-class kayaking. For those looking for an overnight stay, Oh Be Joyful Campground is located along the Slate River. Learn more.
8. Piñon Flats Campground – Alamosa
Pinyon Flats Campground at the Great Sand Dunes is a great place to camp. 88 individual sites located along two loops. Restrooms have sinks, flush toilets and a sink for dishwashing. Each site has a fire grate and a picnic table. Some sites have large cottonwood or conifer trees for shade, while others are more out in the open with smaller Pinyon trees. A few sites can fit RVs up to 35 feet in length. Reservations can be made through www.Recreation.gov. Learn more.
9. Angel of Shavano – San Isabel National Forest
Angel of Shavano Campground is one of the area’s best kept secrets. The campground is small with only 20 campsites, but it offers visitors a quiet atmosphere to gather with family and friends. The campsites are wooded with aspen and spruce trees. A few of the campsites are located along the stream. Learn more.
10. Moraine Park Campground – Estes Park
Moraine Park Campground (8,160 feet) is located in Colorado’s awe-inspiring Rocky Mountain National Park, near the Beaver Meadows Entrance on Highway 36. It is situated on the north side of Moraine Park, offering beautiful views of the vast park and the surrounding mountains. From lush valleys to craggy peaks reaching elevations over 14,000 feet, visitors are provided opportunities for countless breathtaking experiences and adventures. Scenic driving, hiking, backpacking, fishing, horseback riding and wildlife viewing are popular activities in the park. Learn more.
Are you planning a camping trip? Be prepared with these 25 camping hacks that are sure to make your next trip a big adventure.