the dyrt
THE BEST CAMPING IN
Colorado
1710 Reviews 1221 Campgrounds

When it comes to camping in Colorado, the options are almost limitless. From the valleys of the state’s highest peaks to Garden of the Gods and beyond, you’ll find alpine lakes, red rock formations, craggy peaks, dense pine forest, and wildflower-dotted meadows all right outside the tent door.

While Colorado claims many iconic destinations, Garden of the Gods ranks near the top of many visitors’ lists. The red rock formations backed by towering mountain ridgelines offers a jaw-dropping location for both hiking and camping in Colorado. Head to the Garden of the Gods RV Resort and pitch your tent for easy access to adventure, or opt for a cottage to enjoy a little luxury at the edges of one of Colorado’s most scenic locations. Enjoy easy day hikes through the namesake park, or explore the trails that trace through Red Rock Canyon Open Space.

If wilderness and solitude are more of what you’re looking for, ditch the big city and head for Twin Lakes, the basecamp for Colorado’s highest peak, Mount Elbert. Situated at a lofty 9,900 feet on the edges of Turquoise Lake, May Queen Campground offers both tranquility and million-dollar views. Sleep beneath a starry sky amidst lodgepole pines and spend your days exploring the Turquoise Lake Nature Trail. Ambitious hikers can post up at the Elbert Creek campground and head for the Mount Elbert trailhead to tackle the challenging trek to the 14,433-foot summit. And, don’t forget the fishing rod for this destination: angling on any of the nearby lakes is a great way to enjoy sunny summer days camping in Colorado’s mountains.

Those looking to stay closer to the Mile High City can find tent camping at Echo Lake campground on the outskirts of Idaho Springs, or at Aspen Meadows campground in Golden Gate Canyon State Park. Whether it’s a weekend getaway not far from the city or a challenging and inspiring adventure deep in the mountains, the medley of camping in Colorado has something for everyone.

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Recent Reviews in Colorado
Easy Get Away from the City

This si the place my friends and I go to just for a night away from everything. It is just out of reach of the city and far enough away where we can find some peace and quiet. The views are incredible!

Lots of climbing routes nearby and easy to find some good spots away from others.

Fantastic Quiet Space

We had a large group come out to camp with 3 dogs. It was a HUGE space and we had it all to ourselves! We were less than 1 hour from Great Sands but we could see the dunes and Mt. Blanca. Sunrise and sunset were amazing from this view.

Directions to get here were complicated at first because it is so far off the road and we came in at night but once we found it, it was easy to find again and the directions made complete sense!

It was perfect weather for this time of year because it wasn't super hot but if you are here in the Summer then be prepared for no shade.

Only few campsites but private

Does a have fire pits does have cows come thru watch your step

Nice Fall Excursion

Like others have said, find a shaded spot. I was there in early September and the days were still warm and sunny. I didn’t need to reserve as the campground was only a little more than half full. Proximity to the dunes was great. If you want the creek experience then you must go in Spring…completely dry in the Fall. There was a lot of deer around and the site was plenty roomy and level. Mosca Pass hiking trail next to the campground and the trailhead is within the Great Sand Dunes National Park. It’s a nice moderate trail.

Clean with an amazing view

Sits above the dunes. Also has very clean restrooms with showers to attempt and get sand off.

Very Popular Place

Like most KOAs, you get a wide variety of people stopping through, and will inevitably pay more than most of the smaller locations in this area that have fewer amenities. Be prepared to share elbow room, but otherwise a good, safe spot for a night.

Great to bring your boat

This is a great location to bring your boat for wakesurfing, kayak or SUP. I recommend the South Bay. The campground is nice and the natives are chill.

Excellent in all respects

Excellent stay - camp is at Brainard Lake recreation area and one of our all time favs ! Clean vaults excellent hosts and cleanest sites - many things to do including hikes on multiple trails and kayaking on lake or just looking for moose and casually relaxing. Reservations very difficult to get but if you get in - enjoy it’s excellent . Moose loop nice with trees - Elk loop has some sites with no trees or shade due to wind storm years ago. Our site 9’was partial shade and site 11 was also shaded.

Nice Weekend Getaway

This is nice for quick getaway - easy drive from Denver and right at Kenosha Pass which has fall beautiful colors. We bought a new pop up tent and had to try it out arrived in the dark and awoke to beautiful fall colors - hiking trails closeby. Vault toilets very clean only about 20 sites forest service campground. Rating reflects some highway noise closeby only downside

Alpine Dream

We were able to get our popup to these sites but not necessarily recommended to even attempt to bring a trailer (ours is lifted with heavy duty tires) worth the risk because, Wow!! Perfect lake views, snow capped mountain tops, and wildflowers for days. We were sadly not allowed fires but this year we are getting tons of moisture in CO so we will head back up to Alta by summer, hopeful for fires again. Port a John's are rarely serviced, so if that's a deal breaker for you….and Please Leave No Trace!! This area is so beautiful, let's keep it that way.

Breathtaking in fall

Got to visit this beauty in fall and went up 8,000 feet elevation. So beautiful and remote.

What a view

Nothing like a beautiful view, crisp clean air and low population.

Beautiful Views, but Windy

Bumpy drive up, but my Honda Accord made it fine. There were a few spots left when we arrived in March on a Saturday. It was a very windy, but sunny. I would stay here again!

Awesome Place- Make a reservation!

Stayed here in August and it was beautiful! We drove to the area from Denver and got stuck in traffic on the way. We went to multiple campgrounds in the area and they were all booked! Luckily, someone had just canceled when we pulled into Hecla Junction. DO NOT GO HERE UNLESS YOU MAKE A RESERVATION!

The camp host was very friendly and nice! She told us that it fills up fast and that we were so lucky to pull in when we did. Overall it was a great trip. Cool river nearby and pretty views. I'm used to backcountry camping so sites seemed pretty close together.

Lots of free camping nearby

It's a great campground and there is plenty of beautiful dispersed camping a short drive (or walk) down the road, so you're guaranteed to get a spot!

Nice camping near a resort

We stayed here for a weekend since we were married there the year before. It's a beautiful camping spot close to amenities. Felt like camping in a forest.

Not worth it.

The Cabins are for locals or people working in the local area and are only available for monthly rent, The tent areas are in direct sunlight with no shaded area and overpriced at $25 a night regardless of what time you check in checkouts at 11:00 am, The Bathrooms are reasonably clean, however scary hag lady comes in as if on crack running around looking like a mad woman, somewhat scary, the horse stalls are disgusting.

Beautiful camping with lots to do

Great views of the lake. Lots of hiking and biking nearby. We camped on the non-electric loop and there were very few people. The sites were spread out with trees and some privacy. The electric loop was full and the sites very close together.

VERY CLEAN PARK

I stayed here because It was closest to downtown Durango and I was bushed and ready for sleep. After staying 14 days in the backwoods, it was nice to get shower in an actual building…. but I must admit, after paying nothing to park and stay in the woods for 14 days, it hurt my feelings to pay $75 for one night here.

On the down side, it is an Upscale RV park that if your not in a prevost bus, you are out of place. The whole time I was putting up, I was getting funny looks for my popup a frame trailer. Either way, they were nice people in the office/restaurant and have a nice rv park. Little too much $$ for my pocket book.

First to Review
Old trailer park with campground

Easy check in, they take credit cards, full hookups, on a hill and dirt sites but off the main road so not too much noise, views and sunsets are great!

Gorgeous Scenery RMNP, Rest-Room Facilities Very Dirty in Need of Rehab

I used to really enjoy this campground and beauty of park. I stayed spot A075 in Sept 17 and was really looking forward to the trip. Positive is beauty of park, friendliness of park rangers and support, staff, and overall experience smelling campfire at night. Negative is restrooms were in really poor condition, really poor - staying in many facilities with Pits/Vaults that were a more favorable experience. Negative is sights (some of them) are too close to neighbors

Just what we needed

We stayed in this campground fall of 2018 in a 40ft 5th wheel and satellite+plenty of space for tow; full hook up with free hot showers and coin laundry on site. Was offered free WiFi voucher but cell signal was fine. Staff was friendly and helpful - will be back if passing by on 70 again.

Warm weather

Bright colors, beautiful valleys, warm weather

Ranger Review: INNO Aero Light 2 Bike Rack at Lost Creek Campground

Campground Review

As a local of the nearby town of Salida, I've seen a lot of campgrounds in Chaffee County and the San Isabel National Forest, but this one stands out for its beautiful scenery and prime location to nearby towns and the Colorado Trail.

We chose the site because it's free of charge, a good mid point between the next day's destinations, and close to where our friend would be heading out from for her week long Colorado Trail mountain sufferfest.

After a long day of driving shuttle to pickup a good friend in Durango, we drove back from Southern Colorado to spend the night at this lovely mountain spot halfway up Monarch Pass just down the road from the CT. When we arrived at night---close to midnight---we were easily able to make our way into the solo spot, find flat areas to set up three tents, and settle in for the night. While you could probably fit two groups at this site, it's definitely best as a single site. Despite the rain clouds, we could still see a smattering of stars and enjoy a night in the trees protected from the breezes.

In the morning, my roommate and I took our dogs for a short walk up the nearby county road and enjoyed sweeping views of the Collegiate Peaks, as well as some tracks from a curious bear that had wandered nearby during the night. Up the road there were a number of pull offs for other dispersed camping areas.

Once back at camp, we started to dry out our camp from the night's rain and helped our friend unload her gear for her Colorado Trail mountain biking trip for the next week. As it was drizzling most of the morning, my roommate and I opted to see our friend off for her CT ride and head to the town of Salida for breakfast, which was only about 20 minutes away down Highway 50.

Pros:

  • Private, no other people
  • In a gorgeous mountain alpine setting
  • Easy to navigate to, even at night
  • Within 30 minutes of nearby town of Salida
  • Within 30 minutes of Monarch Ski Area
  • Less than a mile from the Colorado Trail
  • Easily fit three tents and our Subaru Outback

Cons:

  • Bear activity

Product Review

As a Ranger for The Dyrt, I get to test products from unique brands from time to time. At this campground and in the following weeks, I got to test out the INNO Aero Light 2 bike rack. This is the first hitch rack I've ever used on my Outback, and was immediately an improvement on the cheaper trunk mount models I've used before (and definitely easier to coordinate compared to loading the bikes into the back of the Subaru itself).

Like most hitch racks I've help installed, however, the hardest part of using it was initially attaching it to the hitch mount. But after 10 minutes or so of wiggling and adjusting the mount, I was able to get the pin secured and the rest of the assembly was a breeze.

The rack, which features a secured lock over the pin at the hitch as well as a cable lock for the bikes themselves, felt super sturdy and easily fit my roommate and my gravel grinder road bikes on the drive down from northern Colorado. The quality rubber straps were easy to pull over the top and seat tubes to secure the bikes and the cable lock was a great extra security step for when we left the car to grab coffee and beer during the trip.

When it came time to swap bikes, it was easy to fit both my All City gravel bike's frame and the modern women's mountain bike frame of my friend's bike on the rack at the same time. The only downside we noticed was that after hours of windy mountain passes back, the mount points had shifted the bikes closer together. However, they still remained very secure.

The next morning, the rack's easy lowering feature allowed us to get into the back gate of the Subaru to remove our other gear, even with the bikes on it.

In the weeks after our trip, I also tested the rack with street cruisers and was able to fit two full beach cruiser size bikes on the rack, too!

Pros/key features:

  • tilting arms that can lower when not in use
  • rack folds down for access to rear gate
  • includes cable lock and key for added security
  • anti-sway cradle
  • accessible foot pedal to easily lower rack
  • locking knob on hitch pin for added security
  • fits a wide variety of frame types
  • incredibly stable compared to other brands
  • strong, lightweight aluminum (42 lbs)

Cons:

  • mounting points move over rough/windy roads, moving the bikes closer together

After months testing this rack for trip and daily use, I'm in love. It fits every frame type I have from classic cruiser to modern mountain bike, and the ability to lower the arms and the rack itself for rear gate access means I can leave the rack on even when making lumber trips to Home Depot. If you're looking for a bike rack that supports every two-wheeled adventure on your list (short of a penny-farthing one), the INNO Aero Light 2 is the way to go.

Elk watchers paradise

I camped during the Elk Rut and watching the elk come out at dusk was amazing. Hundred of elk at the meadow below. Jawdropping.

Great campsite and great view. Even with plenty of RV's and campers around it was extremely quiet. Each site had a picnic table and fire ring. Sites are pretty close together so just keep that in mind when setting up camp. Bear boxes are there for a reason so use them!

Pit toilet close to my site was fairly clean and stocked. Water was a little bit of a walk but not horrible.

I visited in Oct and during the day it was up in the 60's. The morning I woke up to snow. So again keep that in mind when camping during months that snow can happen.

Secret gem that many do not know about

I've hesitated on if I wanted to post a review about this site or not. It's such a great site that not many seem to know about and sometimes you just want to keep those hidden/sorta secret sites to yourself. But since there is already another review guess I will add mine as well.

By far my most favorite site I've ever camped. It's quite the experience being able to camp at the bottom of this canyon after seeing it from the top side. The river is close for fly fishing, there is no RV's, mostly tent or van/truck camping due to the road being restricted to vehicles under 22'. There is a 16% grade and extremely sharp and narrow curves.

There is only 15 sites in two locations. One is a drive in and has about 8 sites. The other was closed when I arrived but looked like very nice sites as well. Only pit toilets in both and I saw no working water so bring in what you are going to need.

Saw and heard lots of wildlife. Deer for sure and a few bald eagles, the other critters heard and not saw, well who knows but mostly birds. There are bear boxes on site.

Picnic tables and fire rings.

I'm sure as the snow/cold weather comes in this campsite will be closed down due to road conditions so double check before planning a trip to be sure it's open.

And to top it off the fishing here is amazing. So many open areas to climb down to the river and just fish away with no crowds. It was magical! and then to have a Bald eagle watching you, couldn't ask for a better experience!

One last thing, you are at the bottom of the canyon so it is in the shade quite often so meaning it is a bit cooler down there than at the top.

Great campground if you flyfish

The walk to the river was short and there even is a parking area for those who are not camping but want to fish.

Sites were well maintained, restroom and showers were as well.

Picnic tables, fire ring and grill at all sites. Deer wandered around freely and was an extremely restful night.

They offer pull in sites or walk in tent sites. I chose a pull in even though I was tent camping. Had to check out a few sites to be sure there was level/cactus free spot to pitch the tent.

Stunning views & quiet

I thought I would grab a tent only site but after cruising around and checking them out, the views at the tent only sites are not that great.

I ended up choosing a site in the B loop. This loop seemed to have the best views. Even with RV's set up it was pin drop quiet. Picnic tables and a grill at all sites. NO fires were allowed while I was visiting. You sometimes have to search around to find a good site in this loop for a tent but it's not that difficult. Many sites have a short little walk to beautiful overlooks. Catch the sites at sunset and sunrise and you won't be disappointed.

Restrooms were clean and well maintained.