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Colorado Camping

Camping In Colorado

Home to a lion's share of the Rocky Mountains, Colorado offers a vast expanse of camping opportunities with incredible mountain views and plenty of peaks to be conquered. The diverse landscape also offers many different outdoor activities. Whether you're looking for established campgrounds or a rugged setting for primitive camping, Colorado has a camping experience for you.

Best Colorado State Parks & Campgrounds

These are some of the best places to camp in Colorado based on our own experience and top 10 lists from around the web. Use the links below to learn more about each area.

6 Popular Places to Camp in Colorado

  • Golden Gate Canyon State Park
  • Rifle Falls State Park
  • Mueller State Park
  • Arkansas Headwaters Recreation Area
  • Eldorado Canyon State Park
  • Lory State Park

Where: 1 hour from Denver

Only an hour from Denver, this state park is the perfect escape, and is renowned for its beauty. A fantastic view at Panorama Point Scenic Overlook awaits you, with a 100-mile view of the Continental Divide. There are also many different outdoor activities for all adventurers, including hiking for all levels, mountain biking, horseback riding, and rock climbing (permit required).

When To Visit
In order to avoid the crowds flooding the Rocky Mountains, we recommend trying to visit from the end of May to early June, or after Labor Day in September when the weather is still pleasant, but the crowds are fewer.

Book a Site:
Golden Gate Canyon State Park, CO

Where: 1.5 hours from Grand Junction and the Utah border

Rifle Falls State Park is truly a unique camping experience, with its triple falls, limestone caverns, and unusually lush landscape. The campsites are situated right along the creek, making this an even more epic camping spot.
Visitors can enjoy exploring the caves and the falls, photography, and hiking. You can also go fishing at the Rifle Falls State Hatchery.

When To Visit
We recommend visiting during late spring or late summer months, as it gets very crowded in the summer, sometimes forcing the park to turn away visitors. A late May or late September trip is recommended to take advantage of fair weather and the beauty of Rifle Falls with fewer crowds.

Book a Site:
Rifle Falls State Park, CO

Where: 40 minutes from Colorado Springs, and 2 hours from Denver

Claimed to be the highlight of many Colorado trips, this state park boasts year-round fun and abundant mountain biking, hiking, wildlife viewing opportunities, and snow sports. Mueller State Park visitors marvel at the incredible views around the park and lovely hiking trails (with cross country skiing and snowshoeing in the winter).

When To Visit
Any time of year is a great time to visit Mueller State Park, but we especially recommend...
A Fall trip - Enjoy breathtaking views of the alpine forests turning beautiful shades of orange and red. For a Fall foliage trip, we recommend visiting in October.
A Winter adventure trip - Mueller State Park is also an excellent winter destination if you enjoy (or want to try!) cross-country skiing or snowshoeing. You can book a cabin or yurt for a fun winter camping experience.

Book a Site:
Mueller State Park, CO

Where: Salida, CO - About 2 hours from Colorado Springs

The Arkansas Headwaters Recreation Area (AHRA) is one of the United States' best and most popular locations for kayaking and whitewater rafting. Located on the Arkansas River, there is a total of 150 miles of water, which extends from Leadville, Colorado to Pueblo, Colorado and contains many different classes of rapids. All AHRA campgrounds, with the exception of Five Points, are on the Arkansas River and have boat ramps for raft and kayak access. The area offers plenty of other activities aside from watersports, including camping, hiking, picnicking, wildlife watching, mountain biking, rock climbing, fishing, hiking, nature trails, horseback riding, and even gold panning along the river's shores.

When To Visit
The park is open year-round, 24 hours per day. June through September are the warmest months and are a great time to visit. September has the most rainfall per year, with an average of 7 rainy days of the month, however it is likely to be less crowded than summer months.

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Arkansas Headwaters Recreation Area, CO

Where: 20 minutes outside Boulder, and 45 minutes from Denver

Just outside Boulder and 45 minutes away from Denver, Eldorado Canyon State Park is a hiker's paradise and is an excellent choice for first-time Colorado visitors. For anyone visiting Boulder or Denver, we highly recommend making this side trip. In fact, Eldorado Canyon State Park was selected as one of Ten State Parks You Can't Miss by In addition to hiking, there is also rock climbing. For non-climbers, many visitors also enjoy watching the climbers traverse the canyon's rock faces.

When To Visit
Like other state parks in Colorado, it gets crowded on summer weekends, and vehicle capacity is often reached. We recommend a late May trip, or visiting after Labor Day when the weather is still nice but you can avoid some of the crowds.

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Eldorado Canyon State Park, CO

Where: An hour and 15 minutes from Colorado Springs

Eleven Mile State Park is best known for its fishing, waterfront camping, and beautiful scenery. Windsurfing is also a popular activity in the state park. The variety of water sport opportunities is all thanks to the Eleven Mile Canyon Dam, resulting in a 3,400-acre reservoir. There is also a wide variety of wildlife to spot, including elk, bald eagles, and falcons. Relax at one of the waterfront campsites and enjoy all the Eleven Mile State Park has to offer.

When To Visit
For avid fishermen, we recommend visiting in April after the winter thaw. Otherwise, Spring and Summer are ideal visiting times. Like with many state parks, the summer can get crowded, so a Spring trip may be best for you.

Book a Site:
Eleven Mile State Park, CO