Camping season is without a doubt our favorite season here in Colorado. Ever since Kelly and I met back in 2014, we've been exploring campgrounds all across the U.S., but our favorites can all be found right here in our beautiful home state.
As self-employed owners of Adventurist Backpack Co., we're able to make our own schedule which means that we usually work through the weekend and instead try to take advantage of the less crowded weekdays when it comes to camping. The most popular spots can fill up fast - especially during the weekend and holidays, so take a look at our favorite campgrounds below, and then hurry up and snag a spot before they're all gone!
Disclaimer: a couple of these campgrounds also have first-come-first-serve spots, so if they're fully booked on the dates you're hoping to go you can always try getting there early to get a spot!
Disclaimer #2: there are plenty of gorgeous remote hike-in spots to pitch your tent in Colorado, which we'll save for another blog post - this list is focused on easily accessible campgrounds you can drive to across the state.
And if you're in need of a new pack for your next camping trip (or your next hike, or an upcoming city getaway) make sure to check ours out right here! Alright, let's get to the good stuff... Here are our top 5 favorite (easily accessible) Colorado campgrounds!
Located right on Lake Dillon, Prospector Campground is surrounded by scenic mountain and lake views. The campground has plenty of great spots, but our favorites are the ones with a view of the lake (specifically spots number 62, 64, 66, 51, 53 and 58). There's tons of great hiking around, and with Breckenridge being a short 20 minute drive away, there's a lot to do whether you prefer spending your time on the trails or in town - and if you get tired of campfire-food you can always head in to town and get some loaded fries at Downstairs at Eric's.
Although it's possible that some of the spots with the best views may already be booked for most of the summer, there really aren't any bad spots at this campground. Each site has a fire pit, and most of them have trees around for some extra privacy. And since there's a path from the campground down to Dillon Lake, you can always bring a couple of camp chairs down to the water to enjoy sunset.
Piñon Flats Campground
Nestled at the edge of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, Piñon Flats Campground in Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve is surrounded by some of the most amazing views Colorado has to offer. The huge dunes are the tallest in North America and comprise about 11 percent of an enormous sand deposit that covers more than 330 square miles. The campground is situated among pinon pines and sagebrush beneath the majestic mountains, and most sites have beautiful views of the snow-covered peaks.
The campground is open from April 1 through the end of October, and reservations can be made up to six months in advance. Although reservations are recommended for this campground, any spots that aren't reserved in advance will be available at a first-come-first-serve basis. There are both individual campsites (for up to 8 people) and group campsites for 15-40 people, so if you have a big friend group or a family reunion this campground is the perfect place to go!
Moraine Park Campground
Camping in Rocky Mountain National Park is a unique experience. The park has five amazing campgrounds to stay in, but our favorite by far is Moraine Park Campground. During the day the site offers excellent views of the breathtaking landscape that the park is known for, and on clear nights a sky full of sparkling stars will greet you from above. The campground is also known to be a great place to see wildlife, so be prepared to get a peek of some of the park's local crowd of moose, elk and big horn sheep.
Moraine Park is the largest campground in Rocky Mountain National Park and is centrally located and easy to access. Most of the sites provide beautiful views of the mountains, so you really can't go wrong with any spot. Although the campground is open year around the summer months are peak season, and reservations are required from May through September.
Tucked away north of Winter Park (and right outside of Rocky Mountain National Park) lies the “Great Lakes of Colorado”. This region features a handful of alpine lakes, ranging from small and remote, to the second largest body of water in the state. Stillwater Campground is located on Lake Granby, the largest reservoir in the area. The campground is situated right on the water, and offers beautiful views of the lake and the surrounding peaks. One of our favorite things about this campground is its proximity to amazing hiking - some trails leading you straight into the backside of Rocky Mountain National Park. For those who are looking for a more low key adventure, we recommend checking out the close-by town of Grand Lake which has a one of the most charming main streets full of shops and restaurants.
During pre-season (May 7-May 20) no reservation is needed and spots can be claimed on a first-come-first-serve basis, but as peak season rolls around you'll need to make a reservation in advance. To get the best view, we recommend looking at the campground map and booking a spot right by the water, once sunset hits you'll be reveling in the undisturbed views of the lake.
Angel of Shavano Campground
This “hidden gem” of a campground is one of Colorado’s best-kept secrets. With only 20 campsites, camping here is quaint and stunning. You’ll find yourself surrounded by aspen and spruce trees situated along the south Arkansas River. There's plenty of hiking around, and the Colorado Trail begins right inside the campground.
Overall, the campsites are best suited for tent camping, but the campground can accommodate RVs and trailers as well. All spots on this campground are first-come-first-serve, so if you go on a weekend make sure to get here early to snag a spot before they fill up!