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If you’re looking to get away from it all — to enjoy some natural beauty and endless outdoor activities — a trip to Colorado is in order. And one of the best ways to experience all that this magnificent state has to offer is by pitching a tent and taking it all in.
There aren’t many other states that boast such notable destinations as Rocky Mountain National Park, Garden of the Gods and the San Juan Skyway Scenic Byway. And it’s really no secret that Colorado offers some of the best camping in the West. So, we’ve put together a list of some of the best places to camp in the state of Colorado, from spots in national forests to those in state and national parks.
The Maroon Bells, two peaks in the Elk Mountains, are purported to be the most photographed scene in Colorado, and potentially in all of North America. So it’s no wonder that the campsites in this area are incredibly popular.
In addition to their spectacular setting — you’ll drool over the views of Maroon Lake — these campsites are close (enough) to Aspen to make planning and gathering camp supplies fairly easy. With three campsites to choose from, Silver Bar, Silver Bell and Silver Queen, it’s hard to go wrong. But the walk-in sites at Silver Bell and Silver Bar are ideal for tent camping.
Due to the popularity of these sites, and the White River National Forest in general, reservations for both camping and car access is required. Reservations can be made through Aspen’s Chamber of Commerce.
Moraine Park campground is a fantastic spot for anyone looking to camp with children in Rocky Mountain National Park, mostly due to its accessibility and the fact that it is well maintained and kept very clean. In addition, campers will be treated to breathtaking views and the chance to see lots of wildlife including moose, elk, sheep and black bears.
Open year-round, the site is also a good choice if you’re looking to do some wintertime camping to experience even more solitude and a different, but equally impressive, season in the mountains.
Golden Gate Canyon State Park
Located northwest of Golden, Colorado, Golden Gate Canyon State Park is a beautiful area that offers a variety of opportunities to explore. The park is well over 10,000 acres and has 40+ miles of designated trails, making it a great spot for hikers, mountain bikers, and even horseback riders.
With 156 camping sites, it certainly isn’t the spot for those looking to escape the crowds. But it’s a lovely location for an easy and hassle-free camping experience, whether you’re in a tent or an RV.
Bear Lake Campground
Bear Lake campground, located in the San Isabel National Forest, is an ideal spot for anglers, offering access to the nearby Cucharas River too. In fact, a tributary of the Cuchara River runs through the campground and the lake is stocked several times during the summer.
Even if you aren’t interested in catching trout, hikers, mountain bikers and horseback riders can enjoy the nearby 14-mile long Indian Creek Trail.
Each of the 14 campsites come with a table and fire ring. And while rugged toilets and drinking water are available, you won’t find any other amenities here. Again, this makes it a good destination for anyone looking for a more remote experience.
Pinon Flats campground
If you’re in search of a rather unique camping experience, head to the Great Sand Dunes National Park. This spot will have you believing you’re in the middle of the Sahara instead of Colorado.
With the tallest sand dunes in North America taking the place of the snowcapped mountains you might expect to see, there’s a range of outdoor activities to enjoy. And Pinon Flats is the best camping spot in the park from which to access the hiking trails that cross the dunes.
A number of kid-friendly, ranger-led activities and a junior ranger program are available. Medano Creek, at the base of the dunes, is a great spot for kids (and adults!) to take a cool dip in the summertime. And for those looking for a real thrill, it’s even possible to go sandboarding or sand sledding here.
Angel of Shavano campground
Located in the San Isabel National Forest and next to the North Fork South Arkansas River, the Angel of Shavano campground offers just 20 sites that are rarely ever crowded thanks to the campground’s more remote location.
With a variety of recreational activities nearby, this is a fantastic spot for anyone, whether you’re out adventuring solo or with your family. In fact, the site sits right along the 486-mile Colorado Trail, making it a perfect spot for hikers and mountain bikers. There’s also fishing in the nearby North Fork Reservoir.
Featured image by Johnny Adolphson/Shutterstock.