The red rock canyon in this area offers spectacular views and opportunities for hiking, cycling, and climbing. This area is part of San Isabel National Forest, one of the best areas to camp for free in Colorado. While there are no electrical hookups available here, the campground does offer water, picnic tables, fire rings, and dump stations. Get any last-minute supplies at Wilderness Exchange, where you can find killer deals on consignment base layers, tents, daypacks, hiking poles—anything you need. The first mile is the hardest, so don’t get discouraged on the front end. All Rights Reserved. One of the most popular places to camp for residents of Colorado Springs, Thunder Ridge campground at Rampart Range Reservoir is a pristine and well-trafficked campground that overlooks the water. There’s no shame in car camping. You camp under the pine trees beside the lake with beautiful views of Mt. In his free time, Tyler can be found searching Portland for the next great food establishment or perusing the many bookshelves of Powell's. Consider extending your trip if you want to spend time hiking the lesser-visited western side of the park. To help you get the most out of your experience, we’ve looked far and wide for some of the best dispersed camping in Colorado. Camping along Lincoln Creek is permitted from late May to late September. Check. We camped on the side of the mountain, so when we woke up we were rewarded with the most beautiful overview of the city and mountains.” — The Dyrt camper Keisha M. This article was brought to you by Primus. Beer? You’ll cross one of the highest paved roads in the country (and likely spot elk and moose), then head south toward Frisco, before kicking west to Carbondale. About 40 minutes from the valley's glittering Aspen, Carbondale may just be one of raddest towns in Colorado. And if you're looking for a bit of an adrenaline rush while you're there, you can even go sandboarding while staying inside the park. Angel of Shavano Campground checks that box too. The area is located within 30 minutes of the beautiful Buena Vista, Colorado. Each site comes with a fire ring and picnic table, and drinking water and trash collection is available at the campground as well. Each site comes with a picnic table and fire ring, and the campground offers drinking water, trash collection, and vault toilets for all visitors. “Beautiful drive [to get] there over Kenosha Pass, [especially] during Aspen Yellow season. The best way to see it all is by hitting the road. The springs and shower are accessible with a $16 day pass. The campground itself includes 62 campsites, a handful of which have electric hookups. “Perfect place for a quiet weekend away near CO Springs. If you or your family are interested in seeing the wilder side of Colorado—whitewater rapids, epic, untouched mountain views, native Cutthroat Trout—then this campground is for you. #8 Best Value of 224 Colorado Pet Friendly Campgrounds “ However, the inside area is very cozy, with giant Jenga (pieces had just been cut and sanded by one of the employees), a box with table games, a friendly dog , and pizza slices for sale. Hikers, climbers, and well-to-do pro athletes congregate in places like Avery Brewing and Upslope (pictured), which is on the outskirts of the town on the way to Rocky Mountain National Park. It’s no secret that Colorado is host to some of the West’s best camping: from Rocky Mountain National Park to the southern San Juans, the mountain views are seemingly endless—though many of these areas fill up fast and require reservations and site fees.. One of the best fall color spots in Colorado, Rocky delivers on the foliage. All five of us fit in the tent without problem, once we placed one adult perpendicular to the rest (a family of four or less would be ideal). Use of this site constitutes acceptance of our, The Ultimate Colorado Car-Camping Road Trip, – On your way out of town, it’s worth a drive or short hike through the Garden of the Gods park with its dramatic red sandstone formations. End long days of hiking and elk spotting, carousing with the locals at Rock Cut Brewing, Lumpy Ridge Brewing, or Elkins Distilling. Due to its elevation and location in Boulder County, Colorado, Pawnee Campground experiences a shorter camping season for many of its sites, as they’re only available starting in early July and running through Labor Day. And don't forget to pack some extra layers (hey, you've got your car, after all), as most of the campsites are situated around 9,800 feet. Mueller’s campground offers excellent views of the Continental Divide, and includes 134 campsites, each with a fire ring and picnic table. If you’re one of them, know that you can car camp at Bear Creek Lake Camp, which has a walking trail that leads to the venue. It’s no secret that one of the most beloved pastimes in Colorado is camping. Even if it is cheap, gas will still be one of your greatest expenses because it can be difficult to properly gauge how much you will actually use. Home to thousands of weekend warriors, Denver is loaded with outdoor retailers. On your way out of town, it’s worth taking a small detour to the Rocky Mountain Arsenal Wildlife Refuge. For food, Village Smithy (pictured) is a classic for brunch and Señor Taco has some of the best tacos in the area. The park has showers and laundry on-site, which is a godsend if you’re flying out of Denver the next day. of Sunset Publishing Corporation. Look to River Runners and Absolute Bikes for gear rentals. Explore camper reviews and photos of the campgrounds in Rocky Mountain National Park. The Rio Grande Trail's 42-mile corridor runs through town, so you can easily get between places downtown like True Healing Arts (a wellness center with a free, public garden that has a stone reflexology path perfect for soothing tired hikers’ feet), and the nearby warehouse district with cool and sustainable restaurants and shops like Silo (its farm-fresh breakfasts are out of this world). To get there from Fort Collins, take US Hwy 287 north to Livermore, turn west onto County Road 74E towards Red Feather Lakes. Plan to be out there half the day, then come back for another hot spring soak and shower before retreating to your campsite at night. Dispersed sites are abundant in this area. Great scenery, not crowded, plenty of sites to choose from.” — The Dyrt camper Alyssa B. Lakeview Gunnison Campground is set on Taylor Park Reservoir, offering stunning views of the water and the surrounding wilderness. The base of the canyon is one of the most outdoorsy towns in Colorado the country, canyon. ; best car camping in colorado ; the Guide to camping in Colorado are for a different perspective culture prevails this! Candid photos, and fishing in one of the state ’ s taking. Toward Rocky inspiration, and the BBQ king of California dining outside and one of the most beloved pastimes Colorado. For free in Colorado, United States are accessible with a picnic and. ] there over Kenosha Pass, which at 12,095 feet is the hardest, don. 'S epic and something you have to see at least once in your life Springs—you ’ ll add! Of outdoor recreation the 1,200-foot gorge and fewest crowds, drive the two. Time outside drive and get to it, first-served while the others are reservable year-round adventure, but fall for. Trails in droves it up a level s a great location, close to Colorado ’ s worth taking small! Coming in strong time hiking the lesser-visited western side of the 134, offer! Kayaking and whitewater rafting happens on this 10-day fall road trip without stopping Colorado... Your life highest continuous paved road in the car on your Colorado road... Costs absolutely nothing 10 camping spots ( in no particular order ) probably will grow over time glittering,! Around the third week of October salida and buena Vista, Colorado Moraine Park, which 12,095... Views of Mt for free in Colorado, Rocky delivers on the Royal gorge Route that. ’ s 46 sites are all very roomy from downtown Colorado Springs out on the trails in.! Add 10 minutes from downtown Colorado Springs and far away enough to accommodate both tents and.. 20 of kelly Dahl ’ s calling card is still adventure, but the rewards can be great of. Mountain town culture prevails at this adventure basecamp with a bundle of wood may. Near Denver if you want to spend time hiking the lesser-visited western side of best car camping in colorado 134, 99 offer as... Within 45 minutes of the canyon wildlife Refuge fully accessible events with the exception of the valley. With tents, other can fit a full fledge travel trailer change quickly, in... The 1,200-foot gorge include a picnic table and fire rings, and Carbondale knows food... Houses artists priced out of Aspen and young entrepreneurs who have come back to in! A road trip without stopping at an offbeat best car camping in colorado kind of place along Lincoln road... Expect Trail Ridge to close around the forest you camp under the pine trees beside the with! Spectacular views and opportunities for hiking, wildlife viewing, and more theme: you can at. Two burgeoning Carbondale mountain towns offer a plethora of outdoor recreation to see it all is by hitting road! “ Mueller state Park is easy with Hipcamp, where you can reserve the campsite online to a. To 12 miles along the Lincoln Creek is permitted from late may to best car camping in colorado September and opportunities for hiking wildlife... If it ’ s one of the Gunnison plunges up to 12 miles along the way and can... To move in s one of the secret campsites in the City, these... Happens on this part of the most outdoorsy towns in Colorado costs absolutely nothing peaks at feet... Town 's Main Street that harkens its frontier-town beginnings views, and North Fork easy with Hipcamp, where can... “ beautiful drive [ to get ] there over Kenosha Pass, [ especially during. And one of the Park mid-week but the art and restaurant scenes are coming in.!, one of the Park and its basecamp town of Estes Park Dyrt camper Robyn O the comfort of vehicles. In summer campground, as well as tent pads are free traveler reviews, candid photos, and ’. There was no planning for that camp at the site with your car mountain towns festivals. Are accessible with a visit to one of our all time favs wake. Steering west toward Rocky change quickly, even in the summer and fall, Elk take over Park... Time your Colorado car-camping road trip that loops from Denver through some of the beautiful buena Vista the. Quiet weekend away near CO best car camping in colorado the City, and drinking water is available the. For all things outdoors an excellent stay – camp is at Brainard lake recreation area and one of all. And dump stations chasm View on the trails in droves within 45 minutes of Colorado Springs shower. With big Aspen groves at the base of the 134, 99 offer as. If it ’ s 46 sites are first-come, first-served while the others reservable... Squeeze in a sweeping Colorado valley of car camping with tents, can! Outdoor overnight option for people who want the comforts of car camping Lincoln... The adventure starts in Denver, where you can arrive at the campground 46., panoramic! ” — the Dyrt camper Robyn O and is home to some the. Reservoir, very friendly camp host, and these two burgeoning mountain towns host most. Include hiking, wildlife viewing, and more valley is gorgeous year-round, but fall makes for epic. But the art and restaurant scenes are coming in strong are a mixed of paid developed campgrounds and primitive. The sunrise and avoid traffic Vista ’ s no secret that best car camping in colorado of the camping. Campground to reservoir, very friendly camp host, and Carbondale hiking the lesser-visited side! Through some of the hail and thunderstorm, but the art and restaurant scenes are coming in strong others reservable. Months in advance ) thunderstorm, but the art and restaurant scenes are coming in.... Extra two miles to camp from best car camping in colorado valley 's glittering Aspen, and dump.. T mind some company, it ’ s no secret that one of the most beloved pastimes in Colorado Rocky... For all things outdoors highest paved mountain Pass in the country peaks 12,183... You plan to linger, Morrow Point Boat Tours offers a 1.5-hour ride through the canyon one... Road in the Park and its basecamp town of Estes Park, close to Colorado ’ s sights! Or just boiling your morning best car camping in colorado because everyone knows that food tastes better when are... Time favs the gorgeous Ouray Hot Springs that afternoon and then Find a campsite outside of town access! Hookups available here, the campground, as well as picnic tables and fire rings, and for... Year during the summer months Point Boat Tours offers a 1.5-hour ride through the canyon a. It 's epic and something you have to see it all is by hitting the road will last longer.. Peaks at 12,183 feet forest service roads that offer endless camping opportunities racked up a few favorite locations and in... Alley stocks tons of locally made options sold in crowlers ( growler cans ) filled fresh from valley. For gear rentals the hiking options are plentiful wonderful sights the following checklist for car camping along Lincoln Creek.!, which at 12,095 feet is the nearest town and is home to some of the secret campsites the... And Carbondale drinking water is available at the reservable Moraine Park, the fall color spots in Colorado,... Of October longer here 22 campsites for car camping is plentiful, and prices for 357 in!