Find a simple overnighter or adventure for the weekend with these glorious Colorado campsites!
Colorado has camping, that’s pretty obvious. But for the 15-and-a-quarter-dozen-million of you who’ve graced us with your residency these past couple of years, you may not know where the hot spots are to join in on the fun of the outdoors. So here they are, some of our favorite, some of the closest and some we’ll be avoiding for the next couple of seasons (because we Coloradoians have secrets, too … and those cost money … shhh) because of inevitable overcrowding.
Coming legit in your overnight adventure is a necessity too, so read our Colorado Camping Hacks to get the overnighter game tight before going out, and then click to our Colorado Camping Recipes to dine like a god damned genius.
>>> ALL TIMES/DISTANCES TAKEN "FROM DENVER" ON THE GOOGLE
1. Rainbow Lakes Campground: 1 hr 37 min. ~ 56 miles
Located a little over an hour-and-a-half west of Boulder lies a delectable slice of Colorado’s Eden. With 18 first-come, first-served campsites available (which accommodates cars, tents and some small trailers), officials say the grounds are often scooped up early Friday morning — so send out that friend with no job on Thursday to secure the best of the best.
2, Deckers: 1 hr 26 min. ~ 50 miles
Surrounded by Pike National Forest, Deckers is also known for stellar brown and rainbow trout fishing with other outdoor activities available such as tubing (though that might be stupid right now), whitewater rafting, hiking and looking at neat stuff for fun. There aren’t many amenities for miles from most of the free camping areas, so come legit.
3. Poudre Canyon: 1 hr 42 min. ~ 90 miles
Beginning high in the peaks of Rocky Mountain National Park, along the Continental Divide, is one of the greatest stretches of land known to Colorado-kind. There are 13 National Forest campgrounds in the area, with more than 250 sites for an overnight car-cramping soiree. You can even catch a live show at the famed Mishawaka Amphitheatre … you silly city slicker!
4. Taylor Park Reservoir: 3 hr 30 min. ~ 160 miles
Due west of Buena Vista, just over Cottonwood Pass, lies Taylor Park and Reservoir, a secluded gem of an outdoor area if there ever were one. The surrounding areas have everything from full service campgrounds with cabins to remote destinations carved by the creating hand of Zeus for secluded car or tent nights out.
5. Palisade: 3hr 45 min. ~ 230 miles
There’s a metric fuck-ton of wineries in and around Palisade, CO — which couldn’t be more of an appropriate outing before zipping up in a sleeping sack. Enjoy breathtaking scenes, fun walks, gallons of fermented fruits and then crash at either a car accessible campsite at James M. Robb Colorado River State Park, or decadent hotels for the glampers.
6. Sand Dunes: 3 hr 46 min. ~ 240 miles
Likely the only comfortable sand you’ll find in Colorado, the Sand Dunes National Park is a must for anyone who loves being outside. As the tallest sand dunes in North America, the destination boasts many, many campsites from free park-it-and-sleep style to fancy-pantsy cabins. Many-a Morrison-esque experiences go on ‘round these parts …