The Best Places to Go Camping in Colorado

Idyllic View Of Maroon Bells By Calm Lake
Maroon Bells by Calm Lake.

 

Nathan Moudry / EyeEm/Getty Images

When it comes to natural beauty and great outdoor destinations, few states can compare to Colorado. From the stunning vistas of Rocky Mountain National Park to the rocky spires of Garden of the Gods and the breathtaking views along the San Juan Skyway Scenic Byway, there is much to see and do. One of the best ways to experience these settings is to spend a few nights camping out under the stars. If that sounds like your kind of travel, and if you need help choosing a spot to pitch your tent, we're here to help. These are our favorite places to go camping while visiting the state of Colorado. 

Note

Recreation.gov makes it easy to reserve camp sites in advance. Their "Accessibility" filter identifies each "site, building or facility that complies with applicable accessibility guidelines and standards under the Architectural Barriers Act which ensures the construction of facilities that are accessible to people with disabilities or otherwise limited physical mobility."

01 of 07

Maroon Bells

Maroon Bells

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The Maroon Bells are undoubtedly one of the most famous locations in Colorado. Consisting of a pair of 14,000-foot mountains amongst the most photographed peaks in North America, this location offers breathtaking views all year long. Backpackers and car campers will find three campsites in the mountain's shadow, each providing access to this spectacular wilderness setting, including the gorgeous Maroon Lake. Whether you decide to stay at the Silver Bar, Silver Bell, or Silver Queen campsites, you simply can't go wrong here. They are all equally impressive and must-visit locations for those who love camping.

One of the best aspects of these sites is that they are nicely situated close to the town of Aspen. This is highly convenient if you need to make a supply run to collect more food or beverages or just want to stroll around town for a bit.

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02 of 07

Piñon Flats Campground

Scenic View Of Great Sand Dunes National Park And Preserve
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For a different camping experience, travel to the Great Sand Dunes National Park in the southern part of the state. This destination resembles the Sahara more than the Rocky Mountains, with towering dunes standing in for snowcapped peaks. Piñon Flats is the best place to camp inside this remarkable setting and provides access to nearby hiking trails that meander over and around dunes that can reach as high as 700 feet. You can reserve a campsite online and use the filters to locate available areas with the amenities or accommodations you need. There are five different campsites that are wheelchair accessible in Piñon Flats.

And if you're looking for an adrenaline rush while you're there, you can even go sandboarding while staying inside the park. Skiing and snowboarding may be the unofficial winter sports of Colorado, but it is just as fun to carve your way down a massive dune. Note that special sand wheelchairs with balloon tires are also available for loan at the Visitor Center. These are best used for short distances through the dunes, as wheeling through sand can be extremely strenuous, even with the right equipment. You can call 719-378-6395 to reserve one in advance.

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03 of 07

Oh Be Joyful Campground

Slate River at Crested Butte, Colorado
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Located not far from Crested Butte, the Oh Be Joyful campsite doesn't just have a great name but is a fantastic location too. The camping area is a gateway into a massive region known as the Raggeds Wilderness. Spanning more than 65,000 acres, this national forest ranges from 7,000 to 13,000 feet. In addition to soaking up the wonderful views of the towering mountains that prominently line the horizon, campers can hike, fish, or mountain bike within the Raggeds. Reserve a campsite online and use the filters to find available accessible locations. Oh Be Joyful features 13 options for wheelchair and mobility aid users.

For a small slice of civilization amidst this remote location, be sure to drop by Crested Butte while you're in the area. You'll find plenty of excellent restaurants, pubs, and shops to explore, each oozing with mountain-town charm.

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04 of 07

Guanella Pass

Ganello Pass
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An hour's drive outside Denver, Guanella Pass can be found inside the Pike National Forest. Perched at 11,670 feet, the campsite is accessible both on foot or by car, making it a popular option for those looking for a hike or a more relaxed escape. Known for its spectacular night sky views, the campsite allows visitors to take stargazing to the next level. That also is a great way to wind down after a busy day of fishing on nearby Lake Georgetown or hiking up Mount Bierstadt, Mount Evans, or any of the other Colorado 14ers in the area. Alternatively, you can simply relax at your campsite, enjoy the company of friends, and relax in one of the best outdoor playgrounds the state offers. There are no designated accessible campsites in Guanella Pass.

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05 of 07

Angel of Shavano Campgrounds

San Isabela National Forest
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Those looking to get away from it all will want to add the Angel of Shavano campgrounds to their list of outdoor destinations. Located inside the San Isabel National Forest, this campground has 20 individual campsites and is rarely ever crowded. This is partly due to its remote nature, which requires a three-hour drive from Denver to get to the location. The upside is that this usually makes it extremely easy to reserve a spot, even during the busier summer months.

Situated along the 486-mile Colorado Trail, Angel of Shavano offers excellent hiking, mountain biking, and fishing in the North Fork Reservoir. The thickly-wooded national forest is also a beautiful retreat, offering plenty of solitude and tranquility for those looking to escape the hustle and bustle of modern life. Lacking accessible campsites, Angel of Shavano is not the best option for wheelchair or mobility aid users.

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06 of 07

Bear Lake Campground

Bear Lake, Colorado
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Bear Lake is another scenic campsite inside Rocky Mountain National Park that is sure to please outdoor enthusiasts. This locale is perfect for anglers looking to reel in some Colorado trout. The nearby Cucharas River provides excellent opportunities to do just that, luring both casual and serious fly fishers looking to spend some time on the water. This campground also offers easy access to the 14-mile-long Indian Creek Trail, which is open to hikers and mountain bikers and ATVs and horses. Bear Lake campground does not have any designated accessible campsites.

No matter what you choose to do while staying at this campground, you'll find plenty of Colorado's trademark mountain scenery to keep you enthralled while you're there.

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07 of 07

Moraine Park Campground

Moraine Park, Rocky Mountain National Park
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Rocky Mountain National Park has five outstanding campsites to stay in, but our favorite is Moraine Park. The site offers excellent views of the breathtaking landscapes for which the park is famous, and campers are often given the opportunity to spot passing wildlife, too. With black bear, moose, mountain lion, sheep, and elk all living within the park, sharp-eyed travelers can often see these creatures wandering through their natural habitat. Best of all, the site is open year-round, allowing those who are hardy enough to enjoy a winter adventure to spend some time there too. Camping at Moraine Park is another option for those with limited mobility. There are four accessible campsites you can reserve in advance.