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 there. One of the best ways to experience these settings is to spend a night camping under the stars, so if you need help choosing a spot, here are our favorite places to pitch a tent in the state of Colorado.
01 of 07
One of the most famous settings in the entire state of Colorado is the Maroon Bells, a pair of 14,000-foot mountains that are amongst the most photographed peaks in all of North America. Backpackers will find three campsites in the shadow of the mountain, each of which provides access to this spectacular setting, which includes Maroon Lake.
And if you need to head to town for supplies, it's not far from Aspen to collect what you need.
02 of 07
Pinyon Flats Campground
For a very different camping experience travel to the Great Sand Dunes National Park. This is a destination that resembles the Sahara more than the Rocky Mountains, with towering dunes taking the place of snowcapped peaks. Pinyon Flats is the best place to camp inside this amazing setting and provides access to nearby hiking trails that cross through the 700-foot waves of sand. It's even possible to go sandboarding here, creating a unique experience that is tough to top.
03 of 07
Oh Be Joyful Campground
Close to Crested Butte, the Oh Be Joyful campsite doesn't just have a great name, but a fantastic location. It serves as a gateway into the Ragged Wilderness, which is a 65,000-acre national forest that ranges in altitude from 7,000 to 13,000 feet. In addition to offering wonderful views of the towering mountains, campers can hike, fish, or mountain bike in the area, and also drop by Crested Butte to partake in its mountain town charm.
04 of 07
Located inside the Pike National Forest, Guanella Pass can be found just an hour's drive outside of Denver. 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. After dark, the pass offers spectacular views of the night sky overhead, which is a perfect way to wind down the day after fishing on nearby Lake Georgetown or hiking up Mount Bierstadt, Mount Evans, or other 14ers in the area. Or you can simply relax at your campsite, and take in the utterly spectacular views.Continue to 5 of 7 below.
05 of 07
Angel of Shavano Campgrounds
For those who truly want to get away, add the Angel of Shavano campgrounds, located inside San Isabel National Forest, to your list of destinations. It's got 20 campsites, but the place is rarely crowded, and thanks to its remote nature (about three hours from Denver), it is usually very easy to reserve a spot. The campsite sits along the 486-mile Colorado Trail and offers excellent hiking and mountain biking, as well as fishing in the North Fork Reservoir. The forest is also a beautiful retreat offering plenty of solitude and tranquility.
06 of 07
Bear Lake Campground
Bear Lake is another scenic campsite that provides great access for anglers looking to catch some Colorado trout. The nearby Cuchara River is an excellent fishing hole for both casual and serious fly fishers. This campground also provides easy access to the 23-mile long Indian Creek Trail too, which is open to not only hikers and mountain bikers, but also ATVs and horses.
Situated in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, Bear Lake isn't without its scenic wonders either. Thick spruce forests give way to towering granite domes and lush mountain meadows, offering incredible views in nearly every direction.
07 of 07
Moraine Park Campground
Rocky Mountain National Park has five excellent campsites, but our favorite is Moraine Park. Not only does the site offer excellent views of the breathtaking landscapes of the Rocky Mountains, but campers are often able to spot passing wildlife, too. With black bears, moose, mountain lions, 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 for those who want a winter camping excursion too.