Colorado is a great place to camp, and with so many choices you’ll have a tough time choosing among the countless campsites scattered across the varied terrain. Whether you’re looking for a hike-in spot or an easily accessible roadside campground, the state’s options include two of the nation’s 12 national parks, 6 national monuments, 2 national recreation areas, 37 wilderness areas covering 3.2-million acres, and more mountain peaks over 14,000 feet, or “Fourteeners,” than any other state.
Moraine Park Campground is located in Rocky Mountain National Park and is accessed from the Beaver Meadows entrance on Highway 36 near town of Estes Park. At an elevation of 8,160 feet, the campground is mostly a meadow area interspersed with rocky outcrops that seclude the individual campsites and give it a backcountry feel, despite being just off the park road. It is not uncommon to see elk and mule deer from the surrounding mountains wander through these meadows.
The campground, which is open year-round, offers group and family tent-only sites, as well as a few RV sites with no hookups. Each of the campsites, which cost $20 per night during the peak summer season, includes a picnic table, fire ring, and a tent pad. During the summer this campsite fills up fast so it’s best to make reservations well ahead of time through the federal recreation website, linked in the "sources" section below.
Located 35 miles northwest of the town of Walden, this campground is a 9,000-foot retreat near the Wyoming border adjacent to the Mt. Zirkel Wilderness. The 54 campsites are near Big Creek Lake, the state’s second largest natural lake, and is very remote; the nearest telephone is 26 miles away, and cell phone coverage is spotty. There is a campground “host” on hand during the mid-June through mid-September season, and vault toilets also dot the site.
Nearby, there is boating and fishing, as well as hiking and ATV trails. You are likely to catch a glimpse of an occasional moose if you trek the Seven Lakes Trail two miles to Big Creek Falls.
Open year-round, Pinyon Flats Campground is located in Great Sand Dunes National Park & Preserve, one mile north of the Visitor Center. Great Sand Dunes National Park has sand dunes rising about 750 feet, making them the tallest sand dunes in North America. The 330-square miles of dunes are surrounded by the 13,000-foot peaks of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. During May, the runoff from the mountains turns nearby Medano Creek into a fast-flowing water playground.
This is a tent-only site, free of RVs or trailers. There are also no hook-ups, showers, or laundry facilities. The 88 campsites each have a fire grate and picnic table, and are divided up into two "Loops." “Loop 1” includes 44 year-round campsites that are first-come, first-served and open year-round. “Loop 2" is made up of 44 campsites that can be reserved up to six months in advance, and only during the summer months. A small number of these sites can also accommodate RVs up to 35 feet. Fees are $20 per night, plus a $3 park entrance fee.