Where: Just a short drive south of Denver lies Rampart Reservoir. Follow US 285 south till you hit US 160. The canyon opens out to be a small valley bordered by the Sangre de Cristo Mountains peaking at over 13,000 feet to the immediate south, the wild Arkansas River, then cliffs and smaller mountains to the north. Like most lakes in Colorado, you can drop your boat in (at the Lake Fork Campground or the Elk Creek Campground) and enjoy a day on the water. It’s popular with boaters, campers and fishers. Campgrounds: Rampart Reservoir has two campgrounds that you can stay at. Meadow Ridge Campground has 19 sites available and is available for both reservations and walk-ups. Our research is editorially independent but we may earn a commission for purchases made through our links. Farm Land with Mountain Views. Once you’ve had your fill of the lake, tennis courts, a huge pool, 18-hole championship golf and three restaurants await.The Estes … This one is worth it for the especially tranquil, and breathtakingly scenic experience. Just north of Silverton, CO, lies the South Mineral Valley which is reachable down a well maintained, and paved dirt … From there you’ll take Rampart Range Road to your campground. Steamboat Lake State Park, Steamboat Springs, Little Molas Lake, San Juan National Forest, Turquoise Lake Recreation Area, Leadville, Thunder Ridge at Rampart Reservoir, Colorado Springs, Top 15 Under-the-Radar Travel Destinations, 7 Colorado Mountain Towns to Visit This Winter — Even If You Don’t Ski, Top 8 National Parks and Monuments in Colorado, Eat, Drink and Be Merry This Holiday Season at Capt. From there it’s just a few minutes before the lake comes into view. Trappers Lake Lodge is open late May through September, and rents out boats, horses and cabins. Located in Eastern Colorado, this stunning reservoir features a swimming beach perfect for all ages. Photo Courtesy of Manitou Springs website. It is roughly five and a half hours from Denver but the trip is worth it. Bill’s Mountain Cabin. Both the canyon and river offer a myriad of outdoor adventures, including whitewater rafting, fishing, hiking, and biking. Grand Lake, the western gateway to Rocky Mountain National Park, is the state’s largest natural lake, making it an ideal spot for camping near the water. The small, primitive campground is open to tents only, with 18 spacious sites all on a first come, first served basis. Although Twin Lakes are considered glacial lakes, their water temperatures range from 65°–75° in the summer months, which allows for a comfortable swim. Wherever you and your friends end up camping make sure to respect your neighbors and take the time to preserve the natural beauty that Colorado offers use each and every day. Instant book. Campgrounds: Tucked along the north rim of Lake Navajo area three campgrounds in the Navajo State Park. You can drive all the way down the lake to Navajo Dam on the far south end. RELATED: 7 Colorado Towns to Visit This Summer 4. The Lowdown: Located near Leadville — Turquoise Lake offers a lot of different recreational activities to enjoy while camping along its shores. From these two marinas you are able to rent pontoon boats and kayaks if you can’t bring your own. Lake Fork Campground is located almost at the very end of the reservoir — just a few hundred feet from the dam — and has 90 sites available. The town of Leadville is just a short drive away from the campsites and offers restaurants, history and other attractions to discover. baby doe campgroundBlue Mesa ReservoircampingcoloradoCutthroat Bay CampgroundDenverElk Creek CampgroundGranbyGrand LakeGunnisonLake Fork CampgroundLake GranbyLake NavajoLeadvilleMatchless CampgroundMeadow Ridge Campgroundmolly brown campgroundNavajo State ParkRampart ReservoirStevens Creek CampgroundStillwater CampgroundSunset Point CampgroundThunder Ridge CampgroundTurquoise LakeWillow Creek Group CampgroundWoodland Park. The state park is home to over 200 campsites, too. There are nearly 200 campsites, for both tents and RVs, and each one includes a picnic table, grill and is within walking distance of the water. At Sunset Point there are 25 nonelectrical sites available on a first come, first served basis. They’re all spread across the lake’s shoreline, most along the eastern shore. Turquoise Lake is a recreation area in the San Isabel National Forest just outside of Leadville, the nation’s highest incorporated town. The lake offers boating and fishing, and on land, visitors can enjoy hiking, biking and four-wheeling. Lastly — Baby Doe Campground has 48 single family sites that can be reserved or paid for by walking up. Alpine lake camping is an absolute must-do when visiting Colorado, and it would be tough to beat one place in particular, Snowmass Lake. Just take I-70 west till you hit US 40. We’ll send you our newsletter with travel destinations, deals, and more! Photo by Kamal Hamid via Flickr Creative Commons. 3rd Night Free at Crown Reef Resort, SC is Open | Free Night at Beach Cove Resort, Florida | Winter Golf Package in Palm Beach, SC is Open | Up to 40% Off Carolina Winds Resort, 9-Day Southern River Cruise - Up to $5,800 off, 9-Day Pacific NW River Cruise - Up to $5,800 off, FL | Up to 25% off Compass Hotel Anna Maria Island, 4-Nt Bahamas Cruise on Celebrity Infinity. Lukas is a graduate of the University of Colorado Boulder and a writer and photographer at 303 Magazine. Campground Rules. % of the Hipcamps for your dates are already booked. Here in the Denver area, my backyard is the Rocky Mountains with all the adventure they offer. Follow him on Instagram @Lukas_Crosby and on Twitter @LukasCrosby. At least 1 campsite in each of the larger campgrounds is ADA accessible and near to ADA accessible restroom. Blue Mesa Reservoir has over 90 miles of shoreline for you to explore or relax on while you soak up the sunny mountain air at 7,500 feet. Hotel RIU Negril | Jamaica Beachfront All-Inclusive, Florida | Beach Package at The Seagate Hotel & Spa, 7-Nt Eastern Caribbean Cruise on Nieuw Statendam, 6-Nt W. Caribbean Cruise on Caribbean Princess, 9-Day Mississippi River Cruise - Up to $5,800 off, SC is Open! It’s truly awesome to live where I do here in Colorado. $125/night. Check-out: 11:00AM. Completed in 1946 after the end of WWII, Shadow Mountain offers eight miles of shoreline and 1,337 surface acres to enjoy through nearby campsites and small boats . It includes a boat launch ramp, dock, tables, grills, vault restrooms, waters, garbage service and picnic areas. Why You’ll Love Shady Grove Campground Loops A and D are reservable — but B and C are first come, first serve. While away a summer afternoon on the beach beside the private lake, sail across its blue waters or build sandcastles and play beach volleyball. Just take I-70 west till you hit Copper Mountain then follow Colorado 91 till you hit Leadville. Winter offers cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. The Lowdown: While camping near Grand Lake there are hundreds of things to do. Minimum impact camping techniques are recommended at these alpine lake areas. Camping is available year-round and includes traditional sites as well as camper cabins and even winter camping with electric outlets in the marina parking lot. Sailing, skiing, and windsurfing are popular summertime activities, but call or check the park's website for water levels and boat restrictions. A full-service marina makes getting on the water a cinch. All include picnic tables, fire rings, toilets and drinking water. There are also six rustic cabins available for rent (year round). Not only are there lots of scenic campsites, but the marina offers watercraft rentals, there is a swimming beach, a visitor center, a camp store, gift shop, concessions, showers and more. It’s also a magnificent destination for flat-water kayaking and canoeing, and Pikes Peak creates a stunning backdrop. With that in mind, here are 7 places to camp for free in Colorado. Watch for deer and bighorn sheep that navigate rocky peaks and boulders. Blue Mesa reservoir. Mix Lake Campground. On the opposite side of the lake from Lake Fork is Stevens Creek Campground. It also has a mini general store and restaurant/bar. Be aware that there are actually two campgrounds: Molas Lake and Little Molas Lake. Emerald Lake in the San Juan National Forest, Colorado’s third-largest natural lake, is a 10-mile trek from the Pine River Trailhead near Vallecito Reservoir. Get him, Located in the former #EuclidHall, Bao Brewhouse o, Still have a few names to cross off your holiday s, It’s been a hard year for music. These unique campgrounds give you the chance to lie on a beach, swim, or even boat while camping. The latter is the more remote and secluded, situated about a mile west of US Highway 550 on Molas Pass. Where: Blue Mesa Reservoir is just four-hours from Denver. This stunning campground lies above the seasonal town of Platoro, deep in the South San Juans. Platoro Reservoir and smaller Mix Lake are a short stroll away and offer great fishing. Please keep in mind that no fee means no cleaning or trash pickup, so for the sake of the forests, follow “Leave No Trace” principles by using existing campsites and campfire rings and packing out all your trash. He loves any excuse to travel and see the world. Its 43 campsites are shaded, with sites for RVs and tents; some near the lakeshore. There are 10 campsites, all of which include fire grates but there is nothing else in the way of amenities – no tables, no drinking water or trash service. If you get hungry — the town of Grand Lake sits right on the north edge of Grand Lake and offers plenty of dining options to satisfy your cravings. This locale is perfect for anglers looking to reel in some Colorado … One of the most popular beaches in Colorado is the one you’ll find at Jackson Lake State Park. Bear Lake is another scenic campsite located inside Rocky Mountain National Park that is sure to please outdoor enthusiasts. Take I-25 south to Colorado Springs. All across Colorado, there are beautiful lakes lined with campgrounds. (R. 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From the Matchless campground, you are able to launch a boat and spend your day exploring the deep blue waters of this lake or enjoy any of the hundreds of trails surrounding it. Turn west and follow US 24 up to Woodland Park. One of the things I love most about Colorado is the vast mountain lakes that speckle the range. If you’re looking for a unique place to stay, check out the top Airbnb rentals in the area. You’ll even find some beaches along the shore for lounging on near the glassy blue waters, as well as having the opportunity to enjoy all types of water sports, like fishing, boating and swimming. Please fill out highlighted fields and click "Compare Prices" to continue. The best camping near Grand Lake, Colorado. The 200-year-old Juniper trees cannot be replaced in our lifetime. Lake Pueblo's campgrounds are operated for the pleasure and safety of everyone. A Great Place to Stay on the North Fork of the Colorado River . With access to Andrews Lake, a high-altitude tarn stocked with rainbow and brook trout, the Colorado Trail and views from Molas Pass, it’s truly hard to beat. This lake has beautiful Hahn’s Peak rising up in the background, and it’s part of Steamboat Lake State Park. While on land, there are scenic trails for horseback riding, biking and hiking throughout the area. The town of Gunnison lies just a quick 20-minute drive east of Blue Mesa Reservoir if you need a taste of society while you’re away. After enjoying the high alpine lake, you can even take the beautiful Trail Ridge Road back to the Front Range to finish your trip with sweeping vistas of the Rocky Mountains. You’ll find thick evergreen forest, towering mountains and an 1,800-acre lake as well as eight campgrounds, all sitting at a crisp and cool 10,000-foot-high elevation. 100% — 3 Reviews. Campgrounds: Dotted along Blue Mesa Reservoir are many campgrounds giving you access to this beautiful reservoir. Elk Creek Campground is located on the North side of Blue Mesa and has 160 sites spread across four loops. and privacy policy. Nearby, the Molly Brown Campground has 47 sites that are available for reservation or by walk up. 671. Caraccas campground has 41 sites, Rosa campground has 39 sites, Tiffany campground has 25 sites and there are 19 primitive campsites at Windsurf Beach and Arboles Point. The Lowdown: Located just barely north of the Colorado-New Mexico border, Lake Navajo offers you multiple fun activities to enjoy while camping. Makes me want to rent an RV and hit the road! Rainbow Lakes Campground is located just a little over an hour from Denver near the small town of Nederland, but it offers the ultimate camping experience that feels as if it’s world’s away. 100% — 23 Reviews. Please take note of these campground rules. The maximum stay for camping in any Colorado State Park is 14 days in a 28 day period. If you’re itching to get away from your campsite for a bit you can drive up Pikes Peak — one of Colorado’s most famous 14ers. Vallecito Lake Just 20 miles north of Durango, the town and namesake lake of Vallecito sits in a beautiful valley at 8,000 feet. Rocky Mountain National Park is a short drive away and offers hundreds of trails to explore. Hike into the Holy Cross and Mount Massive wilderness areas, or … Take your boat out on the lake … It’s a great park for a home base, or as a weekend stop to take a break from driving on your way across the country. Boating is especially popular here, as is fishing for German brown trout, rainbow trout, Kokanee salmon and northern pike. You may want to book soon. Steamboat Lake is a hidden gem, though locals in the Steamboat Springs area take full advantage. State Forest State Park Ranger Lakes Campground Colorado. Cute Renovated Camper. Mountain Park is one of the largest campgrounds in Poudre Canyon, home to Colorado’s only nationally designated Wild and Scenic River, which flows  flows through the majestic cliffs and interesting rock formations that are dotted with pines, mountain mahogany, aspen and sage brush. On the 880-acre, surface of the water, you can kayak, fish, boat, paddleboard and canoe. May Queen is the only campground at the west end of Turquoise Lake, at about 10,000 feet. The campground hosts a wide range of amenities, so much so it’s almost like a “camping resort.” It has horseshoe pits, a volleyball court, basketball court, a playground and showers. Lake Navajo — Photo by Ken Lund via Flickr Creative Commons. COVID-19 CAMPING RESTRICTIONS Estes Park Campground at Mary's Lake • 2120 Mary's Lake Road • Elevation 8,050 ft. Nestled in a beautiful valley at 8,050 feet and surrounded by the gorgeous Rocky Mountains, this campground is a stone's throw away from Mary's Lake. Facilities also include a marina,  a restaurant, and even a model airplane field with paved runways, frequency posts and field regulations for radio-controlled aircraft. Where: Turquoise Lake is two hours west of Denver near Leadville. And, all can be enjoyed while soaking up views of the Rocky Mountain foothills. Please DO NOT cut or gather wood on the park. Turquoise Lake is a recreation area in the San Isabel National Forest just outside of Leadville. Blue Mesa Reservoir. Situated in the heart of the Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness Area, this campground requires an 8.5 mile trek to get to it. There’s nothing like falling asleep to the tranquil sounds of the water, and if you’re looking for the ideal spot to do just that in Colorado, consider one of these fabulous places to camp. If you’re looking for a fairly easy hike or bike excursion, the 12-mile paved Mineral Belt Trail loop starts in downtown Leadville, just four miles east of the lake. The other campground — Thunder Ridge — has 21 sites available and is also available for both walk-ups and reservations. Twenty six of the campsites are reservable and 17 of these campsites … Sandwiched between Grand Lake and Lake Granby, this reservoir is a good additional spot to visit if you’re traveling through the area or staying in the town of Grand Lake, which is right next door. Campgrounds: Huddled on the east edge of Turquoise Lake are many campgrounds directly on the lake or tucked back into the trees. Matchless Campground has 17 spots available on a first come, first served basis. Little Molas Lake, located in the southwest corner of Colorado in the San Juan National Forest between Durango and Silverton, is a primitive campground that offers spectacular views of the glistening water and the surrounding jagged peaks of Snowdon, Grand Turk, Engineer and Twin Sister. Best Camping in Lake City on Tripadvisor: Find 248 traveler reviews, 201 candid photos, and prices for 14 camping in Lake City, Colorado, United States. This campground located in the small town of Seibert, Colorado is open year-round and is kept clean, quiet, and peaceful. Before traveling to this area, check the Road Status Table. By taking the Glacier Rim Trail up the ridge, you’ll discover an awe-inspiring overlook of Arapaho Glacier. The Lowdown: Situated high above Colorado Springs lies Rampart Reservoir. Notify me of follow-up comments by email. $75/night. Restrictions: No camping is allowed in the Lake Agnes area. Photo by Dave Dugdale from Flickr Creative Commons. Located just above Rampart Reservoir in the Pike National Forest near Colorado Springs, Thunder Ridge Campground offers an ideal base for fishing and boating on the water, which is stocked with fish by the Colorado Division of Wildlife, as well as hiking and biking in the surrounding mountains. Get our latest advice & deals in your inbox! You’ll find a thick evergreen forest, towering mountains and a 1,800-acre lake as well as eight campgrounds, all sitting at a crisp and cool 10,000-foot-high elevation. April M.’s Land. Cheyenne Mountain ResortThis mountain-nestled resort in Colorado Springs will keep you busy from dawn to dusk without ever having to leave its grounds. The campground will be operating for the summer of 2021 with all the campsites and cabins/rooms still intact. The Grand Mesa Lakes There are a number of campgrounds around it, but if you’re looking for peace and quiet, head to the east side’s Old Timers or Graham Creek campgrounds which are less developed. Ranger Lakes campground in State Forest State Park has 32 campsites with electric hookups and is a short walk to Ranger Lakes fishing areas. The upper and middle sections are reservable while the lower section is first come, first serve. If you can score a spot along the Commanche Loop or the Crown Loop, you’ll have immediate access to the banks of the river where kids can splash around when the water is low, fishermen can cast their lines and you can enjoy the gurgling sounds of the water. Vallecito Reservoir is located east of Durango in the southwest region of the state, and is one of Colorado’s few large reservoirs (along with Chatfield) that blends the joys of camping with the opportunity for an extensive array of water sports. This road is closed for winter and typically reopens in June. There are a number of hiking trails that can be easily accessed from the campsites, leading along streams and into the high country, including longer treks into the Weminuche Wilderness and short walks to scenic overlooks. Steamboat Lake State Park is a favorite with Coloradoans and visitors alike, offering the chance to camp near the water as well as to go kayaking, canoeing, fishing, swimming and water skiing, while the surrounding mountains are ideal for hiking and biking, and all are framed by magnificent Hahn’s Peak. Area Status: Open Haviland Lake Campground, about 18 miles north of Durango, is 1 mile east of U.S. Highway 550 on Forest Rd. Plan to spend a few days. Each one includes a fire ring and picnic table, with vault toilets nearby. There are several campgrounds down at Trappers Lake, but no dispersed camping around this “Cradle of Wilderness”. Twin Lakes, located in Leadville, Colorado, are two naturally formed glacial lakes with the beautiful backdrop of Colorado’s highest mountain peak, Mount Elbert. The lakes, wetlands, and low dunes offer many opportunities for hiking, biking, fishing, hunting, camping, wildlife viewing, or just picnicking. Look out for our newsletters in your inbox soon. This is also an area known for its stargazing, so make sure to stay up late enough to catch a glimpse of the Milky Way. Little Molas Lake, San Juan National Forest Little Molas Lake, located in the southwest corner of Colorado in the San Juan National Forest between Durango and Silverton, is a primitive campground that offers spectacular views of the glistening water and the surrounding jagged peaks of Snowdon, Grand Turk, Engineer and Twin Sister. Williams Fork Lodging. The nearest town — Pagosa Springs — has hot springs and many restaurants that you can enjoy while visiting civilization. The campgrounds offer both RV and tenting camping, with tent-only sites at Belle of Colorado. Follow that till you see Chimney Rock and Colorado 151. The Lowdown: Located just barely north of the Colorado-New Mexico border, Lake Navajo offers you multiple fun activities to enjoy while camping. The Lowdown: Blue Mesa Reservoir spans 20 miles and is filled to the brim with activities. A scenic hike will bring you to a hidden waterfall in Cascade Canyon, and if you’re into rock climbing, there are plenty of opportunities too. He is driven by people and their stories and strives to find a creative, unique way to share them. Ice Lakes Basin provides perhaps the best bang for your buck on an effort vs scenery perspective in all of Colorado. Lake San Cristobal Near Lake City and Creede, Lake San Cristobal is a geologic marvel amid the San Juan Mountains formed by a rare earthflow. Beautiful, epic, and grand, it has it all. Hiram’s Resort in Florida. Photo via Thinkstock, We heard Santa likes hard seltzers. RELATED: The Guide to Dispersed Camping in Colorado 1. Chatfield State Park is just 45 minutes from Denver and is one of the metro area’s most popular destinations, thanks to the opportunity to play on the beach, take part in a wide range of water sports, hike barbecue, view wildlife and more. Backcountry camping is allowed at various locations throughout the park including Ruby Jewel, Kelly, Clear and American Lakes. Cutthroat Bay has two group campsites which can hold up to 30 people and require a reservation. The campground is on a bluff above the lake. The local marina offers speedboats, canoes and fishing boats for rent, while the village itself has an historic boardwalk lined with more than 60 shops, eateries, bars and art galleries. Great list of lakeside campgrounds! Photo Courtesy of Visit Grand Country Website. UPDATE SINCE THE WILDFIRE Winding River Resort and its owners ask for your patience as we go forward from the East Troublesome fire that came through the area on October 21st. 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