Camping the 50 States: Colorado and The Rockies

April 28, 2010
View from the outskirts of Rocky Mountain National Park

View from the outskirts of Rocky Mountain National Park
Photo by: Laura Shreck (Stock Exchange)

Welcome to the Rockies! Today on AllCampgrounds, we’re headed to a new state to look at tent camping and RV camping in Colorado, especially around the Rocky Mountains.

Now, the Rockies are one of the most iconic ranges in the United States and stretch across five other states as well as parts of Canada, but because of the great diversity of Colorado’s natural landscape, the state plays host to one of the most lively and versatile camping scenes along the range.

This includes plenty of camp grounds to choose from through the year, with plenty of winter sports and beautiful summer hiking and climbing!

Tent Camping

Rocky Mountain National Park is the clear place to start. With a variety of services including five drive-in camp grounds (three of these accept reservations), you can try everything from hiking to backcountry tent camping to fishing, biking, and mountaineering. The park is open 24 hours throughout the year, and offers opportunity to spot elk, bighorn sheep, moose, and even a few otters, among many other residents.

For Kampgrounds of America-style camping near the Rockies, try Estes Park KOA or Royal Gorge KOA. Though neither of these are open year-round, they do provide some more flexible options for families and groups, including tent camping, RV spaces, and even the signature “kabins” past visitors may be used to. As usual for KOA, you’ll never want for a clean bathroom, laundry, or something to do!

If you’re looking to base in the Estes Park area, also be aware that the local public camp grounds are expanding. They have two locations, with over total 200 sites for both tents and RVs. Reservations are taken at the public grounds, though there are a few guidelines, which can get a little bit complicated at certain times in the year. Also see Larimer County Camping Reservations for more options and specialized sites.

For RVs

Cottonwood RV Campground offers RV camping “in the heart of the Colorado Rockies” and, like many of the other top options in the area, welcomes guests all year long. With full hookups and amenities servicing any size RV you can drive up in, Cottonwood is well-connected when it comes to the area’s local attractions and amenities. There are no tenting spaces available at Cottonwood.

Goldfield RV Campground has a convenient online reservation system and boasts fifty 30-50 amp sites and 12 pull-through sites, all recently renovated and convenient to clean restroom facilities. With easy access to Colorado Springs, the second most populous city in the state, you can easily “go wild” or soak in the local culture — or do both on the same day. Goldfield offers a 10% discount to active military servicemembers.

Spruce Lake RV is one of four “Essential Colorado RV Resorts” throughout the state. Right near the entrance to Rocky Mountain National Park, it stands beside Big Thompson River and has over 100 sites. Rafting, fishing, and hot air balloon rides are some of the prime features. Standing out among RV camp grounds, it also offers a rental RV for those who want to sample the life but don’t have a rig of their own.

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