Stay-cation Sites for Happy Campers

Getting out and enjoying the great outdoors is one of the biggest benefits of living in the heart of some of the most picturesque landscape anywhere in the country. Whether you prefer “glamping” it up in an RV or going for the full effect and pitching a tent for the weekend, there are hundreds of choices for a weekend in the wilderness. According to 50campfires.com, these are some of the gems located close to home!

Chatfield State Park in Littleton– Reservoir waters in the park allows boating, skiing, sailing or fishing. There are 26 miles of hiking and biking trails and 197 campsites to choose from, all with electrical hookups and many with water and sewer hook ups as well. Better to call ahead and make a reservation. (303) 791-7275 or email at Chatfield.park@state.co.us

Cherry Creek Campground in Aurora– Just east of Denver, centered in the 880 acre Cherry Creek Reservoir, Cherry Creek Campground offers water sports including jet skiing and swimming. You can also enjoy horseback riding trails as well as open space for flying model airplanes and shooting ranges. 131 campsites can accommodate tents and RVs with 50amp full hook up pull throughs. There is also a dog park onsite and WiFi available. Go to www.cpwshop.com for more info or to make a reservation.

Camp Dick Campgound in Aurora– History buffs will appreciate the origins of this campground, originally established in 1930s as a Civilian Conservation Corp camp. Right on the banks of St. Vrain Creek, it’s the perfect spot for fly-fishing. You can bring your mountain bike and cruise along one of the many trails at the campsite, taking in the gorgeous scenery. All sites can accommodate both tents or RVs and each includes a picnic table and fire ring with a grill rack. There are no showers on site, so if you want to rinse off, you’ll have to do it the old fashioned way, in one of the nearby lakes! For more information or to book your dates go to www.recreation.gov

Cold Springs Campground in Idaho Springs– A little under 40 miles from Denver, Cold Springs offers a variety of hiking trails, some easy enough to manage with little ones and one much steeper, but shorter trail that rewards hikers with an incredible view from the top. There are 38 sites that will accommodate tents and RVs (but not RVs with slide-outs.) Vault toilets are also accessible on-site. If you are a Jeep lover (like our Mayor) Cold Springs has great off-road trails too! To book your site, go to www.reserveamerica.com

Rainbow Lakes Campground near Nederland– If you’re looking for an authentic, old-school , tent only camping trip, this is the destination for you. Just about an hour north of Denver, this campground has 18 different sites that are all first come, first serve (so get there early!) Picnic tables and fire rings are available at each site and vault toilets are accessible as well. There is no source of drinking water at Rainbow Lakes, so be sure to pack in your own supply. While you’re there, explore the Rainbow Lakes Trail, which takes you on a short hike through the string of ponds that are great fishing spots. Or check out the Arapaho Glacier overlook off Glacier Rim Trail. For more details, go to www.fs.usda.gov.

Kelly Flats Campground in Ft. Collins– In the heart of the Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forest, this 29 site campground offers a peaceful ambiance, with camp sites surrounded by towering evergreens. Of the 29 sites, 19 will accommodate RVs up to 65 feet, but there are no hookups and the remaining 10 sites are reserved for tents only. Those tall trees offer up a bit of privacy between sites and to add to the beauty of it all, the Cache La Poudre River runs right through the campground. This river is the only one in Colorado designated as a “Wild and Scenic River” by the National Park Service, which allows for an abundance of fishing opportunities. Go to www.fs.usda.gov for more information.

Moraine Park Campground in Estes Park– Just northwest of Denver, Moraine Park Campground, located in the Rocky Mountain National Forest, offers up adventure at every turn. Within the park there are 355 miles of hiking trails, three different lakes for water sports and activities, and much more! The 245 sites are available on a first come, first serve basis and can accommodate tents, RVs, and trailers but there are no hookups of any kind at any of the sites. Group sites are available to accommodate groups of 10-40 people. For more information, go to www.recreation.gov. Also in the Estes Park area is Aspenglen Campgound. Aspenglen boasts 53 sites for both tents and small RVs (up to 30 feet) but there are no water, electric or sewer hookups available. This gem is only open from May to late September, so reserve a spot early!

Carter Lake Campground in Loveland– Right on the edge of the Columbia River, Carter Lake is a very popular spot for tourists and residents alike. All sites are paved with 20amp, 30amp or 50amp full hookup options. If you don’t want to “rough it” too much, there is a place to do laundry, free wifi and you will be within walking distance to lots of dining and shopping. There is also a place for your four legged family members to play off leash. Reservations are required, go to www.reserveamerica.com.

Painted Rocks Campground in Woodland Park– This campground got its name from the gorgeous colors on nearby sandstone outcroppings. Painted Rocks is located on the edge of a grassy meadow, not far from Manitou Lake. Both tent and RV sites are available that come equipped with a fire ring and picnic tables. Vault toilets and drinking water are also accessible from the campsite. Go to www.recreation.gov for more information.
Parry Peak Campground in Leadville– The first come, first serve sites at Parry Peak go quickly as it is a fantastic spot for creekside camping. Sites accommodate both tents and RVs up to 32 feet (but there are no hookups.) Boating, swimming and fishing are options at Twin Lakes or you can go hiking on the Colorado Trail. This 500 mile trail extends from Denver to Durango! If out of this world views are more your thing, climb up to Mount Elbert’s summit and see what the world looks like from 14,433 feet! Go to cpw.state.co.us for more information.

Cheyenne Mountain State Park in Colorado Springs– An hour and a half from Denver is a camper’s paradise. The park is located on 2,700 acres with 51 full service RV hookup sites and 10 walk-in tent sites, both equipped with restrooms, showers and laundry facilities. There are also group sites available for campers traveling with larger numbers. The state park also offers an archery range with regular, field and 3D targets. For more information, go to cpw.state.co.us

Mueller State in Divide– If sightings of wildlife are a draw, this is the campground destination you need to hit this summer. Mueller State is home to black bears, elk, hawks, mule deer and many bird and small mammals. Enjoy hiking, fishing, and horseback riding during warmer months as well as cross country skiing and sledding during the winter season. Spaces for tents and RVs are available as well as the capability to rent yurts and cabins! There are also five different geocaches located throughout the park! Go to cpw.state.co.us for more information.

Green Ridge Campground in Granby– If you are willing to drive just a bit further from Denver, Green Ridge is an idyllic spot for a wonderful weekend. Nestled between the Colorado River and Shadow Mountain Reservoir, it’s the perfect spot for fishing, boating, swimming, kayaking and canoeing. You might be able to get in some whitewater rafting as well. There are 73 sites for tent and RVs with flush toilets nearby. Pack the sunscreen though, between the water and the beetle damaged trees; there is not a lot of shade to be had here. For more information, go to www.recreation.gov. If you want a little more shade in the Granby area, head to Sunset Point. There are 25 non-electric sites that will accommodate tents, trailers and RVS, all with lots of shade from the summer sun. Each site comes with a tent pad, picnic table and fire ring for cooking. Lake Granby offers boating, swimming fishing and canoeing. This gorgeous, lakefront site also boasts a panoramic view of Table Mountain as well.
Go to www.recreation.gov for more details.

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