The 10 Best Campsites in Colorado

Explore the beauty of the Rockies this summer at one (or all!) of these amazing campsites.

By: Mike Fennell
May 27, 2016

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Whether you're looking for an easily accessible campground that you can pull your car up to, or a nice challenging backpack trip for the weekend, we've got you covered for ideas in the mix of campsites below.

1. White Star Campground at Twin Lakes

Photo: Mike Fennell

The most easily accessible campsite on this list, this campsite also offers the best view on this list. If the view of a couple massive, majestic mountains hanging over the lake wasn't enough, you are also provided with a grand view of the tallest peak in all of Colorado right behind you. Enjoy water sports, fishing, and a myriad of trails including the Continental Divide trail. Learn More.

Car Camping - $20 per sight overnight. Bathrooms. 

2. Paradise Divide 

Photo: Katie Lyons

This camping area just outside Crested Butte offers seclusion and scenery that just can't be beat! With a variety of wildflower fields, mountain peaks, and lakes along the way, Paradise Divide must be camped at if you're visiting Crested Butte. The campground offers sunset views that are spectacular, and at 11,250 ft the astrophotography is phenomenal. Learn More

Car and Tent Camping - Free. No Facilities.

3. Great Sand Dunes

Photo: Michael O'Keefe

Pitch your tent wherever you like within Colorado's most unique piece of land, the Great Sand Dunes. Few places can match this beautifully bizarre wilderness in Southern Colorado. It's the highest dune in North America, and is surrounded by tall peaks of the Sangre de Cristo Range. Grab a free permit from the visitor center, hike at least a mile past the day use area, then set up camp and watch the stars among the sand. Learn More

Tent Camping - Free. Bathrooms at Visitor Center. 

4. Snowmass Lake

Photo: Matthew Eaton

It would be nearly impossible to rate all of Colorado's alpine lake campsites, partly because there are so many, but mostly because they're all so incredible! Alpine lake camping is an absolute must-do when visiting Colorado, and it would be tough to beat one place in particular, Snowmass Lake. Situated in the heart of the Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness Area, this campground requires an 8.5 mile trek to get to it. You may be lucky enough to have the lake to yourself, or worst case with a handful of people at other campsites. Learn More.

Tent Camping - Free. No Facilities. 

5. Platoro Reservoir

Photo: Johnathan Valdez

As Colorado's highest manmade reservoir, you can be certain that crisp alpine air will make the camping all that much better. The reservoir is stocked with Rainbow, Brown, and Brook Trout, as well as Kokanee Salmon, and has three different campgrounds to choose from. Located in the quieter region of the San Juan's, you can be sure that your time out here will be peaceful. The rough road makes it a little bit of a challenge to get to, but makes the serenity of an outstanding weekend much more apparent. Learn More.

Car and Tent camping - Free. No Facilites.

6. Lake Slough

Photo: Jason Hatfield

Not only does this beautiful lake high in the aspen-covered West Elk Mountains near Crested Butte offer amazing camping, but the summer activities in the area are limitless. With a country road leading right to the lake, getting here is convenient and then camping can be easily set up within the well maintained campsites. Make use of the wonderful lake by bringing your kayak, fishing pole, or just a swimsuit! Learn More.

Car or Tent camping - $18 per campsite. Bathrooms. 

7. Guanella Pass

Photo: Eric Schuette

Guanella Pass is a scenic summit area of the Pike National Forest, that is located in the front range and a perfect getaway option for the Denver folk being just an hour drive away. At an elevation of 11,670' this campsite is a great place to stargaze and breathe in the fresh alpine air. Another campsite that is easily accessible by car, the campsites welcome both car and tent camping. It's the perfect basecamp for those trying to climb up the nearby 14ers, such as Mount Bierstadt or Mount Evans. Learn More.

Car or Tent camping - $17 per campsite. Bathrooms.

8. Lake Verna 

Photo: Ian Glass

Earn your epic campsite views with this 14 mile round trip in the Rocky Mountain National Park. A beautiful backpacking trip that should be done over a couple days, the views of Lake Verna as well as the surrounding Rocky Mountains makes this adventure a definite addition to the summer bucket list. The lake provides great fishing and additional hiking trails. Learn More.

Tent camping - Free. No Facilites. 

9. South Mineral Campground


Photo: Brittany Weber

Discover the stunning San Juan National Forest by making the South Mineral Campground your basecamp to the amazing Ice Lakes Basin Trail. This tranquil campground is well maintained and easily accessible by car off of Highway 550. The Ice Lakes are some the most beautiful alpine lakes in all of North America and make for a perfect Colorado summer day hike. Learn More

Car and Tent camping - $17. Bathrooms. 

10. Buttermilk Mountain

Photo: Mike Fennell

A quick 2 mile hike uphill will take you to the best campsite in all of Aspen Valley. It's located on the back of Buttermilk Ski Mountain (home of the X-games) and is a single campsite with  bench and fire pit that overlook Maroon Creek Valley and give you stunning views of Pyramid peak and Aspen Highlands. It's first come, first serve, so you better get there early during peak summer months and then be sure to wake up for sunrise and witness the astonishing alpenglow on Pyramid Peak. Learn More.

Tent camping - Free. No Facilites.

Cover photo: Mike Fennell

Please respect the places you find on The Outbound.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More

Please respect the places you find on The Outbound.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph.