This is why I live and love in Colorado! We Denverites thrive on our jazzed-up, funked-up, original small-town big city, but we also really like to get the heck out of dodge. A lot. These 8 outstanding places to go camping in Denver and the surrounding area, will provide you with rest, recreation, and a healthy reset in the woods and the wilds.
1. Guanella Pass Campground
Nestled in the spruce and pine forests on the South Fork of Clear Creek, is an unforgettable camping spot near Georgetown, just about an hour from Denver. There are 18 sites perched at 10,900' with breathtaking vistas and plenty of amenities. Grab your hiking boots and rod and reel and go!
2. Turquoise Lake Recreation Area
Speaking of fishing poles, this 1,800 acre lake in the San Isabel National Forest, just miles from the adorable town of Leadville, is pretty much an adult playground. Kayak, swim, bike, hike, or just lounge in the shade of the evergreens and gape and drool at the tempting fourteeners. (This forest has 19 of our state's 53.) There are plenty of campsites to choose from, and there are tent-only sites if separation from the mass is what you seek.
3. Beaver Ranch Park
Photo by Andy Librande
Disc golf, anyone? This 450 acre area of mountain forests and meadows in Conifer has one of the top rated disc golf courses...in the world! It snakes through the alpine woods of the Rocky Mountains beneath 100-foot-tall pines and aspens, and is just a 30 minute drive from Denver. There are 6 miles of trails for biking, hiking, and horseback riding, and there are 11 camp sites and 8 cabins up for grabs. There's even an outdoor wedding chapel on site. Colorado is for lovers!
4. Moraine Park Campground
If you're looking for a backcountry feel and tons of "neighborhood" wildlife, this nook of the Rocky Mountain National Park is for you. Wander through meadows teaming with elk, mule deer, and coyotes, and take in the view of Longs Peak in the distance all the while. And don't be surprised if you're awakened at dawn by the call of the elk - our Rocky Mountain rooster.
5. Golden Gate Canyon State Park
There are over 130 campsites (including 20 backcountry sites) in this 12,000 acre state park just 30 minutes from the city. Enjoy fishing, biking, hiking, and horseback riding through dense forests, rocky peaks, and wildflower meadows filled with quaking aspens. And don't miss the famed Panorama Point, where you can feast your eyes on 100 miles of the Continental Divide. It's a photographer's dream...especially during leaf-peeper season!
6. Rainbow Lakes Campground
Tucked away in the hills near Boulder and the Indian Peaks Wilderness is some of the best backcountry hiking and camping, not only in Colorado, but also the nation! Not to mention there's a chain of nine alpine lakes at 10,000' in which you can cleanse your soul or catch your dinner.
7. Cherry Creek Campground
This year round campground and beach has been dubbed "Denver's Backyard Playground" and is quite popular with those seeking social recreation near the city. Expect boating and horseback riding and a shooting range...but don't expect solitude.
8. Peru Creek Road #260
If Cherry Creek Campground is the Redneck Riviera of the Rockies, then Peru Creek Road near Montezuma is a Summit County Shangri-La. This is true backcountry camping at its finest, with virtually no services or amenities, save the rushing rivers, vast gulches, pristine lakes, and moose as big as its mountains. (I really wanted to keep this one to myself, but it's too good not to share!)
“Throw a loaf of bread and a pound of tea in an old sack and jump over the back fence,” as Muir taught us. It’s how we do it in Denver! Tell us your favorite places to go camping in Denver!