Want to enjoy the great outdoors with friends and family without having to rough it? There are some amazing ‘glampgrounds’ near Denver that offer a full spectrum of lodging, activities, and of course, amenities, that are sure to please even the most high maintenance of city folk. There are yurts and tipis, hot springs, and saloons, cow roundups and mini-golf, but most importantly there’s good clean mountain fun. All you have to do is choose your adventure!
1. Squaw Mountain Fire Lookout
The Forest Service rents out this incredible old fire tower atop Squaw Mountain at 11,486', where you can breathe in 360-degree views of surrounding peaks with piping hot coffee at sunrise and a nip of whiskey in the evening. You backpack in just one mile from the parking area to this unbelievable little lodge with bunk beds downstairs (in the stone portion of the building) and two beds in the AHmazing glass-enclosed second floor. There are basic kitchen amenities including a stove and refrigerator, but there is NO water source, so you'll have to pack whatever you'll need for cooking, cleaning, and drinking. (Which means you'll also be using an outhouse...FYI).
2. Golden Gate Canyon State Park
Nestled in Golden Gate Canyon just 30 minutes from Denver, is a picturesque state park that offers five cabins, two yurts, and 36 miles of trails. Sleep serenely in secure shelters amidst the aspens and pines with NO CELL SERVICE or WiFi...Hallelujah!!! But with amenities like running water, flushing toilets, gas heaters, electricity, stand-up grills, and fire pits, it's truly glamping at its best!
3. Snow Mountain Ranch
If you're looking for a little family getaway with plenty of activities for your kiddos, check out Snow Mountain Ranch near Granby. This summer camp that's part of the YWCA of the Rockies has family vacation rentals that include lodges, cabins, yurts, and traditional campgrounds. It also boasts 5,100 acres teeming with recreational activities such as biking, hiking, swimming, and horseback riding, as well as mini-golf, arts and crafts, and roller skating. Snow Mountain Ranch is like summer camp for the whole fam!
4. Strawberry Park Hot Springs
These glorious hidden hot springs in the mountains near Steamboat are the ideal setting for a romantic getaway or an escape-the-city trip with friends. It's a quaint little hot springs experience that offers a wide variety of quirky lodging options, such as small and large rustic cabins, traditional campsites, a covered wagon, and even a train caboose. (Note: Sorry, NO pets or RVs).
Just south of Denver near Woodland Park is a Yurtopian paradise in the Pike National Forest at about 10,000 feet. There are two yurts that can accommodate roughly six people (possibly more), with electricity, running water, wrap-around porches, fire pits, and unmatched views of Pikes Peak and surrounding forests and meadows. It's your own little Colorado Garden of Eden!
6. 10th Mountain Division Hut Association
This non-profit organization (whose name is a tribute to U.S. Armed Forces who trained in Colorado during World War II) manages 34 backcountry huts in the Rockies that are an outdoorsman's (and woman's) dream. Most people think of hut trips as backcountry ski adventures, but they're just as fun-filled in the summer with activities like climbing, biking, hiking, fishing, and pretty much any other wilderness adventure imaginable!
7. Jellystone Park
For family fun at a Yogi Bear themed campground and RV park, look into lodging at Jellystone Park, with locations at Larkspur and Estes Park. There are a plethora of options for lodging, including RV sites, tent sites, safari tents, cabins, cottages, yurts, and tipis. In addition, there are all sorts of activities for the family to enjoy together, like all-you-can-eat pancakes, afternoon BBQs, swimming holes, mini-golf, and geocaching. Hey Boo Boo!
8. Arapaho Valley Ranch
Tucked away in the Indian Peaks Wilderness is a mecca for glampers that offers luxury tipis, large family tents (that can sleep six people), and regular campsites that all have easy access to hikes, lakes, waterfalls, wildlife, and an unlimited number of other outdoor activities. And if you're looking for WiFi, TV, and a little company, head over to The Lodge, which houses Colorado's smallest bar, the Red Saloon. The Lodge also has a living room, a pool table, a cozy fireplace, and a lovely outdoor deck where you can drink in the surrounding scenery (along with your cocktails) or roast marshmallows with new and old friends by the giant outdoor fire pit. It's glamping perfection!
9. C Lazy U Ranch
This luxury dude ranch west of Granby has something WAY beyond glamping to offer. Rated as Colorado's #1 resort by Condé Nast Traveler (as well as #4 in the U.S. and #13 in the world!), C Lazy U Ranch is a family vacation that you won't soon forget! Their list of available lodging and activities is nearly endless, and archery, paddle boating, tennis, mountain biking, and Orvis-endorsed guided fly fishing are just a few of the fabulously fun things you can do. Or (as the name implies) kick up your feet, pick up a good book, and hunker down for some much-deserved R&R.
10. The Vail Collective Retreat
If you really want to splurge and go all glamped-out, you've got to stay at the sinfully luxurious safari-esque tents at 4 Eagle Ranch about 20 miles west of Vail. Enjoy inspiring views, on-site dining, complimentary wine tastings, nightly campfires, and a vast array of other available activities, including hiking, horseback riding, cattle roundups, fly fishing, rafting, zip lines, and jeep tours. Oh, and I forgot to mention that there's also a guest lodge with six bedrooms, six baths, and a yurt-style open floor plan that offers ranch living without roughing it...at all. It's the crème de la crème of glamping!
Do you know of any fabulous ‘glampgrounds’ near Denver that aren’t on our list? Please share them with us and fellow Denverites in the comments!