The Best Places To Go RV Camping In Colorado
Colorado is an outdoor enthusiast’s dream. The state has almost 10,000 miles of fishing streams, over 2,800 lakes, and more than 1,000 mountain peaks over two miles high. In fact, over half of the country’s “fourteeners” (mountain peaks over 14,000 feet in elevation) are found in Colorado.
The Centennial State is also home to the Colorado Trail, a hiking trail that stretches 500 miles from Durango to Denver. The trail crosses numerous mountain ranges, wilderness areas, national forests, and river systems.
Colorado isn’t just snow-capped mountain peaks and wildflower-filled valleys; there are also some amazing cities to visit. Denver, the “mile-high” city, has more sunny days than Miami Beach or San Diego each year. It is home to four professional sports teams (Broncos, Avalanche, Rockies, and Nuggets), and they all play within three miles of each other.
The United States Air Force Academy and the United States Olympic Training Center and Olympic Committee are in Colorado Springs, the state’s second largest city. There are plenty of quaint little towns brimming with charm that are just waiting to be explored as well.
Driving in Colorado
Colorado has over 950 miles of interstate highway. The Eisenhower Tunnel, at over 11,000 feet, is the highest point on the interstate system, and it has the highest elevation of any vehicle tunnel in the country. Be sure to plan your travels with the RV LIFE Pro tools for RV-safe GPS directions.
- Interstate 25: This interstate runs north/south from the state line of Wyoming until the border with New Mexico. It runs concurrent with US 87 the entire time it is in Colorado. You will go through Fort Collins, Denver, Aurora, Colorado Springs, and Pueblo. The freeway is also called the Valley Highway in Denver, the Monument Valley Highway through Colorado Springs, and the Pueblo Freeway. The section that passes through El Paso County has been designated as the Ronald Reagan Highway. I-25 is included as part of the Pan-American Highway.
- Interstate 70: Colorado’s longest interstate runs east/west and connects the state with Kansas to the east and Utah to the west. From Utah, the highway runs concurrent with US 50 and US 6 and passes between the north rim of Ruby Canyon and the south rim of Book Cliffs. Travelers pass through the Grand Valley, which includes the town of Grand Junction, Vail, Keystone, and Denver. You will get spectacular views of the Colorado River and Rocky Mountains as well as valleys and prairies.
- Interstate 76: This interstate is almost 200 miles long. All but three miles of the freeway are inside Colorado. It starts at I-70 in Arvada and intersects I-80 outside Big Springs, Nebraska. In some places, it runs concurrent with US 6, US 86, and US 34. Travelers will pass through town such as Wiggins, Fort Morgan, and Denver. Although there is an I-76 in the eastern part of the country, the two are not connected.
Scenic drives in Colorado
Colorado is home to a large number of scenic drives, and you will find a stunning view around every turn. Here are a few of the best routes:
The Million Dollar Highway
This stretch of US Route 550 goes from Ouray to Silverton. Although The Million Dollar Highway got its name because of the expense of building it, this highway does offer some million-dollar views.
While the driver will be busy with all the switchbacks, the passengers will get some spectacular views of the mountains, valleys, and gorges in the area. Be sure to watch of Uncompahgre Gorge and Red Mountain Pass.
Pike’s Peak Highway
Pike’s Peak Highway is a stunning drive in Colorado Springs. Because of safety concerns, this highway is only open during daylight hours. There is a fee to get on the highway, but all the scenic viewpoints and lookouts you will experience are worth every penny. Once at the summit, you will find spectacular views as well as a café and gift shop.
Gold Belt Tour Scenic Highway
This scenic drive will take you through some gold rush sites. Starting in Canon City, be sure and make time to visit the Royal Gorge Route Railroad. Along the way, you will want to visit the Ag and Mining History Museum, the Royal Gorge Regional Museum and History Center, and the Outlaw and Lawmen Jail Museum. You should allow two days for this 131-mile trip because there is a lot to explore.
Consider taking State Highway 82 when traveling between Aspen and Leadville. This narrow road has some pull-off spots that allow you to check out the stunning views. Along the way, you can visit Independence Ghost Town and The Grottos Ice Caves. The 32-mile stretch of road is incredibly popular, so be sure and watch out for other vehicles.
Trail Ridge Road
Also known as the Highway to the Sky, this stretch of road inside Rocky Mountain National Park showcases the best views in the park. You will see alpine forests, snow-capped mountains, glaciers, and cliffs.
Herds of elk are often spotted as well. There are several pull-offs with spectacular photo opportunities. Be sure and visit the Alpine Visitor Center and stop at the Forest Canyon Overlook and Medicine Bow Curve.
Mount Evers Scenic Byway
This 28-mile stretch of Highway 5 will take you from Idaho Springs (approximately 60 miles west of Denver) to the summit of Mount Evans. Along the way, you will have the chance to stop at several scenic lookouts.
The road itself is filled with twists, turns, and switchbacks, giving you some of the most spectacular mountain views in the state. Allow several hours to see all the points of interest.
Dinosaur Diamond Scenic Byway
If you’re traveling with children who love dinosaurs, this is the perfect scenic road for you. The byway takes you through land that dinosaurs roamed long ago.
You will start the trip in Grand Junction and then continue to Fruita and Dinosaur. Along the way, be sure and check out the Colorado National Monument, Dinosaur Journey Museum, and Canyon Pintado National Historic District.
National Parks Loop
One of the longest scenic drives in the state, this route is almost 950 miles long and connects many national parks. Beginning in the western part of the state at Grand Junction, you will pass Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park, Mesa Verde National Park, and then the Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve.
The last stop is Rocky Mountain National Park. Along the way, you will visit towns like Durango, Buena Vista, and Telluride. Allow several days for this drive, and take the time to explore the parks and charming communities as well.
Top of the Rockies
Over the course of 115 miles of scenic beauty, you will cross over the Continental Divide a total of three times and follow the Arkansas River to near its source in Fremont Pass. In addition, you will travel through the charming small towns of Redcliff, Twin Lakes, and Minturn, and get spectacular views of two of the highest peaks in the mountain range: Mount Elbert and Mount Massive.
National Parks in Colorado
Bent’s Old Fort
The heart of Bent’s Old Fort National Historic Site is the reconstructed trading post from the mid-1800s. For almost 16 years, it was the only white settlement on the Santa Fe Trail between the Mexican settlements and the state of Missouri.
The post was on the Santa Fe Trail and was a place where traders and trappers would trade items with the members of the Cheyenne and Arapaho tribes, who often had buffalo robes to trade. The fort was built by Charles Bent, William Bent, and Ceran St. Vrain.
The fort also sold goods to travelers. It is located in southeastern Colorado on the banks of the Arkansas River. Visitors to the fort can learn about the Bent-St Vrain trading company and the history of the trading post. History comes alive at the fort when historians offer guided tours and demonstrations.
Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park
Over the past two million years, the Gunnison River has carved out a masterpiece in the western part of Colorado. Black Canyon is home to some of the oldest rock formations and steepest cliffs on the continent. The park got its name because some parts of the canyon only get about a half-hour of sunshine a day, which makes it appear dark.
The park, which showcases 12 miles of the canyon, has two main entrances: the South Rim entrance 15 miles east of Montrose and the North Rim entrance 11 miles south of Crawford.
In the winter months, part of the South Rim Drive is closed to vehicle traffic and becomes six miles of cross-country skiing and snowshoe fun. This path will let you access the spectacular views of the canyon from the overlooks. The upper part of the Oak Flat Loop Trail and the Rim Rock Trail are great places to go snowshoeing too. Don’t want to explore on your own? The park offers ranger-led snowshoe walks as well.
The California National Historic Trail
The California National Historic Trail passes through portions of ten states and stretches over 2,000 miles. It started at the Missouri River and ended in California. The eastern part of the trail follows the path of the Oregon Trail and Mormon Trail, but ultimately splits from them and forges a new path. You can follow the path that thousands before you traveled to reach California in the mid-1800s. It was the largest mass migration in United States history.
There are numerous churches, original trail segments, historic sites, and museums along the trail. In Colorado, you can see trail ruts outside Julesburg. While in Julesburg, be sure and check out the Fort Sedgwick Depot Museum. You will learn about the fort’s history as well as information about the county. There are displays with artifacts and memorabilia from the Pony Express, Native Americans, Union Pacific Railroad, and early pioneers.
Colorado National Monument
Colorado National Monument features one of the most spectacular landscapes in the western part of the country. Visitors flock to the area to see the red rock canyons and massive plateaus. Rim Rock Drive features lots of twists and turns (and three tunnels) as well as some of the most beautiful scenery around. Allow an hour or so just for the drive; hiking, stopping at the overlooks, and taking pictures will add time to the drive. You can enter Rim Rock Drive from the west in Fruita or from the east in Grand Junction.
Bighorn Sheep, once in danger of extinction, were reintroduced into the area in the late 1970s. About 40 bighorn sheep now make their home near Colorado Monument. They are wary of humans and blend into the terrain, but if you look along the ledges at the bottom of the canyon’s walls, you just might see one for yourself. If you’re up for a hike, you might also find them at Balanced Rock View and Wedding Canyon. The area is a haven for many birds including golden eagles, red-tailed hawks, jays, and ravens.
Curecanti National Recreation Area
The Curecanti National Recreation Area, found high in the Rocky Mountains, is a fisherman’s dream. It has three reservoirs, and all of them have great fishing and water sports.
The Blue Mesa Reservoir has almost 100 miles of shoreline and is great for boating and water skiing. Morrow Point Reservoir is perfect for canoeing and sea kayaking. You can haul your gear down around 232 steps into the canyon and launch just past the end of the stairs.
Crystal Reservoir is also limited to hand-carried watercraft. There are protruding rocks and tricky currents at this location, plus the river conditions can change dramatically in a short period of time. Salmon and trout are frequently caught in the waters at Curecanti.
If you prefer dry land, there are several campgrounds in the park, ranging from tent-only sites to ones that can accommodate large RVs. The recreation area also has seven hiking trails for visitors to enjoy. They range from the 1.5-mile easy Neversink Trail to the very strenuous Hermit’s Rest Trail.
Dinosaur National Monument
Dinosaur National Monument is found near the Utah border in northwestern Colorado, where the Green and Yampa rivers meet. The park is home to over 800 paleontological sites. It also has fossils of many dinosaurs including Deinonychus, Abydosaurus, Allosaurus, and various sauropods. In addition, petroglyphs (designs cut or chipped into rocks) have also been found and preserved. The petroglyphs were created by the Fremont People over 1,000 years ago. Ranger-led hikes allow you to discover all the magic in the park.
Yampa River Canyon cuts through red-sandstone cliffs for 2,500 feet, creating a stunning vista. There are several biking and hiking trails available. They range from the ¼-mile accessible Plug Hat Trail to the remote 8-mile Island Park Trail.
With the proper permits, visitors can go fishing and/or horseback riding inside the monument. If you prefer the car’s air conditioning in the desert heat, you can drive the 32-mile stretch of Harpers Corner Road and see spectacular views of the Green and Yampa rivers.
Florissant Fossil Beds
Visiting Florissant Fossil Beds is a great way to learn about prehistoric Colorado. It is home to one of the most diverse fossil deposits ever found. Thousands of insect and plant fossils as well as petrified redwood stumps (some measuring 14 feet across) tell the story of days gone by in Colorado. They tell of the environment that existed during the late Eocene age.
There are a number of outdoor exhibits and hiking opportunities available at the monument. The Petrified Forest Loop is a one-mile fossil trail that takes you past the “Big Stump”, which is one of the world’s biggest petrified tree stumps. You can also take self-guided hikes on the Ponderosa Loop and Geologic Trails and view the exhibit panels.
In addition, there are almost 15 miles of nature trails that take you over hills covered in pine, wet meadows, and the occasional patch of Douglas and Aspen fir trees. The Hornbek trail, almost 4 miles long, will take you to the 1878 Hornbeck Homestead. Learn the story of the homestead from on-site exhibit panels.
Great Sand Dunes
While you’re camping in Colorado, you won’t want to miss the Great Sand Dunes. Great Sand Dunes National Park is home to the highest mountains of sand on the continent. The dunes are always building and shifting because of the unique wind patterns in the San Luis Valley. The dune field stretches over 30 square miles, and the tallest dune is 750 feet high.
Kids of all ages love to going sledding down the sand. The park is filled with opportunities for picnics, hiking, and camping. You can go four-wheeling on Medano Pass or take a ranger-led nature walk. The park is 8,200 feet above sea level, which makes it perfect for stargazing. There are astronomy programs most evenings from May until September.
There are several forested and alpine trails in the park. Forested trails include Montville Nature Trail, Mosca Pass Trail, and Sand Ramp Trail. Alpine trails include Medano Lake Trailhead, Music Pass, and Sand Creek Lakes. You can even climb Crestone Needle, Crestone Peak, Cleveland Peak, and Mount Herard; all are between 13,000 and 14,000 feet.
Hovenweep National Monument
Hovenweep National Monument, west of Cortez, is made of six prehistoric villages from the Pueblo period. The villages, built in the mid-thirteenth century, are spread out over 20 miles of canyons and mesa tops. The area is peaceful and serene; in fact, its name is the Paiute word for deserted valley. The monument has been designated as an International Dark Sky Park. Stargazers will love the night sky.
Square Tower Unit, the main site at the monument, centers around Little Ruin Canyon. You can take a guided tour to see the ruins. Visitors can see 10 ruins including the impressive Hovenweep Castle. It has several D-shaped towers and many rooms.
There are several towers at Hovenweep. Twin Towers and Square Tower are two of the most spectacular. The other five villages are more difficult to reach. They are not well marked, and most are found on unmaintained dirt roads.
Mesa Verde National Park
Mesa Verde is found in the southwestern part of the state. It is home to almost 5,000 archeological sites including 600 cliff dwellings. Visitors need at least two days to see everything in the park.
Mesa Verde has two main sections: The Chapin Mesa and the Wetherill Mesa. The Chapin Mesa includes structures such as Balcony House, Cliff Palace, and Square Tree House. Wetherill Mesa includes Long House, Step House, and Mug House. There are many overlooks found on the three driving loops. They will give you a great overview of what the park offers.
There are several hiking trails available at the park as well. They range from easy (like the half-mile Farming Terrace Trail) to the strenuous Prater Ridge Trail (almost 8 miles round-trip).
Two often-overlooked trails are the Point Lookout Trail and the Petroglyph Point Trail. Point Lookout will lead you to the highest point in the park. It has spectacular views of the Mancos and Montezuma Valleys. Petroglyph Point Trail shows hikers amazing views of the Spruce and Navajo Canyons.
Rocky Mountain National Park
Rocky Mountain National Park covers over 400 square miles. You will find meadows in the montane life zone, shimmering lakes in the subalpine zone, and stunning mountain peaks within the alpine zone. There are 300+ miles of hiking trails. Along the way, you will find many opportunities for wildlife sightings.
There are a couple of amazing scenic drives you will want to take while in the park. The first is Trail Ridge Road, which crests at around 12,000 feet. It is the highest paved roadway in the country, and it crosses the Continental Divide at Milner Pass. The second is Old Fall River Road, which is 9-mile stretch of dirt road with some amazing scenery.
The park has five geographical zones. Region One is all about large meadows and moose. It can be reached by the Tonahutu, Onahu, or Green Mountain trail. Region Two is the alpine region and has breathtaking views. Trails in this region include the Old Ute Trail, Chapin Pass, and Tundra Communities.
Region Three is home to the Mummy Range, Bridal Veils Falls, and Paul Bunyon’s Boot. Region Four is the heart of the park. It has some of the most popular trails. You can enjoy Bear Lake and then hike Flattop Mountain and view the Continental Divide. Region Five is known for its spectacular waterfalls and backcountry. There are many lakes in this region including Snowbank Lake and Bluebird Lake. Waterfalls include Trio Falls and Copeland Falls.
Colorado State Parks
Colorado has over three dozen state parks for residents and visitors to enjoy. Here are just a few of the beautiful state parks where you can go camping in Colorado.
Mueller State Park
Mueller State Park is located in Divide and is a great park for wildlife viewing. Black bear, elk, hawks, and mule deer are among the animals that call this park home. In addition, the park’s ecosystem has numerous types of plants. There are over 5,000 acres of meadows fed by springs, massive rocks made of Pikes Peak Granite, and numerous ponds. Native grasses and wildflowers are plentiful, as are majestic trees such as spruce and aspen.
Regardless of the season, there are spectacular views and countless photo opportunities. However, winter brings a new set of available activities including sledding, cross-country skiing, and snowshoeing.
There are more than 50 miles of trails in the park. All of them allow you to explore the spectacular foothills at the base of the Rocky Mountains. In addition, all three trails allow hiking, mountain biking, and horseback riding. There are a half-dozen geocaches located in the park.
Camping in Mueller State Park is available all year long, and includes basic, primitive, and accessible sites. Rental yurts and cabins are available as well.
Steamboat Lake State Park
Regardless of the season, there are always fun activities at Steamboat Lake State Park. The park, which is located near the quaint historic community of Clark and Hahn’s Peak, is spread out over almost 3,000 acres.
You can spend a leisurely day on the water soaking in the rays of the Colorado sun. Visitors enjoy fishing, swimming, water skiing, and boating, all while having a gorgeous view of Hahn’s Peak. In the winter, you can go ice fishing, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, or snowmobiling while snow-capped mountains provide an amazing backdrop.
Hiking, birdwatching, and camping are also among the favorite things to do at the park. There are three trails in the park: the Tombstone Nature Trail, the Willow Creek Trail, and the Poverty Bar Trail. The park is a nesting ground for sandhill cranes, bald eagles, and osprey. With almost 200 campsites to pick from, including both shoreline and forested sites, you can find the perfect one for your trip. In addition, there are ten cabins and yurts available all year long.
Ridgway State Park
Ridgway State Park is a great place to make some memories. The park is just a few miles from Ouray and is known as the “Switzerland of America.” Spread across 3,200 acres, the area is a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts regardless of the season.
There are two swimming areas at the park: the Dutch Charlie swimming beach and the “no wake” area at Dallas Creek. Birdwatchers have spotted almost 150 species of birds inside the park.
Modern camping is available all year long. There are over 250 sites available from April-October; that number drops to 35 the rest of the time. Rental yurts are available as well.
Hiking and mountain biking are popular activities in Ridgway. There are more than 14 miles of well-maintained marked trails. Some trails take you through open meadows, while others travel through forested areas or along a river. The trails vary in length and difficulty.
Winter doesn’t mean the end of fun at the park. Most trails are perfect for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. Ice fishing is also a great winter activity for visitors to enjoy.
Lory State Park
Lory State Park is spread across almost 2,500 acres and located mere minutes from Fort Collins. The park has six backcountry campsites. All sites are primitive and are at least an hour’s hike from the parking lot.
There are many fishing opportunities including those at the quarry, Soldier Cove, and Satanka Cove. Canoes, kayaks, and rafts can be launched near the North Eltuck Bay parking lot. Power boats are launched from the Horsetooth Dam boat ramp at the reservoir.
The hiking is spectacular at the park. South Valley Trail Loop, East Valley, and Well Gulch Nature Trail are three of the more popular trails. There are 26 miles of trails waiting to be explored. They vary in length and difficulty level, so everyone can find their perfect trail. The trails rarely have a grade higher than 12%. Mountain biking, horseback riding, and running are also popular trail activities. The bays and coves of Horsetooth Reservoir can be accessed by trails on the park’s east side.
Rifle Falls State Park
Rifle Falls State Park is 48 acres of lush vegetation and numerous trees, thanks to the spray from the waterfalls. The often-photographed triple waterfall is an amazing picnic spot.
The park has a baker’s dozen drive-in RV campsites situated along Rifle Creek. All sites include 30-amp electric, fire rings, and picnic tables. Sites include back-ins and pull-throughs, as well as walk-in tent sites. Hunting and fishing opportunities abound at the park. Winter ushers in a whole new set of fun activities including cross-country skiing and snowmobiling.
Visitors can hike three trails while inside the park, and all of the trails are open to bike riders as well. The Bobcat Trail takes hikers from the park to the fish hatchery, while the Squirrel Trail leads takes you along Rifle Creek and to an overlook of the valley.
Hiking the Coyote Trail leads you to spectacular views of the falls from both the base and above the falls. There are a series of limestone caves under the falls that attract countless spelunkers to explore their mysterious depths. They are accessed by taking the Coyote Trail.
Camping in Colorado cities
Aurora is located just east of Denver. It ranks third in population for the state and is a major part of the Front Range Urban Corridor. It is the perfect combination of large-town attractions and amenities and small-town charm.
Like most of Colorado, there are plenty of outdoor activities to keep the whole family entertained. Aurora has acre upon acre of wide-open spaces to relax and explore. There are a wide variety of historical sites as well as site-seeing opportunities to be discovered.
The Cherry Creek Reservoir is a great place to spend the day. You can go stand-up paddleboarding, take a sunset horseback ride, or hike the various trails. The Aurora Reservoir is another great place to enjoy the water. Visitors can rent canoes, go trout fishing, take part in a scuba diving adventure, or simply soak up the sun on the beach.
You can learn about how this area of Colorado used to be at the Plains Conservation Center. They have some decorated wigwams, like the ones Cheyenne Indians used, located next to frontier houses made of sod. You may also spy some wild prairie dogs and pronghorns.
The Morrison Nature Center is the go-to place to learn about the area’s backcountry. Guided naturalist walks are offered.
Boulder, which is 25 miles northwest of the capital, has the foothills of the Rocky Mountains as a backdrop. It is home to the University of Colorado, which is the state’s large university. Be sure and check out the university’s Fiske Planetarium and the Museum of Natural History.
The city values outdoor space. In fact, over 60,000 acres of green space and nature preserves surround the city and are available for residents and visitors to enjoy. Boulder Canyon has some great rock-climbing routes and many miles of hiking and biking trails.
Boulder has a thriving arts community. The city is home to the Boulder Philharmonic Orchestra and the Colorado Music Festival. There are also many dance companies including Boulder Ballet and Lemon Sponge Cake Contemporary Ballet.
One of the best museums in town in the Museum of Boulder. It is a great place to learn about the city’s history. There is also a ‘playzeum’ where kids can experience hands-on exhibits and experiments.
Downtown comes alive with the Pearl Street Mall, a pedestrian area filled with cafes, boutiques, restaurants, and art galleries. After you’re finished at the mall, you can relax at nearby Central Park.
Colorado Springs is one of the most beautiful places on the planet. Sitting at the base of Pikes Peak, the city is over 6,000 feet above sea level.
Sports and outdoor activities are plentiful in the area. In fact, Colorado Springs is home to two dozen national governing bodies for a wide variety of sports including Olympic events. The United States Olympic Training Center, USA Swimming, USA Hockey, and United States Olympic & Paralympic Committees are found in this stunning city. Colorado Springs is also home to the United States Air Force Academy. While at the academy, be sure and check out their planetarium and bomber plane display.
There are so many things to do and experience in Colorado Springs, you may consider extending your vacation. There is a great selection of museums including the Western Museum of Mining and Industry, the Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame and Museum of the American Cowboy, and the Rocky Mountain Motorcycle Museum.
If you’re looking for something a bit more adrenaline-fueled, be sure and go whitewater rafting, ziplining, or check out the view from an aerial gondola. Kids of all ages will enjoy a day at the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, visiting The North Pole – Santa’s Workshop amusement park, or having dinner at the Flying W Ranch.
After a fun-filled day exploring Colorado Springs, you will want a quiet place to relax and recharge. Consider staying at the Mountain View RV Resort or at the Cheyenne Mountain State Park campground. You can’t go wrong with either one.
Denver is both the capital of Colorado and the largest city in the state. The capital city has the High Plains to its east and the front range of the Rocky Mountains to its west. The “Mile High City” got it name from the fact that the city’s elevation is exactly one mile (5,280 feet) above sea level.
Denver has some amazing museums that are perfect for rainy or snowy days. These include the Denver Art Museum, Colorado Railroad Museum, Buffalo Bill Museum, and the Denver Museum of Nature and Science. The Denver Zoo and the Denver Botanical Gardens are both are a great way to stretch your legs and soak up a little sunshine. Denver is home to over 200 city parks and outdoor spaces, including Ruby Hill Bike Park, Washington Park, and Paco Sanchez Park.
There is no shortage of sports action in Denver. It has five professional sports teams: the Broncos (NFL), the Avalanche (NHL), the Nuggets (NBA), the Rockies (MLB), and the Rapids (MLS). You can tour Coors Field (home of the Rockies) and Ball Arena (where the Nuggets and Avalanche play their home games). Sports fans will also want to check out the Colorado Sports Hall of Fame and the National Ballpark Museum.
Fort Collins, the state’s fourth largest community, is found on the banks of the Cache La Poudre River, about 50 miles north of Denver. It is home to Colorado State University. The city has the distinction of being one of the most haunted places in the United States as well as the craft beer capital of the state.
Fort Collins has many great museums and art galleries including the Avenir Museum of Design and Merchandising, Global Village Museum, and the Gregory Allicar Museum of Art. The city also has an amazing downtown area. Old Town, which consists of almost 30 historic buildings, is filled with amazing restaurants, specialty shops, and houses built in the 1800s. In fact, the area is so spectacular that it inspired Main Street USA in Disneyland. No trip to Fort Collins is complete without visiting the charming streets of Old Town.
Outdoor adventures can be found at the Horsetooth Reservoir. The water is perfect for water skiing, sailing, stand-up paddleboarding, fishing, and swimming. You can head for dry land and explore the many miles of hiking trails, which are also perfect for horseback riding and mountain biking.
The Cache la Poudre River is the only “wild and scenic” river in the state. It offers Class III-IV rapids for some invigorating whitewater rafting. In the winter months, the river is used for snowshoeing and cross-country skiing.
Grand Junction, located in the western part of the state, is located where the Colorado and Gunnison Rivers meet. As a result, it is known as River City.
Overlooking the city, which is surrounded by federal public land, is the stunning Colorado National Monument made of canyons and mesas. Two of the most popular hiking trails are the Tabeguache and Kokopelli trails.
Sports fans will enjoy watching the Grand Junction Rockies (minor league baseball) and the Grand Junction Gladiators (semi-professional football).
James M Robb State Park is incredibly popular with locals and tourists alike and has plenty of ways to enjoy nature. In addition to hiking and biking trails, you can go swimming, boating, kayaking, fishing, and whitewater rafting. There are five areas of the park (Island Acres, Corn Lake, Colorado River Wildlife Area, Fruita, and Connected Lakes), and each area has its own campground.
A must-see attraction in Grand Junction is the Museum of Western Colorado. The museum, which is three museums in one, has exhibits about Native American history and culture, Spanish exploration, pioneer days, and a wide variety of additional exhibits. In addition, there are four paleontology sites where you can dig for dinosaur remains.
Grand Junction is the heart of Colorado’s wine country and is made up of over 80 separate wineries. It has the highest altitude vineyards in the country. April and May are the best time to visit the wineries, most of which offer tastings and pairings.
Lakewood is just west of Denver and is part of the Front Range Urban Corridor. The city makes the best of its beautiful natural scenery and provides plenty of outdoor recreational opportunities for residents and visitors alike. There are almost 100 parks in the town as well as miles of nature trails and greenbelts.
The Green Mountains make a spectacular backdrop for most of the green spaces. One of the most popular parks is Bear Creek Lake Park, which has 15 miles of hiking and equestrian trails. It also features an archery range as well as boating and fishing on Big Soda Lake.
Lakewood has a thriving downtown district (known as Belmar) and is home to more than 80 local businesses. There are a wide variety of cafes, restaurants, and venues featuring live music; you’re sure to find the perfect place to spend the evening. Belmar has numerous art studios and galleries. If you’d like to go shopping, Colorado Mills is the best spot in the city. There are almost 100 stores with a combined retail space of over one million square feet.
Pueblo (known as Steel City) is home to many festivals and parades. In fact, it hosts two of the largest events in the state: the Colorado State Fair and the state fair parade. In addition, they hold an annual Chile and Frijoles Festival.
Many movies and television shows were partially filmed in and around Pueblo including National Lampoon’s Vacation. The city, just over 100 miles south of Denver, is located where the Arkansas River meets Fountain Creek.
Visitors to the city shouldn’t skip going to the Historic Arkansas Riverwalk. The waterfront plaza is spread over 32 acres and is home to the longest painting in the world. The mural was painted by artists from all over the world, and it is miles long. Take a leisurely stroll along the riverwalk or venture out on one of the hiking/biking trails.
The Historic District at Union Avenue is another great place to take a stroll and explore the art galleries and boutiques that make up the area. Pueblo has several museums to visit including El Pueblo History Museum, Pueblo Weisbrod Aircraft Museum, and Beull Children’s Museum.
Looking for a fun day on the water? Be sure to visit Lake Pueblo (great for fishing and boating) and the Arkansas River (perfect for rafting). When it’s time to settle in for the evening, a stay at Haggards RV Campground or the campground at Lake Pueblo State Park is the perfect end to a perfect day.
Just a few miles north of Denver, Thornton boasts over 80 city parks and has devoted around 2000 acres of land to open spaces for everyone to enjoy.
The Platte River Trail is a popular place to enjoy outdoor activities such as mountain biking, rock climbing, and skiing. The trail is almost 30 miles long, and most of it follows the path of the Platte River. Both city and mountains views are found along the trail. Golfers have two courses to choose from: Thorncreek and Todd Creek golf courses. If you prefer disc golf, they have a course for that as well.
Thornton is a shopper’s paradise. Shopping areas include Denver Premium Outlets, Larkridge Mall, Thornscreek Crossing Shopping Center, and Thornton Town Center. The city is also home to DaveCo Liquor Store, the world’s largest liquor store.
No trip to Thornton would be complete with visiting the Wings over the Rockies Air and Space Museum. It houses both civilian and military aircraft from many different eras. B-52 bombers and an F-4 fighter-bomber are just a few of the aircraft housed in the historic Air corps hanger. Campground choices in the area include Reverends Ridge Campground and St Vrain State Park.
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Regardless of the season, you will find spectacular vistas and plenty of outdoor activites while camping in Colorado. From the highest mountain peaks to the grassy meadows below, you will be amazed by the state’s natural beauty.
For all of your camping and trip planning needs, look no further than RV LIFE Campgrounds and RV LIFE Trip Wizard. RV LIFE Campgrounds is a trusted source of campground and RV park reviews offered by camping and RV enthusiasts just like you. With its accompanying RV LIFE App, RV LIFE Trip Wizard gets you to your camping destinations utilizing RV-friendly routes specific to your RV and travel preferences.
Tammy Grey has been a freelancer writer for just over ten years. She has been published in regional and national publications, such as USA Today and Silver Sage Magazine. While her main focus is writing travel-related articles, she also writes human interest pieces.
Tammy is a Marine Corps brat from Parris Island, South Carolina. After many years spent in the Midwest, she currently resides in southeast Georgia, in a small Navy town just north of Jacksonville, Florida.