Our Secrets to Camping in Colorado

By Kyle & Olivia Brady | Founders of Drivin' & Vibin' | We use affiliate links and may receive a small commission on purchases.

These Are Our Secrets to Camping in Colorado

Whether you’re a full-time RVer, a weekend enthusiast, or planning a cross-country trip, camping in Colorado is probably on your bucket list.

With hundreds of miles of hiking and mountain biking trails, big views, starry nights, and a vibrant local food and craft beverage scene, Colorado is a mecca for outdoor and local flavor enthusiasts.

From free camping to exploring high elevation sites and to a favorite National Park, here are some of our favorites in beautiful Colorado. We created this list for both RVers and tent campers, and we hope you enjoy some of our favorite spots.

Free Camping in Colorado Abounds

These sites are perfect for the budget-conscious, they are each a great introduction to the Colorado lifestyle.

We discovered free camping near some of Colorado’s most popular towns and sites, even near Durango and Telluride. Don’t go to these sites just because they are free, go because they are also unique. Here is just a sample of our favorites:

Cherry Creek Road/Durango: This free campsite is located about 15 miles west of Durango. You’ll find excellent hiking trails nearby and a lot of privacy to set up camp. We love the balance of nature and communities of Cherry Creek Road.

Alta Lakes/Telluride: Alta Lakes is positioned a whopping 11,273 feet above sea level. The views are like no other. Here’s the catch…the road in is dirt, extremely narrow and steep. This is an ideal tent camping site.

Sacred White Shell Mountain: a beautiful boondocking location in the San Luis Valley. This spot will give you excellent access to the Great Sand Dunes National Park while avoiding the large tourist crowds. Keep reading to learn why you should visit the Great Sand Dunes National Park.

Earlier this year, we wrote a blog about 11 Totally Free and favorite camping sites in Colorado. You can find the popular blog HERE.

Welcome to Leadville, Colorado

We promised a high elevation site. We are now going to take you to Leadville, Colorado, the highest elevation town in America.

First, book a reservation at the Leadville RV Corral. Your site here is going to be your home-base to explore Leadville. Keep reading, and we will tell you about the RV Corral and why this campground is on our Colorado list.

Leadville, CO is only 78 miles from Denver, but the population is less than 300K. The town sits at 10,152 feet and is known for its diverse visitor experience.

Enjoy a historical walking tour around town or take a high-elevation hike. This town is a four-season retreat for any nature lover. Of course, there is a lot of flavor-rich food too. The town is known for its amazing Mexican food. Yes, Mexican cuisine—you never know what we will find when traveling by RV.

The Leadville RV Corral is open year-round and offers 33 full-service sites, including cable TV. Here’s a quote from their website that just paints the picture of your visit:

Surrounded by the Sawatch Mountain Range on the west and the Mosquito Range to the east, Lake County is home to two of the state’s “Fourteeners.” Mt. Elbert at 14,433 ft. and Mt. Massive at 14,421 ft. Leadville sits in a high mountain valley, which envelopes the headwaters of the Arkansas River. –Leadville RV Corral

Visit Great Sand Dunes National Park

Great Sand Dunes National Park is located in Southern Colorado. This iconic park is open both day and night, year-round.

Why is it open at night?

Because there is nothing like a surreal walk on the dunes under a star-filled sky. If you are looking for a diverse landscape, you need to book a site in this national park. From the sand dunes to wetlands and aspen forests, this NP has it all.

Under the bucket of unique experiences, we have to mention Sandboarding and sledding. Besides mountain trail hikes and swimming in brisk mountain-fed water, you need to add Sandboarding to your list.

Sandboarding at Great Sand Dunes NP

And don’t forget all of your camera equipment, for day and night photography. This park does not disappoint the photo lover.

There are camping options both in the NP and in the surrounding areas. The camps within the park are open April-October. As you can imagine, book your sites well in advance for camping within the NP. In addition to sites within the actual park, there are more than ten private camps within a forty-mile drive.

What is Dinosaur Hill… And Why Visit?

If you love natural history, then this is the Colorado stop for you. The history of this site dates back millions of years and to 1900. In that year, paleontologist Elmer Riggs discovered the skeleton of a 70-foot-long and 30-ton Apatosaurus.

Yes, that dino probably weighed 30 tons!

Dinosaur Hill is near Fruita, Colorado, and there is a no-fee trail to hike to the actual Dinosaur Hill. You will also find ample parking at the trail-head, even for RVs, and a picnic area. Along the mildly strenuous hike, you will discover interpretive signage and views of the Colorado River.

While in the area, we enjoyed camping at James M. Robb, Colorado River State Park.

This state park is along the Colorado River and provides river access. It is a large park at 890 acres and offers both campsites and a sandy beach for swimming. It is a park for river adventurists.

A Colorado Camping Experience for Everyone

If you are a nature lover, you already know that Colorado should be on your RV or tent camping bucket list.

We hope that we also just provided a snapshot of the diverse experiences that we found in the state. From hiking to stargazing to both national and natural history, there is something for everyone. And a landscape for every camera.

Dive Deeper into the Joys of Free Camping

To be honest with you, we hate paying for camping. There are so many free campsites in America (with complete privacy). You should give it a try! As a matter of fact, these free campsites are yours.

Every time you pay federal taxes, you’re contributing to these lands.

Here’s our list of the 20 Best Free Campsites in the USA.

Become a FREE CAMPING INSIDER and join the 100,000 campers that love to score the best site! Simply enter your email below.

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