Denver, Colorado is surrounded by amazing beauty and it is no surprise there are over 50 camping sites within two hours, some of the best camping near Denver. Surrounding Denver is large mountains. This city is known for many things as well, including that it is exactly one mile above sea level. Instead of choosing to stay in a hotel, why not be one with nature in the absolute best camping near Denver?
Chatfield State Park
|Miles to Downtown Denver||28 miles (35-minute drive)|
|Amenities||Bathrooms, showers, stables, and sites with full hookups.|
|What Makes it the Absolute Best||Horseback riding is close by.|
With 26 miles of multiple hiking and biking trails, you won’t get bored at Chatfield State Park. Denver, Colorado is only a thirty-minute drive away, and yet visiting Chatfield State Park is like being in paradise with large rolling hills and lots of space. Most of the state park is near the big water reservoirs, a favorite for fishers. You can find walleye, bass, perch, crappie, catfish, carp, and yellow perch.
Fish are not the only common wildlife that calls Chatfield State Park home. Always watch your surroundings while on the trails as you can run into coyotes. Although not as common, black bears and mountain lions call the state park home.
Cold Springs Campground
|Miles to Denver||35 miles (46-minute drive)|
|Amenities||Water, playground, restroom, tent pad, fire grate, and picnic table|
|What Makes it the Absolute Best||The mountain views are worth the hike!|
Cold Springs Campground knows how to take your breath away, especially since it is located within the Arapaho Roosevelt National Forest. Inside this national forest, are dozens of hiking paths ranging in level. Even if you are a beginner, you can take a lovely scenic hike through the national park.
Vista Trail is a gorgeous trail that is short, but steep. Wear appropriate shoes when hiking to protect your body. Once you reach the end of this trail, to the very top, you will find spectacular views of the vast Mount Evans Wilderness and the valley below. In the valley are creeks with plenty of fishing opportunities. Your furry friend can also join you on your adventure but must be kept on a leash.
Rainbow Lakes Campground
|Miles to Denver||55 miles (1 hour and 33-minute drive)|
|Amenities||Not many, but still a lot of fun! Primitive and cute camping.|
|What Makes it the Absolute Best||Small and quaint, perfect for a retreat with nature.|
Check out Rainbow Lakes Campground before it closes for the winter. This beautiful campground is only open between mid-June and mid-September. It is located nearly 10,000 feet at the end of Rainbow Lakes Road and is a small campsite on a first-come-first-serve basis. There are also only 18 campsites that accommodate tents. Also, be aware when walking since Rainbow Lakes Campground is near Indian Peaks Wilderness, a forest with many bears.
If you want to pitch a tent and enjoy the stars, this is the best place to do it! The large trail even leads to freshwater ponds perfect for freshwater fishing. Just an hour away from Denver, you can see spectacular mountain views from a gorgeous outlook.
Carter Lake Campground
|Miles to Denver||53 miles (1 hour)|
|Amenities||Fishing, Boat Launch, Horseback Trail, and Swimming Beach|
|What Makes it the Absolute Best||Enjoy rock climbing and scuba diving here!|
Carter Lake is a recreational dream. With horseback riding, mountain biking, boat launches, swimming beaches, and much more, you’ll have no shortage of activities at this campground! Located within an hour of Denver, you also won’t be far from amenities too.
One of the great things about Carter Lake is that it is open year-round, with plenty of water activities for you to pursue. The entire reservoir is over 1,000 acres, all public lands, and you can even sail and scuba dive here! Worth checking out.
Parry Peak Campground
|Miles to Denver||124 miles (2 hours and 15-minute drive)|
|Amenities||Firewood, tent sites, phone service|
|What Makes it the Absolute Best||Proximity to special events and many amenities|
Parry Peak Campground is one of the only campgrounds in Colorado that does not require campers to register for a reservation. There is so much to do at Parry Peak Campground that you won’t know where to start. This campground offers creek-side camping with refreshing sights and sounds. Imagine walking outside of your tent in the early mornings and immediately looking at crystal clear glistening water.
This is a campground for lovers of the outdoors. Adventurers will sigh at the breathtaking views throughout the campground. Riverside fishing is also available and RVs can camp in designated areas. Dogs are also allowed but should be kept leashed as wildlife like Black Bears, Cougars, and Elk are common in the area. For those with the strength to do so, you can climb Mount Elbert. The summit sits at 14,433 feet. Always be careful when visiting these campgrounds as they are prone to wildfires. The heat during the Summer is intense. If you are unsure about the risk, Parry Peak Campground’s online website states the risk daily.
The photo featured at the top of this post is © iStock.com/RondaKimbrow
Thank you for reading! Have some feedback for us? Contact the AZ Animals editorial team.