The Absolute Best Camping Near Denver

Written by Cindy Rasmussen
Published: September 15, 2022
Image Credit Sean Xu/Shutterstock.com
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If you want to go camping near downtown Denver, CO, to get the best of city and country life, there are many amazing options. Try something new and go camping in a yurt, stay at a campground with a floating restaurant or enjoy some of the best fishing in the state. Read on to find out about the absolute best camping near Denver.

1) Indian Paintbrush Campground: Bear Creek Lake Park

The Indian Paintbrush Campground at Bear Creek Lake Park has 47 campsites as well as 3 yurts and 2 cabins.

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One of the closest campgrounds to downtown Denver has RV sites, tent camping, and yurts! The Indian Paintbrush Campground at Bear Creek Lake Park has 47 campsites as well as 3 yurts and 2 cabins. Enjoy the swimming beach, hiking trails, mountain bike trails, and archery range. You can take a kayak out on the lake or try some fishing with anglers catching good-sized walleye, bass, and rainbow trout.

With a campground so close to Denver, you can catch a game at Coor’s Field, visit the Denver Museum of Nature and Science (don’t miss the “Wildlife Hall” with 90 wildlife and habitat exhibits) or the Denver Aquarium (including stingrays, sea turtles, and sharks). You should plan a multi-day trip to be sure to experience everything Denver offers while also enjoying peaceful camping. You can see why this is one of the absolute best places to camp near Denver!

LocationSW of downtown
Distance from downtown Denver25 min (23 miles)
RV/Tent sites47 sites
Cabins3, sleep 6, water spigot, electricity and heat
Yurts2, sleeps 4, water spigot, no electricity or heat
Picnic Tables at each siteYes
Fire Pit at each siteYes
AmenitiesRestrooms, showers, playground
Pet FriendlyYes, the cabins and yurts allow pets too
ReservationsYes
What makes it one of the bestYurt camping in a beautiful setting!

2) Standley Lake Regional Park and Wildlife Refuge

Standley Lake Regional Park has 66 campsites for RV’s and tents and 6 Deluxe Bell Tents (similar to yurts).

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Located NE of Downtown Denver on the third largest reservoir in Denver is the Standley Lake Regional Park and Wildlife Refuge. The 3,000-acre park is a refuge for many birds like herons, red-tailed hawks, and the largest of owls, the Great Horned Owls. There is also a prairie dog town in the park! One of the nicest things about the lake is that it is a “paddle only” lake, so you can imagine how quiet the park and campground are. Bring your kayak, paddleboard, or canoe to explore the lake yourself or try some fishing.

The campground has 66 campsites for RV’s and tents and 6 Deluxe Bell Tents (similar to yurts). Each campsite has its own picnic table and fire ring with restrooms and outdoor showers nearby. Nice to be able to stay right in the park to enjoy the lake and wildlife.

LocationNW of downtown Westminster
Distance from downtown Denver27 min (16 miles)
RV/Tent sitesYes, 66 campsites
Deluxe Bell TentYes, 6 tents for rent, similar to yurts, one double cot and two single cots, on a raised platform
Picnic Tables at each siteYes
Fire Pit at each siteYes
AmenitiesRestrooms, showers,
Pet FriendlyYes (just keep them out of the lake!)
ReservationsYes
What makes it one of the bestRight on a quiet, peaceful lake!

3) Denver West / Central City KOA Holiday

The Denver West/Central City KOA has RV sites, tent sites, cabins for rent, hot tubs, and activities during the summer months.

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Do you want to camp in the mountains but still be about a half-hour away from the city? The Denver West/Central City KOA is in the Rocky Mountains at an elevation of 8,490 feet, but only 38 miles from downtown Denver. As you can imagine, the campground has amazing views of the mountains as well as a great home base for backpacking in the surrounding mountains and parks like Golden Gate Canyon State Park.

The campground has RV sites, tent sites, and cabins for rent with a fun playground, two hot tubs, and activities during the summer months. Some RV sites are all set for “Big Rigs” and can accommodate up to 80′ long trailers. You may enjoy planning all your camping meals, but the KOA has “All You Can Eat Pancakes” every morning during the summer months, so cross off Breakfast on your to-do list. Sitting at your picnic table eating pancakes with a view of the Rocky Mountains sounds like a good way to start any day!

LocationWest of downtown, about 35 min away
Distance from35 min (38 miles)
RV sitesYes
Tent sitesYes
CabinsYes, some with private baths and kitchenettes
Picnic Tables at each siteYes
Fire Pit at each siteYes
AmenitiesRestrooms, showers, hot tubs, outdoor games
Pet FriendlyYes, exception no pets in the cabins
ReservationsYes
What makes it one of the bestGreat home base for backpacking in the mountains AND exploring Denver!

4) Cherry Creek State Park

Cherry Creek State Park has unique activities like an area for flying model airplanes, horseback riding trails, and a shooting range.

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One of the absolute best places to camp near Denver is Cherry Creek State Park. The large Cherry Creek Reservoir has a sandy swimming beach and boat ramp for kayaks, paddle boards, motorized boats, and jet skis. A few unique activities are available at the park, like an area for flying model airplanes, horseback riding trails, and a shooting range. You can also imagine that fishing on Cherry Creek Lake is a popular activity, with walleye being a favorite catch and the lake stocked with rainbow trout by the Colorado Parks and Wildlife.

The campground has 152 campsites with one loop designated as “tent only” camping. The RV sites all have full hookups and are situated in 5 different loops, all with access to restrooms and showers nearby. The beach is just a short walk from the campground, less than a ¼ of a mile. It is hard to believe that this oasis of a park is just outside the downtown Denver area.

LocationSE of downtown Denver in Aurora, on the Cherry Creek Reservoir
Distance from25 min (18 miles)
RV sitesYes, Deluxe full hookup sites
Tent sitesYes
Picnic Tables at each siteYes
Fire Pit at each siteYes
AmenitiesRestrooms, showers, laundry, dump station
Pet FriendlyYes, an off-leash dog park
ReservationsYes, required, no same-day reservations
What makes it one of the bestThe most variety of activities all in one park!

5) Chatfield State Park

You can enjoy sailing, water skiing, paddle boarding, or fishing at Chatfield State Park.

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If you have a weekend off and want to get out of Denver for a bit, you can spend the weekend camping at Chatfield State Park. The large state park on the Chatfield Reservoir is just south of Denver, about 50 minutes away. There is a marina at the campground, so bring your boat or rent one for the weekend. You can enjoy sailing, water skiing, paddle boarding, or fishing (warm and cold water fish like walleye, rainbow trout, blue catfish, and channel cats.)

The campground has four camping loops with a total of 197 campsites for RV’s and tents. Each campsite has a picnic table and grill, so if you catch some good-sized walleye, you can fry up your own dinner! If you are unlucky on the lake, no worries, you can enjoy dinner at the floating restaurant just off the marina. The campground is within walking distance of the marina, boat ramps, and swimming beach. For a day trip, you can visit the Denver Botanical Garden, which is only 10 miles away. You can see why Chatfield is one of the absolute best places to camp near Denver.

LocationSouth of downtown Denver in Littleton, CO
Distance from50 min (22 miles)
RV sites w/Full hookups146 sites, pull-through and back-in
RV/Tent sites w/electric only51 sites
Picnic Tables at each siteYes
Grills at each siteYes
AmenitiesRestrooms, showers, laundry
Pet FriendlyYes, an off-leash dog park
ReservationsYes
What makes it one of the bestCampground is within walking distance of the beach and floating restaurant!

Up Next

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About the Author

I'm a Wildlife Conservation Author and Journalist, raising awareness about conservation by teaching others about the amazing animals we share the planet with. I graduated from the University of Minnesota-Morris with a degree in Elementary Education and I am a former teacher. When I am not writing I love going to my kids' soccer games, watching movies, taking on DIY projects and running with our giant Labradoodle "Tango".

Thank you for reading! Have some feedback for us? Contact the AZ Animals editorial team.

Sources
  1. Chatfield State Park, Available here: https://cpw.state.co.us/placestogo/parks/Chatfield/Pages/Camping.aspx
  2. Cherry Creek State Park, Available here: https://cpw.state.co.us/placestogo/parks/CherryCreek/Pages/Camping.aspx
  3. Denver West / Central City KOA Holiday, Available here: https://koa.com/campgrounds/denver-west/
  4. Standley Lake Regional Park and Wildlife Refuge, Available here: https://www.cityofwestminster.us/Camping
  5. Bear Creek Lake Park, Available here: https://www.lakewood.org/Government/Departments/Community-Resources/Parks-Forestry-and-Open-Space/A-to-Z-Park-List/Bear-Creek-Lake-Park/Camping