Best Tent and RV Campgrounds near Denver
Denver, Colorado is a place where urban worldliness meets incredible outdoor adventures. The beautiful area is a hot spot for tourists and locals alike who like to immerse themselves in the art, culture, food, music, sports, and nature scene.
Upon entering Denver, you can revel in the tall skyscrapers and modern sophistication that decorates the city. But, if you take a closer look, majestic mountains are looming just in the background, creating the perfect balance between city life and natural wonders. The whole composition is a picturesque atmosphere that gives you the best of both worlds.
Perhaps, after working in an industrial setting for the week, you decide to take a quick weekend getaway to the outdoors. If you’re looking for a way to unwind, decompress, and refocus after a stressful day, what better way to do that than to go camping in or around Denver?
Best Camping Sites in Denver
With the great outdoors just within reach, you don’t need to travel too far away from Denver to find the perfect camping sites. There are several top-notch camping destinations within and around the city that give you magnificent views of the vast landscapes.
In this list, you’ll find seven of the best camping areas in Denver that you can add to your itinerary.
Sawmill Hiker Campground
Distance: 40 minutes away from the city
Cost: $12 per night
Location: White Ranch Open Space Park lower parking lot, Golden, CO 80403
Phone: 1 (303) 271-5925
Sawmill Hiker Campground is a hike-in option for explorers who enjoy outdoor activities. It’s located in Ranch Open Space Park and has over 10 campsites, complete with a picnic table, metal fire ring, and grill. Each of the sites is spaced evenly to give unobstructed views of the park and downtown Denver. After the sun sets, the city glows bright, and you can have front-row seats to this spectacle.
The catch, however, is that you need to obtain a permit before camping here. But don’t worry, you can easily do so online through the Jeffco Open Space Office.
Once you have the permit on hand, you’re free to explore the vast landscapes of the park and enjoy a relaxing night in the mountains.
When you wake up after a restful night by the campfires, you can explore White Ranch Open Space and its rich wildlife. In addition, you can venture to over 20 miles of multi-purpose trails that run along both rugged and smooth terrains. Depending on which path you choose, you can go hiking, biking, or horseback riding.
For the best experience, it’s ideal to visit this campsite during spring or summer. If you want to experience cool winds and golden-yellow leaves, fall is also a good option. Just take note, weekends can be pretty busy, so be sure to plan to guarantee your spot on one of the 10 campsites.
Dakota Ridge RV Resort
Distance: 17 minutes away from the city
Cost: $53 to $80 per night
Location: 17800 West Colfax Avenue Golden, CO 80401
Phone: (303) 279-1625
Nestled perfectly between Denver’s humming city center and the glorious Summit Country mountains lies the Dakota Ridge RV Resort. This is a camper’s paradise that’s available year-round. It features spectacular views of both the Denver skyline and the Rocky Mountains, giving you the perfect blend of big city life with nature adventure. Because of this, you can enjoy some of the luxuries you don’t normally get in traditional camping.
For instance, when you enter the resort, you’ll see 141 full-service premium sites that are paved, level, and professionally landscaped. Free Wi-Fi is also available on-site, so even if you’re off-the-grid, you can remain online.
There’s also a clubhouse that features a fireplace, billiard room, library, arcade, and fitness center. Plus, if you’re looking for a way to cool down, you can visit the outdoor swimming pool. That being said, if you want to enjoy some of the finer things in life, this resort is definitely for you.
If you want to explore nearby attractions, the Dakota Ridge RV Resort gives you access to some incredible activities revolving around arts, culture, food, and nature. Some local attractions include exploring the Rocky Mountain National Park, visiting the Denver Botanic Gardens, stopping by the Denver Zoo, enjoying the amusement parks, and rafting.
St. Vrain State Park
Distance: 40 minutes away from the city
Cost: $36 per night
Location: 3785 Weld County Road 24 1/2, Firestone, CO, 80504
Phone: (303) 678-9402
St. Vrain State Park is located on Highway 119, just off Exit 240. Formerly known as Barbour Ponds, this campsite is a family-friendly destination perfect for individuals and families seeking a simple yet peaceful retreat.
It has 604 acres of land and an impressive 153 acres of water that’s divided among several ponds. Right now, the park offers a total of 87 campsites that you can reserve year-round.
Due to its latest innovation, the park also offers modern camping amenities like hiking trails and fishing piers, with many more improvements in the works. You won’t even have to worry about water or electricity because there are hookups available on every site for your utmost convenience.
If you’re interested in trying new activities like kayaking, canoeing, or SUP boarding, this is the place to go. On top of that, you can enjoy trekking over flat hiking trails that connect the different ponds. However, if you’re an outdoor enthusiast and an experienced hiker, you might enjoy more challenging trails located near Rocky Mountain National Park that lead you to glorious summits and alpine views.
During your hike, be on the lookout for natural wildlife like bighorn sheep, elk, moose, ptarmigans, marmots, and American dippers.
There’s so much to discover in St. Vrain State Park, making it the perfect campsite destination for all nature lovers.
Jones Pass Road
Distance: 1 hour and 15 minutes away from the city
Location: Jones Pass Road, West of Berthoud Falls, Empire, CO 80438
Phone: (970) 887-4100
If going off the grid is your goal, then you may want to check out Jones Pass Road. It is a 12,454-foot mountain pass that goes through the Great Continental Divide. You can reach the campsite by driving seven miles into the wondrous Arapaho National Forest, but don’t worry, compared to other areas for camping near Denver, this option is much more accessible.
There’s a clear road that most vehicles can traverse during good weather conditions. In addition, there’s ample room for parking when you reach the summit of Jones Pass. Although the route is not difficult, you do need to be cautious about the steep grades and winding turns that may be intimidating for new and inexperienced drivers.
The road is worth it, though, because once you reach your destination, you’ll be surrounded by tall Aspen trees, breathtaking views of St. Mary’s Glacier, and picturesque mountain vistas. The pass is open all year round and offers unique activities that fit every season. During summer and spring, you can go hiking, mountain biking, or rock climbing at the Butler Gulch trailhead. In the winter, you can go snowmobiling or backcountry skiing.
Bill Moore Lake
Distance: 1 hour and 18 minutes away from the city
Location: Clear Creek County, CO
Phone: (303) 567-3000
Similar to the Jones Pass Road, Bill Moore Lake is located within Empire, which is a nearby city to Denver. The short drive to Empire will give you access to the Empire Loop, which is a trail that leads you to your final destination: the serene and breathtaking Bill Moore Lake. Before getting there, however, you have to know that the path is quite steep and rocky. It’s recommended that you take a four-wheel drive vehicle with high clearance. In addition, make sure to put an experienced driver behind the wheel to ensure your safety.
Bill Moore Lake is a prime dispersed-camping destination for outdoor enthusiasts. But if you prefer other camping options, there are also RV sites and tent sites available in the campground for your convenience. When you settle down on your campsite, you can plan your activities to fill up the days of your stay. Besides exploring the magnificent water views, you can also enjoy more extreme activities, like riding ATVs, mountain biking, and tearing up with a 4×4. Some trails range from easy to very difficult, depending on your level of expertise.
That being said, if you have no prior experience in hiking rough terrains, you should stick to the easier routes. Otherwise, you can just soak up the views and admire the natural wonders of Colorado.
Denver Camping Guide: Top Tips for a Safe and Memorable Adventure
No matter where you decide to go for your camping adventure, it’s vital that you prioritize your health and safety. If you’re new to this recreational activity and don’t know where to begin, don’t worry.
This guide will help you prepare for your trip ahead so you can properly immerse yourself in nature most safely and comfortably.
Choose the Best and Most Reliable Camping Gear
When it comes to camping, it’s always better to be over-prepared than under-prepared. So, even if the campsite you decide to go to has all the necessary equipment you need, it’s a good idea to still pack backups.
Some of the camping gear you may want to bring with you include the following:
- Lanterns and headlamps
- Camp stove
- Sleeping bag
- Camp chairs
- First aid kit
In addition, if you plan on participating in any of the activities within the area, it’s also beneficial to pack the right gear. For instance, if you plan on hiking or biking, make sure that you have the proper equipment on hand. If you want to go fishing, don’t forget to bring your rod and other fishing supplies. These will help you make the most of your experience.
Always Wear Durable Materials and Comfortable Shoes
Since all your equipment will take up the majority of the space in your car or RV, it’s best to compensate with your clothes. This means you need to pack light, and what better way to do so than to wear lightweight and quick-drying materials that are also durable? Doing so will reduce the number of clothes you need to bring and ensure that you remain comfortable regardless of the activities that you do.
In terms of shoes, you need to keep in mind that there are a lot of activities that require walking, hiking, and biking. Because of this, it’s a good idea to invest in a durable (and comfortable!) pair of hiking boots. A good brand is the Columbia Newton Ridge boots.
These are durable, breathable, and comfortable enough to get you through almost any terrain and any extreme activity.
Choose a Site for Camping in Denver That Suits Your Style
As you can probably tell based on the list above, there is a wide variety of camping grounds to choose from that offer a wide range of amenities. Be sure to consider this when determining the best campsite for you.
If you’re new to camping and are not familiar with the ropes, you can start with campsites that offer conveniences like the Dakota Ridge RV Resort. However, if you want to take it up a notch and truly be one with nature, you can check out something more intense like Bill Moore Lake.
Book a Campground in Advance
Finally, book in advance. Many of the camping sites in and around Denver require reservations. It’s best to make your inquiries ahead of time so you can guarantee your spot on the campground.
Explore the Great Outdoors by Camping Near Denver
Take a break from the rush of city life and explore the wonders of nature. A camping getaway is just what you need to refresh, refocus, and restart your senses. If you’re a resident of Denver or someone just passing by, take advantage of the amazing campsites within your grasp.
With this guide, you can find the best areas for camping in Denver that suits your style. Select a destination that meets your needs and discover a world of vast landscapes and lush greeneries. Explore deep forests, majestic lakes, and picturesque mountains to make your camping experience memorable.