Best Camping Near Denver
Best Camping Near Denver // Jeremy Andrews, Associate Director of Sales
Colorado is home to some of the best camping, hiking, and backpacking spots all within a relatively short driving distance of Denver, and I’ve found some of the best spots are mostly along rivers and streams with a few exceptions. Enjoy some of my personal favorites
Ansel Watrous Campground – found on the Poudre River just west of Fort Collins and less than a mile from the Mishawaka Amphitheatre. This spot boasts some waterfront spots along the river where the water levels can be high making for a very rolling and powerful river. Tubing and rafting is still doable during lower PSI levels (pound per square inch). Like any waterfront spot, bring plenty of bug spray in the summer.
Lone Rock Campground – located in Deckers, CO, about an hour-and-a-half from Denver. This campground is in very high demand due to its location to Cheeseman Canyon and the ever present fly fisherman on the South Platte River. If this campground is full, head north on Highway 67 from Deckers town center to find several campgrounds along the river. Lone Rock is the best campground but reserve months ahead of time for the best spots. While in Deckers, check out the shop Flies and Lies to get set up with the best fishing gear and information.
Guenella Pass Campground – about 10 miles south of Georgetown, CO right on Guenella Pass. There are some riverfront camping spots but reserve well in advance for those. This campground is at higher altitude, 10,900 ft, so even in the summer, make sure to bring warm cloths for night time.
Guenella Pass Dispersed Camping – the entire pass has several spots to pull off the road for dispersed camping. Pay attention to fire bans because these are not designated fire pits with fire rings, so hefty fines accompany those who make fires during bans. Local police and firefighters monitor this closely. The best spots are located about about 5 miles north of the Guenella Pass and the highway 285 intersection. Go through the Geneva Park Campground until paved road ends to dirt road. For the next several miles there are amazing non-reserved spots all along CO Rd. 1038. On the way back to Denver on 285, stop by Coney Island to get the best hot dogs around.
Kelly Dahl Campground – Located in Nederland, CO just west of Boulder. A very sleepy town near the Eldora ski area with a few small restaurants and pubs. These are reserved spots only and one of the few spots not on the water that’s still enjoyable.
Cow Creek South – Colorado has some great waterfront campgrounds and this is my favorite. Located on Green Mountain Reservoir, about 25 miles north of Silverthorne. Great spot to bring paddle boards and kayaks and some of the best views around. Head north to the reservoir’s damn to find some great cliff jumping 30 ft and up. The reservoir does allow motor boats so it can be high trafficked in the summer but not enough to deter anyone. Where else can you get such an amazing action shot?