There are plenty of public lands to explore near Craig and Hayden, CO, with ample campgrounds to accommodate travelers. From national forest and BLM land to private RV parks, you’ll find a lot of camping opportunities.
Nestled in the northwest region of Colorado, Craig is a true western town with a lot to offer the outdoorsman. With nearly 9,000 residents, Craig is both the most populous city and county seat of Moffat County. It acts as a gateway to Northwest Colorado and its seldom visited attractions.
The Yampa River flows from Steamboat Springs west past Hayden and Craig, providing countless recreational opportunities and campgrounds along its course. There’s also plenty of outdoor recreation found within the Routt National Forest and various BLM lands around town.
List of campgrounds by Hayden and Craig, CO, in order of proximity:
Camping near Hayden
Head west of Steamboat Springs on Highway 40 and you’ll come to Hayden in approximately thirty minutes. For those looking to explore the tourist attractions of Steamboat, but still get a taste of small town western Colorado, Hayden makes a great base. With a population of near 2,000 people, it has just enough facilities to supply what you need. It’s home to the Yampa Valley Regional Airport (HDN), which serves Steamboat and Craig. There’s one RV park in town open year round, as well as a state park campground only a few miles west.
Routt County Fairgrounds RV Park
Located in downtown Hayden, this small RV park has all the amenities with an emphasis on equestrian and rodeo activities. A good base camp for hunting in the area in the fall and a good location for summertime recreation.
- Closest town: Hayden (0mi) Craig (17mi)
- Specs: 23 sites, 9 full-hookups, 14 electric only, water, flush toilets, open year-round
- Amenities: Corrals, showers, loading chute
- Reservations: Yes, at reserveamerica.com
- Address: 398 South Poplar Street, Hayden, CO 81639 (Map)
- Directions: From Craig go South on Russell Street .2 miles. Turn left on East 4th Street go .2 miles. Take a slight left onto U.S. East .1 miles. Turn right on U.S. 40 East / East Victory Way go 16.5 miles. Turn right on South Poplar Street .3 miles.
Yampa River State Park – Headquarters Campground
The headquarters of the Yampa River State Park is located only a few minutes from downtown Hayden. The campground there is well suited for RVs with nearly three dozen electric sites, as well as tent only sites. This state park is centered around the Yampa River, which provides recreational fishing and rafting. There’s also a playground on-site and the state park’s visitor center.
- Closest town: Hayden (2mi), Craig (14mi)
- Specs: 49 sites; 35 of which have electric hookups, 14 are tent and tipi sites
- Amenities: Camper Services Building with showers, flush facilities, and laundry
- Reservations: Yes, required at cpwshop.com or call 800-244-5613
- Address: 6185 US-40, Hayden, CO 81639 (Map)
- Directions: From Hayden take Highway 40 west for about 3 miles until you reach the headquarters for Yampa River State Park.
Camping near Craig
At nearly four hours northwest of Denver, Craig, CO, is one place where you can really get away from the crowds. It’s known as the “elk hunting capital of the world”, attracting sportsmen from all over the globe. Whether you’re into fishing, hunting, off-roading, or just want a base camp to explore the rest of Northwest Colorado, such as Dinosaur National Monument or Browns Park Wildlife Refuge, Craig makes a solid starting point. There are numerous places to camp near Craig, including at Elkhead Reservoir State Park.
This KOA is rated as one of the best in the entire organization. With full amenities, games, and recreational facilities it has something for everyone in the family. Boating, tubing and canoeing are available nearby and its close proximity to Craig offers easy access to restaurants, stores, and sightseeing.
- Closest town: Craig (1mi)
- Specs: 95 sites, full service, showers, water, open year-round
- Amenities: Store, playground, propane refueling
- Reservations: Yes, at Koa.com
- Address: 2800 East, US Highway 40, Craig, CO 81625 (Map)
- Directions: From Craig take US Highway 40 East 1.5 miles. The campground will be on the right.
Elkhead Reservoir State Park – Pronghorn Campground
This popular year-round campground has the boat ramp for the 900 acre Elkhead Reservoir in the camping loop. It is operated by Colorado Parks and Wildlife. Appropriate state camping and boating permits are required. A popular spot for anglers, water skiers, and powerboating. Nearby trails beckon hikers, horseback riders and off-road vehicle enthusiasts. This is a prime site for hunters during the autumn. The Lake is open for boating from May 9 to September 30. There is no water at the campground so plan accordingly.
- Closest town: Craig (10mi)
- Specs: 30 sites, vault toilet, no water, open year-round
- Amenities: Electric hookups, boat ramps on Elkhead Reservoir
- Reservations: Yes, at cpwshop.com
- Address: 135 County Road 28, Craig, CO 81625 (Map)
- Directions: From Craig Follow U.S. 40 East to County Road 29 6 miles. Continue on County Road 29 4 miles to County Road 28 into the campground.
Elkhead Reservoir State Park – Bears Ears Campground
This popular year-round campground is located on the shore of 900 acre Elkhead Reservoir and operated by Colorado Parks and Wildlife. Appropriate state camping and boating permits are required. A popular spot for anglers, water skiers, and powerboating. Nearby trails beckon hikers, horseback riders and off-road vehicle enthusiasts. This is a prime site for hunters during the autumn. The Lake is open for boating from May 9 to September 30. There is no water at the campground so plan accordingly.
- Closest town: Craig (11mi)
- Specs: 16 sites, vault toilet, no water, open year-round
- Amenities: Close to Elkhead Reservoir
- Reservations: Yes, at cpwshop.com
- Address: 3200-3206 County Road 28, Craig, CO 81626 (Map)
- Directions: From Craig Follow U.S. 40 East to County Road 29 6 miles. Continue on County Raod 29 5 miles to County Road 28 into the campground.
Freeman Reservoir Campground
This lightly used campground is located near Freeman Reservoir. Boating is popular on the reservoir but no motors are allowed. Hiking, horseback riding, and hunting are all popular activities. There are no motorized vehicle trails near the campground.
- Closest town: Craig (23mi)
- Specs: 18 sites, water, vault toilet, open mid-June to snow closure
- Amenities: Corrales, some pull-through sites
- Reservations: No, first-come, first-serve
- Address: County Road 11, Craig, CO 81625 (Map)
- Directions: From Craig take Colorado Highway 13 13.1 miles north. Turn right on County Road 11, go 9.6 miles. The campground will be on the left.
Sawmill Creek Campground
Camping at its bare minimum awaits the dedicated outdoor enthusiast. This rarely accessed area has no amenities, no fees, and is located near the California Park / Black Mountain Area. If isolation in the pristine wilderness is your goal, this camping area might be perfect for you.
- Closest town: Craig (40mi)
- Specs: Dispersed camping, pack-it-in, pack-it-out
- Amenities: None
- Reservations: No, free camping
- Address: Forest Service Road 109, Craig, CO 81625 (Map)
- Directions: From Craig take Colorado Highway 13 North 25.1 miles. Turn right on County Road 38. Continue straight on Forest Service Road 109. 5 miles. Turn right to stay on Forest Service Road 109, go 2.6 miles to the camping area.
Consider Steamboat Springs, Meeker or Dinosaur
With around 14,000 residents, Steamboat Springs is one of the largest and most popular mountain towns in Colorado. Nestled in the beautiful Yampa Valley, Steamboat’s epic ski slopes are just a sliver of the attractions found here. From Buffalo Pass to two state parks in Clark, there are numerous campgrounds near Steamboat Springs. At 3 hours from Denver, you’ll appreciate the quick access, but yet far enough drive to keep the crowds lower.
South of Craig and north of Rifle lies the gateway to the flat top mountains, Meeker. It’s a simple ranching community that has all the amenities you’ll need for a camp out. The Flat Tops Trail is a national scenic byway that connects Meeker to the east with Yampa. This is one of the best places in the state to get away from it all and appreciate Mother Nature. Make sure you stop by Trappers Lake. Campgrounds near Meeker are easy to come by.
Less than an hour and half west of Craig on Highway 40 delivers you to the blink-and-you’ll-miss-it town of Dinosaur. It’s Colorado’s gateway to the Dinosaur National Monument, which stretches into Utah. Most of the dino fossils are found on the Utah side, so Vernal, UT at almost two hours from Craig makes the best base for surrounding activities and amenities. Check out all the great camping near Dinosaur National Monument, between both Utah and Colo.
That’s a roundup of the top campgrounds near Hayden and Craig, Colo. Have fun exploring this western region of Northwest Colorado. Practice leave no trace.