Standing at 5,280 feet above sea level, Denver makes the perfect basecamp for your Colorado holiday. It allows you to see dozens of front range tourist attractions all while acclimatizing comfortably at a lower, but still high elevation.
Thanks to Colorado’s rising popularity, hotel accommodations come at a premium. One of the best travel hacks for seeing the Denver Metropolitan Area cheaply is by visiting between May and October and setting up camp. There are plenty of state parks that permit camping around Denver, as well as private campgrounds, with most suitable for both RVs and tents. They all charge a fee, which varies depending on what you get and sometimes time of year.
If you’re flying into Denver International Airport, rest assured camping is still no problem. You can bring a tent (or rent one with supplies) and rent a car. Or pick up an RV rental in Denver, glamp it up, and cover both your transportation and your home in one vehicle. Situated downtown, REI CoOp is once of the best places to rent camping equipment in Denver. It can be reserved a head of time too.
Whether you’re looking for car camping spots or space for a travel trailer, the Mile High City has you covered. There are campgrounds and parks spread around the metro area, most open year round. Reservations are strongly encouraged at all these campgrounds during the peak summer season.
Campsites at local RV Parks can be reserved directly thru them. State park reservations can be made up to 6 months in advance by calling 1-800-244-5613 or online at cpwshop.com.
List of campgrounds near Denver, CO, ordered from south to north:
1. Chatfield State Park – Littleton
This Littleton state park is widely popular for water sports from Memorial Day through Labor Day. Centered around Chatfield Reservoir, visitors are permitted to power boat and jet ski. There’s also a big off leash dog park if you’re bringing your furry four-legged friend(s).
There are close to 200 camping spots within the park that you can use. One of the top benefits of camping at Chatfield is that you can rent your camping gear and a boat right at the park! Electric hook-ups are available at every single campsite, and a lot of them have full-hookups too. There are 10 group campgrounds too.
2. Cherry Creek State Park – Aurora
Cherry Creek Reservoir is a prime place to camp year-round. It’s especially popular in the warmer months when boaters and fishermen are playing on the lake. Multi-use trails exist for bikers and hikers to trek around the lake and explore the tranquil wetlands environment.
RV campers can make use of 135 campsites at the park. There are both full hook-up and tent sites available year-round, as well as 3 group campgrounds. Showers and laundry are among the handful of amenities available for overnight guests. Located in Aurora, Colorado’s third largest city, Cherry Creek State Park provides fast access to the capital city’s tourist attractions.
3. Dakota Ridge RV Park – Golden
There’s nothing as beautiful as waking up in the middle of natural wonders. This is what you get when you camp at Dakota Ridge RV Park. Located in the foothills of Golden, you are given a mixture of city and mountain life here. Some of the perks include good cell reception, hot tub and showers, along with proximity to casinos in Black Hawk and Central City.
This RV park offers both pull-thru and back-in RV sites. Another advantage is they offer discounted weekly all-inclusive rates, on top of the usual daily rates. If booking during the holidays, a 3 day minimum stay is required. The all-inclusive rates include electricity, 1 RV and 1 vehicle, and up to 2 people 2 pets.
4. Clear Creek RV Park – Golden
Although much smaller than the state parks listed, this is a gem if you can reserve a spot. It’s ideally situated on the side of Clear Creek in downtown Golden. Summertime you’ll be able to watch the river tubers and kayakers play all day long. Golden’s epic attractions like Coors Brewery and its historic district are walking distance.
Clear Creek RV Park is only 20 minutes from Downtown Denver. It’s open year-round and features 22 campsites with full hook-ups, 11 50-amp electric only, along with 3 primitive tent sites. Guests have access to modern restrooms, showers, laundry and a dump station. You’ll also really enjoy the Clear Creek Trail, which winds west into the forest, or east into downtown Golden.
5. Prospect RV Park – Wheat Ridge
Among the closest campgrounds to downtown Denver, the Prospect RV Park is a nifty place to camp for those on wheels. While they do NOT permit tents, they allow motor homes, trailers and 5th wheels. There are 70 sites to choose from, all available on a daily or weekly basis, with a limited number of monthly sites. 47 of them are full hook-ups, 23 of which provide pull-thru access. The remaining 23 sites have water and 30-amp electric only. You are guaranteed luxurious amenities like private bathrooms, wifi and coin-operated laundry.
In addition, there are amazing trails that lead you to the wilderness and the surrounding towns. A pet walk guides you to 250 acres of premium open space, within Prospect Park and the Wheat Ridge Greenbelt. The bus to Denver is available on-site, and only 3 blocks from the bus to the nearby casino district. Wheat Ridge has its own main street area with a lot of great shops and restaurants.
6. Golden Gate Canyon State Park – Golden
Tucked into the Rockies just west of Golden lies one of Colorado’s prettiest state parks. Golden Gate Canyon provides miles of mountainous hiking trails, exceptional biking, fishing and sightseeing. There are more than a hundred reservable campsites, and even a few cabins and yurts to choose from if glamping is more your thing. Both campgrounds are available by reservation only.
Perched high above the canyon, Reverend’s Ridge has 97 campsites, along with the nicer campground amenities like flush toilets, shower, laundry and a dump station. This campground can accommodate travel trailers, pickup campers and tents. The other campground, Aspen Meadows has 35 basic tent-only car camping sites. More primitive amenities include vault toilets, a water pump, fire rings, tent pads and tables. Two of the sites in Aspen Meadows permit horses.
7. Saint Vrain State Park – Firestone
Another state park with year round camping, St. Vrain is a solid choice for those looking to explore northern Colorado. Situated in Firestone about 30 miles north of the capital, this is the perfect in-between campground, for access to Denver and Fort Collins. This wetland paradise features a number of scenic ponds, and its flagship lake, Blue Heron Reservoir. Boating is welcomed in the form of hand or foot propelled vessels, and those with electric trolling motors, all of which must be hand launched.
There are 87 campsites here spread over 8 campgrounds, each with gorgeous views of Longs Peak. Campsites are permitted to have 6 people and up to 2 tents. A camper services building has coin-operated showers. Summer gets busy, so reservations are suggested.
8. Loveland RV Resort – Loveland
Whether you’re looking for hot tub and shower provisions or quality cell reception, you’re assured to get them at Loveland RV Resort. Situated 45 minutes north of downtown Denver, the resort grants you fast access to Fort Collins and northern mountain towns, such as Estes Park. It’s a smart choice for those wanting to day trip to Rocky Mountain National Park. Loveland is also a cool town to explore, with a lovely historic district and an outlet mall.
Features include 170 standard and premium sites, a seasonal outdoor pool, miniature golf course, volleyball net, playground, horseshoes, game room, and the largest tree canopy of any campgrounds in the state, spread over 13.5 wooded acres. Each campsite allows 1 vehicle and up to 2 people and 2 dogs. Full-hooks, oversized full-hookups, premium sites with pull-thru and back-in access are offered with daily and weekly rates.
9. Boyd Lake State Park – Loveland
Another northern camping favorite, this state park is centered around the stunning Boyd Lake. Campsites have magnificent views of the Rockies to the west, along with the local reservoir, which is open to motor boats, jet skis and water skis. The multi-use biking/hiking trail around the lake connects with the City of Loveland’s trail system.
A total of 148 campsites exist, each a paved pull thru spot that can accommodate vehicles up to 40 feet, so tents, pick-up campers, trailers and motor homes are good to go. They each provide 20/30/50 amp electric hookup, a picnic table and charcoal grill. Three of the loops remain open year round. Visitor amenities include showers, a playground and horseshoe pits.
The Denver Metro is a great place for campers. The Rockies due west provide a magical backdrop, and downtown’s cosmopolitan ambiance has all the thrills of a vibrant capital city. The campgrounds are well kept and boast the necessary amenities for a comfortable campout. If you’re planning to spend some fun time visiting the Mile High City with this summer, you should consider one of the aforementioned campgrounds.
After a few days adjusting to Colorado’s elevation in Denver, you’re all set for heading up into the heart of the Rockies. It has peaks spanning over 14,000 feet, with two paved opportunities to drive that high!