Get outside to go camping with the family this summer and try some of these fantastic spots
From scenery to history, Colorado’s wilderness has it all, and there’s not much that’s more “Colorado” then grabbing the family and heading out for a night camping under the stars.
You can find established campgrounds, dispersed backcountry campsites, and everything in between. Thankfully “remote” doesn’t always mean that taking the entire family is impossible – quite the opposite, actually!
1. Cub Lake, Rocky Mountain National Park
There are loads of backcountry camping opportunities within Rocky Mountain National Park, but Cub Lake is a good option for family camping – it’s a short walk in and the terrain is moderate. Find the Cub Lake Trailhead off of Moraine Park Road, and the Cub Creek Backcountry Campsite is 2.25 miles from the trailhead.
Of course, this isn’t your only option for camping with the kids. Check out RMNP’s camping guide
to see all of the possibilities.
2. Moraine Park, Rocky Mountain National Park
There’s plenty of family friendly camping in Rocky Mountain National Park, and Moraine Park may be one of the best-established campsites. It has pleasant meadows and feels far away from civilization, despite being close to the road and only a few miles away from the Estes Park entrance. You can car camp, or walk in to other sites, and kids will enjoy playing around on the rocks surrounding the campsites.
The biggest downside is that this place gets jam-packed in the summer, so make reservations
3. Molly Brown Campground, Leadville
he beautiful Turquoise Lake (5 miles from Leadville) is the main draw here, and Molly Brown is one of the few campsites along the lake. Boating and fishing are popular here, but be prepared for some chilly water! There’s also an awesome self-guided nature trail directly next to the campsite, and other hiking trails are plentiful.
If the kids get bored with camping, nearby Leadville is full of interesting history and activities, including the Route of the Silver Kings drive, which visits the creepy, old mines that once made Leadville extraordinarily wealthy.
4. Chinn’s Lake, Idaho Springs
If you’re keen for a little off-road adventure, head out to Chinn’s Lake
, near Idaho Springs. A high-clearance vehicle is probably the best way to tackle the route up, and it’s wise to head here once the snows have melted.
There are plenty of good places for your family to camp along the lake, so just choose your spot, but keep in mind that this is a popular location. However, this is dispersed camping at its finest, and drive-in access means you won’t have to cart the kids, and their stuff, into the wilderness.
5. Chambers Lake, Bellevue
Chambers Lake is along Highway 14 in Bellevue, and is open from late June to late September. There are established campgrounds, but the area also has some primitive campsites along the lake. The lake has great fishing and a boat ramp as well. Moose and elk sightings are also common, something the kids (and adults!) will love.
This is a popular getaway, especially on holiday weekends, so make reservations via www.recreation.gov
if you can.
6. Mountain Park, Fort Collins
This one is about 40 miles away from Fort Collins, up Poudre Canyon, and makes for a nice getaway close to civilization. Mountain Park campground
is right off of Highway 14, but the gurgling Poudre River blocks any traffic noise and makes for a pleasant stay. The elevation is lower here, making the nighttime temperatures much more bearable for family campers.
Go in late May through late September to avoid snow, and get more information at www.recreation.gov
7. Morefield Campground, Mesa Verde National Park
Mesa Verde’s campground options are nearly limitless, with 435 sites to choose from. There are a few sites with RV hookups, and most have picnic tables and fire pits on site. Flush toilets and showers are also available. But, let’s get back to the nature: the campground is in a meadow, with plenty of wildlife and hiking trails close by. Explore the cliff dwellings that Mesa Verde is known for and consider checking out some of the family friendly offerings that the park puts on.
The trails here are well maintained, and everything is easy to find. It’s the perfect family vacation in Southwestern Colorado.
8. Mueller State Park, Divide
For families wanting to stay close to the Front Range cities, Mueller State Park is a good bet. The park has plenty of amenities to make life with kids easier, including a playground. Plus, there are great views of the infamous Pikes Peak. It may not be the most remote place, but it’s pretty dang convenient.
9. Jack’s Gulch Campground, Roosevelt National Forest
Kids always seem to be roaming around Jack’s Gulch Campground
, and it’s easy to see why. Set among pine forest and aspen, the wildflowers are vibrant in season, and there’s a variety of different campsite options. There’s a hiking trail that meanders around the campground, and part of the trail is a self-guided nature hike. Other popular activities include fishing in the stream and mountain biking.
And, camping with the family in Colorado wouldn’t be complete without stunning mountain views, which you have from Jack’s Gulch. The campground is off of Pingree Park Road (CR63E) and the Old Flowers Road. Fort Collins is the closest major town, and all sites are first-come, first-served.
10. Green Mountain Reservoir, White River National Forest
There are several campgrounds
to choose from near the Green Mountain Reservoir, and dispersed camping is also an option. Each area has access to the wonderful trails within the national forest, and camping families will have a blast exploring this pristine setting. You can boat, hike, fish, or just play around the shoreline.
Camping here is basic, rustic, and completely worth it. If you forget anything, though, there are stores nearby with supplies. Highway 9 skirts the lake and is accessible by any vehicle.