There are plenty of good reasons why van campers from throughout the nation travel to Colorado to spend significant time. There is remarkable scenery and stunning views around almost every bend in the road. Wildlife abounds and the state is a mecca for those who hike, bike, kayak, and canoe during the warmer months. Colorado was one of the first to embrace van campers, and we’re glad they were. The state is also loaded with terrific campground choices for van lifers. Check out 10 of our favorites below.
Address: Located on Highway 82 just about five miles Southeast of Aspen, Colorado.
In spite of its name, Difficult Campground is anything but difficult. Its 47 sites are easy in and out, and these sites provide access to an abundance of outdoor activities. There are places to fish along the Roaring Fork River or cast a line into one of the neighboring ponds. There are hiking trails nearby that offer some exceptional scenery and views at its 8,100-foot elevation. Since vehicles over 35” are prohibited over Independence Pass, this is a perfect place for van campers. Campers also appreciate that many of the sites are shaded. You’ll like its location near Aspen and love the star-filled nights. Difficult Campground is open May through October and has a five-day stay limit.
- Roaring Fork River Access
- Just five miles from Aspen
- Vault Toilets
- Drinking Water
Address: Located 17 miles from Telluride, Colorado in Placerville on CO 145.
This is a very highly rated campground managed by the Department of the Interior’s US Forest Service. It is extremely scenic, located in an area that changes from forests to high desert. There is a boat launch and boat trailer parking. There is also a hand-carried boat launch area. Some sites have grills and picnic tables. This is a perfect location for nature lovers and stargazing. Visitors enjoy the ride getting to and from this popular campground.
- Boat Launch
- Picnic Tables
- Wildlife Viewing
- Excellent Stargazing
Address: Located on Dakota Terraces Campground Road in Ridgeway, Colorado in Ridgeway State Park.
This campground offers some of the best mountain views in Colorado, and that is saying something! Along with exceptional views, this campground is within a short walk of the reservoir and the swimming beach. All sites have access to electricity and there is shared water. Along with restrooms, busy season amenities include a laundry mat, coin-operated showers and vending machines with snacks. This area includes a playground and easy access to both hiking and biking trails.
- Exceptional Mountain Views from Selected Sites
- Camper Services Facility
- Coin-operated showers
- Close to Hiking and Biking Trails
Address: 313 Reverends Ridge Road, Black Hawk, Colorado 80422
Visitors give this park superior ratings for its excellent maintenance and amazing views. The roads are paved and the park is well-taken care of, including restrooms and showers. Even the staff gets high marks for being friendly. There are 97 sites here, and it is part of the Golden Gate Canyon State Park. More than half the sites have electricity. For those looking to get away to a secluded location in Colorado, this should be near the top of the list.
- Scenic Views
- Paved Roads
- Clean and Well-Maintained Facilities
- Visitors Center
- Pool with Water Features
- Leashed Dogs Allowed in Campgrounds and Trails
- One Hour Drive from Denver
Address: 21045 Co-67 Divide, Colorado 80814
Mueller State Park is over 5,000 acres of meadows that are spring-fed, and home to abundant wildlife like black bear, elk, mule deer, and hawks. The park features forested ridges and large rocks from Pike’s Peak. Not only can you enjoy camping, but there is access to trails and plenty of fishing. Nature lovers, in particular, love this place! It is particularly attractive in winter with sledding, snowshoeing, and cross-country skiing. Leashed pets are welcome on paved roads, campgrounds, and picnic areas, but are prohibited on trails to encourage wildlife viewing. If your goal is experiencing the wildlife of Colorado while van camping, this is the spot!
- Pikes Peak Views
- Visitor Center with Indoor and Outdoor Exhibits
- Scenic Overlook
- Family Friendly Trails
- Free planned park events
- Year Round Camping
Address: Adjacent to Highway 14 and the Cadre La Poudre River in Livermore, Colorado 80536.
This is a first-come, first-served campground with well-maintained facilities and friendly staff. The big selling point here is the ambience that the river provides as it flows through the campground. This also provides for stream fishing. There are vault toilets, and water is generally available through the month of September. If a quiet, peaceful setting is a priority when you van camp, this location in the Roosevelt National Forest is a superb option.
- Stream Fishing
- Vault Toilets
- Off-Road Trail
- Northern Colorado Location
- Quiet Setting
- Terrific Ambience
- Friendly Staff
Address: 11500 North Roxborough Park Road, Littleton, Colorado 80125
The main attraction of Chatfield State Park is its massive reservoir that is fed by the South Platte River and two smaller creeks. The 1,420-acre surface area of the Chatfield Reservoir provides for a variety of activities like boating, fishing, and swimming in the beach area. Other activities include hiking, horseback riding, and biking. There are a total of 197 campsites here, which is within proximity of Denver. Electricity only campsites are available year around. Limited services are available through the winter.
- Denver Area Location
- Open Year Around
- Plenty of Recreational Opportunities
- Drinking Water
- Hot Showers
- Laundry Facility
Address: Located on CO 119 in Nederland, Colorado
Near historic mining towns and the Peak-to-Peak Scenic Byway, there’s plenty to see and do at Kelly Dahl Campground. If you get one of the 20 first come, first served spots, sites come with a picnic table, fire ring, and grill. The grounds provide trash pickup, shared water, and vault toilets throughout the park. While there are no formally marked trails, the campground does have closed roads nearby for exploring the area. There is also horseback riding available nearby.
- Scenic Location
- Well-Equipped Sites Available.
- Firewood Available.
- Small town shopping, post office and bank in nearby Nederland.
Address: Located within the Colorado National Monument at 11 Rimrock Drive in Fruita, Colorado 81521
For many, this is the ultimate picture of the American West. Tall monoliths tower over the plateau, and canyon views are stunning. Twisting Rim Rock Drive offers views of sheer red rock walls and wildlife like eagles and big-horned sheep. This is why so many people enjoy the van life! Camping is close to the Visitors Center and has three loops with a total of 79 sites. Flushed toilets, showers, and water are available. If you want to be both awed and inspired, this is a must-see campground and park.
- Unmatched Scenic Views
- Spectacular Wildlife
Address: 4201 South Parker Road, Aurora, Colorado 80014
Just to demonstrate that Colorado is about more than mountains, we present the campgrounds at Cherry Creek State Park. This is an area that is mostly prairie land and wetlands that surround an 880-acre reservoir. The water is shared by those who enjoy sailboating, power boating, fishing, and paddle boating. There is even a beach for swimming. All of this is within 30 minutes of downtown Denver. Camping here will place wildlife lovers within proximity of about 40 species of mammals, including mule deer, white-tailed deer, beaver, prairie dogs, and coyotes. This is a dog-friendly campground.
- Camp within 30 minutes of Denver
- Dog-friendly camping
- Lots of Water Activities
- Modern camping facilities
Looking for additional campgrounds in the western states? Check out our guides the best campgrounds in Arizona, New Mexico, and California by clicking here.