With the San Juan Mountains or the Colorado Trail as your backdrop, there's hiking, cycling, fishing and climbing to enjoy at many Colorado campgrounds.
1. Angel of Shavano, San Isabel National Forest
This camping site in Colorado is wedged in between two ridges in the upper Arkansas Valley. The Colorado Trail, a 486-mile track that goes across the state, passes right through camp. This makes it perfect for those looking to bike in the area. Hiking is also great on both Mount Shavano and Mount Tabeguache.
For fishing enthusiasts, North Fork reservoir is the place to be. Fees are $17 per night. This camp is open from Late May to Late September.
2. Little Molas Lake Campground, San Juan National Forest
Because of its proximity to Andrews Lake, this is a popular campground choice for those looking for direct hiking access to the Colorado Trail. Also, enjoy rock climbing and beautiful waterfalls just six miles out on the south side of Molas Pass in Cascade Canyon. It's important to note that sudden hail, rain or even snow is common here, even in the summer months, so come prepared with a lot of gear and a solid tent. Fees are $10-$30 per night depending on the time reserved.
3. Vista Verde, Steamboat
For cowfolks interested in dude ranches, or equestrians hoping to brush up on their herding skills, this is the place to be. Vista Verde is tucked away among the pines on the northeast end of Steamboat Springs, near the Wyoming border. This luxury ranch resort provides endless high-altitude trail riding, square dancing in the barn at dusk, and cattle drives all day long. Guides can also take visitors hiking, biking, and even kayaking in the surrounding Routt national forest. A glass and wood lodge offers a great place to kick back and relax. They're open all year round and fees are about $2,450 weekly, including meals and activities.
4. Oh Be Joyful Campground, Crested Butte
This Colorado mountain town offers trails, fishing, and pools for hot summer days, and cooler late summer nights. The kayaking is also great when the water is high. With scenic views throughout and around the camp, this is the perfect spot for anyone in search of a free place to stay! The camp is open from June to September only though, so plan ahead if you want to experience this cost-effective and scenic camp in beautiful Colorado. Reservations are recommended.
5. Dunton Hot Springs, Dolores
This resort sits right at the end of the San Juan mountain range, close to an old town with full modern amenities. The cabins are huddled together over a private stretch of the Dolores River, offering some of the best fly fishing in Colorado. Mountain biking and hiking trails spider all over the property too. A hot-spring bathhouse, saloon, and dancehall are also close at hand. Rates go up to $500 nightly.
6. Saddlehorn Campground, Colorado National Monument
This is the only established campsite within the Monument. With only 80 sites, it fills up fast, so plan accordingly. It is situated at the west end of a 23-mile long scenic drive through red-rock canyons, sandstone towers, and mesa. For hiking enthusiasts, there's a six-mile hike along the trail, which also offers miles of back-country desert hiking for the more adventurous wanderers among us. Fees include a $20 nightly and a $10 park pass. Reservations are accepted from March to October, and are strongly recommended. They are open year-round.
7. Pinyon Flats Campground, Great Sand Dunes National Park
Deemed one of the most beautiful places in the state of Colorado, you can enjoy some of the largest dunes in the country here. For hiking enthusiasts, this is should be a top-10 stop in the United States and Colorado alike. For those who love to sand ski or snowboard, you're going to love the frequent steeps here, just begging you to cut your way down their sides. Fees include a $20 nightly and a $10 park pass fee. This campsite is open year-round.
For much more information on this destination, check out Colorado's Sandbox: Great Sand Dunes National Park.
8. Bassam Guardstation and Cabin, Buena Vista
This one-room log cabin sits on a creek. It's serenity is restorative for those weary travelers happy just to relax. Fishing is good on public parts of the nearby Arkansas River, and the cabin has a propane stove where you can cook whatever you catch - or anything else you may have brought with you. Countless trails are also available to explore. Fees are $50 per night.
9. 4 UR Ranch, Creede
This modern western retreat is great for fishing lovers, with over six miles of private ponds and Good Creek tailwater with an abundance of trout available to catch. With daily trail rides through pastures and hot springs, it is also a great place to unwind. The simple cabins offer a rustic chic experience, with a bar and a Cordon Blue-trained chef on hand for to serve up delicious meals throughout your trip. Three-night camping packages here cost approximately $1,125 per person, full board, on a double-occupancy basis. They are open from June to September only.