The best part of RV camping is the freedom it gives you to travel wherever the wind takes you. With 40 million Americans hitting the open road and going camping each year, the most popular spots in Colorado can get crowded, especially during the summer months. So, rather than fight the crowds, why not visit these less popular, yet no less scenic, hidden camping gems instead?
RV Camping for Military Members
Many military facilities offer special rates to military members and their families who want to camp out on a variety of bases, posts, and government lands. Many of these sites offer great outdoor activities, such as camping, fishing, hunting, boating, horseback riding, hiking, and swimming. Joint services campgrounds and facilities offer active and retired military members access to these RV parks and camping sites at affordable rates. Most of these sites are not accessible to civilians, so they are some of the best-kept camping secrets around.
- Farish Recreation Area in Woodland Park, Colorado: Located on more than 600 acres of scenic mountains of the Pike National Forest. The site is mainly set up for tent camping, but there are half a dozen sites that are available for smaller RV parking with no hookups. There are also 15 cabins available for rent, so you could park your RV elsewhere and drive up to stay in one of the cabins or pitch a tent for the night. It is well worth the visit with breathtaking views of Pikes Peak and access to skiing, hiking, fishing, and a lodge.
- Peregrine Pines FamCamp in Colorado Springs, Colorado: This beautiful campsite has all the bells and whistles that are ideal for short and long-term stays. Not only are there gorgeous natural surroundings, but the 105 gravel RV slots have full hookups and are spread apart for semi-private stays. There is a beautiful chapel, laundry facilities, fitness center, commissary, exchange, and other shops. Outdoor activities are plentiful and stays are unlimited during the winter months.
Dispersed Camping on Public Lands
Did you know that more than 30 percent of Colorado is publicly owned land? While you may not realize it, RV camping is allowed outside of the designated campgrounds on these public lands. There are no hookups, but most RVs are equipped to handle a few days of disconnected boondocking. Most National Forests charge you to camp in designated sites, but you can drive a short distance away and camp for free. There are 11 National Forests and multiple State Parks in Colorado that offer spectacular views and secluded RV camping with plenty of free wilderness and outdoor activities to enjoy.
- Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forests: Located in central Colorado, the 1.5 million acres of public forests and grasslands are home to scenic rivers, recreational lakes, and ten designated Wilderness areas that encompass many of the best peaks and forested terrain in the state for hiking. Dispersed camping is allowed in most parts of the forest for up to 14 days, with some restrictions, so check before you choose your spot. There are also nearly 50 RV campgrounds with varying facilities and amenities.
- Colorado State Forest State Park: This northern park has more than 60 designated areas for dispersed RV camping that offer beautiful private views of the forest. While you can park in these specified areas, they are primitive and secluded. There are also level RV campsites with dump site, electric hook-ups, and other facilities throughout the park. The park offers horseback riding, cross-country skiing, hunting, watersports, and more.
Colorado Roads Less Traveled
Colorado has so many camping hotspots that most people flock to throughout the year, it can get a little crowded out in those wide open spaces. So, rather than fighting for a spot at the most popular areas of these parks, try the road less traveled. These hidden gems offer the same spectacular views, but often with fewer crowds during the height of camping season.
- Yampa River Canyon near Dinosaur National Monument: The beautiful Yampa Valley is west of Steamboat Springs with gorgeous views of the river. The whitewater rafting, excellent fishing, and mountain biking activities will keep every camper busy. Headquarters Campground near Hayden, Colorado has 35 electric RV sites, and there are 13 access points to the river for 134 miles to the Dinosaur National Monument.
- Wetherill Mesa at Mesa Verde National Park: While people are lining up to see the most popular cave homes of the Ancestral Pueblo people at Cliff Palace, you can see the park’s second-largest dwelling at the less crowded Morefield Campground. With 15 full hookup RV slots and hundreds of tent sites, this hidden gem offers spectacular views of the valley and mountains. There is even an all-you-can-eat pancake breakfast, gas, dumping station, laundry, and free showers at the full-service village.
No matter where you take your RV, make sure to keep your options open and visit the locations that many people would drive right by. Visit The Great Outdoors RV in Evans, Colorado to find the best campers, hybrids, and fifth wheels to get out there and see these secret camping sites.