Blog: 5 Colorado Campgrounds To Visit This Year (2/7/2019)

Story by Woodall's Campground Management


Great Sand Dunes National Park

Great Sand Dunes National Park

Editor's Note: This blog post was written by Joshua Berman for The Denver Post's blog The Know Outdoors.

There are two types of campers in Colorado; those who make reservations and those who don't.

Those in the first group know, and usually get, what they want. They’re organized. They plan ahead, scoping out future sites everywhere they go.

The other group relies on first-come, first-served campgrounds and open, dispersed camping areas on National Forests or Bureau of Land Management land; they avoid camping on holidays and weekends and, generally, they hope for the best.

If you're a planner, then you know now is the time to start clicking away at your favorite campgrounds. Most public lands campgrounds accept reservations up to six months in advance.

The trend is toward opening up more campgrounds for advance reservations. Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW), for example, just expanded the reservation system in 20 of their campgrounds. These 20 parks now allow you to book campsites, cabins and yurts up to the minute.

“We previously had a three-day window where reservations closed three days ahead, said Rebecca Ferrell, a CPW spokeswoman. Now, at those 20 parks, if you are on your way to Ridgway, you can check out whats available and book it from your phone to be sure you have a site when you arrive.”

Myself, I'm more of a non-reserver, since I have the luxury of midweek camping during the summer.

Whichever way you go, here are a few campgrounds to consider as you start making plans:

Piñon Flats Campground

Located in Great Sand Dunes National Park, this 60-year-old classic campground has several loops whose outer sites have immediate trail access to the dunes. If Medano Creek is flowing above ground, plan on some high-mountain “beach” time, splashing in the shallow water at the foot of the dunes (campsites fill up more quickly when this added attraction is present).

There are 88 sites for tents and RVs up to 35 feet and three group sites for tent camping only. The sites at the north end of the loops have the best views. The group loop has three sites with dispersed tent camping. 

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