Are you looking for great camping near Denver, but want something a little more dispersed than the KOA?
Start here. This is our go-to list of great sites that are within 90 minutes of Denver. The list features lakes, glaciers, wildlife (occasionally) and outstanding mountain views.
1. Guanella Pass – Georgetown, CO | 1 Hour from Denver
You may have driven this past on the way to Mt. Bierstadt, but you may not have known that it provides dozens of fantastic car camping spots. The drive is about an hour from Denver (pending I-70 traffic) and it provides a great opportunity to stop in Georgetown for breakfast on the way in or out. Bighorn sheep are abundant, so keep you eyes on the hills!
*Note: Be aware of seasonal closings of Guanella Pass. CDOT closes the road in November and typically opens back up in late-May.
2. Highway 67, Platte River – Deckers, CO | 45 Minutes from Denver
Highway 67, along the Platte River has an abundance of car camping spots for some very casual weekend camping. This area is great for fly fishing, or those just hoping to do a little tubing. Spots fill up FAST as proximity to Denver make these locations extremely easy to get to.
*Note: Highway 67 is the most casual spot on the list, but that can also make it the most crowded.
3. Jones Pass Road – Marshall, CO | 1 Hour from Denver
Primarily known as a great spot for off road driving and cross country skiing, this area also offers some great camping sites. With an 8 mile out and back trail, there is plenty of action if you’d like to hoof it a little bit. During the summer, this is a fantastic spot for wildflowers and a quick hike to the top put you on the Continental Divide.
4. West Magnolia – Nederland, CO | 1.5 Hours from Denver
While this is a little further from the city, it affords you a great excuse to visit Nederland. If you’ve been to Nederland, you understand. If you haven’t been to Nederland, put this at the top of your list for that reason alone. West Magnolia is primarily known as a fantastic spot for mountain biking, but it also offers some great dispersed camping. If you’re planning on doing both, this should be your go-to spot on the list.
5. Bill Moore Lake – Empire, CO | 1 Hour from Denver
Just Google image search Bill Moore Lake, and you’ll get it. This is another spot that is known for great 4×4 action, and we’d recommend having one for this drive. But if you have the vehicle clearance to make the trip, the camping is fantastic. The views are beautiful, and it’s likely you’ll see more Jeeps than you’ve seen in your life.
6. Lost Lake Trail – Eldora, CO | 1.5 Hours from Denver
This spot requires a moderate hike from the well-known Hessie Trailhead. If you arrive after 8am, you can expect parking issues. It’s also important to check seasonal closures of the road leading to the trailhead. During snow cover periods, it can require and extra 1-mile hike to the trailhead. If you’re up for the hike, Lost Lake offers some amazing views and relatively lonely camping on non-peak days.
*Perk: If you want to get some hiking in, there are trails galore.
7. Kingston Peak – Idaho Springs, CO | 1 Hour from Denver
This is another camping spot that is difficult during snow months, but amazing in the summer. It will definitely require a 4×4 with adequate clearance to approach, but the views are superb. It can be quite windy and chilly at the top, but this can be a refreshing reprieve from the city heat during July/August. There are some popular camping spots near the bottom, or for the more intrepid soul, there are some more dispersed sites near the top.
About the Author
Jimmy is the founder and owner of FERAL. When he is not exploring the hinterland of Colorado he can usually be found at one of his favorite Berkeley neighborhood watering holes with Sophie & Ace the shopdogs.
Follow Jimmy on Instagram at @jimmyfunkhouser.