Colorado is a vast and beautiful landscape that blends knee-buckling beauty with rugged outdoor adventure. With so many great places to choose from, it's not always easy to decide where to pitch your tent. Here are some off-the-beaten-trail suggestions to help you plan an unforgettable camping trip in The Centennial State.
Pearl Lake State Park: This serene landscape is filled with plenty of low-impact outdoor adventure. Camp under the trees at the water's edge and enjoy a tranquil early-morning canoe ride. Fly fish for cutthroat trout and soak up the lovely scenery with a hike up the gentle slopes.
Nearby Towns: Hayden, Steamboat Springs, Walden, Craig, Kremmling.
Snowmass Lake: This gorgeous lake sits just below Snowmass Mountain - not to be confused with the ski area with the same name. The area is a popular pre-climb camping site for the brave adventurers that choose to scale the towering peak. It's also a scenic wonderland with trickling streams, glassy beaver ponds and winding trails that make their way through thick aspen groves.
Nearby Towns: Basalt, Granite, Snowmass, Aspen.
Arkansas Headwaters State Park: This stunning area includes a 150-mile-long recreation spot that begins in the mountainous land above Leadville and edges the Arkansas River into the sweeping Colorado plains. Arkansas Headwaters State Park includes countless scenic camping spots, along with great river fishing. It's also one of the nation's premier whitewater rafting and kayaking destinations with class-V rapids for experts and class-II rapids for beginners.
Nearby Towns: Leadville, Cañon City, Buena Vista, Salida, Pueblo.
Maroon Lake: Surrounded by the Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness, this breathtaking area offers an idyllic landscape with majestic white-striped peaks, sparkling waters for fishing and several hiking trails with humbling vistas. With a diverse landscape, Maroon Lake is ideal for hardcore adventurers and casual outdoor enthusiasts.
Nearby Towns: Snowmass, Aspen.
Eagles Nest Wilderness: With a total of 133,496 acres, this expansive landscape is an outdoor enthusiast's dream come true. At the heart of it all are the rugged mountains of the Gore Range, which include so many soaring peaks, some don't even have names. Excellent for hiking and backpacking, the region includes deep valleys, sharp-edged ridges, dense forests and sparkling alpine lakes. There are plenty of places to camp off the beaten path; however, all campsites must be at least 100 feet from lakes, trails and streams.
Nearby Towns: Dillon, Vail, Frisco, Heeney, Wolcott, Avon, Bond, Kremmling.
Pawnee Buttes: Where striking green shortgrass sways in the wind, you will find this jaw-dropping outdoor haven. Marvel at 300-foot-high mesas jutting upward from the ground, as you hike the spacious land. There aren't any fees to camp on the grassland, unless you do so at Crow Valley. There's also no camping allowed within 200 feet of trails, streams and windmills.
Nearby Towns: Grover, Sterling.
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