8 gorgeous Colorado camping spots to visit

Is there anything more refreshing than camping?

Sitting around a campfire gazing up at the stars. Waking up when the sun starts streaming through your tent and the birds start singing. Eating simple meals cooked on the grill or over a campfire.

In fact, research has even found that camping can help reset your biological clock, so if you’re having trouble falling asleep at night or waking up in the morning, even a quick weekend retreat can help.

If your family loves to get outside and explore, you’ll definitely want to explore these eight Colorado campsites this summer.

And while we hate to start thinking about the end of summer already, the fun has to end sometime. When the leaves start to change, give the team at Closetbox a call so you can stash your tent, tarp, camping chairs, stand-up paddleboard, sleeping bags and all the other bulky gear that’s taking up room in your house or your garage.

They’ll transport your camping equipment to a secure storage unit, which is monitored 24/7. Since you only pay for the space your belongings actually take up, you don’t have to worry about paying for dead space and air. When spring rolls around next year, simply get back in touch with the Closetbox crew and they’ll return your gear to your door so you can spend more time hiking and less time unloading a moving truck.

1. Wellington Lake Campground

With more than 70 camping sites along sparkling Wellington Lake, this campground is the perfect weekend getaway. Your kids can swim while you fish on this alpine lake located 8,025 feet above sea level. Break out your tent because there are no RV hookups and no electricity at the campground, which means you’ll be able to hear the migratory songbirds that visit Wellington Lake each summer when you wake up.

2. Pinon Flats Campground

Everyone should camp in Colorado’s sand dunes at least once — the undulating waves of sand make for some gorgeous views at sunrise and sunset. Located in Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve, nearly all of the sites at the Pinon Flats campground offer views of the dunes or the Sangre de Cristo mountains. Your family will love splashing in Medano Creek or sledding down the sandy dunes on special equipment you can rent from several nearby retailers. Though you likely won’t encounter any rattlesnakes in the dunes, you may come across several species of lizards, salamanders, frogs and toads.

Kit Carson Mountain (14,170 feet/4,319m) rises dramatically above Star Dune. This complex mountain, with its numerous sub-peaks and precipitous climbing routes, was named for the famous 19th century mountain man, frontier guide, and U.S. Army commander. Like his namesake mountain, Kit Carson was complex and multi-faceted, defying simplistic labels. From humble beginnings in Missouri, he came west on a wagon train at age 16, and ultimately commanded nearby Fort Garland just after the Civil War. Though he could not read or write, he learned six languages. Through marriages to an Arapaho woman (who passed away and left him as a single father), and later a Hispanic woman from Taos, he developed personal connections within these cultural communities. His children were half American Indian or half Hispanic, which resulted in prejudice against his family in some circles. Kit Carson was known as a fierce fighter against tribes that attacked settlers; sometimes that resulted in excessive force, especially earlier in his career. Yet Carson was also a brilliant and compassionate statesman who on many occasions advocated for fair treatment of tribes. At Fort Garland, he pushed back on the pressure from Washington to be more aggressive toward the Ute people. He and his family became close friends with Ute Chief Ouray and his wife Chipeta, believing that treating them with respect and kindness would bring a more lasting peace here than military power alone.  As a result, Utes often set up their tipis right next to Fort Garland buildings. Kit Carson's approach here was successful, ushering in a decade of peace in an otherwise volatile history. As you gaze up at this spectacular mountain above Great Sand Dunes, take a moment to reflect on the diverse human history that is also an integral part of this amazing landscape! Learn more about Kit Carson, and tour their family home, at nearby Fort Garland Museum and Cultural Center: http://www.fortgarlandmuseum.org/ Photo: NPS/Patrick Myers #GreatSandDunes #StarDune #KitCarson #KitCarsonMountain #History #FortGarland #FortGarlandMuseum #ChiefOuray #Chipeta #IndianWars #Ute #Utes #ColoradoHistory #FindYourPark #EncuentraTuParque

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3. Saddlehorn Campground

As the only campground located inside Colorado National Monument, this spot will help you be the first family on the popular Monument Canyon Trail in the morning. If you’re into photography, you’re also in a prime position to take stunning photographs of the monument’s red-walled canyons and diverse rock formations.

4. Glacier Basin Campground

No list of Colorado campgrounds would be complete without one from Rocky Mountain National Park. There are several to choose from inside the park, but Glacier Basin campground has plenty of room for everyone with 147 sites. It features gorgeous views of the mountains, as well as colorful seasonal wildflowers in its meadows. You’ll likely catch a glimpse of a few elk passing through, too.

Waking up to this view was amazing.

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5. Lost Lake Campground

If you’re looking for a relaxing campsite with amazing views, look no further than Lost Lake campground between Paonia and Crested Butte. There are actually three lakes near this campground, which are perfect for fishing and exploring: Lost Lake, Dollar Lake and Lost Lake Slough. The wildflowers here are stunning in July and August as well.

6. Dowdy Lake Campground

Located 50 miles northwest of Fort Collins, the Dowdy Lake campground is part of the Red Feather Lakes area in Northern Colorado. This campground, which sits next to a crystal blue lake at 8,200 feet in elevation, is a great place to canoe and fish. There are also nearby hiking, biking and horseback riding trails, as well as off-road vehicle trails if that’s more your style. Check out the village of Red Feather Lakes during your stay, which has fun gift shops and stores to peruse.

7. Junction Creek Campground

Durango has some of the best mountain biking trails around. Plus, it’s a super dog-friendly city with friendly people and an authentic vibe. If you’re planning a visit, consider camping at the Junction Creek campground, which features 44 sites just 5 miles outside of Durango. From here you’ll be able to easily hop aboard the Durango & SIlverton Narrow Gauge Railroad, which is a blast.

8. Idlewild Campground
Just a short walk or bike ride into Winter Park, Idlewild can serve as the perfect “home base” for taking advantage of all this area has to offer. There are 24 sites at this wooded campground, which is perfect for families because of its proximity to the paved Fraser River Trail. The 5-mile scenic trail is flat (be sure to bring the rollerblades!) and runs between Fraser and Winter Park.

Looking for something rustic but not too primitive? Or maybe you’ve got a kiddo who absolutely hates all the bugs and dirt that come with camping. Consider staying at one of the log cabins at Devil’s Thumb Ranch outside of Winter Park. Embedded among the evergreen trees, you’ll feel just like you’re camping, except you’ll get to sleep in a comfy bed at night. Even better? They’re dog friendly, so you won’t have to leave your family’s four-legged friends at home.

Where’s your favorite spot to go camping?

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