5 of the Best Tent Camping Sites in Central Colorado

Choosing the correct campsite is one of the most important steps of vacation planning.  It determines if you listen to your neighbor's generator all night, have cars driving by until 1 am, sleep in silence, or drift off to sleep with the sound of water rushing by.  Dispersed camping is always an option but for those who prefer a USFS Campground, it isn't an easy task to narrow down the thousands of potential campsites to find the right one.  After visiting nearly 100 campgrounds around Central Colorado, we are happy to share this list of  some of the best tent camping sites in Central Colorado.

Belle Of Colorado Campground - Site #2

Camping at Belle of Colorado provides great views of Turquoise Lake and the surrounding mountains including Mt Elbert & Mt Massive.

Location:  Eastern shore of Turquoise Lake - 5 Minutes west of Leadville
Elevation: ~9780
Cell Service: Yes - AT&T and Verizon
Area Attractions: 

  • A dirt hiking & biking trail that follows along the shore of Turquoise Lake is a few steps away from the campsite.
  • Fishing in Turquoise Lake
  • Boating - 2 Boat ramps are located in nearby campgrounds
  • Hagerman Pass - Scenic drive above the west end of the lake.
  • Turquoise Lake Loop Road - Scenic drive around the lake with several overlooks and picnic areas.
  • Leadville Colorado & Southern Railroad - Video of our ride
  • A number of museums in Leadville plus the Tabor Opera House and Historic Delaware Hotel.
  • Twin Lakes & Independence Pass are a short drive.  Makes a great day-trip.

Additional info & video tours:  www.coloradotraveltips.com/leadville-camping

 Belle of Colorado - Campsite #2

Belle of Colorado - Campsite #2

Belle of Colorado Campsite #2

Chalk Lake Campground - Site #13

Camp next to the rushing water of Chalk Creek.  You won't hear your neighbors over the roar of the creek.

Location:  Chaffee Co Rd 162 west of Nathrop - Between Mt Antero & Mt Princeton
Elevation: ~8800
Cell Service: None
Area Attractions: 

  • Narrow Gauge Trail - Overlooks the campground to the south.  Entrance across the road from Cascade Falls
  • Cascade Falls - Less than a mile west.
  • St Elmo - Colorado's Best Preserved Ghost Town is about 6 miles west of Chalk Lake.  Get an up close look with our photo tour
  • Mt Princeton Hot Springs
  • Chalk Creek Trailhead of the Colorado Trail is nearby
  • Poplar Gulch Trail - This hiking & single track trail begins west of St Elmo along the road to Tincup Pass
  • Love Meadow Watchable Wildlife Area
  • Chalk Lake Fishing Area
  • Jeep & ATV Trails - Access hundreds of miles of off-road trails from the Mt Antero Trailhead or St Elmo
  • Horseback Rides
  • Whitewater Rafting on the Arkansas River - Discount coupons here - www.coloradotraveltips.com/coupons

Chalk Lake Campground Map and additional area info

 Campsite #13 - Chalk Lake campground

Campsite #13 - Chalk Lake campground

 Chalk Creek passing our campsite

Chalk Creek passing our campsite


Rosy Lane - Campsite #3

If you need the sound of a roaring river to help you sleep, this campsite is for you.  The Taylor River is a few steps away from camp

Location:  Gunnison Co Rd 742 - Along the Taylor River
Elevation: ~8600
Cell Service:  No Service with AT&T or Verizon in 2014, but Verizon has had service in 2015 & 2016.
Area Attractions: 

  • Fly Fishing on the Taylor River or nearby Taylor Park Reservoir
  • Boating on Taylor Park Reservoir
  • Taylor River Rafting
  • Doctor Park Trailhead is located at nearby North Bank Campground
  • Jeep & ATV trails are located near Taylor Park & Tincup.

More Info & Video Tour:  www.coloradotraveltips.com/camping

 Campsite #3 - Rosy Lane Campground

Campsite #3 - Rosy Lane Campground

 Taylor River Next to Campsite #3 - Rosy Lane Campground

Taylor River Next to Campsite #3 - Rosy Lane Campground


Lake Irwin - Campsite #12

Wildlife, quiet, water, and amazing views.

Location:  Gunnison Co Rd 12 west from Crested Butte
Elevation: ~10,200
Cell Service: None
Area Attractions: 

  • Site 12 has it's own pond
  • Watch deer come down the mountains to the pond in the evening.
  • Non-motorized boating on Lake Irwin
  • 3 Waterfalls nearby
  • Hiking
  • Wildflowers - Lake Irwin is a regular stop during the Crested Butte Wildflower Festival
  • Kebler Pass - One of the largest aspen groves in the United States is a popular destination for fall foliage.

More Info & Video Tour:  www.coloradotraveltips.com/camping

Read our Colorado Travel Blog for more details about our Lake Irwin experience

 Awesome view after a stormy night

Awesome view after a stormy night

 Storm moving in over the pond at Lake Irwin campground - Site #12

Storm moving in over the pond at Lake Irwin campground - Site #12


Ruby Mountain - Sites 14-19

Located next to the Arkansas River at the north end of Browns Canyon National Monument.  Ruby Mountain Campground was rebuilt and sites were renumbered in the spring of 2016.

Location:  Chaffee Co Rd 300
Elevation: ~7600
Cell Service:  Yes
Area Attractions:

  • Open year round.  This is a great place to stay after the campgrounds along Chalk Creek close in mid September.
  • Hiking in Browns Canyon National Monument.  We have maps and trail info here.
  • Arkansas River Fly Fishing
  • Whitewater Rafting on the Arkansas River - Discount coupons here - www.coloradotraveltips.com/coupons
  • Ziplines nearby off Highway 285
  • Jeep & ATV trails nearby.  Chinaman Gulch, Carnage Canyon, & Bald Mtn Gulch are just a few of the popular trails.
  • Boat ramp is located at the campground

 

 Arkansas River passing Ruby mountain campground Sites 14-19

Arkansas River passing Ruby mountain campground Sites 14-19

 Turret Trail

Turret Trail


Hopefully, this list of the 5 best campsites in central Colorado will help you avoid some of the bad camping experiences we have had.  There are plenty of other awesome campsites that we haven't visited yet.  Follow us on YouTube to keep up with our latest discoveries.
What are some of your favorite Colorado campsites?