There’s something special about a campsite in the mountains with a great view. After a day enjoying Colorado’s beautiful landscape, be it hiking, biking, off-roading or whatever, you can kick your feet up around the campfire and just soak in the scenic splendor. And when you roll out of the tent or camper the next morning, it’s all there for you to enjoy with your coffee or breakfast. But not all campgrounds in Colorado are created equal. While some offer amazing scenery, in many others all you can see are trees – still pretty, of course, but just trees.

So we put together a list of some of the most scenic campgrounds in Colorado, where you can feel like you’re deep in the Rockies but still enjoy amenities of civilization like toilets and drinking water. Some sites within each are reservable at www.recreation.gov while others are first-come, first-served.

1. Lake Irwin Campground

Lake Irwin Campground. Photo Credit: Marie - Flickr - OutThere Colorado.
Lake Irwin Campground. Photo Credit: Marie – Flickr

Located nine miles west of Crested Butte, the campground borders the namesake lake and offers great views of the Ruby Range of the Elk Mountains towering above. Spend the days exploring the magnificent mountain cirque above or just fishing at the beautiful lake near one of the most beautiful campgrounds in Colorado.

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2. Amphitheatre Campground

Amphitheater Campground. Photo Credit: nikonmike5 - OutThere Colorado
Amphitheater Campground. Photo Credit: nikonmike5

This campground is just outside of Ouray and offers sweeping views of the massive box canyon and the massif of Mount Sneffels, one of Colorado’s prettiest fourteeners.

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3. Lakeview Campground

Lakeview Campground. Photo Credit: lseley - OutThere Colorado.
Lakeview Campground. Photo Credit: lseley

Twin Lakes Reservoir may be man-made, but there’s nothing manufactured about the view. Mountains that seem to rise up from the shore, including Mount Elbert, Colorado’s highest peak, surround the massive reservoir. The campground is on a bluff above the lake.

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4. Mix Lake Campground

Mix Lake Campground. Photo Credit: R. Scott Rappold - OutThere Colorado.
Mix Lake Campground. Photo Credit: R. Scott Rappold

This stunning campground lies above the seasonal town of Platoro, deep in the South San Juans. Platoro Reservoir and smaller Mix Lake are a short stroll away and offer great fishing. The highest mountain in the region, Conejos Peak, presides above it all.

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5. Bear Lake Campground

This pretty campground is along the shores of Bear Lake in the Spanish Peaks region and at 10,480 feet sits just at timberline, which means fewer trees to obstruct the views of the rolling peaks that dominate the landscape here.

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6. Kite Lake Campground

Expect a cold night at this campground near Alma, since it is located far above timberline at 12,000 feet. But the views are unparalleled, with fourteeners Lincoln, Bross, and Democrat towering above in a magnificent mountain cirque. Be sure to bring your own firewood because pickings are slim up here. All sites are first-come, first-served.

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7. Moraine Park Campground

Moraine Park Campground. Photo Credit: Tinkurlab - OutThere Colorado.
Moraine Park Campground. Photo Credit: Tinkurlab

Okay, this is actually in Rocky Mountain National Park, not technically a national forest like the others, but the views are too good to exclude it from this list. Vast Moraine Park is spread out before you, with the park’s high peaks forming a distant backdrop. You might even have a herd of elk for neighbors.

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