Campsites are getting harder and harder to find these days in Colorado, especially with an uplift in outdoor recreation amid pandemic times. Whether you're a seasoned camper or a first-timer, it's important that you know how to find a campsite and make a reservation at national and state parks, as well as national forest this summer in Colorado.
Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park
The Black Canyon of the Gunnison offers two campgrounds, one located at each rim. Campground reservations can be made online at recreation.gov. Prices vary from $16 to $22 per night. First-come, first-served campsites are also available within the park but are extremely limited.
Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve
The Piñon Flats Campground offers 88 campsites inside the Great Sand Dunes National Park from April 1st through October 31st. Sites can be reserved online for $20 a night at recreation.gov. For backpackers, permits are available online for $6 through recreation.gov. There are seven designated sites along the Sand Ramp Trail and 20 non-designated sites in the Dunes Backcountry.
Mesa Verde National Park
Morefield Campground provides 267 campsites within Mesa Verde National Park, which is located about 35 miles west of Durango. Each site includes a table, bench, and grill. Sites can be booked through the Aramark website or by calling 1-800-449-2288.
Rocky Mountain National Park
Camping is very popular inside Rocky Mountain National Park, so expect spots to fill up fast. Reservations can be made online through recreation.gov or by calling (877) 444-6777. Prices vary from $30 per night for standard campsites to $60 for large group campsites. Wilderness backcountry permits can also be purchased online for $30 at pay.gov. For a list of backcountry sites currently available sites, click here.
Similar to national parks, camping reservations for Colorado's 11 national forests can made online through recreation.gov. While developed campgrounds accept reservations, some are only available on a first-come, first-served basis. Fees also vary. Click the map to see all the campgrounds found in national forests across the state including Arapaho, Grand Mesa, Gunnison, Pike, Rio Grande, Roosevelt, Routt, San Isabel, San Juan, Uncompahgre, and White River.
Camping at any one of Colorado's 42 state parks is another great option for both locals and visitors alike. Discover more than 4,000 campsites and 58 cabins and yurts located around the state. Reservations can be made online at cpwshop.com or by calling 800-244-5613. Prices vary by site and park.
While campsites are mostly booked out for summer weekends at national parks, there are still a few weekday spots left. It's also important to note that standard entrance fees are also required to gain access to both state and national parks. Parking fees may also apply.
Editor's Note: Please remember to follow the core principles of Leave No Trace. Pack out what you pack in, stay on the trail, and be respectful of wildlife and other hikers and campers in the area.