Colorado

Springboard To Adventure: The Best Camping Near Colorado Springs

by Daniell LaFleur

best camping colorado springs

Nestled at the foothills of the Rocky Mountains and the doorstep of Pike National Forest, it’s no surprise that Colorado Springs is overflowing with great campgrounds.

Camping in Colorado Springs is a wonderful way visit this unique city and landscape. Whether you’re looking for a home base to tour the city or heading deep into Pike National Forest, the Colorado Springs area has you covered!

There are so many attractions around Colorado Springs, it’s honestly hard to decide what to do sometimes. If you’re looking for a little adventure inspiration, check out our article on the best hikes around Colorado Springs or visit the city’s adventure guide for tips on what to do. Don’t forget to ask your campground host for ideas, too!
 
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Ready to pitch your tent? Here’s a list of the best campgrounds around Colorado Springs, covering everything from national forest campgrounds to state parks and private camping resorts.

Happy camping!

Barr Camp

barr camp
Photo: Sarah Antrobus

Why you should camp here: A backpacker’s dream, where hikers are greeted with a hot meal and warm bunk.

  • Reservations Accepted: Yes
  • Best Seasons: Year-round
  • Campsite Type: Cabins, bunkhouses, lean-tos, tents

You’ll find Barr Camp along on the Barr Trail, the most popular route to the Pikes Peak summit. This unique camp offers many lodging options that cater to any hiking party.

There’s an Upper Cabin that rents as a unit with space for up to 12 people, making it a great option for any group trip. While the camp is open year-round, the cabin is only available from March to October.

Barr Camp makes it possible for hikers to test their skills in the winter months. I know I would only want to hike Barr Trail in December if I could expect hot meals and a roof over my head!

One of the best parts about staying at Barr Camp is the food. Order a dinner when you book your reservation and you’ll enjoy a wonderful spaghetti dish with their famous garlic bread.

Barr Camp cooks spaghetti dinners Wednesdays through Sundays. If you find yourself at camp on a Monday or Tuesday, you can grab a dehydrated meal from their store.

Regardless of the day, Pikes Peak Power Pancakes are included for breakfast with every booking. What better way to start a grueling hike than with a stack of pancakes?

There’s no potable water at Barr Camp, but there is a stream nearby. Visitors are encouraged to bring water filtering devices or purification tablets.

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Garden of the Gods RV Resort

garden of the gods rv resort
Gardens of the Gods Park

Why you should camp here: All the fun of camping with the convenience of staying near the heart of Colorado Springs’ best tourist destinations.

  • Reservations Accepted: Yes
  • Best Seasons: Year-round
  • Campsite Type: RVs, cottages, suites, bunkhouse, tents
  • RV Hookups: Yes

With TWO swimming pools, free WiFi, an arcade, and its own dog park, Garden of the Gods RV Resort is truly a resort!

This fun camping destination offers several lodging options to accommodate any group or family. Conveniently located right next to Garden of the Gods, it’s easy to get outside and explore the plethora of attractions Colorado Springs has to offer.

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Mt. Herman

mt herman camping
Wildflowers below Mt. Herman // Photo: W.G. Dayton

Why you should camp here: Rest easy in Mt. Herman’s thick forest and explore hundreds of miles of trails through Pike National Forest.

  • Reservations Accepted: No
  • Best Seasons: Spring, summer, fall
  • Campsite Type: Tents, dispersed camping

Mt. Herman is just northwest of Colorado Springs, easily accessible from the town of Monument. It’s the locals’ favorite place to get outside and connect with nature, offering ample opportunities for trail running, hiking, mountain biking, and off-roading.

Dispersed camping is the only option at Mt. Herman, so please respect the Leave No Trace principles. As there are no restroom facilities along the trails and no drinking water in the area, you’ll need to come prepared with plenty of water and pack out your trash and waste.

There are a number of trailheads along Mt. Herman Road that you can hike up to camp. The majority of them are relatively short (2-3 miles), making it a great backpacking destination for beginners and kids.

Peregrine Pines

https://www.instagram.com/hopalongrving/
Photo: Hop Along RVing

Why you should camp here: Camp within the historic U.S. Air Force Academy, enjoying easy access to Colorado Springs on one side and Pike National Forest on the other.

  • Reservations Accepted: Yes
  • Best Seasons: Spring, summer, fall
  • Campsite Type: RVs, tents, car camping
  • RV Hookups: Yes

The Air Force Academy is a one-of-a-kind community and university. This place is just plain cool and a must-see for any history buff.

You can see the campus from I-25 with its massive football stadium and modern architecture. If you drive through the Northgate entrance, you’ll pass an enormous B-52 Bomber on your way in.

As far as access goes, entrance into the Academy requires a valid military ID, state ID, or driver’s license. That means you don’t need to be associated with the military to reach the trailheads for popular hikes like Stanley Canyon and Falcon Trail.

However, camping at Peregrine Pines is restricted to retired military, reserves, active duty, and cadets. Family and guests may be sponsored by someone with one of the above credentials.

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Cheyenne Mountain State Park

cheyenne mountain state park
Photo: Leslie & Richard / Dirtroads and Sunsets

Why you should camp here: Come explore Colorado Springs’ favorite state park, where the city fades away and you’ll quickly forget how close you are to town.

  • Reservations Accepted: Yes
  • Best Seasons: Spring, summer, fall
  • Campsite Type: RVs, tents, car camping
  • RV Hookups: Yes

Camping at Cheyenne Mountain State Park offers an abundance of outdoor activities just outside the city. It’s only ten minute from downtown Colorado Springs, making it the perfect destination for visiting outdoor enthusiasts.

This beautiful state park recently received a lottery grant from the state, allowing Colorado Parks and Wildlife to improve its amenities and trails. They’ve even added new trails, including the Dixon Trail that takes hikers to the summit of Cheyenne Mountain.

Don’t forget your mountain bike! In addition to hiking and trail running, the rolling trails around Cheyenne Mountain are very popular with the local mountain biking community.

Cheyenne Mountain State Park features a diverse wildlife population, so there are some restrictions around bringing your furry friend. Dogs are permitted at the campground, but they’re not allowed in the backcountry and on certain trails. Be sure to check the signs before embarking on a hike with your pooch

Black bears are commonly spotted in this part of the foothills, so remember to store your food properly at night and when you are away from camp. Black bears are fairly timid, so you don’t need a state-of-the-art bear canister — just put food and trash in your car or RV.

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Mountaindale Cabins & RV Resort

mountaindale cabins
Photo: Glenda Raley

Why you should camp here: Mountaindale has created a community among campers in this beautiful Colorado landscape, making it a privilege to camp here.

  • Reservations Accepted: Yes
  • Best Seasons: Year-round
  • Campsite Type: RVs, cabins
  • RV Hookups: Yes

Mountaindale offers a plethora of amenities with fun social events for campers and cabin renters.

They’re one of the few RV campgrounds that prioritize giving RV plots as much room as possible instead of cramming in as many as possible. That means even if you have the biggest rig in town, you’ll enjoy a spacious campsite at Mountaindale.

Located south of Colorado Springs, Mountaindale offers a change in scenery from the densely populated and forested areas closer to the city. It’s far enough from town that there’s an abundance of wildlife in the area.

Mountaindale is open year-round, but they only charge monthly rates during the off-season (November-March). If you are on a long road-trip or enjoying the wonders of van-life, Mountaindale is the perfect spot for a long-term campsite!

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The Crags Campground

crags trail
Views on the Crags Trail above the Crags Campground.

Why you should camp here: Find yourself in the true backcountry of Pike National Forest at this secluded campground.

  • Reservations Accepted: No
  • Best Seasons: Summer, fall
  • Campsite Type: Tents, car camping, small RVs
  • RV Hookups: No

The Crags Campground is located just south of the town of Divide, a few miles away from the summit of Pikes Peak. The proximity to America’s Mountain makes this an excellent choice for peak baggers, and even though it’s a small campground you’ll rarely find it full.

Tents and car camping are the most popular choices here, though RVs are permitted. That said, RVs and trailers over 30 feet will have a hard time navigating the campground’s tight turns.

The Crags Campground doesn’t take reservations, so the 17 campsites are available on a first come, first served basis. It’s a secluded campground and most visitors are just here for the hiking, so there’s no need to worry about running out of campsites.

The seclusion of this campground does come at a cost, though: black bears are prominent in this less-populated area of Pike National Forest. While they’re fairly timid compared to their brown bear cousins, nobody wants to see a black bear outside of their tent in the morning. Be sure to store your food and trash properly to avoid any unwanted visitors.

When you’re ready to hit the trail to Pikes Peak, the nearby Crags Trail is a popular alternate route. It connects with other trails to reach the summit, but the trail itself is a quick 4.8-mile out-and-back hike featuring amazing granite walls that give the trail and campground its name.

Eleven Mile Canyon

eleven mile canyon
Photo: Jasen Miller

Why you should camp here: Escape the summer heat in this surreal granite canyon.

  • Reservations Accepted: Yes
  • Best Seasons: Summer, fall
  • Campsite Type: Tents, car camping

Located near scenic Lake George, Eleven Mile Canyon is a popular getaway for Colorado Springs locals. The tall canyon walls provide ample shade in the morning and afternoon, and of course beautiful views.

The South Platte River flows through Eleven Mile Canyon and is a very popular fishing destination. That said, even though the canyon is a local favorite for fly fishers and rock climbers, you’ll be amazed at how isolated you feel here.

Reservations are available for all four campgrounds in the canyon: Cove, Riverside, Spillway, and Springer Gulch. Reservations must be made at least five days in advance, otherwise the campsites are available for walk-ins.

You’ll also find Eleven Mile State Park nearby, which surrounds Elevenmile Cayon Reservoir and offers similar activities. The state park offers similar activities for outdoor enthusiasts, and reservations are required for camping.

There are a whopping 328 campsites at Eleven Mile State Park, including 52 sites with electrical hookups for RVs. So if you’re heading to Eleven Mile Canyon with an RV, camping at the state park may be more convenient than camping in one of the neighboring forest service campgrounds.

Reserve Now — Eleven Mile Canyon Reserve Now — Eleven Mile State Park

Black Tree Resort

black tree resort
Photo: Black Tree Resort

Why you should camp here: A luxury glamping experience with exquisite accommodations that’ll redefine your idea of camping.

  • Reservations Accepted: Yes
  • Best Seasons: Spring, summer, fall
  • Campsite Type: Glamping tents

If you’re in the mood to treat your family to the ultimate glamping experience, head to the Black Tree Resort in Lake George. This is where high end meets high country, offering comfortable accommodations and customized adventures for active families.

Inside the private tents you’ll find handcrafted furniture, cozy queen beds, a private dining table, wood-burning stove, and solar powered lighting and outlets. Combine that with luxury bedding, classic Pendleton blankets, and private bathrooms, and you’re looking at a truly pampered backcountry experience.

Black Tree Resort provides guests with three delicious meals a day (to-go options available, too), and the well-spaced campsites have a private fire pit where you can roast marshmallows at night.

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Clyde Campground

mueller state park
Autumn in Mueller State Park

Why you should camp here: Enjoy primitive camping deep in the foothills of the Colorado Springs area.

  • Reservations Accepted: No
  • Best Seasons: Summer
  • Campsite Type: Tents, car camping, small RVs
  • RV Hookups: No

Located near Mueller State Park, this unique primitive campground has a number of group sites available — perfect for a family vacation to Colorado Springs. With Cripple Creek nearby, a group trip just might be in order!

Getting to this campground is its own adventure. The site lies right off Gold Camp Road, an old railway line that was converted to a dirt road in the 1920s. It’s now a popular scenic route to Cripple Creek, so expect to share the road with other visitors and locals.

Interestingly, the area has a reputation for being haunted. The old railway has a long history and changed ownership numerous times, resulting in several tunnels being closed and barred for unknown reasons. You’ll find these strange, barred tunnels along popular hikes in Cheyenne Canyon and the surrounding area.

Colorado Heights Camping Resort

colorado heights camping resort
Photo: Colorado Heights Camping Resort

Why you should camp here: Glamp in style and enjoy the long list of amenities that Colorado Heights has to offer!

  • Reservations Accepted: Yes
  • Best Seasons: Year-round
  • Campsite Type: RV
  • RV Hookups: Yes

Colorado Heights Camping Resort is right in the town of Monument, just north of Colorado Springs. Their slogan is “your home away from home,” and you’ll quickly find that’s true when you get a chance to enjoy their amazing amenities and community feel.

With their own fishing pond, volleyball and basketball courts, swimming pool, BBQ pavilion and kitchen, and other fun activities, Colorado Heights is an ideal destination for extended stays and van-lifers. Given its close proximity to Colorado Springs, it’s a great home-base for touring the city and surrounding landscape.

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Painted Rocks Campground

manitou lake colorado
Manitou Lake

Why you should camp here: Discover the wonders of Woodland Park and these unique red rocks as steep granite mountains fill the backdrop.

  • Reservations Accepted: Yes
  • Best Seasons: Summer
  • Campsite Type: Tents, car camping, small RVs
  • RV Hookups: No

Situated near Woodland Park, the high alpine landscape around the Painted Rocks Campground is dotted with strange-looking sandstone spires.

A handful of the campsites at Painted Rocks are available for reservations, but most are handed out on a first come, first serve basis. The campsites are large and well-spaced, perfect for tents, car campers, and small RVs.

The Painted Rocks Campground is close to several local attractions, including Woodland Park, Manitou Lake, and Florissant Fossil Bed National Monument. Access to the well-stocked Manitou Lake is included in your campground fees, and there are several trails around the campground that allow you to truly explore Pike National Forest.

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Devil’s Head

devils head colorado
Photo: Ethan Beute

Why you should camp here: You’ll be amazed by the strange granite formations that lie among the foothills of the Rockies.

  • Reservations Accepted: No
  • Best Seasons: Spring, summer, fall
  • Campsite Type: Tents, car camping

The Devil’s Head and Turkey Rocks area is an otherworldly landscape. Large granite boulders appear as if they’ve been precisely stacked on each other to create spires and fill mountainsides.

As if the location itself isn’t unique enough, there’s a one-of-a-kind hike that follows the Devil’s Head Lookout Trail to a fire tower with amazing views. The trailhead for the lookout is close to camp, and the hike is only 2.5 miles out and back — making this a perfect sunset hike from camp.

Devil’s Head lies within the area known as the South Platte of Pike National Forest. The South Platte is a popular destination for rock climbers, mountain bikers, and OHV riders. Rock climbing here is incredible thanks to the unique rock formations and solid granite.

Explore More in Colorado

Looking for some great hikes near Colorado Springs too? Here’s our Colorado Springs hiking guide. We’ve also got the 411 on the best hikes near Denver and some amazing hiking trails in Rocky Mountain National Park.

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