There are two types of campers in Colorado — those who make reservations and those who don’t.
Those in the first group know, and usually get, what they want. They’re organized. They plan ahead, scoping out future sites everywhere they go.
The other group relies on first-come, first-served campgrounds and open, dispersed camping areas on National Forests or Bureau of Land Management land; they avoid camping on holidays and weekends and, generally, they hope for the best.
If you’re a planner, then you know now is the time to start clicking away at your favorite campgrounds. Most public lands campgrounds accept reservations up to six months in advance.
The trend is toward opening up more campgrounds for advance reservations. Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW), for example, just expanded the reservation system in 20 of their campgrounds (find the full list of reservations-only CPW campgrounds here; book by phone at 1-800-244-5613). These 20 parks now allow you to book campsites, cabins and yurts up to the minute.
“We previously had a three-day window where reservations closed three days ahead,” said Rebecca Ferrell, a CPW spokeswoman. “Now, at those 20 parks, if you are on your way to Ridgway, you can check out what’s available and book it from your phone to be sure you have a site when you arrive.”
Myself, I’m more of a non-reserver, since I have the luxury of midweek camping during the summer. Whichever way you go, check out The Know Outdoors for a few campgrounds to consider as you start making plans.
More camping resources
RVshare.com is a peer-to-peer RV rental marketplace (and camper vans and trailers), with more than 600 units in Colorado for rent from individual owners. They offer roadside assistance, 24/7 customer service and insurance.
Glampinghub.com is a booking platform for “unique outdoor accommodations,” which includes everything from primitive yurts to exclusive cabins, with options all over the state.
Outdoorsy.co is a “sharing community” service for campers with the mission “to mobilize the 16 million underutilized, idle RVs around the world,” meaning it has a network of RVs and campers for rent by owner. You just plug in your zip code, price range, dates of travel and class of vehicle and a bunch of local rental options pop up.
Trailermade.co is another RV and trailer rental community with unique options for Colorado.
HipCamp.com is another modern tool to help you locate camping spots on both public and private land.