The 18 Best Places for Camping Near Boulder Colorado

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In what feels like the outdoor adventure capital with all the hiking, biking, climbing, and fishing you’d for sure think there would be camping in Boulder Colorado on that list too, right? Surprisingly, no. While there are no places to put your tent up in the city, we went on a search to find some of the best camping near Boulder Co. All these camping spots are within (about) an hour from downtown – with many even closer.

Any of these great campgrounds are great picks for your next visit to Boulder CO!

About This List of Campgrounds Near Boulder Colorado

Since we moved to Boulder, we’ve been getting recommendations from the locals on the best places to camp near Boulder for quick weekend getaways. We’ve been to a number of campgrounds on this list, and hope to get to the rest soon!

And because it’s the mountains, we quickly learned 2 things about camping near Boulder. One is to pay attention to the elevation. The higher up you go, the colder it gets at night – even in the summer months. The second thing is bear safety. There are bears in these mountains, so it’s important to be “bear aware.” It’s easier to do when there are bear lockers at the campsite, so we’ve included that information too.

National and State Parks Camping Near Boulder Co

1. Longs Peak Campground

The one national park campground on our list is Longs Peak. This campground is often filled will hikers preparing to make their way to Longs Peak, one of Colorado’s most popular 14ers (mountains that reach more than 14,000′ in elevation).

While there is not easy access to the main areas of Rocky Mountain National Park, there is plenty of hiking, biking, and wildlife viewing near the campground.

Distance from Boulder: 42 miles (about 1 hour)

Number of sites: 26 (tents only)

Elevation: 9,500′

Bear lockers: yes

Facilities: vault toilets

Drinking water: potable water is available seasonally

Firewood for sale: no

Season: Memorial Day – Labor Day

Reservations: none, all sites are first-come, first-served

For more information, visit the Longs Peak Campground page on the National Park Service website


2. Golden Gate Canyon State Park

This state park near Boulder has a mix of camping options, from backcountry camping (permit required) to cabins and yurts. There are, of course, plenty of options for campsites for your tent at two campgrounds within the park, and one that also has sites for RVs and trailers.

camping near Boulder Co at Golden Gate Canyon State Park
You don’t want to miss the mountain sunsets from the campsites at Golden Gate Canyon State Park

Distance from Boulder: 33 miles (just under 1-hour drive)

Reverend’s Ridge Campground

Number of sites: 97 sites (59 have electric hookups)

Elevation: 9,100′

Bear lockers: no

Facilities: flush toilets, showers, and laundry

Drinking water: yes

Firewood for sale: yes

Season: open for camping year-round, but some facilities are closed in the winter

Aspen Meadows

Number of sites: 35 tent-only campsites

Elevation: 8,000′

Bear lockers: no

Facilities: vault toilets

Drinking water: yes

Firewood for sale: yes

Season: mid-May through mid-October

Reservations: click here for reservations at Reverend’s Ridge or Aspen Meadows campground


3. St. Vrain State Park

Even though St. Vrain State Park camping isn’t miles away from civilization like many of the other campgrounds near Boulder, we found the lakes to be pretty peaceful. Bring a SUP or kayak and spend the day on one of the many lakes in the park.

tent camping near Boulder at St Vrain State Park
St. Vrain State Park Campground near Boulder has great access to many outdoor activities

Distance from Boulder: 20 miles (30 minutes)

Number of sites: 87 (41 with electric hookups, 46 have full hookups)

Elevation: 4,900′

Bear lockers: no

Facilities: flush and vault toilets, showers are also available

Drinking water: yes

Firewood for sale:

Season: year-round

Reservations: required for all sites and can be made on the Colorado Parks and Wildlife website

USDA Forest Service (Arapaho & Roosevelt National Forests) Camping

4. Winiger Ridge (Gross Reservoir)

This dispersed camping area sits on the western shore of Gross Reservoir, a water source for the city of Denver. There are no amenities or facilities at this camping area. There are plenty of outdoor activities nearby, including fishing and (non-motorized) boating on the reservoir, hiking, and mountain biking.

Distance from Boulder: 17 miles (about 1 hour)

Number of sites: 26

Elevation: 7,290′

Bear lockers: no

Facilities: vault toilets at Forsythe Canyon Trailhead

Drinking water: yes, from the reservoir which is treated for drinking

Firewood for sale: no

Season: year-round

Reservations: not available – all sites are first-come, first-served (find more information on dispersed camping at Winiger Ridge here)


5. Gordon Gulch Dispersed Camping Area

A high clearance vehicle is helpful (and sometimes needed) to access campsites at Gordon Gulch. Spend the day hiking and exploring the area, or head into nearby Nederland to visit the small shops and restaurants.

Distance from Boulder: 21 miles (about 40 minutes)

Number of sites: 15

Elevation: 8,800′

Bear lockers: no

Facilities: none

Drinking water: no, so be sure to bring your own

Firewood for sale: no

Season: open year-round

Reservations: not available – all sites are first-come, first-served (click here for more information on camping at Gordon Gulch)


6. Peaceful Valley Campground

Peaceful Valley is just off the Peak to Peak Hwy, one of Colorado’s many Scenic Byways. Bring your mountain bike to ride one of the many trails near the campground. There is also great access to trails for off-road vehicles and horseback riding.

Distance from Boulder: 22 miles (about 45 minutes)

Number of sites: 17 sites that are large enough for tents or RVs / trailers

Elevation: 8,500′

Bear lockers: yes

Facilities: vault toilets

Drinking water: yes

Firewood for sale: no

Season: June through November

Reservations: some sites can be reserved in advance; reserve sites 1-7 and 9-11 here


7. Camp Dick Campground

Just up the road from Peaceful Valley, Camp Dick has the same great access to horseback riding, off-roading, and hiking. Some of the campsites sit close to the Middle Saint Vrain Creek.

Distance from Boulder: 23 miles (just under an hour drive)

Number of sites: 41 campsites that accommodate tents and small trailers/RVs (21 are first-come, first-served)

Elevation: 8,650′

Bear lockers: yes

Facilities: vault toilets

Drinking water: yes

Firewood for sale: no

Season: June through November

Reservations: click here to make reservations for Memorial Day through Labor Day


8. Kelly Dahl Campground

This campground sits south of Nederland, along the Peak-to-Peak Hwy. The onsite playground makes this one great for families.

Distance from Boulder: 21 miles (about 40 minutes)

Number of sites: 46 sites that can accommodate tents or trailers / RVs (but no hookups)

Elevation: 8,660′

Bear lockers: yes

Facilities: vault toilets

Drinking water: yes

Firewood for sale:

Season: June through October

Reservations: 20 sites are first-come, first-served only; click here to book sites that can be reserved in advance


9. Rainbow Lakes Campground

The high elevation of Rainbow Lakes makes it an even shorter camping season. Plan for chilly nights, even in the middle of summer. High clearance vehicles are best for navigating the 5-mile dirt road to the campground, just use some caution with other vehicles.

Distance from Boulder: 28 miles (about a 1-hour drive)

Number of sites: 18 campsites that can fit tents or small trailers

Elevation: 10,000 ft

Bear lockers: yes

Facilities: vault toilets

Drinking water: no, so be sure to bring your own

Firewood for sale: no, but gathering dead and downed wood is allowed

Season: late June through mid-September

Reservations: not available – all sites are first-come, first-served (more information on camping at Rainbow Lakes Campground can be found here)


10. Pawnee Campground at Brainard Lake Recreation Area

Our first Colorado camping experience was at this campground. We learned a lot about camping in bear country and about camping in the cold when nighttime temps were below freezing (in July) on this trip!

Brainard Lake Recreation Area has an abundance of hiking, fishing, backcountry skiing, mountain biking, and wildlife viewing. Bring your kayak, canoe, or SUP to launch in Brainard Lake.

camping at Pawnee campground near Boulder CO
Pawnee Campground was the first spot we went camping near Boulder CO

Distance from Boulder: 28 miles (about a 1-hour drive)

Number of sites: 47 sites, which includes 8 tent-only walk-in sites

Elevation: 10,350 ft

Bear lockers: yes

Facilities: vault toilets

Drinking water: yes

Firewood for sale: yes

Season: July through mid-September

Reservations: book one of the 26 reservable sites here

County, City, and Regional Campgrounds Near Boulder CO

11. Carter Lake

Carter Lake in Larimer County has 5 campgrounds: Eagle, South Shore, Big Thompson, Carter Knolls, North Pine Campground. Spend your weekend fishing, boating, swimming, mountain biking, or hiking at this campground located southwest of Loveland.

Distance from Boulder: 34 miles (just under an hour drive)

Number of sites: 117 (8 are tent only)

Elevation: 5,760′

Bear lockers: no

Facilities: flush toilets

Drinking water: yes

Firewood for sale: yes

Season: year-round

Reservations: make reservations through the Larimer County camping website


12. Camping at Hermit Park

There are four campgrounds within the park, plus 13 camper cabins for those who don’t have camping equipment or prefer more of a glamping experience. We found one of our favorite hikes in Colorado when camping at Hermit’s Hollow. The Kruger Rock Trail is located within the park and has spectacular views of Estes Park and Rocky Mountain National Park.

tents set up at a campsite in Hermit Park near Boulder Colorado
Hermit’s Hollow Campground is one of our favorite campgrounds near Boulder CO

Distance from Boulder: 33 miles (about an hour drive)

Number of sites: 86 sites for tents and RVs/trailers (12 are walk-in, so tents only)

Elevation: 8,960′

Bear lockers: yes

Facilities: vault toilets

Drinking water: yes

Firewood for sale: yes

Season: varies, check website for dates

Reservations: click here to make reservations at one of the campgrounds in Hermit Park


13. LaVern M. Johnson Park

The downtown Lyons location is great, but this is one of the most restrictive campgrounds we’ve seen. In addition to no campfires, there is only one camping unit allowed per site (one tent or one RV). Alcohol is also not permitted here.

Distance from Boulder: 17 miles (about 30 minutes)

Number of sites: 33 (16 with hookups)

Elevation: 5,370′

Bear lockers: no

Facilities: flush toilets, showers

Drinking water: yes

Firewood for sale: no (campfires are not permitted at the campground)

Season: RV camping is available year-round; tent sites are seasonal (mid-April through mid-October)

Reservations: book your campsite at LaVern M. Johnson Park through Reserve America


14. Standley Lake Regional Park & Wildlife Refuge

Lower elevation camping close to Boulder. No camping gear? Try out one of their 6 tipis for rent!

Distance from Boulder: 15 miles (just 20-minute drive)

Lodging: 56 tent & RV campsites; 6 tipis

Elevation: 5,500′

Bear lockers: no

Facilities: flush toilets, showers

Drinking water: yes

Firewood for sale:

Season: May – September

Reservations: reserve a campsite or tipi here


15. RV Camping Near Boulder CO at Boulder County Fairgrounds

The Boulder County Fairgrounds in Longmont (just north of Boulder) has an on-site campground for RVs and trailers. While it’s not that quintessential Colorado camping experience, we still included it on the list as a camping option for those who don’t want to navigate through the mountains with their camper.

The campground is located next to a heavy retail area, where travelers can resupply if needed.

Distance from Boulder: 13 miles (30 minutes)

Number of sites: 96 sites, all are RV/trailer only

Elevation: 4,980′

Bear lockers: no

Facilities: flush toilets and showers are open seasonally

Drinking water: available seasonally

Firewood for sale:

Season: open year-round

Reservations: none (all campsites are first-come, first-served)

Find more information on camping at the Boulder Country Fairgrounds here


Glamping Near Boulder

Glamping gets you close to the camping experience without all the gear and a little more comfort.

16. Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park Camp-Resort

Distance from Boulder: 31 miles (about 45 minutes)

Lodging: more than 25 cabins to rent, with an additional 111 campsites that can accommodate tents or RVs

Elevation: 8,120′

Bear lockers: no

Facilities: flush toilets, showers

Drinking water: yes

Firewood for sale: yes

Season: Memorial Day – Labor Day

Reservations: reserve cabins or campsites here


17. WeeCasa Tiny House Resort

This is a rare opportunity to stay in a tiny home!

Distance from Boulder: 17 miles (about 30 minutes)

Lodging: 22 tiny homes

Elevation: 5,370′

Facilities: each tiny home is equipped with a kitchenette and bathroom

Season: year-round

Reservations: click here to reserve a tiny home at WeeCasa


18. Boulder Adventure Lodge (A-Lodge)

The A-Lodge has everything from a cabin for rent to tent camping (the only true Boulder Colorado camping permitted within the city limits). The creek-side property has hiking and biking trails nearby, and hosts scheduled events onsite.

Distance from Boulder: 3 miles (10 min drive)

Lodging: youth hostel room, 3 bedroom cabin, single rooms with queen beds, tent sites

Elevation: 5,780′

Bear lockers: yes (for tent campers)

Season: open year-round

Reservations: reserve a stay at the A-Lodge here

Have you been camping near Boulder, CO? Let us know your favorite Boulder Colorado camping spots in the comments!


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21 thoughts on “The 18 Best Places for Camping Near Boulder Colorado”

  1. I’m so not a camper. Lol! I don’t think that I could do no showers, but love the scenery there! Maybe a day trip would be better for me when I visit family in Colorado!

  2. This looks like such a fun place to camp! My husband would like the cool night temperatures. It’s great that they have bear lockers, too. The lake looks like a lot of fun. I’ll keep this campground on my radar!

    1. As long as we are prepared for the cold, I’ll take that over the heat any day! The bear lockers make it so easy to keep things secure – it’s now one of the first things I look for when checking out new campgrounds!

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