Colorado Mountain Man

Camping in Colorado

Jun 04,2016

Camping in the outdoors usually involves a range of activities such as hiking, mountain biking, fishing, bird watching, canoeing, or just relaxing in the outdoors. Fresh air, blue skies, breathtaking scenery and lots of nature are another reason.

Colorado has a wide variety of places to camp depending on your type of camping. There are 4 National Parks, 42 State Parks, 11 different National Forests, 8.3 million acres of public BLM land and 43 State Wilderness areas with 3.4 million acres. There are also hundreds of commercial campgrounds and sites throughout Colorado.

You name it and it is here. Most of the commercial areas have all of the amenities that you can find at home. Or, you can find a primitive site in the middle of the forest. Roughing it will get you away from all the noise and you will be closer to nature. Everyone is different when it comes to camping.

"I am well again, I came to life in the cool winds and crystal waters of the mountains" -John Muir

To have a successful trip, you need to plan before you go. The 5 W's are: Where, When, Who, Why and What. Where is your destination, your route and return route? When are you leaving and returning? Who is participating with you? Why are you going? What gear, eqiupment, food, clothing and other essentials do you need?

Things to leave home include radios, boom boxes, tv's, fireworks, firearms and noisy generators. They are invasive and disturb the peace. Dogs who bark all the time should not be taken either. Most dog owners that I have observed don't pick-up after their dog. Walking down a trail that has a large pile of dog feces is gross. If you take your dog, then clean up after it. Loud noise at night and profanity is annoying. Respect other campers.

Always remember to Leave No Trace. Visit What you Pack In, needs to be Packed Out. Leave the area better than what it was when you arrived. We want our kids, and their kids, to enjoy the great outdoors when we are gone. Preserve and protect your National Forests. Leave Natural Areas the way you found them. The Rangers who work out there are not maids.

All kinds of animals live in the woods. When we go there to camp, we are visiting their home. We don't want to attract them to our campsite when we are sleeping. It is important to remember that food and other odors can attract bears, raccoons, skunks and rodents. Leaving food, utensils, coolers, toiletries and trash bags in your campsite, can be dangerous to you and other campers. There have been several people attacked by bears in Colorado this year simply because they were not bear smart. Keep your camp clean and lockup everything in your trunk or hang it up in a tree.

Camping can be a great experience depending on how much time you put into planning your trip. I have several checklists that I have fine tuned over the years, so I don't forget anything when I go. I have provided several links to research your camping trip below. Enjoy Colorado's Rocky Mountains!

"I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die discover that I had not lived."- Henry David Thoreau

National Parks, Monuments and Grasslands Information:

Rocky Mountain National Park is 400 square miles with 150 lakes and 450 miles of streams. There are 5 drive-in campgrounds, more than 200 backcountry campsites and over 350 miles of trails. Their website is
The RMNP contact number is 970-586-1206.

The Great Sand Dunes National Park is 150,000 acres and has the tallest sand dune in the U.S. called the Star Dune. Camping is year round and is first come first served for 88 campsites. Visit
Their contact number is 719-378-6399.

The Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park is 47 square miles and has 3 campgounds. Visit
For more information call 970-641-2337.

Mesa Verde National Park is 52,000 acres and has 1 campground. Visit
Call 970-529-4465 for more information.

There are 6 National Monuments in Colorado. They are Canyon of the Ancients, Colorado, Dinosaur, Florissant Fossil Beds, Hovenweep and Yucca House. Visit them at

There are 2 National Grasslands in Colorado. The Pawnee NG is 193,000 acres and the Comanche NG is 435,000 acres.To visit the 42 State Parks go to

To visit the 43 Wilderness Areas go to Reservations for USFS call 877-444-7777.
Colorado Mountain Man