Boulder, Colo. is an excellent destination for outdoor enthusiasts of all kinds. The state has many parks and campgrounds that are ideal for those that love camping. Whether you’re a glamper or want to scout out your own site far from civilization, Boulder has it all. In this article we will explore the best camping destinations near Boulder, Colo.
For the average camper, there are a number of options for great car camping around Boulder. Our picks for the top three car camping destinations are St. Vrain State Park, Kelly Dahl Campground and Pawnee Campground.
- St. Vrain State Park
St. Vrain State Park offers modern amenities in a beautiful natural setting. The campground is easily accessible and family-friendly. All 87 campsites have electric hookups and a little over half have water and sewer hookups as well. The park features walking trails and fishing piers, and it is open year-round.
- Kelly Dahl Campground
Kelly Dahl Campground is another family-friendly destination that is a little more rugged. Each of its 46 campsites have picnic tables and grill-equipped campfire rings. Drinking water, trash collection and vault outhouses are available, and the campground offers firewood for sale on-site. There are no hiking trails within the grounds, but there is an excellent playground that is suitable for young children. This campground is open from May to October.
- Pawnee Campground
Pawnee Campground is situated at the foot of the Continental Divide and offers stunning mountain, lake and forest views. Each campsite has a picnic table and fire ring, and drinking water and vault outhouses are available. Activities at Pawnee Campground include fishing, hiking, canoeing and winter sports weather permitting. This campground is open for camping from June to September.
If you like to enjoy the outdoors with all the modern conveniences of home, glamping options are available near Boulder.
WeeCasa is a tiny house campground where visitors can rent 165 to 400 square foot buildings. Each “casa” is equipped with a kitchenette, full bathroom, French press coffee maker, heat and air, household essentials and Wi-Fi. Outside amenities include communal grills, fire pits, firewood and lawn games. The campground provides access to the Saint Vrain river on-site. Picnic tables and other outdoor seating are available between the tiny houses. Activities such as hiking, biking and skiing are located nearby but off-site.
Dispersed Camping (Hike-In)
Outdoor enthusiasts who want the ultimate camping experience with minimal conveniences can enjoy dispersed camping near Boulder.
- Ceran St. Vrain Trail
Ceran St. Vrain Trail is a mixed use trail operated by the U.S. Forest Service located outside of Jamestown, Colo. The trail follows the South Saint Vrain Creek for two miles and provides hunting and fishing opportunities as well as challenging mountain biking and horseback riding. Motorized vehicles aren’t allowed on the trail and no amenities are provided. Visitors can enjoy scenic views and the thrill of hike-in camping. The best time to visit Ceran St. Vrain Trail is from May to October.
Nearby State Parks
If the destinations we’ve listed so far don’t suit your fancy, there is also an excellent state park near Boulder with numerous camping options.
- Golden Gate Canyon State Park
Golden Gate Canyon State Park is a 12,1119 acre park with 42 miles of hiking trails. There are several camping options within the park:
Golden Gate Canyon offers five cabins and two yurts as well as a guest house and camper cabin for reservation. The cabins and yurts sleep up to six people and provide electric outlets and gas heaters. Each cabin and yurt has a grill and campfire ring outside for cooking. Running water, showers and flush toilets are available at the nearby Reverend’s Ridge campground.
The Harmsen Ranch Guest House features four bedrooms, two bathrooms, full kitchen and two RV sites. If renting both RV sites as well, the guest house site can accommodate up to 20 people. This site is ideal for horseback riding and the on-site corrals can accommodate up to 20 horses for an additional fee per horse per night. The guest house also includes linen service, outdoor grill, gas fireplaces and outdoor dining areas.
The Works Ranch Group Camping Area features a two-room cabin with electricity and a tent camping area. The cabin has heating and a kitchenette as well as a wood-burning fireplace. Running water is provided via an outdoor spigot. Outside at the campsite are picnic tables, a vault outhouse, fireplace and charcoal grill.
Golden Gate Canyon also has two large campsites, an additional tent-only group campground and backcountry camping reservations. Amenities are included at each location accordingly.
There are numerous activities available at the park year-round. Special features include educational presentations and rock climbing, in addition to hunting, fishing, hiking, biking and horseback riding.
Boulder, Colo. is a great choice for campers of all sorts. For more camping destination reviews, check out our other articles.