All campgrounds in the Rocky Mountains enjoy spectacular locations, but not all campgrounds in the Rocky Mountains are created equal. If you’re planning a trip, it’s important to check out all the facilities offered by the campgrounds in your preferred location – you’d be surprised how much you can get for your buck at some Rocky Mountain campgrounds compared to others.
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Pinyon Flats Campground, Great Sand Dunes National Park, Colorado
Only one of the Rocky Mountain campgrounds offers the largest sand dunes in North America, reaching up to 750' in height. As if that weren't a big enough attraction, these dues are dwarfed by the gorgeous snow-tipped peaks of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. The campground has 88 campsites, but only three group tent sites can be reserved, the rest are first-come-first-served. Amenities include drinking water and flush toilets. A visitor center nearby offers interesting kids programs, and they can also join the junior ranger program. While you're there you can take in the views, swim in Medano Creek, or go hiking or backpacking on one of several trails. Nearby attractions such as Zapata Falls or San Luis State Park make great day-trips. The state park has a lake that's great for swimming, sailing, boating or fishing.
Kintla Lake Campground, Glacier National Park, Montana
One of the most remote campgrounds in the Rocky Mountains, this out-of-the-way treasure has only 13 sites and is best enjoyed with a tent rather than an RV. Only 40 miles from the Canadian border, it offers wonderful mountain views and a quiet, tree lined Kintla Lake. The drive there goes along bumpy dirt roads and through the tiny community of Polebridge. Open only during the summer, the tiny store offers a wonderful array of homemade treats. Amenities include clean water accessed by hand pump, and outhouse toilets. While canoes and kayaks are welcome, no motorcraft is allowed on the lake. While you're there, be sure to enjoy a good day hike or even an extended trip into the back country. No reservations are accepted.
Saddlehorn Campground, Colorado National Monument, Colorado
Nestled in among large rock formations, this campground provides excellent access to the steep walls, canyons and red-rock monoliths famous to the area. As the only established, year-round campground within the Colorado National Monument, you can enjoy all-season views. Outdoor enthusiasts will enjoy the opportunity to hike, bike, climb, ride horseback or even ski in-season, while nature lovers will appreciate seeing bighorn sheep, golden eagles, collared lizards and wildflowers. Tour Rim Rock Drive and take in the unique beauty of the area. Tents and RVs welcome, some sites can be reserved, and there is access to drinking water and flush toilets. There are no electric hook ups, wood fires are not permitted, and while pets are welcome if leashed, they are not allowed on the trails.
Colorado Riverway, Moab, Utah
Numerous campgrounds and camping areas dot Route 128 along the Colorado River. Most have about the same amenities, including non-flush toilets and fire rings. None can be reserved and are available on a first-come-first-served basis. The Colorado River becomes more subdued south of Arches National Park, so the river is great for kayaking or inner-tubing. Nearby are hundreds of natural attractions, like the special rock formations in Canyonlands or Arches National Parks, as well as historical interests such as Native American petroglyphs.
Apgar Campground, Glacier National Park, Montana
This campground sits along glacier-fed Lake McDonald, and is the largest campground within Glacier National Park. Close to many trailheads, it’s a great stop for hikers. The lake offers opportunities for boating, canoeing, fishing, swimming and water skiing. The paved Apgar bike path leads to Apgar Village, with a visitor center, restaurant, gift shops, and general store. Wildlife lovers may spot gray wolf, lynx, golden eagles and grizzly and black bears. Bears may even frequent campsites, so all food must be secured when not in immediate use. Campsites offer drinking water, flush toilets, fire rings and picnic tables. While you’re there, visit the Waterton Lakes National Park across the Canadian Border, a part of the Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park. Going-to-the-Sun Road, which goes past the campground, offers spectacular views, but the area near Logan Pass isn’t open to cars until June.
Turquoise Lake Recreation Area, San Isabel National Forest, Colorado
Turquoise Lake sits about 4-5 miles out of Leadville, Colorado. The 1,800 acre lake sits at nearly 10,000 feet elevation, and is surrounded by 8 campgrounds named for either old gold or silver mines or the people who owned them. The lake is popular with boaters, and powerboats, sailboats, canoes and kayaks are common. There are 2 boat launching ramps around the lake. Some brave souls engage in water sports like water skiing or swimming, but the water is frigid most of the time. Outdoor enthusiasts will appreciate all the trails available for biking and hiking, while animal lovers might catch a glimpse of elk, mule deer, eagles, beavers, river otters and bears. Because of the bears, campers are advised to secure food and cooking supplies when not in immediate use. Campgrounds include amenities such as toilets, drinking water, fire rings, and picnic tables.
Moraine Park Campground, Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado
This 244-space campground sits at about 8,000 foot elevation above the meadows of Moraine Park, about 9 miles south of the town of Estes Park. Numerous trails throughout the park offer fun day trips for hikers. Cub Lake trail leads to a pretty lily-covered pond, and many trails interconnect. Summer shuttles bus campers to trailheads and even into Estes Park. Wildlife overs may enjoy sightings of elk, mule deer, coyotes and bears. Because of the occasional bear, be sure to secure all food in car trunks or at various food storage lockers throughout the campground. Moraine Park offers flush toilets, a solar-heated shower bag stall, picnic tables, and fire grates. Pets are allowed but must be kept on a leash no longer than 6 feet, and aren’t allowed on trails or meadow areas.
Jenny Lake Campground, Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming
Located at Jenny Lake at the base of the Teton Range, this campground offers stunning views of the lake and surrounding mountains. Enjoy canoeing or boating on the lake or take a short hike to view the gorgeous Hidden Falls. The campground offers 59 sites, 10 of which are reserved for bicyclists and hikers. Only tents are allowed, and sites are filled on a first-come-first-served basis. Amenities include flush toilets, picnic tables, fire pits, a visitor center, a boat dock and a camp store. Close to Yellowstone National Park.
Holland Lake Campground, near Bigfork, Montana
Holland Lake, covering 400 acres, sits among glacier carved mountains at about 3,500 feet in elevation, 7 miles south of Condon, Montana, and 25 miles north of Seeley Lake. Campers can enjoy boating, swimming, hiking, fishing and water skiing, along with numerous other outdoor activities. It’s located near the trailhead that leads to Holland Falls, a popular 40 foot tall cascade. The 39-campsite campground includes amenities such as restrooms, water, a boat launch and firewood. Pets are allowed. Groceries, food service and showers are available within 4 miles of the site. Keep all food secure as the area is home to grizzly and black bears.
This is just a selection of some fabulous campgrounds in the Rocky Mountains. Have you found yours among them? If you’ve been to any others please give them a shout out in the comments box.
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