Every year, Coloradans anticipate the glory of the state’s fall foliage as aspens turn from green to red to shimmering yellow. Most of us view it from the convenience of our cars.
But for those who want more than a glance, it’s time to get out the camping gear and make a weekend — or even a week— of it.
Here are 5 campgrounds perfectly suited for leaf peeping, recommended by Step Outside website:
Lost Lake Campground: It’s a bit of a drive from the Denver-metro area, but this spot west of Crested Butte is worth the trip. “This part of Colorado explodes with changing fall foliage once the autumn months hit,” notes Step Outside. In addition to seeing the leaves, campers can hike and bike on the Three Lakes Trail, which loops around Lost Lake “and boasts views of the Ruby Range mountains.”
Saddlehorn Campground: Located in Colorado National Monument, this site “is surrounded by gorgeous red rock formations” and offers warmer weather than other spots due to its lower elevations, reports Step Outside. Better yet, it offers 80 campsites and is open all year-round.
Pinyon Flats Campground: We wouldn’t recommend this area in Great Sand Dunes National Park in the summer: The sand can get too hot to walk on. But fall is the perfect time to enjoy the sand dunes and the “forests full of aspen trees” around the area. You’ll find 88 campsites, complete with picnic tables and fire pits.
Aspenglen Campground at Rocky Mountain National Park: Rocky Mountain National Park offers splendors any time of the year, but fall is particularly gorgeous. Pitch your tent here and you’ll be surrounded by stunning foliage. This campground has 52 sites for tents and RVs and is near the Lawn Lake trailhead, “which is a great hike to view fall color,” notes Step Outside.
Chatfield State Park: No need to drive hundreds of miles for fall campsites when you can simply pitch your tent at Chatfield State Park, just south of Denver. Aim for October, since the leaves will change later here than in the mountains, and choose from 197 sites, many with full hook-ups for RVs.