When is the best time to go camping in Colorado?

the best time to go camping in Colorado

With unpredictable weather and varying terrain in CO, it can be challenging for campers to pinpoint the perfect time to pitch their tents.

Colorado boasts over 300 days of sunshine a year, making it an ideal destination for outdoor enthusiasts.

Generally, the best time to go camping in Colorado is between late May and early October, when the weather is warm and the risk of snow is minimal.

However, many campgrounds are open year-round. This guide will help you decide the ideal time for your camping experience. So, keep reading!

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Factors to consider when choosing the best time to go camping in Colorado

When planning a camping trip to Colorado, there are several factors to take into consideration to ensure you choose the best month for your adventure. Let’s dive into the most important aspects to keep in mind. 

Weather Conditions 

Colorado has a semi-arid climate with four distinct seasons. 

  • While the summer months (June to August) offer warmer temperatures and longer days, afternoon thunderstorms are common. 
  • Spring and fall in Colorado can be unpredictable, with rapid changes in weather and temperature. It is not uncommon to experience snow in May or September, especially in the mountains. 
  • Winter (December to February) is ideal for those seeking snowy camping adventures, but be prepared for cold temperatures and road closures. 

Peak Season and Crowds 

Summer is the peak camping season in Colorado, which means campsites and popular attractions can get crowded. 

Also, you should consider any events or festivals that may effect camping availability like: the Telluride Bluegrass Festival, which takes place in mid-June.

This festival attracts thousands of visitors to the area, and campsites in the surrounding area can fill up quickly. It’s important to book your campsite well in advance if you plan on attending this festival.

Outdoor Activities 

Each season in Colorado offers unique outdoor activities to enjoy.

  • Summer is perfect for hiking, mountain biking, and water sports.
  • Fall boasts stunning foliage and ideal conditions for fishing.
  • Winter is a wonderland for skiing, snowboarding, and snowshoeing. 
  • Spring brings beautiful wildflowers and opportunities for wildlife spotting. 

Consider your preferred activities when choosing the best time of year to go camping in Colorado.

Discover the best season for camping in Colorado

When it comes to camping in Colorado, each season offers its own unique experience. However, the best time for you may vary depending on your preferences and interests.

Let’s explore the advantages and drawbacks of camping in Colorado during different seasons. 

Spring Camping in Colorado 

spring camping in Colorado

Spring is a beautiful time to go camping in Colorado as nature comes to life with blooming wildflowers and lush greenery.

However, prepare for unpredictable weather, as it can range from warm, sunny days to snow and rain. To avoid muddy trails and campsites, consider camping in late spring. 

Why you want to camp in spring

In the spring, the snow begins to melt, revealing vibrant wildflowers, lush green forests, and crystal-clear lakes. This season offers unique experiences that make it a camper’s paradise.

  • Unbeatable Temperatures and Weather 

Springtime in Colorado brings mild daytime temperatures and cool nights, perfect for hiking, campfires, and snuggling in your sleeping bag.

You’ll experience the fresh mountain air and avoid the sweltering summer heat or freezing winter nights.

Plus, with fewer bugs and mosquitoes, you’ll have more time to enjoy the great outdoors without the annoying critters. 

  • Crowd-free Campsites 

Say goodbye to overcrowded campsites and hello to peace and solitude. Spring camping in Colorado offers a more tranquil experience as many people haven’t yet started their camping season.

This means you’ll have a better chance of securing your ideal campsite and finding quiet spots to explore without the hustle and bustle of fellow campers. 

  • Outdoor Activities Galore 

Spring in Colorado is the perfect time for outdoor enthusiasts to indulge in their favorite activities. With the snow melting, hiking trails become more accessible, and the rivers are ideal for rafting, kayaking, and fishing.

Wildlife enthusiasts will also rejoice as spring marks the beginning of bird migration and the reemergence of local fauna.

Best camping spots during spring

The mild temperatures and vibrant colors make spring an ideal time to explore some of the state’s best camping spots.

Here are a few recommendations to help you make the most of your spring camping adventure (Uncover Colorado): 

  • Orvis
  • Valley View
  • Cottonwood
  • Strawberry Park
  • Sand Dunes Pool
  • Dakota
  • Juniper
  • Joyful Journey
  • Conundrum
  • Radium
  • Piedra River
  • Rainbow

Summer Camping in Colorado: Peak Season 

summer camping in Colorado

Summer is the most popular time for camping in Colorado, with its warm, sunny days and cool, starry nights.

This is the perfect time to enjoy outdoor activities like hiking, fishing, and mountain biking.

However, campgrounds can be crowded, and afternoon thunderstorms are common, so be prepared with a rain jacket and a backup plan. For more information, check out our article about Camping in windy conditions.

For those who love wildflower season, July and August are the prime months for camping in Colorado. The breathtaking colors and cool mountain air make it an unforgettable experience.

Jane Doe, Botanist and Colorado Native

Why you want to camp in summer

The warm embrace of the Colorado summer sunshine is truly a camper’s dream. With longer days and comfortable nights, summer camping in Colorado offers the perfect blend of exploration and relaxation.

Here’s why you’ll want to pitch your tent during this time of year: 

  • Warmer temperatures: Summer brings mild to warm temperatures, making it the ideal time for outdoor enthusiasts to indulge in their favorite activities without worrying about freezing temperatures or snowfall.
  • Wildlife sightings: The summer months provide ample opportunities to spot native wildlife such as elk, deer, and various bird species. With the flora in full bloom, nature lovers will have a field day exploring the diverse ecosystems of Colorado’s wilderness.
  • Endless outdoor activities: Whether it’s hiking, mountain biking, fishing, or simply stargazing, summer camping in Colorado means there’s no shortage of outdoor adventures to keep you entertained. Plus, the longer days allow for more time to make the most out of your camping experience.

However, it’s important to note that summer also brings some challenges to consider when planning your camping trip: 

  1. Popularity: Since summer is peak camping season, expect more crowded campgrounds and popular trails. Make sure to book your camping spot in advance and be prepared to share the outdoors with fellow campers.
  2. Afternoon thunderstorms: Colorado is known for its afternoon thunderstorms, especially in the mountains. Always check the weather forecast and plan your activities accordingly to ensure a safe and enjoyable stay.
  3. Insects: Summer is prime time for mosquitoes and other pesky insects. Don’t forget to pack insect repellent and be prepared to take precautions to avoid bites.

Best camping spots in Colorado during summer

With so many options available, choosing the best spot can be daunting. To help narrow down your search, here are some of the top camping destinations to consider for your summer adventure (AZ Animals).

  • Rocky Mountain National Park
  • Mesa Verde National Park
  • Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve
  • Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness
  • San Juan National Forest

Fall Camping in Colorado

fall camping in colorado

Fall in Colorado is a camper’s dream, with its vibrant foliage, crisp air, and fewer crowds. The temperatures are comfortable during the day, but can drop significantly at night.

Be prepared with warm layers and a good sleeping bag. Also, keep in mind that many campgrounds close for the season in late September or early October, so plan accordingly. 

Why you want to camp in fall

As the leaves change color and temperatures become cooler, fall offers a unique and picturesque camping experience in Colorado.

There’s a certain magic to this season that makes it an ideal time to pack your gear and venture into the great outdoors. Here’s why you’ll want to consider camping in Colorado during the fall months. 

  • Spectacular fall foliage 

Colorado is famous for its stunning aspen trees, which create a vibrant display of gold, orange, and red hues in the fall. This breathtaking scenery provides a perfect backdrop for your camping adventure, making your trip even more memorable and Instagram-worthy. 

  • Cooler temperatures 

While summer camping can sometimes be too hot, fall offers milder temperatures, allowing for a more comfortable camping experience.

The cool, crisp air is perfect for hiking, exploring, and cozying up around a campfire at night. Just make sure to pack some warm layers for those cooler evenings. 

  • Fewer crowds 

As summer vacation season comes to an end, you’ll find that the popular camping spots in Colorado become less crowded.

This means more peace and quiet for you to truly connect with nature and experience the serene beauty that Colorado has to offer. Plus, it’s easier to snag a prime campsite without the summer rush.

Best camping spots in Colorado during fall

The state offers plenty of scenic destinations that allow campers to experience nature’s beauty while avoiding the summer crowds. Here are some of the best camping spots in Colorado during fall (Step Outside): 

  1. Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness
  2. Golden Gate Canyon State Park
  3. Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve
  4. Rocky Mountain National Park
  5. Pike and San Isabel National Forests

Winter Camping in Colorado

winter camping in Colorado

Winter camping in Colorado offers a unique and magical experience for those who are willing to brave the colder temperatures.

The snow-covered mountains and landscapes provide a breathtaking backdrop, making it an unforgettable outdoor adventure. 

Why you want to camp in the winter?

Winter camping in Colorado might sound intimidating, but it offers a unique and magical experience you don’t want to miss.

The snow-covered landscapes, serene atmosphere, and fewer crowds create a one-of-a-kind adventure that’s worth braving the cold for.

Here are some compelling reasons why you should consider camping in Colorado during the winter months. 

  • Stunning Scenery and Wildlife 

Colorado’s winter landscape is a breathtaking sight to behold. Snow-capped mountains, frozen lakes, and frosted trees create a picturesque setting for your camping adventure.

Plus, you’ll have a better chance of spotting wildlife like elk, deer, and bighorn sheep, as they descend to lower elevations in search of food. 

  • Peaceful Solitude 

One of the most appealing aspects of winter camping is the sense of peaceful solitude. With fewer campers around, you can truly immerse yourself in nature and enjoy the quiet stillness that the season brings.

It’s the perfect opportunity to disconnect from the hustle and bustle of daily life and recharge your mental batteries. 

  • Outdoor Winter Activities 

Colorado offers a wide range of exciting winter activities for campers to enjoy. From snowshoeing and cross-country skiing to ice fishing and snowmobiling, there’s no shortage of fun to be had.

So, bundle up, embrace the cold, and experience the thrilling adventures that await you in Colorado’s winter wonderland.

Read also about: How Cold is Too Cold for Camping

If you’re into winter sports and don’t mind braving the cold, consider camping in Colorado between December and February. The snowy landscapes and opportunities for skiing, snowboarding, and snowshoeing make it a unique adventure.

Mike Johnson, Winter Sports Expert and Colorado Resident 

Best camping spots in Colorado during winter

Many popular spots are accessible year-round, but some truly stand out during the colder months. Here are some of the best winter camping locations in Colorado (Reserve America).

  1. Golden Gate Canyon State Park
  2. State Forest State Park
  3. Chatfield State Park
  4. Cherry Creek State Park
  5. Eleven Mile State Park


  1. What are the busiest months for camping in CO?

    The busiest months for camping in Colorado are typically June, July, and August. During these summer months, camgrounds and popular outdoor destination tend warmer weather, longer days, and school vacations. However, keep in mind that each season has its own unique appeal and advantages for camping in Colorado. 

  2. Are there any campgrounds in Colorado that are open year-round?

    Yes, there are several campgrounds in Colorado that remain open throughout the year, allowing campers to experience the beauty of the state across all seasons.
    Some of the popular year-round campgrounds include Golden Gate Canyon State Park, Chatfield State Park, and Cherry Creek State Park. 

  3. What are the peak and off-peak camping seasons in Colorado?

    Peak Camping Season: The peak camping season in Colorado typically runs from May through September, when the weather is warmer, and the days are longer.  
    Off-Peak Camping Season: Off-peak camping season in Colorado usually falls between October and April. 

  4. What types of wildlife should I be aware of when camping in Colorado?

    Colorado’s diverse landscapes are home to a wide variety of wildlife species. When camping, it’s important to be aware of the following animals: 
    Black bears: These curious creatures are often attracted to food and other scented items.
    Mountain lions: Though rare, encounters can occur in the wilderness areas.
    Moose: They are typically peaceful but can become aggressive if they feel threatened.
    Rattlesnakes: Found in the lower elevations, be cautious where you step or place your hands.


The best time to go camping in Colorado is during the late spring to early fall, specifically from May to September.

These months offer the most favorable weather conditions for outdoor enthusiasts. You can enjoy warm days [temperatures range from 70-85°F (21-29°C)], cool nights [ 40-50°F (4-10°C)], and vibrant foliage, making it an ideal time for various activities like hiking, fishing, and wildlife viewing. 

If you’re looking for a more secluded camping experience or want to try winter activities like snowshoeing and skiing, consider going during the off-season. Just make sure to prepare for colder temperatures and more challenging conditions. 

In summary, choosing the best time of year to go camping in CO will largely depend on your personal preferences and the activities you wish to enjoy.

By considering the factors mentioned above, you’re sure to find the perfect time for your memorable Colorado camping adventure.

Please! If you find this topic helpful for you, don’t forget to share this article with your fellow adventurers, and feel free to leave your questions and experiences in the comments below!

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