Are you ready to experience the sunniest, hottest, and driest summers that Colorado has to offer? With the occasional thunderstorm adding excitement to the mix, you won’t be surprised to find yourself drawn to the refreshing waters, seeking solace in the camping lakes in Colorado.
Whether you’re an avid fisher, a passionate paddler, a swimming enthusiast, or simply someone who craves a breathtaking view and the opportunity to cool off when the heat becomes unbearable, lake camping in Colorado is an unparalleled adventure. With over 4,000 lakes scattered throughout the state, the options for lakeside campgrounds are abundant.
To help you make a choice amidst this vast selection, we have meticulously gathered a collection of the most extraordinary lakes to camp in in Colorado. From these incredible gems, both renowned and hidden, we present to you a curated list that will surely narrow down your options.
The Best Camping Lakes in Colorado
Below are some of the most popular spots for lakeside camping all over Colorado;
Chambers Lake is a magnificent reservoir perched at an impressive altitude of 9,200 feet above sea level. Located a mere 60 miles away from Fort Collins, this enchanting destination is surrounded by the breathtaking Arapaho National Forest, renowned for its awe-inspiring hiking trails.
What’s even better is that you can easily access some of these remarkable trails right from the Chambers Lake campground itself. As you embark on your hiking adventure, it’s important to remain bear-aware, as these majestic creatures are often spotted in the area. Thankfully, the campground ensures your safety by providing convenient bear-boxes for storing your food securely.
Picture yourself in the captivating Gunnison National Forest, just a stone’s throw away from Crested Butte. Here, at Lost Lake’s campground, you have the opportunity to immerse yourself in the essence of getting lost in nature. Although this campground is relatively small and doesn’t offer reservations, don’t let that discourage you! Lost Lake is a true hidden gem, and upon your arrival, you’re likely to discover a perfect spot waiting for you.
Prepare to be mesmerized by the awe-inspiring landscape that surrounds you. Lost Lake is enveloped by some of the most expansive aspen groves found in the entire state, painting the scenery with vibrant hues. The nearby mountains only add to the picturesque beauty, making this area an idyllic haven for camping, especially during the early fall and spring seasons. To top it all off, Lost Lake finds itself nestled in a magnificent cirque, nestled at the base of the majestic East Beckwith Mountain, enhancing the view to new heights.
Perched high above at an impressive altitude of 10,600 feet, Echo Lake beckons as an easy escape from the vibrant bustle of the Denver area. Here, at this elevated oasis, you’ll experience refreshingly cool nights throughout the year, and the best part? The absence of bothersome mosquitoes makes it all the more worthwhile. As you venture to Echo Lake Campground, you’ll find yourself en route to the beloved Mount Evans, one of Denver’s cherished 14ers.
Hiking takes center stage as a popular activity among fellow campers in this remarkable location. The encompassing beauty of the Mount Evans Wilderness Area and the Arapaho-Roosevelt National Forest ensures an abundance of scenic trails that intertwine with the campground itself. With numerous trailheads conveniently situated within the campground, Echo Lake becomes a unique and unparalleled base camp, perfect for embarking on a weekend adventure of conquering majestic mountains.
Little Bear Campground – Island Lake
Imagine yourself in the captivating landscape of Colorado’s Grand Mesa, proudly boasting the title of the world’s largest flattop mountain. This natural wonder is a sanctuary to a staggering 500 lakes, with an extensive network of trails spanning over 3,000 miles, weaving their way through the vast expanse of the Grand Mesa National Forest.
As you settle into the campground, an exciting adventure awaits. Follow the enticing path of the Island Lake Trail, hugging the southern edge of the lake, offering scenic views and tranquil moments. Additionally, within close proximity to the campsite, you’ll discover a multitude of other trailheads to explore. Embark on the World Lake Trail, Crag Crest Trail, Deep Slow Reservoir Loop, or venture onto Forest Service Road 115 leading to the Scotland Trail. Each route promises its own unique charm and beckons you to discover its hidden treasures.
Arapaho Bay Campground – Lake Granby
Arapaho Bay Campground is nestled on the eastern edge of the expansive Lake Granby. As one of Colorado’s largest reservoirs, the waters of Lake Granby can be quite choppy, which might pose a challenge if you’re hoping to indulge in paddle boarding or kayaking. However, fear not, for Arapaho Bay boasts natural barriers that create a tranquil haven of still waters, perfect for enjoying these activities to the fullest!
In close proximity to your campsite, a hidden gem awaits: the secluded Monarch Lake. This enchanting body of water is tucked away so discreetly that it feels as if you’ve stumbled upon it during an adventurous backpacking journey. Yet, in reality, you’ve simply parked your vehicle and taken a brief 200-foot stroll. Monarch Lake, together with Arapaho Bay, offers an idyllic setting for paddle boarding, lake kayaking, and fishing. Speaking of fishing, the bay is home to an abundance of Mackinaw and Kokanee Salmon, presenting an exciting opportunity for anglers to test their skills and reel in some impressive catches.
Haviland Lake is located within the vast expanse of San Juan National Forest, just north of Durango. Discover campsites situated along the serene shoreline, offering easy access to the inviting beach. But that’s not all—the campground itself is adorned with majestic ponderosa pines and graceful aspens, providing not only shade but also a sense of privacy between each campsite, creating a tranquil retreat.
San Juan National Forest, stretching over a remarkable 1.8 million acres of land, is a haven of natural wonders. The landscape here showcases a stunning diversity, ranging from high-desert mesas to awe-inspiring alpine forests and towering peaks. With such a wide array of terrain to explore, you’ll find yourself captivated and far from bored as you immerse yourself in the beauty of this Colorado treasure.
Experience Exciting Lakeside Camping in Colorado Today
Whether you seek solitude, thrilling outdoor activities, or simply a chance to reconnect with nature, the lakeside campgrounds of Colorado offer the perfect escape. So, pack your gear, embrace the sunniest days, and let the enchantment of Colorado’s camping lakes unfold before you. An extraordinary journey awaits, where memories will be forged and the wonders of nature will forever resonate within your heart.