Colorado Vacations 
Family Travel Colorado 
Your Guide to Visiting Colorado with the Kids
Editor's Picks - Favorite Colorado Campgrounds for Families

With hundreds (thousands?)
of great campgrounds in the state, it's hard to say if these are actually Colorado's best campgrounds for families.

But our editors camped Colorado from top to bottom, in all seasons and weather, and most always with babies, toddlers, school kids, or teenagers in tow.

 They are an opinionated bunch, and they think they know Colorado's best campgrounds to visit with kids.

Pack up the gear, go camping, and see what you think. We bet they aren't too far off the mark!








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Hiking with kids off Independence Pass, Colorado

Photo: Independence Pass, in the central Colorado mountains, offers great hiking opportunities for families. 

Read our Article - Recommended Trip: Independence Pass









Read our Book Review
The Family Guide to Colorado's National Parks and Monuments





Photo: Colorado camping for families is as good
as it can get in this list of great campgrounds.


There is hardly a more Colorado thing to do than spend the night outside.

Something about the rugged scenery and the gold-mining, cattle-driving, covered-wagon, mountain-man history makes you think that a night spent breathing the fresh air and ogling at the stars could be good for the whole family.

Here are our picks for the best campsites for families in the highest state in America.


Western Colorado:

Morefield Campground - Mesa Verde National Park
Best Colorado Campgrounds
With 435 sites, Morefield Campground may be the largest campground in the National Park Service system. It never fills up, as evidenced by the various campsites overgrown with grasses and wildflowers. The views are beautiful. Sites include picnic tables and fire grates, and 15 sites have RV hookups. Drinking water and flush toilets are available, as are shower and laundry facilities and a convenience store.

Families love the meadows that run through the campground, the abundant wildlife for watching, and the scenic, easy hiking trail nearby. Add Mesa Verde's famous cliff dwellings, and super kid-friendly programs run by the National Park Service, and this is a fantastic family vacation spot.



Amphitheater Campground – Uncompahgre National Forest near Ouray

Amphitheater Campground, Colorado
Photo: Rugged mountains form a huge natural amphitheater behind the Amphitheater Campground, near Ouray, Colorado. The cliffs glow gold as they catch the last rays of the setting sun, a dramatic natural show common in this part of Colorado.

The Amphitheater Campground lies just off the Million Dollar Highway, in the gorgeous San Juan Mountains of southwestern Colorado. This campground nestles in the heart of some of the prettiest scenery and most dramatic history in the state.

The town of Ouray, Colorado squeezes into a steep-walled valley beneath 13,000-foot peaks. Part way up the side of the valley, the mountainside curves in upon itself to make a jagged bowl. The campground sits within this bowl or amphitheater.

The landscape is steep, and the hillsides support a lush growth of montane-zone shrubs, trees, and wildflowers. The campsites are carved from the steep terrain, and the Forest Service has constructed sturdy retaining walls to protect many of them from erosion. The view from many sites is unbeatable.

Trail links lead from the Amphitheater Campground to the beautiful Cascade Falls, and then on to the Chief Ouray Mine for a more strenuous hike. The Ouray area is full of other hiking trails (visit OurayTrails.org for descriptions) as well as a wide variety of sites to see and historic places to visit.

Each campsite at the Amphitheater Campground includes a fire grate and picnic table. Water and vault toilets are also provided.




Central Colorado:

Molly Brown Campground - Turquoise Lake Recreation Area, near Leadville

Named for the famous survivor of the Titanic disaster and resident of nearby Leadville, Colorado, the Molly Brown is one of a string of campgrounds that lie along the shores of spectacular Turquoise Lake.

The lake offers scenic (if cold) boating and fishing, and the campground sits right next to a great little self-guided nature trail.

Campsites have picnic tables and fire grills. Drinking water and comfort stations with flush toilets and sinks are nearby. Leashed pets are permitted.

Turquoise Lake is about 5 miles from Leadville, which at just over 10,000 feet above sea level claims the honor of being the highest incorporated city in America. Families shouldn't miss the Route of the Silver Kings driving-tour of spooky derelict mines that once disgorged mind-boggling wealth. The Guggenheims made their riches here, and Charles Dow of Dow, Jones & Company used his
Leadville experience covering the mining frenzy to start his career that included publishing the Wall Street Journal.

To the west of the Molly Brown Campground, hiking trails take families past abandoned, historic railroad beds and sparkling streams. This is Colorado family camping at its best.



Mueller State Park, west of Pikes Peak


Mueller State Park Campground, Colorado
Photo: The Campground at Mueller State Park is ideal for families with young children.

For family camping, it is hard to beat Mueller State Park.

First of all, it’s a fairly short drive from many Front Range cities, and when you’ve got little kids in tow, that’s a big plus. Secondly, it has many of the amenities that make outdoor life with munchkins bearable: modern restrooms, showers, a laundry, and of all fun things, a playground!

Wherever you go in the park, the western side of Pikes Peak shows itself, pushing up the blue sky. Rolling hills and valleys, covered in meadow grasses and broken forests, make great areas for kids to run and explore. Alternatively, a great variety of hiking trails lets families choose a more organized outing. And Mueller’s wildlife watching is outstanding. A group of wild turkeys wandered right through our campsite one morning, dropping a feather for a calling card.

Don’t miss the visitor center with great displays about the natural features of the area.

The campground is open year round, and campsites include a picnic table, and fire grate. Fifteen of the campsites have electricity for RV’s, while 21 are walk in, tents only sites.



Eastern Colorado:

John Martin Reservoir State Recreation Area, near La Junta, Colorado

This prairie campground lies beneath the massif of the huge dam that holds back John Martin Reservoir. Yet with its giant cottonwood shade trees and wide grassy areas, it is a lovely spot for family camping. Small Lake Hasty lies adjacent to the campground, so kids and their parents can walk from their camp  sites to go swimming, or to paddle your non-motorized watercraft.

Sixty-five sites offer picnic tables, and fire grills. Some sites offer RVs electrical hookups and a waste disposal station. Hot showers are available nearby.

And a plus for rut nuts: John Martin Reservoir State Recreation Area sits on a portion of the Santa Fe Trail. Markers and low spots in the prairie show ruts where countless wagons and animals wore deep into the earth with their passing.


Crow Valley Recreation Area – Pawnee Grasslands northeast of Greeley

Crow Valley Campground, Colorado
Photo: Campsites at the Crow Valley Campground, in the
Pawnee National Grasslands of Colorado, are open and
grassy, and scattered in a Cottonwood forest.


Wind sweeps unhindered across the wide prairies of northeast Colorado, except when it meets low bluffs of sandstone and the occasional tiny town with a grain elevator.

Crow Creek, or at least its intermittently dry creek bed, wanders through this wide-open land. Northeast of Greeley, the creek has dug itself a little valley. The valley, which now lies in a section of the Pawnee National Grasslands (managed by the National Forest Service), shelters a forest of cottonwood trees.

The cottonwoods, in turn, shelter a lovely campground, with ten campsites, some single sites holding up to 5 people, and others are double sites holding up to 10 people. There is a group campsite as well.

Sites include picnic tables and fire grates or fire pits (sometimes both), and the campground offers pit toilet latrines plus drinking water spigots.

Kids can run around in the large grassy areas (this is a national grassland, after all!) There is a ball field and an outdoor “museum” of antique farm equipment to look at.

One of Crow Valley’s most special features is the way the area attracts a wide variety of bird species. The forest chorus is a constant stream of warbles, chirps, and twitters. It is especially rich at dawn.

For more information, visit the Pawnee National Grassland’s Crow Valley Campground page.



Related Articles:

Camping in Colorado

The Family Guide to Colorado's National Parks
Colorado Guidebooks

Directory: National Parks of Colorado   
    Rocky Mountain National Park
Mesa Verde National Park
    Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park
Great Sand Dunes National Park

Gear for Family Travel

Recommended Trips