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Thinking About Camping This Summer? 5 Things You Should Know Before Booking Your Campsite

Camping In Colorado

When I was younger and in my 20’s I loved to tent camp and the more remote, the better. But, as I got older and started having children, my idea of camping with a tent and a backpack full of freeze-dried meals slowly turned into glamping more than camping. What can I say, my back can’t handle the hard ground any more. But another change that has happened over the last 10 years is the popularity of camping in Colorado. Blame it on COVID or just the desire for families to spend more quality time together outdoors. The fact is that the rules and availability of camping in Colorado have changed drastically.

We used to be able to just drive to a campground and be able to get a spot. Or hike to a backcountry first come first serve site and set up camp Friday after work and spend the weekend in quiet without worrying about others intruding on our weekend bliss. Now, it takes planning months in advance to book and plan a camping trip in Colorado. Here are 5 tips to make sure your summer camping trip is as fun as you imagined when you planned and had to cancel last year because everything was booked.

1. Decided where you want to go at least 6 ½ months prior to your trip – This is crucial to be able to book the site you want in the location you want.

2. Make sure the Campground has the accommodations you are looking for – If you have a large RV or camper and need hookups, make sure the campground you are considering offers large enough sites with the hookups you need. If you can get by with no electricity, water or dumping station, then you will have a lot more options.

3. Save the booking sites on your computer – You will need to access the websites quickly when it comes time to book. Here are the most common sites used for booking at campgrounds in Colorado:

4. Book your campsite 6 months in advance of the date you want to go – This has become the most difficult part of camping in Colorado. For State or BLM campgrounds, the spots open up exactly 6 months in advance of the day you are looking to go. This is the strategy I use to get the jump on the specific date you want.

  • Pick your date to camp now – When choosing your site, try to visit the campground in advance and choose the sites you like best. Highlight them on your map. You can pick one up at the campsite office or some have a downloadable version on their website.

  • Count back 6 months – Then add a few extra days to the beginning of your trip. I will explain the method to this madness later.

  • Choose your campsite in the reservation calendar – Once you do this, you will need to see when the last reservation for that site ends. You cannot book sooner than 6 months out.

  • Mark your calendar for 6 months - from the date of the end of the last booking for your favorite campsite.

  • Set your alarm for 11:50 pm and login to the reservation site- the night before your campsite opens in 6 months. The site will open in the system at 12:00 am on the day you want to start your trip. Remember to research your campsite in advance to find the end of the last reservation for your specific chosen site.

  • Book your chosen site for the days you want to go – As mentioned earlier, you may have to add a couple days to the beginning of your trip just to get the long weekend or preferred week. You can always cancel these days later or call the park office and let them know you will be arriving later in the week. Yes, you may have to pay for the extra days. But it is worth it to acquire the perfect camp site every time. If you are not going to show up on the date of your reservation, make sure you call the campground ahead of time, to let them know. They have the right to open your spot if you do not show up on the date you have reserved.

5. Book Your RV or Camper Equipment Early – Once you have a site booked, and you want to try glamping, consider renting a camper or Recreational Vehicle through This site is full of options from Recreational vehicles to 5th wheel campers to small teardrop bumper pulls. Many of the owners will even drop off and set up the rig for you. Then all you need do is show up. Be sure to read the full description as there can be add-ons for additional items you may need and many offer discounts for longer usage.

Whether you are a first-time camper to Colorado or a novice, the rules have changed over the last few years. So, planning now will save you a boatload of headaches later and help prepare you for a more enjoyable camping experience.

As a Colorado native, I found that so many of the non-native people that I meet along the way moved to Colorado after visiting this beautiful state. If that is you and you want to find out more about relocating to Colorado, please feel free to call or visit our Explore Colorado page at and take the online Colorado Profile Quiz to find out which areas would be most desirable for your new Chapter lived in Colorado.



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