Camping Near Boulder
While there is no public camping available within the city of Boulder, there are a few nearby options to help make camping an unforgettable part of your Colorado vacation.
Four private campsites are available at A-Lodge Bolder, located only about four miles from downtown, in Four Mile Canyon. There are two tent-pad campsites and two car-camping spots (no tents) that can be reserved at 303-444-0882. These sites give you access to the amenities of the hotel, including free breakfast and a key to the hostel kitchen. The lodge has a remote, alpine vibe and a new lobby featuring local beers on tap.
For traditional camping, including tent and RV camping, your best bet is to contact the Boulder Ranger District at 970-295-6600. They can point you to campgrounds in the Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forests. Here, you can explore crystalline lakes and dramatic peaks in the Indian Peaks Wilderness, the scenic Peak-to-Peak Scenic Byway, and hundreds of miles of hiking, biking and four-wheel-drive roads. The following campgrounds are near Boulder on national forest land, and (unless noted) can be reserved at recreation.gov or reserveamerica.com:
- Rainbow Lakes (first-come, first served only)
- Peaceful Valley
- Camp Dick
- Olive Ridge
- Kelly Dahl
- Meeker Park (first-come, first served only)
Dispersed Car Camping
The Boulder Ranger District (970-295-6600) will also have information about dispersed camping (camping in the national forest outside of a designated campground with no services or facilities). Information for dispersed camping locations can be found online and through the National Forest Motor Vehicle Use Maps, which can be obtained for free at the Boulder Ranger District Office and on the Forest Service's website.
In addition, there are “designated dispersed” campsites on a first-come, first-served basis at the following areas:
Also check out freecampsites.net for nearby dispersed spots.
Dispersed camping takes preparation. Read this checklist to determine if it's for you, if you're prepared and where you can go.
Nearby State Parks and More
- Golden Gate Canyon State Park (about an hour south of Boulder) is a beautiful, high-alpine area with spectacular mountain views and thick forests. Camping is available at the park's Reverend's Ridge or Aspen Meadows campgrounds by reservation.
- St. Vrain State Park (about 30 minutes northeast) has eight campgrounds located on or near the banks of seven ponds, all of which are an easy walk to fishing, kayaking or birdwatching on the trails that circle the ponds.
- LaVern M. Johnson Park (about 30 minutes north) offers 16 RV sites with full hookups and 17 tent sites along the North St. Vrain River.
- In the neighboring community of Longmont, about 25 minutes north, the Boulder County Fairgrounds is located right within the city and provides a convenient setting for those camping in RVs. Tents are not allowed.
Also check out 4 Spectacular Wilderness Escapes Near Boulder, three of which offer camping and all of which are within an hour's drive from Boulder.
If you'd prefer to go camping with an experienced guide, Colorado Wilderness Rides and Guides is a great option.
Help protect Boulder's natural beauty by remembering these Mountain Manners.
Before you go camping, check for current state fire restrictions and Boulder County fire restrictions. Keep your campfire small, away from vegetation and in a fire ring, if available. And never leave your campfire unattended. To completely extinguish your campfire, drown the fire with water and stir with your shovel. Feel for any heat using the back of your hand. Continue to drown and stir until it is completely out. Here are more important campfire tips.