Every outdoor adventurer looks forward to the winter months. Yes, summer camping is great for the warm weather and endless sunshine. However, winter camping is unique and just nothing like it, especially in Colorado. Just imagine waking up after a cozy night’s sleep in your campervan, to a quiet, winter wonderland.
Your camping spot is less crowded and you can hit the trails without running into hordes of visitors. Not to mention, winter camping allows for snowshoeing, snow skiing, hiking, and a variety of winter sports and activities. Our team has compiled our top six favorite winter camping spots, situated for dry and wet climates, for you to enjoy on your vanlife excursion.
Colorado National Monument
Saddlehorn Campground is the only campground located inside Colorado National Monument and it is the go-to winter camping spot for your visit. The Saddlehorn Campground features drive-in camping and trail access directly from your campsite. This site is set up with all the amenities.
The best part of Saddlehorn Campground is the insane views. Campers are surrounded by towering monoliths, canyon walls, and bighorn sheep. This campground is truly a hidden wonder. Make sure to reserve your campsite early, this spot can fill up quickly!
Located only a few miles from Grand Junction, Colorado National Monument offers a variety of activities. The climate is fairly moderate so snow and ice are typically not an issue for winter campers, and trails stay fairly clear throughout the winter months. Those looking for some cross-country skiing, downhill skiing, or snowshoeing can stop at Grand Mesa while visiting Colorado National Monument.
Great Sand Dunes National Park
Pinon Flats Campground, located in Great Sand Dunes National Park, is a must. The dunes in Great Sand Dunes National Park are the largest in North America and from Pinon Flats, campers bask in the views of both mountains and towering dunes. The best part of Pinon Flats is the easy access to Great Sand Dunes NP’s dune trails and off-road tracks.
Don’t expect much by the way of amenities, but campers can rest assured they’ll have all they need in their Native Campervan. Winter is a great time to visit Great Sand Dunes NP because visitorship is down and popular activities like sandboarding are less crowded.
Rocky Mountain National Park
If you’re planning on visiting Rocky Mountain National Park this winter then the Moraine Park Campground is the number one place for winter camping. Moraine Park is located inside Rocky Mountain National Park. Campers can experience the awe-inspiring views that make RMNP famous, all from their campsite.
Moraine Park is a well-set up campsite with toilets, running water, and garbage service. From Moraine Park, campers can hop on a free shuttle that takes them to trailheads all along the Bear Lake corridor.
Oil Well Flats Recreation Area is another great winter camping spot for Native Campervan enthusiasts. This spot is free and a dispersed campsite just outside of Canon City, CO. There’s not much in the way of amenities, but it offers a quiet place to park your van and enjoy a magical snowy night.
Canon City offers a little something for everyone in the winter with its mild weather. We suggest taking a stroll along the River Walk Trail or going for an off-road jeep tour. If you’re looking for a way to see the sights and stay warm, ride the Royal Gorge Train.
Add Oil Well Flats and Canon City to your winter camping list this year!
Another favorite is the North Fruita Desert Campground in Fruita, CO. Fruita is only 8 miles from Colorado National Monument. If you’re a mountain biking aficionado, you’ll want to visit Fruita because it features the 18 Road Trails. The North Fruita Desert Campground sits in the heart of 18 Road Trails. 18 Road Trails is a world-class, mountain biker paradise with over 250 miles of recreational trails. This campsite is a little rough, with only four vault toilets and little amenities. It is only open through November.
Mountain bikers looking for a camp spot after November can check out the James M. Robb-Colorado River State Park. This campsite is a little pricer as far as campgrounds go but it is well taken care of and only a few miles from the many trails of 18 Miles Road.
Don’t miss out on the wonders of Fruita this winter.
Buffalo Campground is a great winter camp spot in Buffalo Creek Recreation Area. Only an hour outside of Denver, it makes for a great weekend trip with access to 40+ miles of trail, particularly great for bikers and hikers.
This campground is at 7,000 ft elevation and is guaranteed to be cold and snowy in the winter! You’ll want to pack accordingly and maybe bring some extra layers. Don’t fear though, this campsite is easily accessible from the highway.
Get ready for some winter fun at Buffalo Creek!
Colorado winter camping can be intimidating, especially if it’s your first time. A campervan and this list of accessible winter camp spots is a great way to get your feet wet with winter camping. Even if you’re a regular in the winter camping scene, we hope these spots make it into your winter camping lineup. Let us know how your winter camping adventure goes by tagging us on Instagram (@nativecampervans). We look forward to seeing all the winter shenanigans you get up to in your Native Campervan. If you’re looking to rent a van, go to our Campervan Rental Denver page for more info.