A city with easy access to trails, lakes, scenic sights, and camping areas.
Situated at the base of 14,115 foot tall Pikes Peak, Colorado Springs, Colorado is a great basecamp for forays into the Rocky Mountains. From hiking, mountain biking, and boating in the summer to snowshoeing, ice climbing, and skating in the winter, outdoor enthusiasts will find plenty of things to do in Colorado Springs. Considering Colorado Springs is Colorado’s second largest city and it’s only about an hour and half from Denver, you’ll find everything you need in terms of amenities here. Camping options are limited to RV parks in town but you’ll find plenty of campgrounds in the surrounding mountains if you prefer to camp closer to nature.
One of the most visited mountains in the world and the highest peak in the southern Front Range, the 14,115-foot Pikes Peak summit offers incredible views. There are numerous ways to reach the top—you can hike, cycle, or drive up. The fee-based Pikes Peak Highway was built in 1915 and winds 19 miles to the top offering views of lakes and mountains along the way. You can find both tent sites and RV sites in the nearby Pike and San Isabel national forests.
Just outside the city of Colorado Springs, the Garden of the Gods is a wonderland of red rock towers that appear to jut straight out of the Earth. Hiking trails wind among the towering formations, with horseback riding, jeep tours, and bike rentals are offered in the park. Park entrance is free, and although there are no Garden of the Gods campgrounds, several RV parks with full hookups and free wifi can be found right outside the park.
Tucked into the foothills northwest of Colorado Springs in the Pike National Forest, the Lost Creek Wilderness Area is filled with interesting red rock formations, secluded fishing streams, and some of the best camping near Colorado Springs. The Devil’s Head area is popular for rock climbing and has a trail that leads to the Devil’s Head Fire Lookout, one of the few remaining active fire lookout towers in the area. Campers will find endless options for tent camping.
Summer is the busiest time in Colorado Springs. If you want to avoid the crowds, visit March through May or September and October. Anytime between May and October is good for hiking, mountain biking, and climbing. Wildflower season varies based on elevation, but early summer is typically good. Pikes Peak region fall colors often peak between September and October. The Pikes Peak Highway is open year-round but may close periodically due to snow.
While boondocking, or camping without hookups, is popular in Colorado, it is not allowed within Colorado Springs city limits. Instead, you'll have to venture outside the city to find suitable boondocking locations. Nearby public lands, such as Pike National Forest, offer dispersed camping opportunities. Additionally, you can find boondocking sites on private properties listed on websites like Hipcamp. Always make sure to follow local regulations, respect private property, and practice Leave No Trace principles while boondocking.
No, you cannot camp within the Garden of the Gods Park, as it is a day-use area only and does not have any camping facilities. However, there are several campgrounds nearby where you can camp. One option is the Mountain Goddess Property, which is a private campground near Garden of the Gods, including private Hipcamps. Additionally, there are several public campgrounds in the surrounding areas, such as Pike National Forest and Mueller State Park.