Camping near Florence

A high desert basecamp for river running, rock climbing, and mountain bike adventures.

95% (2066 reviews)
95% (2066 reviews)

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Camping near Florence guide


Set alongside the Arkansas River in the high desert of southern Colorado, Florence is a small town with a ton of outdoor activities nearby. There’s a kayak whitewater park right in town, fantastic mountain biking nearby in Canon City, and excellent rafting through Royal Gorge. Florence also marks the beginning of the Gold Belt Tour Scenic and Historic Byway, a travel route that connects many of Colorado’s most famous Gold Rush communities. Campers will find plenty of options, including several RV parks close to town and lakeside sites at Lake Pueblo State Park.    

Where to go


Located 45 minutes east of Florence, the city of Pueblo is a culturally diverse city with a vibrant downtown riverwalk. Pueblo offers miles of hiking and biking trails including over fourteen miles of paved trails right alongside the Arkansas River. The nearby Lake Pueblo State Park has several year-round campgrounds as well as boat, kayak, and paddleboard rentals.    

Royal Gorge

Only 10 minutes from Florence, Royal Gorge is a massive 10-mile long 1,200 foot deep canyon  of the Arkansas River and one of Colorado’s most popular tourist destinations. It’s a bit of a tourist trap but it’s still an amazing sight to see. There’s plenty of family-friendly activities here such as gold panning, ziplining, and via ferrata climbing and visitors can walk across the Royal Gorge Bridge, the highest suspension bridge in the U.S.   

Cripple Creek

This once bustling gold rush town has maintained much of its old western character. Cripple Creek’s downtown is lined with casinos, saloons, and shops, and several gold mining tours are offered at area mines. Cripple Creek is located a little over an hour north of Florence via the Goldbelt Tour Scenic and Historic Byway, an unpaved backcountry route through some of the country’s greatest old gold rush camps. Campers will find gorgeous forested spots in Mueller State Park, thirty minutes north of Cripple Creek.  

When to go

Kayaking and whitewater rafting is best on the Arkansas River from April through August. High water is the most exciting time on the river and that’s usually between late May and late June. The best time to hike, bike, and camp in Florence is from March through October. In comparison to Colorado’s high country, Florence experiences a bit more mild winter and many area campgrounds including those at Lake Pueblo State Park remain open year-round. 

Know before you go

  1. Florence is a pretty small town so services are few and far between. Find grocery stores, gear shops, and department stores in Cañon City, 10 miles away. 
  2. Camping at Lake Pueblo State Park is very popular in summer. Reservations are available online and over the phone up to six months in advance. 
  3. Kayak and paddleboard rentals are available at outfitters in Canon City, Pueblo, and at Lake Pueblo State Park.

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