Winter in Colorado, a time when blizzards alternate with spectacularly sunny skies.
But even as the daylight fades earlier and temperatures plummet, many of Colorado’s campgrounds and glamping resorts continue to operate, offering everything from tent and RV sites to cozy furnished cabins, even at elevations exceeding 8,000 and 9,000 feet.
“Colorado campground operators are a hardy bunch,” said Mary Arlington, executive director of the Colorado Camping and Lodging Owners Association (CCLOA), which hosts CampColorado.com, the travel planning website.
“But this is a good thing because campgrounds and resorts that stay open in winter can be used as base camps for a wide range of activities, such as ice fishing, ice climbing, cross-country skiing, and snowmobiling and, of course, downhill skiing in some of the finest ski resorts in the country.”
Winter camping enthusiasts also enjoy the many sightseeing activities they can do while staying a Colorado’s campgrounds and glamping resorts, since many attractions, such as the historic train rides in Durango and Royal Gorge, continue to operate in the wintertime.
“Some families like to take their kids into the mountains to enjoy mid-winter cabin camping. Colorado also has glamping resorts with luxuriously furnished cabins that are perfect for a romantic weekend getaway,” Arlington said.
CampColorado.com offers an advanced search function that enables consumers to search for campgrounds based on the location, amenities and services they provide. You can find which campgrounds, RV parks and resorts are opening in winter by searching for campgrounds that are open in January, February orMarch.
There are more than 30 campgrounds featured on CampColorado.com that are open in winter. Here is a sampling of the campgrounds and glamping resorts you’ll discover along with information on nearby winter activities and attractions. They are listed alphabetically:
— Base Camp at Golden Gate Canyon in Black Hawk:Located at 9,230-feet, this campground is one of the highest in Colorado to stay open through the winter months. Campsites have no running water at this time of year, but restrooms and shower facilities are available. The campground also offers 12 cabins. Nearby winteractivities include skiing at the Echo Mountain and Eldora Mountain ski resorts, scenic winter drives along the Peak to Peak Scenic Byway, and gambling in the nearby communities of Black Hawk and Central City.
— Garden of the Gods RV Resort in Colorado Springs: This park, which has views of Pikes Peak, complements its RV and tent sites with rental accommodations. Nearby attractions include the Garden of the Gods Visitor & Nature Center, which offers scenic 300-foot sandstone rock formations, hiking and mountain biking trails as well as a wide variety of organized activities for people of all ages, including arts and crafts activities, nature and history hikes and geology hikes for kids. The campground can also be used as a basecamp for visits to downtown Colorado Springs and to the scenic and historic mining towns of Cripple Creek and Victor as well as Manitou, which is famous for its hot springs. The road to 14,115-foot Pikes Peak is also open in winter, but sometimes closes briefly based on weather conditions. The historic Pikes Peak Cog Railway is temporarily closed for maintenance but is expected to open again in 2021.
— Junction West RV Park in Grand Junction: This park complements with RV and tent sites with tiny house rentals. Amenities include spotless restrooms, two dog runs, and a convenience store.
— Lake John Resort in Walden: This 8,200-foot, family owned campground has an ice fishing contest every January. The park also rents out ice fishing huts in six-hour increments. The ice huts can be rented with or without ice fishing equipment. Portable heaters are also available for rent, although no overnight sleeping is allowed in the units. The resort offers RV and tent sites and furnished rental cabins with varying numbers of beds. The cabins also feature kitchen and bathroom facilities. “We are working hard on reviving the place and bringing new energy here,” said Nichole Imm, who owns the resort with her husband, Josh. “We have remodeled just about everything on site including all of the cabins, added a new suite, remodeled the shower houses and general store. We also added the ice hut rentals.” While ice fishing is a big attraction here, other nearby activities include cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and snowmobiling. The resort is close to Delaney Butte Lakes, Big Creek Lake, Cowdrey Lake and the many alpine lakes of the Mount Zirkel Wilderness as well as the Grizzley Helena Trail. The Steamboat Ski Resort is about an hour away.
— Ouray RV Park & Cabins in Ouray: This 8,000-foot elevation campground is family owned and operated by Jason and Amber Perkins. The 7.5-acre park, which has an onsite restaurant that serves breakfast on weekends during the winter months, borders the Uncompahgre River and offers spectacular views of waters in the surrounding San Juan Mountains. Amber says the park’s deluxe cabins are “glamping to the max!” and are often used by skiers who enjoy Telluride Ski Resort as well as people who enjoy backcountry skiing, snowshoeing and ice climbing at the Ouray Ice Park, a place in the Uncompahgre Gorge where more than 250 sprinklers are used to create awe-inspiring walls of ice. The Ouray Ice Park contains over 100 manmade ice and mixed climbs, 11 distinct climbing areas and more than three miles of vertical terrain. The annual Ouray Ice Festival each January features interactive and educational climbing clinics and ice climbing competitions as well as food, music and nightly dance parties.
— Palisade Basecamp RV Resort in Palisade: This campground with frontage along the Colorado River complements its RV and tent sites with rental cabins and cottages as well as two country home suites. Unlike many campgrounds, this park offers winterized RV sites with water.
— Royal Gorge Cabins in Cañon City: This glamping resort is located in a high desert area at the 6,300-foot level at the base of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, eight miles west of Cañon City. While its furnished glamping tents are not available during the winter months, the resort offers fully furnished one- and two-story cabins, which are frequently used by visitors who want to ski at Monarch Mountain Ski Resort, roughly 90 minutes away, or hike or mountain bike in the Cañon City area. Winter visitors also like to take rides on the historic Royal Gorge Railroad, which is open year round. The 800-square-foottwo story cabins include two bedrooms with king size beds and one-and-a-half bathrooms, and complement the resort’s three 600-square-foot, one-bedroom, one bathroom cabins, which also have king size beds. Cabin interiors include modern furniture, including a sofa bed for kids, and a fully equipped galley kitchen. Royal Gorge Cabins is owned and operated by Echo Canyon River Expeditions, which offers rafting tours of the neighboring Arkansas River between April and September.
— Ute Bluff Lodge Cabins & RV Park in South Fork: This 8,209-foot elevation park is so high its amenities include an oxygen bar, where lightheaded winter guests can catch their breath! The park’s RV sites are open in winter, although no water is available at the campsites. Most winter guests stay in the cabins and lodge rooms. The park’s winter guests enjoy ice skating and ice fishing on a nearby reservoir in addition to cross-country skiing and snowmobiling. The Wolf Creek Ski Area is only 20 miles away. The park is owned by Christian Grill, a native of Sweden who obtained his U.S. citizenship in 2005 after living and working at various locations in Europe and South America. He is fluent in Swedish, English, German and Spanish.
— Westerly RV Park in Durango: The campground offers sites for RVs and tent trailers. Visitors use campgrounds in Durango as base camps for excursions on the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad, which offers winter trips in heated coaches on 26-mile trips along the Animas River through the San Juan National Forest.