in Camping / by Roofnest Team


When it comes to enjoying the wonders and splendor that Colorado’s diverse landscape can provide, Telluride is high on the list of places to visit. A bustling ski mecca in the winter, the warmer season sees Telluride host some of the greatest hiking trails and campgrounds in the state.

One of the must-do activities for anyone new to Telluride is a trip to Bridal Veil Falls. The tallest free-falling waterfall in the state, Bridal Veil is a breathtaking thing to behold. The trail to the top of the falls is of moderate difficulty, and for those who have serious mobility issues, you can drive to the top with a proper off-road rig. If you want to visit the bottom of the falls, the Bridal Veil Trail goes directly from the parking area to the falls, but it is a pretty strenuous hike with the potential for dangerous water crossing depending on the weather and snow melt.

When it comes to camping, the world is your oyster. Telluride is surrounded by public land that is delicately decorated with dozens of off-road trails and campsites. This is truly wild land, so always be on the lookout for wildlife and weather. Storms can arrive suddenly, and thanks to the altitude, you can easily see snow at almost any time of the year. The average low temp in August is still in the mid-30F range.

If you want something close to town, there are several great camping sites located on Mill Creek Road, just west of Telluride that offer easy access. For the best camping views, head south on Highway 145 and go to the Alta Lake Campground.

If you need help finding camping, check out our handy car camping guide.

If you are down for a day trip, Telluride is also just a couple hours away from Arches National Park.

Colorado Renaissance Festival

About halfway between Denver and Colorado Springs, in a small town called Larkspur, you will find one of the largest and longest running renaissance fairs in the United States. The event takes place June through August and provides some of the best fun and events for camping families.

Each weekend is themed, providing multiple weeks of entertainment for anyone who lives locally. Events for 2023 include a Magical Fantasy weekend, an Ale and Art Festival, a weekend dedicated to pirates, and of course there is a whole weekend specifically catered to kids.

Our favorite weekend of the event is the final one. For 2023, that is the weekend of August 5th. The final weekend of the Colorado Renaissance festival is Time Travelers weekend. This is when you get to see the fun shenanigans like folks dressed in Star Trek and Blade Runner costumes wandering around the event. As the final blowout, this is also a great weekend to find good deals from the many vendors and craftsmen. All the entertainers tend to really try and go out with a bang as well knowing they can put all their energy into one last show before they get some time to rest.  

When it comes to camping, there is no camping at the event itself. For families looking for something a little more structured, you can head to Jellystone Park. This is the closest campground to the event, and it’s right off I-25 on the way to the festival.

If you want to get away from the city and spend time relaxing in the wilderness after a day eating smoked turkey legs and listening to minstrels, there is plenty of public land available for use. Head south towards Colorado Springs, and once you hit the town of Monument it will be pretty easy to find off road trails and dispersed camping spots.

Crested Butte

If you can only visit one place in Colorado it might be Crested Butte. Tucked deep into the Rocky Mountains, Crested Butte combines all the best features of Colorado into one destination. The views of Mt. Crested Butte looks straight from a storybook, jutting from the earth like a jagged knife of stone.

Because the town is nestled so high into the mountains, you are surrounded by small lakes and streams as all the snowmelt tries to make its way to the coasts. This makes Crested Butte a wonderful destination for all the fishers out there. Just make sure you check season limits and get that fishing license sorted.

One of the most spectacular parts of Crested Butte isn’t what it has, but what it is missing. Being tucked high in the mountains, miles from anywhere, means that there is little to no light pollution. This is amplified by the fact the town of Crested Butte has several light ordinances. If you want to see the milky way streak across the night sky like almost nowhere else on earth, this is the place to be. And you can even pick your favorite stargazing location.

BLM and public land completely surrounds Crested Butte, making it very simple to find your perfect camping spot. Our current favorite is just a touch west of town. It is an established campground on BLM land called Oh Be Joyful! Campsites are just $10, and the views are unreal. You also get a fire ring and a table. Did we mention it’s situated right along a river as well?

If that is not enough to get you to Crested Butte, don’t forget the town hosts multiple festivals dedicated to art and music all year long, the skiing in the winter is unbeatable, and there are hundreds of miles of great biking trails as well.

Buena Vista Bike Fest

Speaking of mountain bikes and biking, Colorado as a whole has some of the best biking in the country, and the Buena Vista Bike Fest is a great way to experience it. If you want to dedicate your camping trip to going two-wheel crazy, this is your next destination.

The festival sees biking enthusiasts from all over the world converge to tackle some of the most scenic, technical, and longest biking trails the state of Colorado has to offer. Routes range from shorter jaunts, up to full 100-mile long adventures, with options for bikers of multiple skill and endurance levels. If you want to try a longer journey, just make sure you are up to the task. You can see elevation gains as high as 4,800 feet on some of these routes.

Regardless of your trail of choice, the event ends with a big post-ride party, complete with food, local beer, live music and more. For more than two-decades, this event has been the highlight of many MTB calendars.  

Sadly, due to Covid the event was canceled in 2020, and it hasn’t made a return yet. Still, we keep holding out hope that 2024 will be the year where things get back on track and the Buena Vista Bike Fest will return in all its glory. 


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