in Camping / by
Roofnest was founded on the belief that escaping from the familiar sights and sounds of your daily routine and immersing yourself in nature refreshes, relaxes, and reminds you of what’s most important.
And in those moments, what could come into sharper focus than sharing the awe-inspiring beauty of the great outdoors with your family?
Camping with our family is a way that many of us get our first exposure to the wonder of sleeping under the stars. That’s why we’re such strong supporters of helping families get outside faster, where memories await.
Whether you’re new to Colorado or it’s your family’s first time camping in the Rockies, it’s important to choose a camp spot that offers both an intimate experience with nature while still providing a few important comforts.
Here’s our list of family-friendly camp spots around Colorado, from the most accessible to the slightly more rugged.
1. Mountain Park Campground
Just 40 miles from Fort Collins, Mountain Park is the perfect gateway to the Rockies for first-time family campers.
When you pull up to your site in Mountain Park, you and your family will be wowed by lush meadows, dense forest, and steep mountain peaks that surround the established sites. But all that bountiful nature doesn’t mean you’ll be out in the bush — comforts include restrooms, water, pay showers, horseshoe pits, and a playground area.
During the day, your family can go wild and make memories with classic outdoor adventures like fishing, white water rafting, and hiking. And once the evening rolls around, you can stay warm and swap stories around a crackling camp fire.
Each site contains a tent pad, fire grate, and picnic table, so you’ll have plenty of room to lay out your kiddos’ favorite snacks and board games. Sites are available on a first-come, first-served basis outside the reservation season. Make your reservations and check availability for Mountain Park Campground here »
2. Green Mountain Reservoir Campgrounds
If your kids are a couple of water guppies, Green Mountain Reservoir is the ideal campground for first-timers to try their hand at camping and stay cool while doing it.
At Green Mountain, you can alternate between classic camp activities, like hiking, biking, and picnicking, with fun on the water — including boating, stand-up paddle-boarding, and swimming at the beach.
Day hikes around Green Mountain Reservoir include:
- Brush Creek Trail #68
- Eaglesmere Trail #61
- Elliot’s Ridge Trail #1889
- Lost Lake Trail #64
- Lower Cataract Lake Loop Trail #57
- Surprise Lake Trail #62
- Upper Cataract Lake Trail #63
There are 7 different campsites to choose from around Green Mountain Reservoir, giving your family plenty of options to choose from. And nearly all the campsites give you easy access to water activities, so you don’t have to worry about competing for surefire shore space (say that five times fast).
- Cataract Creek Campground
- Cow Creek North Campground
- Cow Creek South Campground
- Elliott Creek Campground
- McDonald Flats Campground
- Prairie Point Campground
- Willows Campground
The majority of campsites (except for the Cow Creek campsites) are on a first-come, first-serve basis, so remember your sun screen and life jackets for the kiddos and get there early.
3. Turquoise Lake
Image courtesy of Alltrails.com
With a name like Turquoise Lake, you can only imagine the pristine beauty and awe-inspiring views that await you and your family at this campground.
Nestled in the forest just west of Leadville, Turquoise Lake earns its name from the iconic Turquoise mines that produced the gorgeous stones throughout Leadville’s history. Now, you and your family can discover the treasures that await in the crystalline waters of Turquoise Lake — namely mackinaw trout, rainbow trout, and brook trout.
Once you’ve had your fill of fresh fish cooked over the fire, stretch your legs and take in the views on one of the many day hikes in the area:
- Bear Lake Trail
- Midland Trail
- Native Lake / Highline Trail
- Timberline Lake Trail
- Turquoise Lake Nature Trail
- Windsor Lake Trail
This area is heavily visited, especially in the summer, so be sure to make your reservation early for any of the sites that take reservations. Below are a few starting points:
Tabor Campground and Belle of Colorado Campgrounds operate on a first-come, first-serve basis.
Amazing views, world-class fishing, and more than a handful of family-friendly hikes…that’s why we love Turquoise Lake.
4. Moraine Park Campground
Rocky Mountain National Park is host to everything from rugged back-country sites to established full-service camp spots. Located just inside the park through the Estes Park entrance, the Moraine Park campsite offers your family the best of both worlds.
With lush meadows, towering Lodgepole and Ponderosa pines, and incredible views of craggy peaks that reach over 14,000 feet, you’ll feel like you’re out in the bush — without having to sacrifice your proximity to the road and other amenities (like a real bathroom).
Scenic driving, hiking, backpacking, fishing, horseback riding, and wildlife viewing are all up for grabs in Moraine Park. And make sure you bring your camera, because Rocky Mountain National Park is rife with grazing elk, bighorn sheep, and moose!
5. Cub Creek Backcountry Campsite
If your little tykes (or teens) are ready to get rugged in the backcountry, the trail that leads to the Cub Creek Backcountry Campsite near Cub Lake is a great place to start.
The campsite is a moderate 2-mile hike from the Moraine Park Road trailhead. This is perfect practice for first-time backpackers as your family gets used to carrying their camp gear on their backs (which is another valid reason that iPad has to stay at home).
The trail to the campsite passes through wetlands, meadows, and woodlands, making for prime animal-spotting and bird watching. And once you reach the site, your family will be awed by the green lily pads and their bright yellow flowers that cover the pristine mountain lake in the summer months.
There are only 2 camp sites available, located in a mixed pine forest on the south side of Cub Creek, about 250′ below the east end of Cub Lake.
Pro-tip: A backcountry permit is required for all overnight camping in Rocky Mountain National Park’s backcountry. Grab a permit at the Park Headquarters Backcountry Office next to Beaver Meadows Visitor Center west of Estes Park, or at Kawuneeche Visitor Center north of Grand Lake.
Camping is one of the best ways to pass down your love for the outdoors to your kiddos. And camping with a hard-shell roof top tent reduces your setup time to less than a minute, so you can spend more time memory-making.
Not only that, but a Roofnest can help parents overome the inertia of getting out the door and on the road to your campsite. All your bedding is already packed in the tent, meaning it’s a simple matter of throwing your food, clothes, and kids in the car when it’s time to go (although we’d advise no literal throwing in these cases).
When heading out to the wilderness with your Roofnest, there are a few ways you can make your weekend safer and easier, especially with young kids. Check out our complete safety guide to Roofnesting with kids »
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