As the blustery temps sweep in (and out) of Colorado, summer may seem like a distant dream. But if you are hoping to snag a prime Colorado campsite, the time to reserve is now. Many campsites open the reservations window six months in advance—which means booking in December for a June trip is not out of the question. Desired spots can fill up quickly for summer weekends, and some are so popular you have to book at midnight the day reservations open to snag a coveted location.
Reservation tips: You can reserve campsites online at Reserveamerica.com and Recreation.gov. The latter site also provides tips on securing hard-to-get sites. Lauren Truitt, public information and website manager at Colorado Parks and Wildlife, says that state parks closer to major cities tend to book for summer weekends at the six-month window, and others book closer to three or four months out. Electric sites with full hook-ups also tend to fill up before tent-only spots.
Once you have your reservation strategy worked out, here are five campsites to consider reserving now:
Reverend’s Ridge Campground at Golden Gate Canyon State Park
Near: Golden, Colo.
Reservations Open: December 18
The Draw: Close to Denver
Ideal Time to Go: Early June; This site is a good option earlier in the summer when other campgrounds aren’t yet open for the season.
How to Snag a Spot: The campground has 97 tent and RV spots, as well as five cabins and two yurts. If Reverend’s Ridge is booked, nearby Aspen Meadows is another option for tent camping in the summer months.
Highline Lake Bookcliff Campground
Near: Grand Junction, Colo.
Reservations Open: Year-round
The Draw: A lake with boating and a swimming beach.
Ideal Time to Go: Late August when the weather is warm and nearby fruit orchards are in full swing.
How to Snag a Spot: There are only 32 reservable spots. If you miss the window for booking a summer escape, try visiting in the spring or fall instead.
Moraine Park Campground, Rocky Mountain National Park
Near: Estes Park, Colo.
Reservations Open: November 25
Ideal Time to Go: September offers fall colors and a better chance at spotting wildlife.
The Draw: Kid-friendly, with a beautiful meadow and mountain setting.
How to Snag a Spot: With 239 spots to reserve, this is a bigger campground, so you probably don’t need to rush to book. But it’s still best to reserve a place as early as possible for holiday weekends.
Bogan Flats Campground
Near: Carbondale, Colo.
Reservations Open: November 26
Ideal Time to Go: July, when the wildflowers are in full bloom.
The Draw: The Crystal River and nearby historic town of Marble.
How to Snag a Spot: The 37 spots can fill up quickly on summer weekends, so reserve in advance. Weekdays are often a less busy option.
Haviland Lake Campground
Near: Durango, Colo.
Reservations Open: November 12
Ideal Time to Go: August, to take advantage of the warmer weather.
The Draw: Fishing and boating
How to Snag a Spot: There are only 26 reservable sites, so act early to get one, especially if you want a spot close to lake. If reservations are booked, you can also arrive early to try for one of the walk-up spots.