Colorado was made for RVing. The state is teeming with an unparalleled network of mountain roadways chock-full of outdoor gems and ancient sites. So, as the pandemic changed our attitudes toward hotels, vacationing in self-contained recreational vehicles surged in appeal across the Centennial State. Here, we answer your most common questions about RV life in Colorado.

Know the Basics

This spring, I towed a TAXA Outdoors TigerMoth Overland, an off-road camper trailer, on a 4,300-mile road trip throughout Southwest Colorado, up to the Pacific Northwest, and back through Yellowstone National Park. After spending nearly three decades of my life camping in a tent or built-out truck bed, sleeping in a RV was more spacious, comfortable, and I could tow a larger load—including two weeks of pantry goods in a pull-out kitchen—allowing me to venture farther from civilization for longer.

But before purchasing or renting an RV (we strongly suggest the latter), there’s a few things to know.

Haulable camper trailers, i.e., motorhomes minus the motor, break down into several categories and require a vehicle with torque (sorry, Prius owners): fifth wheels, pop-up trailers, travel trailers, toy haulers, and truck campers.

Motorhomes are even roomier and feature three categories:

  • Class A: These king-size haulers are the most luxurious and typically have six wheels.
  • Class B: Also known as the campervans you see clustered around a crag. They’re easy to park (being built on van chassises) and feature streamlined amenities.
  • Class C: These midrange motorhomes feature a rooftop bunk space overreaching the front cab, plus a kitchen.

Where to Rent an RV

During the pandemic, RV ownership rose 12 percent across the country, according to the 2021 North American Camping Report. But said owners often only use their RV two to four weeks every year. Our advice: Take advantage!

Outdoorsy is the carsharing version of RVing. And today, RV rentals on the site remain at an all-time high—up 145 percent over this time last year. Thanks in part to that momentum, High Alpine Rentals founder and veteran Blake Collier nearly doubled his rental fleet to 42 recreational vehicles this past year.

Based in Colorado Springs, High Alpine Rentals operates a robust consignment program that stores, maintains, and rents every type of RV owned by campers nationwide—and those partners earn up to $25,000 a year through the service while still being able to use their RV. And both High Alpine Rentals and Denver-based Discover Campervans connect with customers via peer-to-peer rental service Outdoorsy.

“Many travelers fly into Denver or Colorado Springs to start a road trip throughout the West,” says Collier. “We offer full concierge curbside service at the airport or their front door with all their groceries in the RV, plus a complimentary National Parks pass.”

Across the state, dozens of companies offer RV rentals from Cruise America Denver to Mountain West RV Rental in Gypsum and South Fork RV Rental, 66 miles west of the Great Sand Dunes National Park and Reserve. Below are some easy-to-book options in the Denver area:

Where to Camp

When you consider the 24 KOA destinations, other private campgrounds, plus designated and dispersed camping, the RV overnight possibilities are bountiful. According to, more than 400 sites for RVs speckle the state.

“Colorado camping is also very accessible, affordable, and diverse,” says Kayla Manzano, co-founder of Discover Campervans. “There are nicer campgrounds with facilities and hundreds of private, dispersed camping spaces where you can have an oasis in the trees.” She warns that you’ll want to have several camping options before losing cell service en route. Popular campgrounds tend to fill up. (She also recommends reading campsite and road reviews on,, or prior to booking.)

To whittle down a travel plan, consider what amenities you prefer each or most nights including:

  • Access to water, bathrooms, and showers
  • Electric hookups
  • Dump stations. Many towns have dump stations, too, like the Leadville Sanitation District ($10 per RV dump)
  • Pull-through Campsites: If you’re rolling in a Class A or pulling a tow-behind, look for pull-through campsites at established campgrounds, so that you won’t need to backup

Collier’s primary advice: “Do your homework,” he says. “Understand where you’re going and know if your RV is capable, can fit, and is welcome there.” He suggests calling or stopping by the local ranger station or visitor center to confirm your planned route is passable with your setup. With that in mind, scour these sources for your next outdoor stay.

National Park Service: A dozen National Park Service sites are scattered statewide, many of which host services for RVs, including reservable drive-up campsites, bathrooms, showers, water, electric hookups, and dump stations. For instance, Elk Creek Campground in Curecanti National Recreation Area is outfitted for RVs and overlooks Blue Mesa Reservoir. In Rocky Mountain National Park, RVs are permitted at Glacier Basin, Aspenglen, Moraine Park, and Timber Creek Campgrounds—though, sans electric hookups.

Colorado Parks & Wildlife: Colorado has 42 state parks that boast RV hookups from Golden Gate Canyon State Park, northwest of Golden, to Ridgway State Park in the San Juan Mountains.

United States Forest Service (USFS): The USFS manages developed campgrounds—a portion with RV amenities—like Jumbo Campground between Grand Junction and Paonia, and La Vista Campground, 42 miles southwest of Pueblo.

Bureau of Land Management (BLM): Generally, the resources are more primitive in BLM-managed public land but you can often find campgrounds, designated campsites, or dispersed camping opportunities, which varies by location. For instance, Rabbit Valley Motorized Area, near Fruita, permits camping in designated sites only, as does Hartman Rocks Recreation Area on the periphery of Gunnison.

Photo courtesy of Outdoorsy

Safety Equipment

Some RVs arrive stock with safety equipment, though others require an additional purchase. While this list isn’t comprehensive, it’s a good start:

  • Spare tire
  • First aid kit
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Carbon monoxide detector 
  • Portable hotspot device. The primary hindrance of an extended RV campout is limited connection to cell and Wi-Fi service, according the 2021 North American Camping

Idyllic RV Routes

Of the state’s 26 Scenic & Historic Byways, here are several dreamy routes for your bucket list:

West Elk Loop: This 205-mile, lasso-shaped circuit connects old mining communities from Carbondale and Marble to Crested Butte. Kebler Pass, a jaw-dropping segment, is closed from November to April.

Trail of the Ancients: Also in the southwest quadrant of the state, the 116-mile Trail of the Ancients national scenic byway connects archeological sites of the Ancestral Puebloans from the Four Corners Monument to Mesa Verde National Park, Canyon of the Ancients National Monument, and Hovenweep National Monument.

Rocky Mountain National Park Loop: Manzano always recommends campers pursue the Rocky Mountain National Park loop from Denver to the Golden Coors Brewery, Boulder’s Flatirons, Estes Park, then Grand Lake via Trail Ridge Road. Then, head down through Grand Lake and Winter Park. Manzano recommends you bring your mountain bike.

Rocky Mountain West: Collier often recommends road trippers take a two-week loop south to Pagosa Springs, in Colorado then head west to Moab, Utah. Next, go north to Glacier, Yellowstone, and Teton National Parks before looping back to Colorado.

From Colorado’s high-altitude peaks to the crystal-clear lakes, wild and scenic rivers, desert, and rolling plains, the question is, Where will you go next?

“You don’t have to fly into a city and stay or find a town with hotels,” says Manzano. “You can change your plans last-minute—it’s such a great way to travel. Campervans and RVs give people opportunity, flexibility, and freedom.”