You’ve logged your days on the ski hill, and after a snowier winter than last, we hope you’re well into the double digits—because it’s about time to start thinking about your warm-season tally: nights spent outside. Yes, friends, camping season is nearly upon us. 

With even more transplants flocking to the Front Range and becoming Rocky Mountain weekend warriors, it’s getting tougher than ever to find a private spot to pitch your tent. But fear not—just like most things these days, there’s an app for that. Hipcamp, sort of like Airbnb for both private and public camping spots, just became the first campsite-finding service to integrate real-time federal camping spot availability data into its search service. That means you can navigate to, say, the Rocky Mountain National Park page, and scroll both reservable spots in the park and spots on nearby private land. 

Those private land options are slightly more expensive than Colorado natives’ old standby—that is, point your Subaru in the direction of the nearest “National Forest” sign and stop when it feels right—but they might come with cushier amenities, ranging from trash receptacles or potable water to straight-up glamping accommodations that families or novice campers will appreciate. Icons in the app indicate what each spot has to offer. Plus, making your reservations in advance guarantee that you won’t be shut out of primetime locations. 

Hipcamp founder Alyssa Ravasio hopes by opening up more camping spots via private lands, more people will spend their time outdoors (and benefit from the wild’s healing properties). But moreover, they’re betting landowners will preserve their green acres thanks to the financial incentive the app creates to rent tent or trailer spots. By connecting landowners with campers willing to pay for a spot, Hipcamp wagers, they can leverage our favorite weekend pastime—outdoor recreation—to incentivize the thing we need to keep doing it: conservation. 

The Perfect Spot

In need of Memorial Day weekend plans? Hipcamp’s communications manager Ariana Anthony offers her suggestions:

A stone’s throw from Denver
Adjacent to the South Platte River, Glen Isle Resort can accommodate your tent, or you can book a log-cabin abode—plus it’s just an hour away from the city. $25–$199/night

Your next profile pic
BYO tent (and camera) and watch the sun set over a field of sunflowers—Red Daisy Farm is an actual flower farm. $75/night

Little lake, big view
If you don’t mind sharing this Sangre De Cristo-abutting property’s namesake “Itty Bitty Lakes” with the local ducks and geese, basking sessions await in the splashy sunlight of the peach-leaf, willow-shaded shores. Plus, there are showers and toilets onsite. $35/night

Haley Gray
Haley Gray
Haley Gray is a Boulder-based freelance journalist. Her work has appeared in 5280, Roads and Kingdoms, Boulder Magazine, and the Albuquerque Journal.