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It may only be January, but it’s already time to start planning your summer camping adventures. And now, it’s easier than ever to secure a prime spot.
Starting at the beginning of the year, campsites in 15 Colorado State Parks can be reserved through a new online reservation system, eliminating the previous three-day reservation window and the added stress of seeking out “first-come, first-served” spots.
The park managers at Colorado Parks and Wildlife tested the system during a 2018 pilot program at five parks: Cheyenne Mountain, Eleven Mile, Staunton, St. Vrain, and Trinidad Lake. After deeming it a success, 10 additional locations were added to the list, with two more—Lake Pueblo and Chatfield—coming in April. The new system applies to basic, tent-only campsites in addition to yurts, cabins, RV sites, and trailer sites.
Campers can use this system to reserve a site up to six months in advance—and they should do it now as reservations for the high season are already being made. “Campsites for the popular summer dates surrounding holidays have started to fill up,” says Jason Clay, CPW public information officer.
The new system allows not only for efficient planning, but also spontaneity. “For those folks who are certain of their travel and camping plans, it would be best to secure their site early,” Clay says. “Not everyone is able to do so that far in advance, and this new system still allows for last-minute reservations.” Depending on cell reception at the campsites, campers will now have the luxury of booking a site on the spot.
In addition to making the process simpler, CPW eliminated its $10 reservation-only camping fee and will distribute citations to those occupying a reservation-only campsite that has been reserved in advance by another group.
Colorado campers can reserve a spot on the day-of at nearly half of Colorado’s state parks online or by calling 800-244-5613.
The following parks are now available in the reservation system:
- Arkansas Headwaters Recreation Area
- Boyd Lake
- Cherry Creek
- Golden Gate Canyon
- Highline Lake
- Jackson Lake
- John Martin Reservoir
- North Sterling
- Pearl Lake
- State Forest
- Steamboat Lake
- Yampa River
- Cheyenne Mountain
- Eleven Mile
- St. Vrain
- Trinidad Lake
- Lake Pueblo*
*State Parks that will be added to the reservation system later this year.