When you plan your next vacation and you want it to be as immersed in nature as much as possible while exploring new places and seeing some of the most beautiful landscape, then these areas in Colorado will fit that criteria and then some.
With some of the most raw and untouched areas in the US, Colorado can feel like the wild west. Camping is abundant, as well as things to do in the most beautiful areas. While you may think a town of 600 people won't have much to offer, it has a ton. From fun diners, abandoned mines, hiking, camping and wildlife there is so much that these areas have to offer.
Free Camping in Colorado for the Outdoor Adventurer
We love Colorado. From the natural beauty, the nice people and the laid back vibe, there isn't much to find that isn't a reason to want to live or vacation here. The small towns are quaint and full of personality and liveliness that I haven't found anywhere else in the US. They welcome respectful tourists and love to show you around!
Here are our favorites.
With a population just over 600 people, this small town takes you back in time. Whether you are headed here from Durango or Ouray you will get to drive the Million Dollar Highway. A scary and windy highway but amazingly beautiful. That is the first adventure to get to Silverton. Once there, there are not many places to stay, so camping is the most popular. With boondocking in remote sites and established campgrounds you will find something that you can call home for up to 14 days.
Once you are settled, check out downtown. Have a beer at the local brewery, or breakfast at the local cafe. The town also hosts fun events throughout the year. One of my favorite events is the Iron Horse Bicycle Classic. A 47 mile road race that starts in Durango and ends in downtown Silverton. Another fun activity is taking the scenic train ride from Durango to Silverton.
But what about activities to do in the area? Hiking trails are plentiful. Hundreds of miles of some of the most beautiful trails in the United States. Check out Ice Lake, Old Hundred Boarding House and Minnie Gulch. If OHVing is your thing, there are tons of narrow gravel roads to enjoy or get an adrenaline high from. Tourists from all over the world come to take their chance at driving some of the most dangerous roads in Colorado.
Fun day trips from Silverton are Ouray, known as the Switzerland of America and Telluride, one of the most beautiful small towns in Colorado.
Twin Lakes, Colorado
We had never heard of Twin Lakes, Colorado until 2016. It quickly became one of our favorite areas in Colorado. Sitting at a decent 8,563' it will take you a couple days to acclimate. The camping is abundance with beautiful spots with views of the lakes and ample space. Twin Lakes has it's own small town with a lodge and a couple places to get a bite to eat.
There are many activities to do in the area. Fishing, boating, hot springs, kayaking and SUPing. Hiking, of course, is abundant as well. Climb a 14er or search out some beautiful lakes, abandoned mines, ghost towns or wildlife viewing. Turquoise Lake Trail, Mount Elbert and Sheep Gulch Trail.
Fun Day Trips from the area are Leadville, the two mile high town and Buena Vista, the cutest town in Colorado. Then there is also Aspen and the famous Independence Pass.
Buena Vista, Colorado
This small town is so much fun. Aside from the road through some rock tunnels, downtown Buena Vista has a fun coffee shop, bike shop and market restaurant. The population has grown to 2,935 people and has become the next best place to live in Colorado.
There are a lot of activities. White water rafting is very popular in the area, hiking, fishing and hot springs follow closely.
Fun day trips are Twin Lakes and Leadville, mentioned above. Breckenridge is another fun day trip as well.
Grand Lake, Colorado
Find your spot and there are plenty to find. There is a lot of target shooting in the surrounding areas, as well as OHV vehicles playing on the gravel roads. Aside from that there is so much to do in Grand Lake. Rent a canoe, grab an ice cream cone in town and go for a hike. Go fishing at nearby Granby Lake, hike to Adams Falls and find Columbine Lake.
The best day trip from Grand Lake is Rocky Mountain National Park. With beautiful hiking trails and an abundance of wild life there is something for everyone. Some of the most popular hikes are Emerald Lake, Sky Pond and Dream Lake. Chasm Lake is very popular and we missed this one but it's number one on our list.