December 14, 2021 2 min read
Colorado is a hub for out-of-staters to land and launch their epic western road trip. Whether it’s flying into Denver and heading west towards Utah, up to the Rocky Mountains or visiting the 4 National Parks, Colorado has a lot to offer. Additionally, with 300 days of annual sunshine and mild temperatures there's never a bad time of year to road trip and car camp in Colorado.
Unfortunately the word is out and traffic at popular locations is growing. So if you plan to visit Colorado we recommend considering alternative towns to camp near that are off the beaten path. Take some notes from our list below, upgrade your camera gear and sleeping pad (hopefully a HEST camping mattress) and book your flight.
Here are our 5 ‘almost secret’ towns in Colorado you should visit while you road trip the centennial state.
1) Buena Vista, Colorado
Buena Vista is located about 2 and a half hours from Denver situated between the Collegiate Peaks and the Arkansas River in south-central Colorado. It’s known for its laid-back, mountain-town vibe with amazing views of snow capped mountains. Plenty of dirt roads throughout the Collegiate Peaks where you can find great free camping on BLM (Bureau of Land Management) off the grid camping. Enjoy hiking one of the many 14ers (fourteen thousand foot mountains) and driving into town after to grab a Crank Yanker IPA at Eddy Line brewery.
2) Fruita, Colorado
Fruita is a paradise for all outdoor enthusiasts. Just west of Grand Junction Colorado and close to the Utah border, enjoy the dry desert climate mixed with Colorado Mountain vibe. You can find endless dirt roads outside of town that provide you with many camping options.
3) Salida, Colorado
Close to Buena Vista, Salida has an even smaller local town feel. An all-season town, you can get your skiing fill at Monarch or the back side of the pass as well as mountain bike through the hundreds of miles the Sawatch Range has to offer. No off season for this western town. With plenty of BLM land surrounding, you will have no issue finding a secluded camping spot to yourself.
4) Marble, Colorado
If you want to go further off the beaten path, then head to Marble. With roughly 131 locals, Marble is a true western Colorado town frozen in time. A great destination in the winter for backcountry skiers, you can get some great untouched lines throughout this dead-end canyon in the Elk Mountain Range.
5) Crestone, Colorado
If Crestone was a person, it would be the poet in your friend circle. Hidden away in the northern San Luis Valley at the base of the Sango de Cristo Mountains, Crestone can provide you an escape from reality. With easy access to hiking and camping, this town is a great retreat to unwind. Roughly 3 and a half hours from Denver, this town gives you an alternative experience that is located close to the Great Sand Dunes National Park.