The thought of roasting marshmallows over a campfire, sleeping under the stars and waking up to a stunning sunrise warming your soul sounds pretty awesome, doesn’t it? But so does electricity, a bathroom and 400 thread-count sheets.
Don’t fret: There are still plenty of ways to sleep in Colorado’s great outdoors, even if you’re not quite ready to rough it. You, my friend, should be glamping.
Imagine going for a hike through sun-dappled woods and splashing in a creek, then spending the afternoon reading a book and sipping tea at a bistro table. Picture yourself enjoying dinner — prepared with real cookware, no less — as a fiery sky colors the horizon. Then, feel the warmth of that glass of wine and the comfort of a real bed.
That’s the essence of glamping — short for glamorous camping — and it’s a global trend gaining popularity among outdoor enthusiasts. And it’s easy to understand why. When glamping, there’s no tent to pitch, no sleeping bag to pack around, no trek to use the bathroom. But there are permanent tents, yurts and other small structures offering beds, electricity, water — and sometimes kitchens, air conditioners, Wi-Fi and more.
In short, it’s an easy way to experience Colorado’s great outdoors while still enjoying many of the comforts of home. Here are great spots to “not-so-rough it” in gorgeous parts of the state.
Arapaho Valley Ranch, Granby
In the northwest Colorado town of Granby, Arapaho Valley Ranch offers luxurious glamping tents that sleep up to six and well-appointed teepees great for couples or small families of three. Each glamping tent in Miners Camp has its own fire pit and wooden deck overlooking the ranch’s private Little Indian Lake, where you’re guaranteed to catch a fish during your stay. Inside, you’ll find a kitchen stocked with dishes and cooking utensils, a dressed queen bed and enough space for two additional cots or air mattresses.
Want to get in touch with your American Indian side — or just do something really different? Elevated and lined to protect you from the elements, Arapaho Valley Ranch’s teepees offer a queen-size log bed, camp kitchen and, if needed, an additional cot or crib. Themed décor brightens up the inside, while a large community fire pit outside gives you the chance to cook and converse with other guests.
With either sleeping option, you can fill your days fishing, hiking and exploring nature trails, yet still have a cozy place to rest at night. Additional onsite amenities include picnic areas, restrooms with showers, a nearby lodge and bar — and yes, even Wi-Fi.
Dunton River Camp, Dolores
Down in the southwest corner of the state, Dunton River Camp in Dolores offers a variety of “bespoke” mountain or river tents that let you enjoy a little luxury while camping in the Colorado Rockies. And the views? Unmatched.
Four mountain tents nestled in the aspen trees provide stunning views of the 14,160-foot El Diente Peak, San Juan Mountains and the Wilson Range, complete with a king bed, bathroom with soaker tub and shower, gas stove, telephone, Wi-Fi and two mountain bikes to use at your leisure. River tents offering the same amenities sit steps from the West Fork of the Dolores River, just close enough to let the trickling water lull you to sleep each night.
The Glamping Co., Lakewood
Based in Lakewood between Denver and Golden, The Glamping Co. currently offers Lotus Belle yurts in three awesome locations — Kenosha Pass, the Platte River and Larkspur — although they move around from time to time to provide different locales and experiences.
Better yet, they’ll have your place all set up before you arrive, giving you more time to enjoy nature with the friends, family or special someone you’ve brought along for this outdoor adventure. Your hosts will also happily share recommendations for nearby outdoor activities, shops and restaurants to enjoy during your stay.
With window coverings allowing you to regulate the temperature inside, each 13-foot-wide yurt is bug and waterproof and gives you plenty of space to relax and move around without feeling crowded. Remember: We’re glamping, not cramping.
Pa Dutch at Wee Casa, Lyons
If you really want to take glamping to the next level, head to Colorado’s Front Range to jump on the tiny house bandwagon currently taking HGTV by storm. At Pa Dutch at Wee Casa in Lyons, you can book your own 186-square-foot abode offering even more of the comforts of home. Albeit a very, very tiny home.
Bathroom, bath products, towels and bedding. Cookware, refrigerator and stove. Ceiling fan, fire pit, even a French press for your morning cup of joe. Check, check and check. They’re all included, and then some, as you can see in this neat video.
You’ll also be directly across from Rocky Mountain National Park, a short walk from the town of Lyons and just a 25-minute drive to Estes Park and Boulder. That sweet location puts you close to mountain biking, hiking, backcountry trails, fly-fishing, climbing, whitewater kayaking, horseback riding and even more camping (the regular kind).
Echo Canyon Campground, Cañon City
For something even more rustically luxe, head to south-central Colorado’s breathtaking Royal Gorge Region. In addition to rafting adventures, a popular riverside restaurant, RV campsites and primitive/secluded tent sites, Echo Canyon River Expeditions in Cañon City rolls out the red carpet in a deluxe glamping community that offers a unique, neighborhood-type feel.
Echo Canyon Campground features a collection of fully equipped glamping tents featuring queen beds, sleeper sofas, electricity, Wi-Fi and a furnished, private deck. Most importantly, they’re proud that each tent comes stocked with a bag of ice to keep your beverages at the ready. Because they know “the first thing you’ll want to do is relax, put your feet up and take in the Royal Gorge Region’s amazing scenery.”
For yet another step up the luxury camping ladder, try Echo Canyon’s rustic cabins — although we use the term rustic very loosely here. With a modern design and creature comforts like central air and flat-screen TVs, these really will be your outdoor home away from home. Check out this video for a neat sneak peek.
Additional Places to Glamp in Colorado
- Piney River Ranch, Vail
- Basecamp 550, Rangely
- Windstock Acres, Creede
- Castle Rock Camp at The High Lonesome Ranch, DeBeque
- Collective Retreats, Vail