Colorado Campgrounds: The 100 Best and All the Rest

Where are Colorado’s very best campgounds? Gil Folsom’s indispensible guide takes the guesswork out of sorting through the confusing jumble of campground lists found in most guides. Whether you’re pitching your tent or parking your RV, this guide is all you’ll ever need. Color-coded regions and practical information regarding directions, facilities, and facts about the area make planning a snap. Full-color scenic photographs will whet your appetite before you even leave home! Let Gil lead you to Colorado’s best–in addition to the hundreds of campgrounds that make Colorado one of the best camping states in the country. Almost 500 campgrounds total.

Community Review

  • This appears to be out of print now, which is a shame. Anyone looking to do some camping in Colorado should own this book. It’s a great resource. A few notes:
    ACCURACY
    This was written by a guy who actually visited the campgrounds. This is great, as it adds consistency throughout the book and a relatively common set of standards by which they were rated. Unfortunately, things change and the sites he visited in the early to mid 2000s are no longer the same as they once were.
    Pine beetles have transformed many campgrounds just in the past 5 years. As a camper, it’s been really sad to see the devastation. Wish they’d bring back the non-politically-correct pesticides and really do battle with the beetles.
    Some campgrounds were closed for renovations when the book was written. They are, of course, now open. Others have underwent renovations since the book was published.
    Some campgrounds have changed reservation policies. The author does a great job of noting which campgrounds have reseravable sites and which do not. At this point in time (2013), those designations aren’t necessarily still true.
    So, whether its shade/scenery, reservations, or availability, try to corroborate with other online resources, like reserveamerica.com
    RATING SCALE
    It’s not a ridgid formula destined to provide absolute consistency. The author does a good job overall. However, there are some slight waverings. Best example is Golden Gate Canyon State Park and Mueller State Park. These two campgrounds are nearly identical to each other in terms of amenities, privacy, trees, access to water, access to local communities, hiking trails, wildlife, shade, etc. If one’s a top 100, the other is. If one is not a top 100, then neither is the other. But, Mueller get the nod here, and GGCSP is not deemed a top 100. Has always been a head-scratcher to me.
    There are other things that will naturally cause people do disagree. Sometimes, a deeply secluded 10-site tent-only campground nestled next to a creek among the pines gets a top 100 rating. Other times, a wide-open, barren campground next to a lake and 150 other RV, full-hookup sites gets a top 100 rating. Generally, the author sticks to a tent-camper’s mentality, but you can see him try to appreciate campgrounds that cater to other modes of camping.DESCRIPTIONS
    Generally, the descriptions are fantastic for the Top 100 and anywhere between scant and good for the others. That’s why it’s too bad that some didn’t make the top 100 … not for pride, but because they then lack the detailed descriptions that goes into things like best sites, which areas are closer to the water, which are the poplular areas, etc.
    In general, that’s the one thing I wished was present in each review, regardless of how long or short the review was: top and bottom sites … and why. Something like: Grab sites 4, 8, or 14 for superior tree cover and privacy … avoid sites 16-20 and 31-34 because they are near the road.
    FUTURE
    This book wasn’t a cursory overview based on quick drive-bys or via 2nd and 3rd hand accounts. It was a first-hand account of a guy who went to them all. This type of effort sounds very expensive to me. Perhaps that’s why it’s not been updated and is now out of print.
    I hope someone replicates the effort in the near future.
    UTILITY
    Despite the accuracy issues due to time, this is my go-to book when researching where to camp. Fact is that there is still relatively little information about campgrounds online, save the larger state parks. This is the only book I have that goes into detail about the pros and cons of the campgrounds and occasionally has some site-specific info about rustic places like Chalk Lake or Kenosha Pass.
  • The book is a very good reference on a large number of campgrounds. It has a strength in that it provides pictures, unlike for instance the Moon guide. In my opinion, the book would be better if it covered the CGs more evenly: the authors’ choices of “best” very often coincide with “most popular” (read: “most crowded”) and the quieter campgrounds do not get the coverage that may be of interest to readers.
    Another annoyance I found is numbering of campgrounds. They are not numbered and listed in a logical order that would allow reading about closely located ones in a sequence. Instead, you can read on one and the adjacent one on the map is fife pages down, yet the next one in the text is 50 miles away. This makes one go back and forth between the map and the text if you are trying to get impression on CGs in a certain area.
    However, all this notwithstanding, I think this book is well worth having.

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