5 Great National Forests in Colorado

Colorado is a great place to go camping during the summer months. There are many wonderful destinations to choose from, including several of America’s National Forests. Here are my picks for five of the best ones:

San Juan National Forest

The San Juan National Forest is located near Durango. It features three large camping areas. Some of the campsites are suitable for RVs and equestrians. In my opinion, the Chimney Rock Archaeological Area is one of the forest’s best attributes. Within the archaeological area are the remnants of Native American kivas, a pit house and prehistoric sea creatures. In addition to the culturally significant sites, the forest also offers campers ample opportunities for mountain climbing, mountain biking, hiking and horseback riding.

Rio Grande National Forest

The Rio Grande National Forest is located south of Denver. It features 11 large camping areas with plenty of spots for RV campers and equestrians. Dispersed camping and cabin rentals are also on offer. Onsite activities include mountain climbing, rock climbing, scuba diving, mountain biking and hiking. Hikers should definitely take the time to explore the Wheeler Geological Area and the Ute Creek Trail. I’d suggest bringing a camera along because the views are stunning.

Arapaho-Roosevelt National Forests

The Arapaho-Roosevelt National Forests are located near Fort Collins. Collectively, the two forests offer an array of camping areas to choose from. While in the area, campers may enjoy target shooting, rock climbing, waterskiing, fishing and hiking. I’d suggest that hikers consider exploring the Stormy Peaks Trail and the Devil’s Thumb Trail. Horseback riding and OHV trails are also on offer.

White River National Forest

The White River National Forest is a huge expanse of land with multiple ranger districts. One of the ranger districts is located in Vail. The forest has five large camping areas, each with its own notable features. Campers won’t want to miss the Crystal Mill or the Holy Cross Wilderness Area. The Fulford Cave and Fulford Cave Trail are also worth exploring. Unfortunately, the cave is temporarily closed in order to protect the forest’s bat population. Other activities on offer include target shooting, windsurfing, fishing and horseback riding.

Medicine Bow-Routt National Forests

The Medicine Bow-Routt National Forests stretches from Colorado to Wyoming. Altogether, the forests have six large camping areas and 10 amazing wilderness areas. There are many activities to keep campers busy during their stay. Among the activities on offer are fishing, OHV riding, horseback riding, mountain biking and hiking. I’d suggest that hikers check out the Miner’s Cabin Trail.