Want to spend the night in Colorado’s great outdoors, gaze at the stars studding the dark skies and toast marshmallows around a roaring campfire, but not completely sold on the whole process of setting up a tent and digging a hole in the ground when, err, nature calls?

Glamping—a portmanteau word for glamorous and camping—is a fantastic fit for those who want to commune with nature, but do so with a ready-made set-up and without sacrificing creature comforts like mattresses, high thread count sheets and private bathrooms.

Here’s a few spots around Colorado where you can enjoy camping’s more leisurely side.

Vail Area: For the Gourmand

Book one of the half dozen safari-style tents at Collective Retreats Vail in Wolcott. They face an open pasture, and if you wake up around dawn you’ll likely see horses grazing in front of your campsite.

Cush amenities include heated blankets (temperatures in the high country plunge at night), bathrooms, plush robes, an en suite bathroom and shower as well as zip screens that allow you to let in fresh mountain air. The glampground also has teepee-style tents set on a hilltop.

Beyond the mountain-chic glamping aesthetic, Collective Retreats’ culinary program is worth writing home about. Food-focused add-ons to stays including a Bubbly and Branding session where you can sip champagne and snack on cured meats and cheeses and then use a branding iron to sear your initials on your own custom charcuterie board. Toast s’mores around a campfire and try your hand at beer poking, a method in which you place a hot iron in your pint, caramelizing the malt sugar.

Sync up your stay with a weekend night, when the Chef’s Tasting menu is available and features hyper-local vegetables as well as dishes like Cornish hen or lime steak with miso butter. Dinner tables are set in fields of yarrow and sagebrush and come with views of New York Mountain in the not-so-far distance. Barbecue boxes are also available.

Collective Retreats is set on the 1,000-acre 4 Eagle Ranch. To add a little activity to your relaxing stay, you can go horseback riding, take a guided hike, sign up for a yoga session, or fly fish in a nearby river.

Royal Gorge Region: For the Adventurer

The Royal Gorge region of Southern Colorado is an adventurous playground. There’s the mountaintop Royal Gorge Bridge and Park, where you can wear a harness and swoop over the river gorge superhero-style at 50 miles per hour and then scale granite walls on the via ferrata route.

But one of the main draws to this section of the state is the fantastic whitewater rafting, with guided trips along the Arkansas River, which runs through Class IV and V rapids churning in narrow canyons.

Rest up at a nearby glamping site. The cluster of colorful Royal Gorge Yurts are perched on the banks of the Arkansas River and you can hear the rushing river from your bed. Luxury Airstreams are also available to rent.

Or, at Royal Gorge Cabins there’s modern cabins, vacation rentals and spacious glamping tents that are a convenient stay close to Echo Canyon River Expeditions, which guides whitewater rafting trips. The swank canvas glamping tents are furnished with pillow-top mattresses, faux antler chandeliers, and a campfire kit and some even have heated floors.

Granby: For Family Travelers

If you loved Oregon Trail as a kid, the Conestoga Wagons at Sun Outdoors Rocky Mountains are calling and make for a fun stay for families traveling with kids.

These luxury covered wagon rentals are outfitted with a king-sized bed and linens and some also have twin bunks. The Old West wagons are part of the Sun Outdoors site, which has a mix of RV and tent sites plus Airstreams, lofts and studios.

The campground has amenities galore, from a pool and hot tubs to bowling lanes, a yoga lawn, bocce ball court and a gem-mining station. Plus, the site isn’t far from Grand Lake, a cute mountain town where you’ll have no trouble finding fudge and putt-putt golf.


published 2023-08-04 13:12:21