5-Day Colorado Street Journey In A Camper Van

5-day road trip through Colorado in a camper van

I’ve at all times needed to do a highway journey by means of Colorado – and this summer season, we lastly went on a highway journey by means of Colorado in a camper van!


Outdoorsy camper van

Final yr once I did the Utah highway journey, I booked a camper van on Outdoorsy and liked the expertise so booked a camper van on Outdoorsy for Colorado. Outdoorsy is the world’s largest RV rental website! We LOVED with our camper van – range prime, oven, fridge, bathe, & bathroom. It was so handy to camp in a single day in campgrounds, make espresso/breakfast, pack up and hike. The continuous flight from Austin to Denver for round $100 and picked up our camper van!  

SEE ALSO: 11 Finest Issues To Do In Breckenridge Colorado

I needed us to expertise the last word highway journey by means of Colorado so I reached out to Abigail – an area author in Colorado who does camper van journeys all through the state! 

Jane has visited Colorado on numerous events, however for this most up-to-date tour, she consulted an area journey knowledgeable. My identify is Abigail and on this information, I’ll stroll you thru the plans I shared with Jane as she readied for her 5-day summer season camper van journey in Colorado.

Earlier than flying into Denver, Jane booked their cozy home-on-wheels by means of Outdoorsy. With so many choices, discovering the right car was simple. Shortly after they landed, they have been off to their first expertise. On this itinerary, journey highlights embrace mountaineering in Rocky Mountain Nationwide Park, soaking at Strawberry Park Scorching Springs, and tenting in a few of Colorado’s finest mountain cities.

Whereas this circuit is packed filled with actions, you may clearly decide and select what issues fit your pursuits. And although fairly a little bit of driving is concerned, the unbelievable surroundings is certain to amaze. In case you have much more time to discover the realm, take a look at my 10-day Colorado highway journey itinerary, too! However first, uncover all of the can’t-miss sights in Boulder, Estes Park, Grand Lake, Steamboat Springs, and Frisco.

10% off Outdoorsy with code: KOKO


Packing Record

  • Nationwide Park Annual Move – a day go at Rocky Mountain Nationwide Park price $30, however an $80 annual go is well-worth the additional expense in the event you journey ceaselessly
  • Water bottle – staying hydrated is the easiest way to keep away from altitude illness
  • Daypack – carry one thing smaller than your journey bag to hold outside necessities
  • Sunscreen
  • Lip balm – you won’t count on it, however Colorado has a really dry local weather
  • Mini first assist equipment
  • Child wipes/hand wipes – these turn out to be useful when showers and restrooms aren’t readily accessible
  • Headlamp
  • Sun shades
  • Climbing boots
  • Layers – count on chilly evenings and heat days in the summertime months
  • Rain jacket – afternoon thunderstorms are additionally frequent, particularly in July and August
  • Throw blanket
  • Firewood – buy at or close to every campground to keep away from spreading invasive species, and skim fireplace laws earlier than sparking up your bonfire
  • Skyroam – this moveable wifi hotspot is a game-changer in the event you plan to work from the highway
  • Auxiliary twine and USB charger – remember to obtain your music and podcasts earlier than touring; service is commonly spotty within the mountains


Grocery Record

Beneath are some private favorites when tenting. After all, regulate meals and snacks to your liking, however keep away from buying meals which are simply broken, like bread and sure fruits. Additionally, store for shelf-stable objects when potential, as your camper van will probably have solely a small refrigerated house, if in any respect.

Specifically, Dealer Joe’s and Sprouts have some nice choices, together with:

  • Floor espresso or prompt espresso
  • Half & half 
  • Eggs – buy pre-boiled or pack an egg container to maintain them from breaking
  • Bacon/breakfast sausage
  • Prompt oatmeal
  • Granola bars
  • Path combine
  • Almond butter
  • Apples
  • Sliced cheese
  • Lunch meat
  • Frozen packs of quinoa
  • Scorching canines
  • Marshmallows 


top things to do in Boulder Colorado

Day one – Boulder


Outside recreation abounds in Boulder, a laid again faculty city situated 45 minutes northwest of Denver. There are numerous mountaineering alternatives close by, however listed here are just a few of locals’ favourite areas:


Chautauqua Path

Simply a few miles from downtown Boulder lies a large path community with infinite views of the Flatirons. For a reasonable trek, take a 1.2-mile hike alongside the favored Chautauqua Path. Typically in the summertime, big dandelions line the walkway, and the panoramic views present loads of picture alternatives.

For a bit extra of a problem, attempt the First and Second Flatirons Loop. This 2.7-mile path beneficial properties practically 1,500 ft in elevation and permits you to see the long-lasting sandstone slabs up shut.

Value: $2.50/hour for parking on weekends and summer season holidays

Baseline Rd & ninth St, Boulder, CO 80302


Mt. Sanitas

Simply north of the Chautauqua space you’ll discover the Mt. Sanitas and Sanitas Valley Loop Path. Although brief at simply 3.2 miles, this can be a strenuous hike that shortly ascends up a steep mountainside. The steps are large and in some locations, the rock is free. However the sights in all instructions are gorgeous. Spot the Flatirons to the south, Boulder to the east, and close to the summit, take pleasure in western views of the Continental Divide.

Value: free

Sunshine Canyon Dr, Boulder, CO 80304


Eldorado Canyon State Park

This in style Colorado State Park is 20 minutes south of downtown Boulder, however is well-worth the short detour. Observe that if visiting in the summertime months, you’ll must ebook a timed car entry prematurely.

I extremely suggest the two.9-mile Crags Resort Ruins and Continental Divide Overlook path. The 6.6-mile Eldorado Canyon Path is one other in style selection, as is Rattlesnake Gulch, a 3.6-mile loop. Whichever route you select, you’re assured breathtaking canyon views.

Value: $10 park entrance charge

9 Kneale Rd, Eldorado Springs, CO 80025, https://cpw.state.co.us/placestogo/parks/EldoradoCanyon


Flagstaff Mountain

If mountaineering isn’t your factor, no worries — a drive up Flagstaff Mountain permits anybody to take pleasure in spectacular surroundings. Pull off to take pictures at numerous stopping factors, together with the Dawn Amphitheater and Misplaced Gulch Overlook. If time permits, cling a hammock or take pleasure in a picnic below the ponderosa pines.

Value: free


Pearl Avenue Mall

On Pearl Avenue Mall in downtown Boulder, you’ll uncover alternatives to buy, dine, and watch gifted avenue performers. Favourite stops embrace Liberty Puzzle, Boulder Guide Retailer, and Paradise Discovered Data & Music. You too can peruse a myriad of outside retailers together with The North Face, Black Diamond, and Patagonia.

If you happen to’re feeling hungry, go to one of many food-hall type eateries within the space. Avanti Meals & Beverage gives a casual atmosphere alongside scrumptious plates. Right here, you’ll discover American consolation meals, Venezuelan arepas, Taiwanese noodles, and extra. Down the highway inside Rosetta Corridor’s extra upscale ambiance, a number of cuisines are served together with Peruvian, Center Japanese, Italian, and Chinese language.

If you happen to want a pick-me-up after your scrumptious meal, go to one in every of Boulder’s celebrated tea retailers. Ku Cha Home of Tea and The Boulder Dushanbe Teahouse each serve a wide range of free leaf in beautiful settings.


In a single day in Estes Park Campground at Mary’s Lake 

After exploring Boulder, soar in your camper van and head as much as Estes Park. Following an hour-long drive, you’ll arrive to Estes Park Campground at Mary’s Lake. Right here, 128 campsites serve everybody from tent campers to these in big-rig RVs.

With so many close by facilities, you’ll discover it simple to fill a night’s itinerary. Plus, you’ll be located within the good spot to discover Estes Park and Rocky Mountain Nationwide Park the next morning.


  • Consuming water
  • Flush bathrooms
  • Scorching showers
  • Laundry amenities
  • Basic retailer with firewood and ice
  • Heated swimming pool
  • Kids’s playground

Value: $45 per tent website

Marys Lake Rd, Estes Park, CO 80517, evrpd.colorado.gov/marys-lake-campground

Different campgrounds in Estes Park:

  • Moraine Park Campground
  • Aspen Glen Campground


things to do in Estes Park Colorado | Stanley Hotel

Day Two – Estes Park

The Stanley Resort

Famed as being the inspiration of The Shining, The Stanley Resort is a historic attraction in downtown Estes Park. Even with out an in a single day keep, guests can wander the gardens and marvel on the Victorian structure inside the foyer.

There are additionally a number of shows that image film memorabilia, alongside others that element the lodge’s storied previous. A number of eating choices can be found as nicely, together with Brunch & Co. and the Cascades Restaurant & Lounge.

Value: $10 parking charge (waived if eating)

333 E Wonderview Ave, Estes Park, CO 80517, stanleyhotel.com


Lake Estes

As you drove into city the earlier night, it’s unattainable to have missed Lake Estes. To take pleasure in these picturesque waters, go to the Lake Estes Marina and lease a kayak or paddle board. Or just take pleasure in strolling the simple Lake Estes Path, a 4-mile loop that follows the shoreline. Particularly within the quiet morning hours, maintain a watch out for the native elk herd and different wildlife.

Value: $18 per hour for a paddleboard or one-person kayak

1770 Massive Thompson Ave, Estes Park, CO 80517, hevrpd.colorado.gov/lake-estes-marina


Rocky Mountain Nationwide Park

Famed for its dramatic peaks, alpine lakes, and all kinds of natural world, Rocky Mountain Nationwide Park is a nature-lover’s paradise. From mountaineering and horseback driving to tenting and stargazing, there are such a lot of methods to take pleasure in outside recreation on this huge wilderness.



With tons of of miles of trails in Rocky Mountain Nationwide Park, it may be tough to know the place to start out. If it’s your first time visiting, there’s no path I’d suggest greater than Emerald Lake. This reasonable, 3.2-mile trek passes three alpine lakes, every extra gorgeous than the subsequent.

The 1.6-mile path to Alberta Falls is one other in style selection, as is the 0.8-mile loop round Sprague Lake. The latter is very nice for the entire household, because the paved path permits for wheelchair and stroller entry.

To take pleasure in these trails and others inside the park, make certain to ebook your timed entry prematurely. Slots replenish shortly, particularly on summer season weekends. However observe that timed entry isn’t required after 6:00pm, so in the event you miss the reserving window, contemplate a night hike!

Value: $30 for day-use car entry go

1000 US-36, Estes Park, CO 80517, nps.gov/romo/index.htm


Horseback driving

If timed entries are not obtainable throughout your go to, horseback driving in Rocky Mountain Nationwide Park is one other nice various. Upon arrival, your clothing store will pair you with a horse and provides a quick discuss on dealing with and security. Then, you and your group will trip by means of old-growth aspen forests and into scenic valleys with mountain views. Excursions vary from 1-5 hours, and several other don’t require prior expertise.

Value: varies by tour, beginning at $70

9500 2515 Tunnel Rd, Estes Park, CO 80511, jacksonstables.com

SEE ALSO: 2022 Evaluate of Fairmont Banff Springs Resort


In a single day in Winding River Resort

Come late afternoon, start your scenic journey alongside Path Ridge Street, also referred to as “The Freeway to the Sky.” This byway is the very best paved highway within the nation and is open seasonally from Could by means of October. Admire panoramic views your complete size of the drive, and cease at overlooks together with Rainbow Curve and the Continental Divide. Additionally, decide up your souvenirs from the Alpine Customer Heart, the very best of all customer facilities within the Nationwide Park System.

After the 90-minute drive, you’ll end up at Winding River Resort in Grand Lake. There are a selection of lodging choices right here, together with RV and tent tenting, cabins, and even coated wagons. The horse ranch on the property gives alternatives for horseback driving, and kids can take pleasure in pony rides and the on-site animal farm. Spacious campsites and the gorgeous panorama add much more to this good outdoorsy getaway.


  • Consuming water
  • Flush bathrooms
  • Scorching showers
  • Laundry amenities
  • Basic retailer with tenting and fishing provides
  • Horse ranch with path and pony rides
  • Animal farm
  • Disc golf
  • Kids’s playground

Value: $65 per tent website

1447 Co Rd 491, Grand Lake, CO 80447, windingriverresort.com

Different campgrounds in Grand Lake:

  • Inexperienced Ridge Campground
  • Sundown Level Campground
  • Arapahoe Bay



Day Three – Grand Lake

Boating & paddle sports activities

Grand Lake is the most important pure physique of water in Colorado, and subsequent door lies the third-largest, Lake Granby. This space is extremely in style for its boating alternatives, and loads of close by marinas lease pontoons by the hour.

Grand Lake Marina and Path Ridge Marina are the 2 closest to Winding River Resort, the place you camped the night time earlier than. If their boats are booked, take a look at Beacon Touchdown, Indian Peaks, and Highland Marina discovered alongside the shores of Lake Granby.

If you happen to’ve by no means rented a pontoon boat, know that it’s no harder, if not simpler, than driving a automotive. However in the event you’d choose to energy your personal vessel, go for a kayak, canoe, or paddle board as an alternative. Most of those marinas lease this stuff, too.

Value: varies by rental, pontoons begin at $130

1132 Lake Ave, Grand Lake, CO 80447, glmarina.com/motor-boats.html



Rocky Mountain Nationwide Park spans greater than 265,000 acres, and Grand Lake is located on the park’s west facet. Right here, you’ll discover an abundance of mountaineering trails, lots of that are much less crowded than these to the east.

North of Grand Lake, Inexperienced Mountain Path is a well-liked decide. This reasonable out-and-back hike beneficial properties 700 ft. in elevation throughout 3.5 miles. Beginning in mid-June, wildflowers sprawl throughout the panorama, and the realm is understood for frequent moose sightings.

If you happen to choose one thing nearer to the city of Grand Lake, head to Adams Falls. Ranging from the East Inlet Trailhead, this fast, simple hike is simply 0.8-miles in size. It results in a formidable waterfall, and in the event you proceed on the principle East Inlet Path, you’ll come throughout a number of creek crossings and scenic alpine lakes.

Identical to with all hikes in Rocky Mountain Nationwide Park, timed entry is required from Could by means of October. Plan forward so that you don’t miss these unbelievable trails!

Value: $30 for day-use car entry go

16018 US-34, Grand Lake, CO 80447, nps.gov/romo/index.htm

SEE ALSO: 14 Finest Climbing Trails in Austin, TX


In a single day in Eagle Hovering RV Park

After exploring the lands and waters of Grand Lake, and possibly grabbing a chunk at Grand Pizza or Sagebrush BBQ, it’s time to hit the highway. The drive to Steamboat Springs is about two hours in size, and simply west of city, you’ll discover Eagle Hovering RV Park.

This small campground is dwelling to only 25 websites, every separated by aspens for larger privateness. Quiet, spacious, and conveniently situated simply quarter-hour from city, it’s a stunning spot to spend the night time and relaxation up for the subsequent day’s actions.


  • Clear restrooms
  • Scorching showers
  • Laundry amenities
  • Free wifi
  • Picnic and barbecue areas
  • Value: $50 per night time

25250 US-40, Steamboat Springs, CO 80487, eaglesoaringrvpark.com/index.html

Different campgrounds in Steamboat Springs:

  • Dry Lake Campground
  • Buffalo Move


top things to do in Steamboat Springs Colorado

Day 4 – Steamboat Springs

Downtown Steamboat Springs

Begin your day at one in every of my private favourite spots in downtown Steamboat Springs: Odor That Bread Bakery. Take pleasure in sizzling espresso, candy pastries, and savory avocado toast on their creekside patio. Then, proceed exploring this mountain city’s quaint boutiques, galleries, and different eating places.

F.M. Gentle & Sons is one in every of Steamboat’s most visited retailers, and you will have seen a number of indicators selling the retailer on yesterday’s drive into city. This Western attire retailer has been round since 1905. Right here, each ranchers and vacationers congregate to attempt on leather-based boots and Stetson cowboy hats.

One other in style circuit is the Steamboat Brew Path, a 2.7-mile stroll or bike trip that passes three breweries and an area distillery. Take pleasure in tasty pours at Mahogany Ridge, lounge on the spacious patio at Mountain Faucet, pattern spirits at Steamboat Whiskey Co., and lastly, take pleasure in beers and board video games at Storm Peak.

If you happen to’re feeling hungry after your day of exploring downtown, check out the menus at Aurum Meals & Wine and Mazzola’s Italian Restaurant. Or in the event you choose one thing somewhat extra laid again, hang around at Again Door Grill, a spot recognized for inventive burgers and hand-cut fries.


Steamboat Howler Alpine Slide

Throughout the Yampa River and away from downtown’s crowds, you’ll discover the Steamboat Howler Alpine Slide. This attraction not solely gives an exhilarating trip, however permits you to see lovely aerial views of Steamboat Springs, too.

You’ll take within the surrounding surroundings as you trip up a chairlift. On the prime of Howelsen Hill, you’ll be given a sled, then start your twisty descent down a 2,400-foot observe. The exhilarating expertise is enjoyable for all ages!

Value: $20 per particular person for the alpine slide, or $12 per particular person for under the scenic chairlift trip

645 Howelsen Pkwy, Steamboat Springs, CO 80487, steamboatalpineslide.com



With 283 ft of dashing water, Fish Creek Falls is the second-tallest waterfall in Colorado. It’s some of the in style sights in Steamboat Springs, as views may be loved by all guests, no matter mountaineering talents.

For only a fast look and picture alternative, take the 0.7-mile stroll to the Fish Creek Falls Overlook. Or to expertise extra of the realm, hike the tough 4.7-mile path up and over the falls. This trek will lead you to a further waterfall and gives gorgeous panoramic views.

Alternatively, for a reasonable hike, head to Spring Creek Path, a favourite amongst locals. Ranging from the decrease trailhead closest to city, this 10.1-mile path ascends as much as Buffalo Move. However actually, you don’t want to finish the whole thing of this hike to expertise a lot of its magnificence. In the summertime, this shady trek options wildflowers, large ferns, and loads of wildlife.

Value: $5 for parking at Fish Creek Falls (free with an annual Nationwide Parks Move)


Hippie Hot Springs in Steamboat Springs Colorado

Scorching springs

Like many mountain cities in Colorado, Steamboat Springs was named after the realm’s a number of pure sizzling springs. In downtown, you’ll discover Previous City Scorching Springs, a built-up recreation middle that options eight sizzling spring swimming pools, together with a lap pool, waterslides, health lessons, and extra.

Previous City Scorching Springs is finest suited to households, whereas throughout the road, you’ll discover a completely different crowd. Hippie Scorching Springs is an area’s secret, and right here, a number of heat swimming pools lie alongside the banks of the Yampa River. Even higher, it’s utterly free to go to!

If you happen to’re looking for extra of a calming, spa-like expertise, head to Strawberry Park Scorching Springs. Many would agree that these are a few of the finest sizzling springs in Colorado. Surrounded by aspens and pines, these steamy swimming pools are quiet and peaceable. Come dusk, the recent springs are accessible to adults solely, as clothes is non-compulsory. Therapeutic massage therapies in addition to lodging are additionally obtainable on-site.

Value: $27 per particular person at Previous City Scorching Springs; $20 per particular person at Strawberry Park Scorching Springs (money solely)

136 S Lincoln Ave, Steamboat Springs, CO 80487, oldtownhotsprings.org

44200 Co Rd 36, Steamboat Springs, CO 80487, strawberryhotsprings.com


Prospector Campground in Colorado

In a single day in Prospector Campground

After an adventure-filled day in Steamboat Springs, head to Dillon Reservoir to your final night time on this Colorado journey. Prospector Campground is roughly two hours from Steamboat, or two and a half if taking the (additional) scenic route by means of Vail.

Upon arrival, you’ll discover 105 tent and RV websites, all situated close to the water. Although not as shady, their setting at 9,000 ft above sea degree ensures cool and cozy evenings. From the campground, a path results in Windy Level the place you’ll discover a small seaside and breathtaking mountain views.


  • Vault bathrooms
  • Consuming water
  • Firewood gross sales from camp host
  • Picnic tables and fireplace rings

Value: $32 per night time

White River Nationwide Forest, Dillon, CO 80435, fs.usda.gov/recarea/whiteriver/recreation

Different campgrounds in Dillon:

  • Peak One Campground
  • Heaton Bay Campground

RELATED: 19 Finest Street Journeys From Austin



Day 5 – Frisco

Downtown Frisco

Dillon Reservoir is surrounded by a number of communities, together with Dillon to the south, Silverthorne to the north, and Frisco to the west. From quiet campgrounds to bustling outlet malls, every space has its perks. However for mountain city appeal, I’d suggest spending your final day in Frisco.

For breakfast, sit down at Bread+Salt or Butterhorn Bakery and Cafe. Then, discover the handfuls of downtown retailers. Private favorites embrace Subsequent Web page bookstore and tea store, Colisco Wearables, an out of doors clothes retailer, and the eclectic Frisco Emporium.


Dillon Reservoir Loop

Additionally in downtown Frisco, you’ll discover Insurgent Sports activities, a ski and bike store that gives rental companies. Choose up a path bike or e-bike, then head down the highway and merge onto the Dillon Reservoir Loop.

This 18.4-mile route circles the whole thing of Dillon Reservoir. Total, it’s a reasonable, paved path with spectacular surroundings — however be ready for a giant 500-foot climb on the south facet of the lake. From city, peddle north and clockwise across the reservoir in the event you’d slightly keep away from that ascent. After all, there’s no must trip the whole thing of the path, both. Even a 2-hour rental permits for a enjoyable, memorable expertise.

Value: $25 for a two-hour bike rental

220 Predominant St, Frisco, CO 80443, rebelsportsrentals.com


Marina Park

To take pleasure in one in every of Colorado’s finest mountain seashores, head to Marina Park. Lounge on the sandy seaside lined with colourful blankets and umbrellas. Nevertheless, observe that swimming isn’t allowed at Marina Park, or anyplace on Dillon Reservoir. This will shock those that reside at sea degree, however belief me, you don’t need to get into this icy alpine lake!

Somewhat, the waters are finest skilled by paddling or boating. For leases, go to the Frisco Bay Marina for kayaks, canoes, and paddle boards. Pontoon boats are additionally obtainable at hourly charges. Dillon Marina gives the identical, together with sailboat leases for knowledgable skippers.

SEE ALSO: 45 High Issues To Do In Austin, TX


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