Refreshing air and breathtaking mountain views make Colorado an awe-inspiring place to camp, and there are loads of options to hike trails and gaze at the stars near Colorado Springs.
Colorado is one of the Best States for Camping, and the Front Range, east of the Rocky Mountains, is especially popular for its milder weather and terrain with more plains. This is where you’ll find some of the most beautiful and picturesque views you’ll want to share with others.
Before you set out to these picture-perfect spots, make sure you are ready for the trails. Common rookie camping mistakes include not breaking shoes in on time and needing to pack more water. Don’t forget the camera either! You’ll need easy access to it for these 7 most Instagrammable camping spots near Colorado Springs.
When camping at Pike-San Isabel National Forests & Cimarron and Comanche National Grasslands, you can’t miss a trip to Pikes Peak. While hiking Pikes Peak isn’t for everyone, you can still enjoy the views. Make reservations to drive to the summit where you’ll find lookouts to the national forest and all of Colorado’s natural beauty. Be careful, though – it can get windy up there! Pikes Peak stands 14,115 feet above sea level.
Crystal Creek Reservoir
During your stay near Pike National Forest, you can’t miss a trip to Crystal Creek Reservoir at the North Slope Recreation Area. The protected waters are so clear and reflective that sunrise and sunset pictures look heavenly. The shots you will get here are sure to inspire wanderlust on your Instagram feed.
Cheyenne Mountain State Park
Cheyenne Mountain State Park is a great place for nature photography thanks to the Front Range views and bustling wildlife. Nearly 30 miles of trails will show you the secrets of the land, like a pine growing out of a boulder on the Blackmer Loop trail. More experienced hikers can try the long and arduous trek to the top of Cheyenne Mountain using Dixon Trail. Along the way, you’ll pass by a 1957 plane crash site, and at the top will get a beautiful overlook of Colorado Springs.
Cottonwood Lake Pass
Fall in love with the autumn views at Cottonwood Lake and Pass. The changing colors on this Colorado trail turn everything gold as the mountains and colors reflect in the lake. This picture-worthy fall foliage spot near Colorado Springs is perfect for hikes as the seasons change. The Cottonwood Lake campgrounds fill up fast here, so make sure to book a reservation. This site is open from Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day.
Mueller State Park
Connect with nature and relax at any of the more than 100 campsites at Mueller State Park. You’ll find picture-worthy stops along the dozens of trails and campsites thanks to the meadows, ponds, trees, and wildlife flourishing here. The Lost Pond trail takes you to a small pond in a valley of wildflowers and evergreens where the views are perfect year-round.
If you want more of a bird’s eye view, you’ll need to get to the Grouse Mountain overlook. Grouse Mountain is the highest point in the park at 9,843 feet. Once you get to the top, you can see Pikes Peak to the east and the Sangre de Cristo Range on the other side.
About an hour north of Colorado Springs, just outside of Denver is one of the most impressive concert venues in the U.S. The Red Rocks Park and Amphitheater is a geological phenomenon created where the Rockies meet the Great Plains. This park is more than just an entertainment space; it’s filled with wildlife, pine trees, and even dinosaur fossils. When planning to stay at Red Rocks, keep in mind that the camping options are limited and require reservations.
Garden of the Gods
You don’t want to miss the unique and stunning rock formations in Colorado in the Garden of the Gods. I like to frame people in the middle of the Siamese Twins formation in the Garden of the Gods for a neat picture! The park is free but it’s only open for day use. There are several places you can stay nearby, including Cheyenne Mountain State Park which is only about 30 minutes away from the Garden of the Gods.
If the kiddos are tagging along, no worries! There are so many breathtaking, stroller-friendly trails in Colorado Springs, including the Dragonfly Children’s Nature Trail at Mueller State Park and Garden of the Gods.
How to Take the Perfect Photo
Remember, it’s not just beautiful views that make a great photograph. One of the best times for outdoor pictures is known as “Golden Hour.” This is the first hour after sunrise and the hour before sunset when light from the sun casts a warm hue on the world.
You’ll also want to keep your picture composition in mind. Imagine two lines cutting your frame into thirds going vertically and horizontally. This is known as the rule of thirds. Position the subject of your photo slightly off to the right or left for more depth.
Pictures at any one of these top 7 most Instagrammable camping spots near Colorado Springs are sure to make your Instagram profile stand out. Just don’t forget to pack extra batteries to make sure your phone or camera isn’t dead when you’ve found the perfect shot.
Gina Thompson is an experienced multimedia journalist, producer, and content writer born and raised in Texas. In her spare time, she loves catching a live band, dancing, and finding the next big taco spot. As a writer, she is passionate about making a positive impact on her community by elevating the voices and stories that need to be heard.