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Exploring Colorado's Hidden Gems in a Camper

Exploring Colorado's Hidden Gems in a Camper

Colorado, known for its stunning landscapes and adventurous spirit, is filled with hidden gems that are perfect for exploring in a camper van. From secluded mountain towns to untouched natural wonders, the state offers a plethora of off-the-beaten-path locations that promise an unforgettable adventure. Here’s your guide to discovering some of Colorado's most secluded spots, ensuring a unique camper van experience away from the usual tourist trails.

Paint Mines Interpretive Park

A Colorful Escape in Calhan

Location: East of Colorado Springs, in Calhan, Colorado

Why It’s a Gem: Known for its colorful clay formations, the Paint Mines Interpretive Park features unique geological formations in hues of yellow, red, purple, and gray, formed from oxidized iron compounds.

Camper Tip: The park has no camping facilities on-site, but there are nearby campgrounds where you can station your camper van. Visit at sunrise or sunset for the most dramatic views and photography opportunities.

Lost Creek Wilderness

A Mysterious Landscape of Natural Mazes

Location: Near Bailey, Colorado

Why It’s a Gem: This area is famous for its bizarre and beautiful rock formations and a mysterious creek that repeatedly disappears underground, creating a natural maze of twisted rocks and trails.

Camper Tip: There are several access points with nearby dispersed camping options suitable for camper vans. Ensure you adhere to Leave No Trace principles to keep the wilderness pristine.

Zapata Falls

Cool Off in Hidden Cascades

Location: Near the Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve, south of Alamosa

Why It’s a Gem: Accessible via a short hike, Zapata Falls offers a refreshing break with stunning views of the San Luis Valley and a hidden waterfall tucked away in a rocky crevice.

Camper Tip: Camping is available at the Zapata Falls Campground, which offers basic facilities perfect for camper vans. Be prepared for a chilly trek through the water to see the falls up close.

Bishop Castle

An Eccentric Architectural Wonder

Location: Near Rye, in the San Isabel National Forest

Why It’s a Gem: Built single-handedly by Jim Bishop, this stone and iron fortress looks like something out of a medieval fairytale. Visitors can explore the intricate castle, including its towers and stained glass, free of charge.

Camper Tip: Park your camper van at the nearby large parking area and enjoy a picnic while taking in the quirky structure. The roads can be narrow and winding, so drive cautiously.


The Spiritual Hub of the Rockies

Location: At the base of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains

Why It’s a Gem: Known for its spiritual centers and eclectic community, Crestone is one of Colorado's most unique towns, with various spiritual sites, stupas, and temples open to visitors.

Camper Tip: There are several campgrounds and dispersed camping spots in the surrounding national forest. Respect the quiet and sacred nature of the town during your visit.

Colorado's hidden gems provide an exceptional opportunity for those traveling by camper van to explore less frequented locales that are rich in beauty and intrigue. Each of these destinations offers a different slice of Colorado's diverse landscape and culture, perfect for those looking to venture beyond the main tourist spots. Pack your sense of adventure, prepare your camper van for various terrains, and set off to discover the hidden wonders of Colorado.

Prepare for Your Trip:

  • Check the accessibility and road conditions of remote areas before you go.
  • Stock your camper van with necessary supplies as some destinations may be far from stores.
  • Always check local guidelines and restrictions, especially in protected areas.

Embark on your Colorado adventure with these hidden gems as your guide, and enjoy an off-the-beaten-path journey that promises not only relaxation but also adventure in every mile.