Published: May 18, 2013
Named for a rock formation, this is a popular hiking destination on the west side of Pikes Peak. It's also a popular area for camping. The campground isn't free, but many sites along the road to the campground are. These spots fill up quickly on weekends. Tall pines, a flowing stream, chilly nights and plenty of wildlife await. tinyurl.com/c5g2bkt
A short drive southwest of Denver, there are a couple of campgrounds from which to choose. Summer temperatures are mild - always a good thing when escaping the heat of the city - and there are numerous recreational activities. So take your hiking boots, mountain bike and fishing pole and forget about city life. tinyurl.com/blqdo6q
Located east of Meeker, this hidden gem in Flat Tops Wilderness offers spectacular views. The mountain-rimmed, 302-acre lake has a healthy supply of cutthroat trout. There are several campsites in the area but also rustic cabins for rent. A fire hit the area a decade ago, but the beauty and splendor of the state's first preservation area aren't diminished. fs.usda.gov/whiteriver
This dramatic and verdant canyon in Gateway is as unexpected as it is unique. A strange biosphere of creatures calls the valley home as did the Ute Indians at one time. Most of the canyon is private land, but it's becoming more known for rock climbing. Get off the beaten path and camp in Dominguez Canyon. blm.gov/co/st/en/fo/
Arapaho Bay Campground
The southeast end of Lake Granby offers a slightly remote place to launch day hikes up the Continental Divide in Roosevelt National Forest. The Roaring Fork loop in the campground is particularly nice. Head 6 miles northwest of Granby on U.S. 34, 9 miles east on County Road 6. Make reservations at recreation.gov.