When you think of camping, chances are that Vail, Colorado is not one of the first places that come to mind. With its alpine chalets and high-end boutiques, many people come to the valley to be pampered and polished. But you might be surprised to hear that this posh ski resort is also a great summer location for RVers. Though it’s often thought of as a town for winter sports enthusiasts, Vail has become a hit destination for those who enjoy a high-altitude summer with cooler temperatures and a plethora of outdoor activities.
Video source: Vail, Colorado
While many visitors stay in hotels and condos scattered throughout the area, there are a number of campgrounds in Vail that welcome tent campers as well as campervans, trailers, and RVs. If you’re looking for the true outdoorsy experience, there are five can’t-miss campgrounds in Vail:
- Gore Creek Campground
- Gold Park Campground
- Piney Lake Campground
- Hornsilver Campground
- Camp Hale Memorial Campground
Here’s a little more about each one of these magnificent places to park your RV.
Gore Creek Campground
Open from May through September, Gore Creek Campground is the closest campground to the town of Vail. It’s located at the end of the Vail Pass/Ten Mile Canyon Trail, on the old Vail Pass Road (also known as Bighorn Road). This is technically East Vail, so the campground is about a mile from the nearest free town bus stop.
The campground has 8 walk-in tent sites and 16 back-in sites that can handle RVs up to 35 feet in length. There are four vault toilets, but no hookups or showers are available.
Because of its close proximity to town, Gore Creek Campground is extremely popular. Some sites can be reserved at recreation.gov. These sites are about 4 miles from the town of Vail, but a small convenience store is located within a mile of the campground.
Gold Park Campground
Located in the Holy Cross Wilderness area near Homestake Reservoir, Gold Park Campground is approximately 20 miles from Vail. The closest town is Red Cliff, but you can find more services in Minturn, just off I-70 and 13 miles from the campground.
The area is in a beautiful forested valley, at the end of which lies Homestake Reservoir. So when you’re tired of shopping or dining in Vail, return to your campsite for some hiking or biking adventures. You might even snag a trout in Homestake Creek.
There are 11 campsites, most of which accommodate rigs up to 40-feet long. Vault toilets are available, but there are no hookups or water within the campground. None of these sites can be reserved, so they are first-come, first-serve.
Piney Lake Campground
About 40 minutes from Vail lies a beautiful mountain lake with a number of hiking trails traversing the White River National Forest and up into the surrounding mountains. Piney Lake is a great location for fishing and canoeing, but the road to this dispersed camping area is dirt and not really suited for large RVs. If you are unsure, you may want to scout it with a car first, as once you get to the area, there are plenty of places to pull off the road for boondocking.
There are no defined campsites here, just peace and quiet. So if you have a Class B van or a 4-wheel-drive vehicle and a tent, Piney Lake may just be your ticket to paradise.
Hornsilver Campground is easily accessible right off Highway 24, about 10 miles south of Minturn (or 15 miles from Vail). There are 7 campsites that can handle RVs up to 30 feet in length. No hookups or water are available and the sites cannot be reserved in advance.
The campground is located just across the road from Homestake Creek, and there are a number of hiking trails in the area.
Camp Hale Memorial Campground
Camp Hale was the training camp for the Army’s 10th Mountain Division soldiers during World War II. It’s a wide mountain valley with a few remnants of building foundations, but at the end of the valley there are 21 campsites available for rigs up to 60-feet in length.
The campground’s location is about 15 miles from Minturn (or 20 miles from Vail) and is easily accessible from Highway 24. The sites can be reserved at recreation.gov. There are some fire pits and vault toilets available, but no hookups or water.
Camp Hale is conveniently located about halfway between Vail and the town of Leadville, so you can split your time between both towns. You’ll get a sense of Wild West history in the “City Above The Clouds,” and a more modern resort feel in the Vail Valley.
Hit the Road and Go Camping in Vail
There are several great camping options within 30 minutes of the Vail Valley. If you don’t have your own RV, campervan, or travel trailer, why not consider a Colorado mountain getaway in an RV rented from Outdoorsy? No matter the season, Vail offers visitors cool temperatures, outdoor activities, and some great camping memories.