Friday, June 21, 2024

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Camping Near Mt Princeton Hot Springs

Hot Springs Themed Camping Trip

Mt Princeton Hot Springs Resort, Creekside Suites & Nature Sounds

Recently we had the pleasure of reading the Historic Hot Springs Loop fieldguide post by For the benefit of the camping enthusiasts who follow us, we chose to translate it into a hot springs themed camping trip.

So, by all means, please enjoy their itinerary of stops to make and the cuisine to savor, and get out and enjoy the activities they outlined, but consider replacing their lodging options with our camping suggestions.

But first, camping is a broad term. To some it means tent camping, to others it means an RV site, and to another group it means renting a cabin, yurt, tiny house, park model, or an onsite RV . Dont let the name of the campground fool you. Just because it might not indicate that it has those rental options, it just might. So click each link to study the options until you see your home for the night.

Now, back to the hot springs itinerary.

Day #1 of the 5 day trip places you in Buena Vista for your campsite. Consider the following:

Day 2 takes you to Pagosa Springs. For that night, the campground we suggest thats closest to town is Pagosa Riverside Campground.

If youre going to slow down and turn this 5-day trek in a delightfully drawn out excursion, then dont overlook the option of Sportsmans Campground & Mountain Cabins. Its farther north, outside of town, but we found it to be quite an amazing drive!

Day 3 lands you in Ouray for the night. We suggest:

Camping Nearby Hot Springs

Due to their naturally awesome locations, most hot springs have camping options nearby. A select few resorts even host their own campgrounds to make your stay as pleasurable as possible. Well look at both options, those hot springs with camping, and then a few options for camping as close as possible.

East Fork And West Fork Campgrounds

11 and 16 miles northeast of Pagosa Springs, respectively

Both of these Forest Service Campgrounds are just off U.S. 160, the road to Wolf Creek Pass. Both are short drives from the hot pools in Pagosa Springs, which you can access by purchasing day passes at one of three different places in town the Springs Resort and Spa, Healing Waters Resort and Spa, and Overlook Hot Springs Spa. Both campgrounds are heavily wooded with spruce, fir and other species, and both are rather primitive, offering only basic facilities . At West Fork, the West Fork of the San Juan River, and its famed rainbow and cutthroat trout, runs nearby but is not visible from the campground. West Fork has 28 sites for tents and RVs up to 35 feet. There are no hookups. Leashed pets are permitted. East Fork is the closest public campground to Pagosa Springs and provides access to Sand Creek and Coal Creek trails. In the spring and early summer, kayakers boat from the East Fork confluence down to Pagosa Springs, a 9-mile run with Class IV whitewater. East Fork has 26 sites for tents and RVs up to 35 feet. There are no hookups there are a few pull-throughs.

San Juan National Forest, Pagosa District, 970-264-2268,, $22/night. East Fork Campground: West Fork Campground: May-September.

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Snowy Peaks Rv Park & Rentals

Snowy Peaks RV Park may be one of the more premium campground on our lists, but its full to the brimming with amenities, both onsite and within close proximity to the park. Located close to the heart of Buena Vista, this park is a great place to begin your adventures in Arkansas River Valley.

  • Closest Town: Buena Vista
  • Specs: 96 premium and standard full hookup RV sites and 7 large tent camping sites
  • Amenities: Restrooms, showers, group fire pits, dump station, camp store with camper and trailer rentals
  • Recreation: Horseshoe pit, playground, clubhouse with WiFi and treadmill, close to Arkansas River for kayaking, rafting, and fishing, wildlife viewing
  • Reservations: Yes, call 719-395-8481
  • Address: 30430 Hwy 24 N, Buena Vista, Colorado, 81211
  • Directions: From Buena Vista, take Hwy 24 west for about 1.5 miles. Youll see signs for Snowy Peaks on your rightturn right just past the signs.

Fountain Of Youth Rv Park

Browns Creek, CO

2.5 miles north of Thermopolis, Wyo. 400 miles northwest of Denver

This simple, one-loop, family-owned private campground right is sandwiched between the road and a set of railroad tracks, but none of that matters because of the gorgeous on-site hot springs, just steps from your tent or RV site. They provide Wi-Fi, picnic tables, restrooms, showers, full hookup sites and some large pull-throughs. There are bigger, more crowded thermal pools in town, and theres even a free public bathhouse right next to the massive park. Despite its name, Thermopolis has a number of non-hot springs attractions as well, including a massive Wyoming Dinosaur Center with an active dig program. In short, its worth the drive, for those sunrise soaks alone., 250 Highway 20, Thermopolis, WY, 307-864-3265. Tent sites $30, RV sites from $40. Open year round.

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Camping Near Buena Vista And Nathrop Around The Arkansas River

Situated at the base of the 14,000+ foot Collegiate Peaks alongside the Arkansas River, Buena Vista is a beautiful place to camp. Its teeming with outdoor recreation, with a slew of great campgrounds and free dispersed camping options.

The San Isabel National Forest contains much of the campgrounds, though theres a fair share of private, state and federal BLM camping too. From RV parks in-town with full hookups, to riverside campsites perfect for your tent, youll find it in Chaffee County, between Buena Vista and Nathrop. The Arkansas River runs by both towns, providing epic whitewater rafting trips, along with trophy trout fishing.

List of camping by Buena Vista and Nathrop, CO, in order of proximity:

Hike Browns Creek Waterfall Trail

Browns Creek is a moderate level trail. It is extremely busy on weekend months. If there is any way you can hike this trail during the week, Id recommend it! The trail is 6.2 miles long and has an elevation gain of 924 feet. Dogs and horses can use this trail. Parking at the trailhead can be limited. For more details on this hike check out these websites:

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Browns Canyon Adventure Park/noahs Ark Whitewater Rafting

A unique spot to camp near Buena Vista is near Browns Canyon Adventure Park, on the site owned by Noahs Ark, which also offers guided whitewater rafting tours. This campground features both tent rentals as well as pitch-your-own rates at beautiful riverfront campsites. If youre looking for an all-inclusive camping spot with onsite activities and food serve, Browns Canyon Adventure Park and Noahs Ark might just be the place.

  • Closest Town: Nathrop , Buena Vista
  • Specs: Riverfront tent camping
  • Amenities: Restrooms, showers, food service available onsite, tent rentals
  • Recreation: Rafting with any of the guided trips available onsite, Browns Canyon Adventure Park ziplining and aerial course, close to Arkansas River for fishing, kayaking, and hiking
  • Reservations: Yes, at 719-395-2158
  • Address: 23910 US Hwy 285 #1a, Buena Vista, CO 81211
  • Directions: From Buena Vista, head east on Hwy 24 for about 2.5 miles, keeping straight when the road turns into Hwy 285 S. A little over 3 miles after that will be Browns Canyon Adventure Park/Noahs Ark Whitewater Rafting.

Camping Near Mt Princeton Resort And Hot Springs

Mount Princeton Hot Springs Resort Discover Colorado

We were Camping near Mt. Princeton Resort and Hot Springs and were going to both pools but wanted to stop and eat a meal!! The restaurant was SOOO good, Clean and the service was excellent!! Our server, Abby was the BEST!!! and the whole experience was good.

  • Trip type: Traveled with family

8.0 miles

8.1 miles

15.9 miles

16.5 miles

16.5 miles

16.6 miles

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16.9 miles


We stayed here because it was 10 min from our departure for rafting. You probably get more out of your payment if you use the Springs alot. We only used them once on day of arrival and 2 times the next day. Didn’t know you could stay in Buena Vista and still use springs would have been cheaper.. Restaurant extremely pricey. We refused to pay $20 for a hamburger so we went to the grill at the rafting spot. The breakfast good and a better value

  • Trip type: Traveled as a couple
  • Trip type: Traveled as a couple

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Camping By Arkansas River In Buena Vista And Nathrop

Arriving from the east via either Denver on US-285, or Colorado Springs on US-24 first leads you to Johnson Village. Its a small truck-stop type of community at the junction of Highway 24 and Highway 285. Go north via US-24 and youll reach Buena Vista in a few minutes. Go south via US-285 and youll pass by tiny Nathrop before you even realize youre in Nathrop. Theres camping in either direction from this junction.

Beginning near Leadville, the Arkansas River goes south to Buena Vista, Johnson Village and Nathrop before heading east after it reaches Salida. The Arkansas Headwaters Recreation Area is a state park with several different day-use areas and some campgrounds along the course of the Arkansas River in the Rockies. One of the most popular stints of the Arkansas is through Browns Canyon, a national monument and awesome place to whitewater raft.

Summertime Is Camping Season The Ideal Time To Enjoy All The Colorado Mountains Have To Offer Including Hot Springs Soaking From Remote Wilderness Sites To Luxe Glamping Tents And Everything In Between Find Your Perfect Camping Experience Along The Colorado Historic Hot Springs Loop

Heed the call of the outdoors this summer with a camping adventure along the Colorado Historic Hot Springs Loop . The 720-mile loop drive features five destination towns, 17 unique hot springs, an abundance of camping options and it travels through some of the states most scenic landscapes. Heres a little sampler of what you can expect to encounter while camping on the CHHSL:

  • Spectacular waterfalls and wildflower meadows in Pagosa Springs
  • World-class rafting on the Arkansas River in Chaffee County
  • Authentic cowboy culture including horseback riding and rodeos in Steamboat Springs
  • Off-roading in Ouray, the jeeping capital of the world and Gold Medal fishing waters in Ridgway
  • Miles of award-winning paved and dirt trails for biking and hiking in Glenwood Springs

Camping Makes Everything BetterCamping is much more than setting up a temporary shelter in a beautiful natural setting, although it is that. Its also an activity that makes us feel goodreally good. Research suggests it improves relationships with the friends and family who camp with us, boosts our mood, relieves stress, inclines us to exercise, encourages respect for the environment, enables us to put things in perspective, increases mindfulness and helps us to get a good nights sleep. Wow, and that list doesnt even include how good those smores roasted round the campfire taste every time were out camping.

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Bear River Hot Springs Preston Idaho

Set in the town of Preston, ID, and formally known as the Riverdale Resort, Bear River Hot Springs is a geothermal pool destination with a lot to offer. This establishment welcomes day users and overnight guests with four pools and lodging options. The resort is open year-round and has several other amenities like a picnic

Camping By Chalk Creek Canyon In Nathrop

Mt Princeton RV Park &  Cabins

Take Chalk Creek Drive thirty minutes west from Nathrop on Highway 285 and youll dead end at Saint Elmo, one of Colorados best preserved ghost towns. On the route through Chalk Creek Canyon, youll pass by a few campgrounds, but no dispersed camping back here. There are some other gems to discover though, including Mt. Princeton Hot Springs and Agnes Vaille Falls.

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Camping Near You Find A Free Campsite

Whether you just need to know where to camp nearby or you want to plan a free camping road trip, we’ve got you covered. You can simply use your smart phone’s GPS to find camping near you or even use our trip planner to plan your route from coast to coast.

Our community provides the best free camping information available. Free campgrounds can be hard to find. makes it easy. We give you a simple, map based search engine to find free and cheap camping areas. Community reviews and ratings provide you with up to date information and help you select the best camp site for your next camping trip.

This is a platform for sharing campgrounds and camp sites you have discovered. We are community driven, and while we will be adding many free camping spots, we hope that you will add some of your favorite camping places as well. By sharing camping information freely, we can all spend less time researching campgrounds, spend less money, and more time camping. If everyone contributes a few campsites, we’ll all have more places to go camping.

Please come back and let us know what you find!

We are not actively seeking Wal-Marts, truckstops or other parking lots and will not be adding very many of these. There are enough Wal-Mart and truck stop directories out there already. However, if a member of the community finds one of these locations to be useful for overnight RV parking and creates an entry, we may approve the listing.

Please come back and let us know what you find!

Hot Springs Hours & Rates

Mount Princeton Hot Springs Resort is located in Nathrop, Colorado between the towns of Buena Vista and Salida. This is an ideal for family vacations, romantic getaways, mountain weddings, or corporate events.

Book your lodging today to enjoy free hot springs entry and VIP access to our Spa & Club. Be sure to take advantage of the many outdoor activities in and around Buena Vista & Salida, Colorado.

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Arrowhead Point Camping Resort

Activities abound at Arrowhead Point Camping Resort, located just 7 miles down the road from Buena Vista. Families and kids will love the playground and free WiFi, along with the activity booking available onsite featuring free shuttle service. Dont miss out on this beautiful RV park and campground!

  • Closest Town: Buena Vista
  • Specs: Full-hookup RV sites, tent camping, yurts, cabin rentals
  • Amenities: Restrooms, showers, laundry, camp store, large event pavilion with BBQ, childrens playground, espresso bar, WiFi
  • Recreation: Activity booking onsite with free shuttle service including zipline tours, guided fishing, horseback riding, rafting, and more
  • Reservations: Yes, at
  • Address: 33975 US Hwy 24 N, Buena Vista, Colorado 81211
  • Directions: From Buena Vista, take Hwy 24 west for about 3 miles. Turn left onto Co Rd 384 and continue for a little over a mile, then take a right on Co Rd 361. 3 miles later, take a right to get back on Hwy 24, this time heading east. The campground will be right off of the highway, on your right.

The Arkansas Headwaters Recreation Area is chock full of incredible campgrounds, but Railroad Bridge is perhaps one of the most beautiful with easy access to the river as well as restrooms and changing areas to facilitate your time there.

  • Closest Town: Buena Vista
  • Specs: 14 primitive campsites

Camping By Cottonwood Pass In Buena Vista

Mt Princeton Campground Tour – Buena Vista Colorado

The incredible summer route over to Gunnison County on Cottonwood Pass is a must drive if youve never done it. Its now completely paved and suitable for nearly all vehicles. Its super easy to reach from downtown Buena Vista, just take County Road 306 west and itll start winding up the pass soon enough. On the way there a few places to camp, including free, dispersed camping on both sides of Cottonwood Pass in the San Isabel and Gunnison national forsts.

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Buena Vista Koa Journey

KOA campgrounds are always reliable for those looking to RV across the country, and the Buena Vista KOA Journey is no exception to that rule. With a large amount of RV sites to fit any of your specific needs and primitive campsites with incredible views, youll never be bored at this gorgeous and amenity-filled campground.

  • Closest Town: Buena Vista
  • Specs: 19 full hookup RV sites, 22 RV sites with water and electric, 9 electric-only RV sites, 20 primitive campsites including 1 teepee, group camping, and cabins
  • Amenities: Bathhouse, water, dump station, recycling, water treatment shed, laundry, cookhouse, and dump station
  • Recreation: Playground, dog park, basketball court, volleyball court, horseshoes, bike trail, and hiking trail
  • Reservations: Yes, at
  • Address: 27700 Co Rd 303, Buena Vista, CO 81211
  • Directions: From Buena Vista, take Hwy 24 east for about four miles, staying on 24/285 when the road turns left. Turn left onto Co Rd 303 and follow it for about a 1/3rd of a mile, then the KOA will be on your left.

Chalk Creek Campground And Rv Park

Creekside tent campsites and RV sites near the creek give Chalk Creek Campground and RV Park a tranquil and serene feel. Dont be fooled, howeverthis park is close enough to all of the sites that Buena Vista and Nathrop offer while offering a peaceful getaway.

  • Closest Town: Nathrop , Buena Vista
  • Specs: Full hookup RV sites, smaller electric-only RV sites near the creek, tent camping on Chalk Creek
  • Amenities: Restrooms, showers, laundry

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