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Best Hiking and Camping Near the Royal Gorge

Hiking and Camping in Colorado

It is no secret the Centennial State is a popular destination for hiking and camping. Every year, locals and visitors eagerly check off exploring our state’s outdoors from their bucket lists. Before you set off on your journey, let’s share some valuable insights to make your camping and hiking experiences are filled with safety, respect for your surroundings, and the best possible planning during your adventure.

As you venture into the majestic mountains, practicing the seven principles of Leave No Trace makes you the best outdoorsman possible! From finding a durable place to set up your campsite in Colorado,  to packing out trash and other waste from the hiking trail, these principles help reduce negative impacts of the increasing amount of people camping and hiking in Colorado. Your remarkable journey to the many outdoor destinations in our state begins with these tips of hiking and camping, including these best hikes near the Royal Gorge.

All About Royal Gorge Hikes and Tips

Hiking in Colorado varies between the different regions, from the rocky mountainous region of Southern Colorado to the sandy high desert areas of Western Colorado. From north to south through Central Colorado, you are guaranteed a mountain adventure! The Royal Gorge Region is just over an hour’s drive from Colorado Springs and offers a variety of outdoor activities, from hiking to rafting to camping near the Royal Gorge. This area of Colorado is loved for its temperate weather all year round, thanks to the Banana Belt effect from down-sloping winds through the Arkansas River Valley.

You can find the best hiking in every season when you explore the Royal Gorge Region. Near our entrance of the Royal Gorge Bridge & Park is a trail system that has continually been developed by the local community. The Royal Gorge Park Trail System offers hikers and mountain bikers about 20 miles of singletrack sweetness! The Canyon Rim Trail is the highest recommended trail for the best hike near the Royal Gorge. This trail takes hikers around the gorge, revealing beautiful landscape views and the astonishing Royal Gorge Bridge, which is America’s Highest Suspension Bridge!

The first tip to hiking near the Royal Gorge and throughout Colorado is to plan your route. From downloading a digital map to use offline in case you lose cell service, to checking the weather forecast in the area of your adventure, planning your route is essential to staying safe. 

camping near royal gorge

It is crucial to make informed decisions to preserve the beauty of Colorado’s wilderness. For example, if thunderstorms and lightning are possible in the area of your planned hike, consider starting your hike early in the day so you can return before the storm arrives. A second tip to Colorado hikes is to be a responsible outdoor enthusiast by becoming familiar with and following the seven principles of Leave No Trace. By adhering to these principles, you can leave the environment as pristine as you found it, ensuring that future generations can enjoy the wonders of Colorado as well.

The natural wonders of Colorado, from the 14,115-foot summit of Pikes Peak to the deep depths of the Royal Gorge, draw millions of adventurers to our state’s outdoors every year. The tips in this month’s blog are for camping and hiking in Colorado, promoting how to minimize any negative impacts from crowds in the outdoors. Insights to camping and hiking near the Royal Gorge include where the best places are, including the trails to hike near the Royal Gorge Bridge & Park!

Where to Camp Near Royal Gorge

   1. Phantom Canyon Road 

Campers who are geared up with necessities can find dispersed campsites off Phantom Canyon Road. This is a dirt road in the Pikes Peak Region, famous for its part in Colorado’s gold mining history. The road connects Cañon City to the mountain town of Cripple Creek.

   2. Royal Gorge Yurts

For those looking to camp a little more comfortable, the Royal Gorge Yurts are your destination for glamping. These charming yurts are situated along the Arkansas River for fishing, rafting, and more. This campground in the Royal Gorge also offers private airstreams and cabins to rent.

   3. Royal Gorge/Cañon City KOA

The Royal Gorge/Cañon City KOA is a quiet campground overlooking the beautiful landscape of the Royal Gorge Region. The stars are incredible from the open spaces of this campground, which is far from both light and noise pollution. Amenities included at this KOA near the Royal Gorge are pull-through sites convenient for campers, electricity hookups, cabins for rent, and tent sites.

Camping etiquette in Colorado involves finding durable locations for your campsite and ensuring you leave no trace behind when you depart. It’s essential to respect the natural surroundings and minimize your impact on the delicate ecosystems, from the desert to alpine tundra throughout the state. Pack out all your trash and waste to keep the trails and camping areas clean for everyone to enjoy! 

   4. East Ridge Campground near the Royal Gorge Bridge & Park

The East Ridge Campground is a semi-primitive area for campers who want a designated campsite but have all the gear ready to go! Camping near the Royal Gorge gives visitors a high chance of spotting wildlife, such as Bighorn Sheep. This campground includes 23 designated campsites that are equipped with a fire ring, tent site, and picnic table. There are no hookups for water or electricity here. Enjoy access to the many hiking and mountain biking trails right outside your tent when you set up camp near the Royal Gorge at East Ridge Campground.

As you embark on a camping trip or hiking trail in Colorado’s outdoors, remember that exploring the natural landscapes of our state is a magical, yet delicate experience. By following the principles of Leave No Trace and showing kindness to nature, we can ensure that the beauty of this stunning landscape remains for generations to come. 

Whether you’re hiking through the mountains of Northern Colorado or setting up camp near the Royal Gorge, you have the power to make a positive impact. Pack your necessary camping gear, your best hiking poles, and sense of adventure to enjoy the outdoors! Happy exploring!