You knew we’d be right there with the cold weather articles, didn’t you? Well, we didn’t want to disappoint. Just because there’s snow on the ground doesn’t mean your overnight outdoor adventures have to come to an end. As we know that as it gets colder and snowier at higher elevations, you may be tempted to pack your camping gear away for the season. But there’s no need. Winter camping can be beautiful and a unique experience, not to mention less crowded than during the summer months. Always a plus.
A Few Recommended Locations for Winter Camping Around Boulder
Brainard Lake (Backcountry camping)
There are no fees to use the Brainard Lake Recreation Area during the winter. You can camp anywhere along the trails, as long as you are at least ¼ mile away from developed sites. Typical backcountry etiquette of 200 feet from trails and water sources also apply. Make sure you’ve packed snowshoes.
Moraine Park Campground (Car Camping)
This is Rocky Mountain National Park’s only year-round campsite. They don’t accept reservations during the winter months, but there are usually few enough people camping that you shouldn’t have a problem securing a site. There are plenty of day hikes to be found nearby.
Lost Lake (Hike to designated sites)
This is a nice mix for people who are comfortable hiking to a campsite, but still want designated campgrounds instead of just picking a place off the trail. The campsites and lake are about 1.5 miles from the trailhead.
Tips and Tricks
It’s particularly important to have all the gear you need and to be extra prepared when winter camping – make sure you have enough layers, a warm enough sleeping bag and tent, extra food, as well as all the safety equipment you’d normally bring when camping. Here are a few extra tips to help you stay comfortable.
- Boil some water right before bed and put a warm (tightly sealed) water bottle at the bottom of your sleeping bag. This will keep your feet warm and prevent the water from freezing so you’ll have something to drink and cook with in the morning.
- Bring your batteries into your sleeping bag – cold makes them die faster; if you need your headlamp in the morning, tuck it in with you overnight.
- Bring your boots in the tent – they’ll be much more comfortable to put on in the morning if they’re a little warmer. If you have removable insoles, you can even bring those into your sleeping bag.
- If you’re camping on snow, digging a shallow trench in front of the tent door can give you somewhere to sit while getting in and out of the tent or taking your boots off, and will help keep snow from getting inside your tent.
Stay warm! And if you have a favorite winter camping destination around Boulder, go ahead and share it. We’d love to hear.