Starting January 1, you'll have to make reservations to spend the night in some of Colorado's beautiful parks. 

How many times have you gotten the last-minute urge to go camping, packed everything up, and headed to your nearest state park, only to find out there are no spots available when you get there? It can be frustrating, to be certain, and it's becoming a common problem in busy state parks across the state. 

Colorado Parks and Wildlife is trying to alleviate the stress of the situation by transitioning 15 state parks to reservation-only camping. These parks join five others who were part of a 2018 pilot program: Cheyenne Mountain, Eleven Mile, Staunton, St. Vrain, and Trinidad Lake. Managers of these parks gave the system rave reviews, reporting more campers and less conflict and traffic, making it a more enjoyable experience. 

With the new system, campers can reserve their spots from six months in advance to the day they are planning on camping. This is a change from the pilot program, which required users to book their site at least three days in advance. 

In addition, the CPW is getting rid of its $10 campsite reservation fee, and it plans to fine any campers who park it at a site without a reservation. Self-serving camping permits will no longer be valid at the 20 parks in the program. 

You can make reservations for the below parks 24/7 at  or by calling 1-800-244-5613. 

State parks that will require reservations as of Jan. 1 (including those that already require reservations): 

Arkansas Headwaters Recreation Area

Boyd Lake

Cherry Creek

Cheyenne Mountain

Eleven Mile

Golden Gate Canyon

Highline Lake

Jackson Lake

John Martin Reservoir




North Sterling

Pearl Lake


State Forest

Steamboat Lake


St. Vrain

Trinidad Lake

Yampa River

In addition, Lake Pueblo and  Chatfield will join the program on April 1, 2019. 

What do you think of the new policy? Do you plan to make your camping reservations on January 1? Tell us in the comments below!


The "GetOutPass" might be one of the best experiential gifts you can give in Colorado! Learn all about it here!