Seasonal Splendors: Deciding the Best Time for Your Colorado Cabin Camping Trip

There are many ways to vacation in Colorado, from hoteling it in big Front Range cities to backpacking deep in the wilds. Surely one of the best ways for those with a love for the outdoors—and that’s a chief reason to visit the Centennial State, no question—is cabin camping.

From the highest peaks of the entire Rocky Mountain chain to jaw-dropping canyons, lonesome mesas, and High Plains vistas, Colorado offers some of the most glorious sightseeing and richest adventuring in the country—not to mention amazing Western history and culture. A vacation cabin as a home base gives you year-round camping possibilities, not least amid the agreeable climate—and astounding scenery—here in the Royal Gorge Region.

In this article, we’ll talk about the basics of trip-planning for a cabin getaway, and when’s the best time to visit Colorado depending on your interests.

Things to Consider When Planning a Cabin Camping Trip

Planning your Colorado cabin camping getaway doesn’t have to be a chore. Working through the logistical details in advance can help you clarify what you want to do, where you want to go, and what sort of overall experience you’re after.

Let’s run through some of the fundamental things to consider for cabin vacations here in the heart of the American West!

1. Research the Area

You want to know the sort of attractions, recreational offerings, and services a particular area has to offer. On that front, our neck of the woods—the Royal Gorge Region—stands out indeed: easily accessible from Colorado Springs, anchored by the charming gateway town of Cañon City, and filled with year-round activities.

You also need to do your homework with regard to the campgrounds and cabins themselves. What’s provided—and not provided—by the facilities? At Royal Gorge Cabins, we provide luxury cabins decked out with modern amenities more akin to a rental home than a rustic cabin. You only really need to bring the clothing and gear you need for specific activities you want to engage in (more on that shortly), and the food you’d like to cook.

Speaking of cooking, our cabin rentals include fully equipped kitchens complete with a full-sized refrigerator (with freezer), a microwave, a two-burner flat-top stove, sink, dishwasher, flatware, cutlery, drinkware, and coffeepot, plus basic cooking tools: knives, serving spoons, pots, pans, and a cutting board. Not only that, but you’ll have an outdoor propane BBQ grill at your disposal as well!

2. Making Reservations

How far out in advance you ought to reserve your Colorado cabin depends largely on when you’re aiming to come.

During the peak summer tourism season—Memorial through Labor Day—you’ll most likely want to lock down your Royal Gorge Cabin weeks in advance to be safe. But the same generally goes for September and October, too: prime time for “leaf-peeping,” for one thing—the aspens of the Southern Rockies are world-famous for their fall colors, mind you—and also typically offering fine weather for hiking and mountain biking.

Things slow down in this area from November through April, so you usually can get away with making reservations much closer to the fact.

3. Pack in Advance & Organize Needed Equipment

Choosing Royal Gorge Cabins means you don’t have to worry about bringing many trip essentials, such as bedding and kitchenware. But you do, of course, want to make a packing list covering other gear and supplies, which will in large part be determined by what activities you want to fill your Colorado cabin camping getaway with snowboarding or skiing, mountain biking or rock-climbing, whipping up gourmet dinners with your outdoors-obsessed friends.

Browns Canyon National Monument at Stafford Gulch

And, naturally, you want to pack for the given season. Summertime in the Royal Gorge Region sees plenty of sunshine and warmth, sure, but you’ll still want raingear and some lightweight warm outerwear for when the temps drop into the 50s during the evening. Fall and spring can bring the whole kitchen sink when it comes to weather conditions, so it’s best to pack for everything from balmy sunshine to spitting flurries or hail.

Our region, the so-called “Banana Belt of Colorado,” is renowned for its comparatively balmy winters. Daily highs that season normally climb into the 40s: perfect for all sorts of outdoor pursuits, from trail running to mountain biking. But you’ll certainly want to bring plenty of layers.

Watch the forecast as your trip approaches and prepare accordingly.

The Best Time to Visit Colorado for a Cabin Camping Trip

When is the best time to go camping in Colorado? Well, if you’re cabin camping, the sky’s the limit! (It’s a lot more pleasant bedding down in a luxury cabin when those flurries are flying and the windchill’s inching toward subzero territory…)

The state certainly delivers big-time every season when it comes to outdoor recreation. If you’re interested in water-based activities such as the world-class whitewater rafting to be found in the Royal Gorge, summer’s ideal. And that’s peak season, too, for ziplining, ATVing, hiking, and much more.

You will, however, be dealing with more crowds that time of year. Fall can be a fantastic window for ditching the throngs while still enjoying premier conditions for a lot of outdoor activities—including, at least early in the season, river running.

View from Oil Well Flats - Island in the Sky trailWinter in the Royal Gorge Region is quiet, and the scenery, backdropped by snow-capped peaks, is sensational. This is a great time of year to visit for making little sightseeing day trips—a driving tour to the historical site of Cripple Creek, for example—but also just kicking back and relaxing at your cabin, which includes a private patio drenched in mountain views.

Bear in mind that some Colorado attractions and restaurants may only be open during the busy summer travel season. Others, such as most museums, remain open outside that window, but often only on certain days and for more limited hours.

Long story short, there’s no one best time to visit Colorado: Every season serves up magic!

Here’s a non-exhaustive list of some of the premier activities to enjoy on a season-by-season basis in Colorado, including with a home base here at Royal Gorge Cabins:

  • Summer: Rafting, ziplining, ATVing, mountain biking, hiking, trail-running
  • Fall: Rafting (usually ends in mid-September), ziplining, ATVing, mountain biking, hiking, trail-running, leaf-peeping
  • Winter: Skiing, mountain biking, hiking, trail-running

Spring: Skiing (usually winds down by early April), rafting (kicking off mid-April), ziplining, ATVing, mountain biking, hiking, trail-running

Plan a Colorado Getaway With Royal Gorge Cabins

From the whitewater thrills, world-class hiking, and mind-blowing suspension bridge of the Royal Gorge to museum-going and historical sightseeing, you’ll have some of the very best of Colorado on your platter when you call one of our Royal Gorge Cabins your luxurious base camp! Book your stay in a luxury cabin or glamping tent on our gorgeous property today.

Picture of Ben Sack

Ben Sack

Ben Sack is the General Manager of Echo Canyon River Expeditions and Royal Gorge Cabins. He's also a raft guide, photographer, and he loves exploring Colorado and beyond with his wife and two boys.

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