If you’re into backpacking, fishing, or camping, then you know that spending the night 100ft from moving water is the stuff dreams are made of. There’s something instinctively calming about being near water, it could be the calling of the lapping waves on the shore or the cool humidity that comes from cold streams in the summer heat. Whatever it is that draws you to the water’s edge, there’s no better way of enjoying the company of moving water than dozing off and waking up to nature on the go. Check out these four rivers while you plan your next camping trip, guided or not.
Photo Courtesy of Uncovercolorado.com
The Arkansas River in Colorado
Crossing four states from the Rocky Mountains to the Mississippi River, this waterway has a lot of influence on the landscape it travels through. In Colorado, Browns Canyon is the most notable feature that the Arkansas River flows through. Due to the beautiful sights and diverse wildlife, this the Browns Canyon area of the Arkansas River is the most commercially rafted in the entire United States, it’s also very popular with hikers and fisherman. Camping along the shores of the Arkansas River between Buena Vista and Salida, CO, will put you in premiere territory so robust it was declared a national monument in 2015.
The Colorado River
Another immensely influential river beginning in the Rocky Mountains is Colorado’s namesake river. This waterway travels through seven US states and two Mexican states until it finally reaches the Gulf of Mexico. Camping along the shores of El Rio Colorado gives you the opportunity to see Bald Eagles, Golden Eagles, beavers, and much more. You’ll find cliffs to jump off and great fishing holes all along the Upper Colorado River. Camping near this massive tributary, you can’t help but imagine all the lands these waters will travel through and the 11 national parks this seemingly endless flow of water will reach. It’s a truly eye-opening experience trying to grasp the magnitude of this river and how big the world is in comparison.
Photo Courtesy of Watereducationcolorado.org
The Dolores River
Beginning in the San Juan National Forest, this river eventually makes its way into Utah where it meets the Colorado River about 30 miles North of Moab. Stunning views in pristine Utah and Colorado landscape are what make this river great for hiking and camping if you live near the state line. Camping in either state will provide unique perspectives of a river’s impact on different ecosystems. If you are looking for an immersive camping experience, we recommend camping in both Colorado and Utah along the Dolores River to surround yourself with varying wildlife and landscapes.
Photo Courtesy of visitgrandcounty.com
The Blue River
Last, but not least, the Blue River flows from the towns of Blue River and Breckenridge, through the Dillon Reservoir and joins the Colorado River near Kremmling. This 65-mile river lies in the heart of Summit County and offers unique access to wildlife viewings like Mountain Goats and Moose! Camping here means you can fish, raft, sightsee and view wildlife while being only a short drive from local mountain towns.
After you pick your next camping location, be sure to keep you and your crew safe by knowing the proper guidelines for camping near rivers. For instance, it is recommended you camp 100 to 200 feet from any river to allow wildlife access and avoid flash floods. For more information on how to camp near a river check out the US Forest Service guide.