According to my trusty dictionary, glamping is “the activity of camping with some of the comforts and luxuries of home.” This might be a good time to also define camping: “a place where an army or other group of persons or an individual is lodged in a tent or tents or other temporary means of shelter.”
If you’re familiar with glamping, you might picture a platform, perhaps with a hardwood floor, and an actual bed on it, protected by a canvas tent that’s tall enough for an adult to stand in. Perhaps there’s bedside table. A hanging lamp. A rack to store a backpack or suitcase off the floor.
Glamping can be more than just convenient — it can be luxurious, seemingly created for Instagram influencers. Unlike camping, there’s no setting up the tent, rolling out your sleeping bag, bringing your own toilet paper, and packing out what you pack in.
Yet glamping is changing and going beyond the basic bed in a fancy tent. These days, throughout Colorado you’ll find a few variations on this concept for your next adventure in lodging. Here are a few to consider for your next trip.
1. Kinship Landing opened in downtown Colorado Springs in 2020, a conveniently located hotel for visitors who might want to walk to the new U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Museum or be a short drive from Garden of the Gods Park. One of its coolest features, however, is its camping deck, an unexpected glamping option. Unlike when booking a typical hotel room, you must bring all of your own camping gear. Unlike a typical camping trip, there is indoor plumbing in a private bathroom and a restaurant downstairs.
“Some people come to experiment with camping or setting up a tent for the first time,” said Bobby Mikulas, CEO and co-founder of Kinship Landing. “Others are seasoned professionals, and still others come simply to enjoy hanging in a hammock overlooking the Front Range and falling asleep outdoors. It’s an extremely popular offering at Kinship Landing.”
The cost is $20 per night per person and the camping deck can accommodate six people (anyone younger than 18 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian). Mikulas and his team have a sense of humor about this unusual offering, on display on their website’s FAQ. “Q: What if I feel, lost, hungry, and afraid? A: You can text yes, but remember unlike the Weminuche Wilderness, you have access to our first floor full bar and café by simply descending 40 vertical feet via a class 2 staircase.”
2. The Royal Gorge Cabins, 8 miles west of Cañon City, has nine well-appointed modern cabins and eight luxury glamping tents with views of the Royal Gorge Bridge. These seasonal (May through September) single- or double-queen tents are walking distance from an all-hours bathroom and shower. There are also fire pits, lounge chairs on the patios, and access to outdoor games like cornhole. With deer antler chandeliers, cushy headboards above fresh sheets on firm mattresses, and leather couches to sit on, it feels glamorous inside these airy tents.
“It gets to the point where you question, ‘What even is glamping, anymore?’ ” said Andy Neinas, owner of the Royal Gorge Cabins, after seeing not only great interest in the tents, but also requests for more amenities. “We started out with simple canvas tents on wooden platforms, and then people loved those so much that they wanted heat in the cold and air-conditioning in the hot weather.”
The tents cost $209 to $269 per night. The 2.0 tents, completed in 2018, have radiant heat concrete floors, swamp coolers, and more space to spread out. There are plans to build tents that have private bathrooms.
While the cabins here were built specifically to have a seamlessness between indoor and outdoor space with sliding glass doors, floor-to-ceiling windows on some sides, and fireplaces that are both inside and outside, glamping 3.0 will essentially become private hotel rooms with canvas walls and ceilings for a similar kind of indoor and outdoor experience.
3. Truly, what is glamping … without “artisanal s’mores” anyway? You won’t have to find out if you opt for a few nights with Collective Vail in Wolcott. In the midst of 1,000 acres at the 4 Eagle Ranch, there is a grouping of tents not far from the Three Peaks Lodge, where farm-to-table meals can be enjoyed during a stay (breakfast is complimentary).
Guests choose between a Summit tent or Journey tent, depending on price and amenities desired, but both have electricity and high-thread-count linens. The Summit tents
have private en-suite bathrooms with plush bathrobes you can wear when you relax on your private deck to watch the horses at sunset. The Journey tent – without the private bathroom – is the bargain, starting at closer to $200 per night this summer, compared to Summit tents that go for around $500 per night, depending on time of year. With an on-site winery and complimentary Sage Social Hour nightly for guests, followed by those artisanal s’mores around the evening campfire, there’s a sense that being taken care of is what makes it feel like a luxury, not just the comfy bed in the tent.
There is a 15-minute walk across the sagebrush from the check-in cottage to the tents, but your luggage can be delivered.
4. Black Tree Resort in Lake George has its own spin on roughing it in style. Glampers have use of their own golf cart to get around camp, though private bathrooms for the tents are a short walk away. These tents have two queen beds, draped in Pendleton wool blankets for that Western feel. Fresh meals are delivered to your tent three times a day. All for about $600 per night.
5. Pioneers may have been the original glampers though. There are a few options for staying in wagons around Colorado, and Avalanche Ranch near Redstone seems to have one of each: shepherds wagon, covered wagon, Gypsy wagon, and chuck wagon. It’s a glamping tent on wheels! These are actually more than canvas over a wagon, with wood supporting the walls and ceiling so they can be rented year-round. There’s even room for stoves inside to keep you cozy when the temperature drops.
While the wagons seem like a fun family option, they’re small, with a maximum capacity of two people. The wagons are described as “Very much like glamorous
camping (glamping!).” It’s not far to the restrooms — nor the on-site hot springs. You’ll pay $110 per night year-round for each wagon.
6. River Run in Granby offers a conestoga wagon topped in actual canvas – basic, but likely far better than what the settlers had when they migrated West. These wagons accommodate two to four people and have stairs and a front door. They run $80 per night and are only available in summer. There are plans to add more tents and yurts at River Run, where there also are Airstream trailers available by the night.
7. Glamping meets pandemic dining domes and sci-fi movies at Puma Hills in Lake George where clear “bubble tents” let you sleep in the comfort of a double bed while looking out at the surrounding forest. Your feet don’t even have to touch the ground when you step out of bed onto Brazilian cowhide rugs and snuggle up in Australian sheepskin furs. There are private changing rooms attached to each bubble, but if you’re feeling at one with nature you can shower under the stars (maybe this is called “glamering”?) or in the morning sun inside a semi-enclosed outdoor stall. Cost is about $200 a night.
8. Wait, aren’t tepees the original glamping setup? Puma Hills is just one of the places that offer extravagantly appointed tepees for glampers. Inside there’s room for two queen beds, a chest of drawers, a sitting area, and an outdoor dining area. Arapaho Valley Ranch in Granby has four 20-foot-tall tepees set up in close proximity for communal gathering around the fire pit (guests are permitted to bring their own firewood). Inside each platformed tepee is a log bed and a “camp kitchen” along with a cooler.
The cost is $175 per night and each tepee can sleep four people. What’s interesting here is that they distinguish tepees from “glamping tents” which are on the banks of Little Indian Lake.
9. While not at all unusual anymore in the United States, yurts offer their own style for glamping. These circular structures are usually on a raised platform with a door amid the canvas wrapping and there are variations with private en-suite bathrooms. You can stay in a yurt village at the YMCA Camp of the Rockies near Winter Park (about $100 per night), and in relative seclusion at the Never Summer Nordic Yurts in State Forest State Park where the goal is to not have Wi-Fi or modern amenities ($120-$150 per night).
10. The Royal Gorge Riverside Yurts, though, beg to be photographed with their island colors of bright green, pink, yellow, orange and blue on the banks of the Arkansas River. The intent is to have an otherworldly experience, and each yurt can accommodate “4 Earthlings” for $199 per night. They’re out with brightly colored chairs, curtains and bedding on a simple concrete slab. Guests can step out the door for fly-fishing or spend the evening waving at passengers on the Royal Gorge Route Railroad that chugs by on a scenic ride.
11. At Platte River Fort near Greeley, the Lotus Belle yurts resemble oversized fairy houses sitting on their little platforms alongside the river. Even the zipper-down canvas windows and screens are round. Inside is room for a bed, two chairs, and a small table — all for $99 per night.
Whatever your style of glamping, it’s best to pack a few of the items you’d take if you were camping: a headlamp, good walking or hiking shoes, rain gear, bug spray, sunscreen, and a first aid kit.
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