Staying at Telluride’s Town Park campground is the perfect getaway for outdoorsy folk on a budget. It’s in a beautiful & convenient location, only a short walk from downtown. It’s a wonderful way to be able to experience the beauty of Telluride on a budget.
This review will cover the pros and cons of camping at Telluride’s Town Park campground. We’ll talk about who it’s best suited for, who should pass, and how to get a reservation (it’s more complicated than you’d imagine). We’ll also talk about all the incredible amenities and things to do nearby.
But first, let’s jump into the background of where I, the author, am coming from and how my fiancé and I first discovered this wonderful campground.
My fiancé and I have wanted to visit Telluride for years. However, until recently, we struggled to make that happen. Lodging in Telluride is quite expensive. It was out of budget for a young, middle-class couple who had recently moved to Colorado and bought a home.
We had visited Durango before, staying between there and Silverton. That allowed us to explore that section of the San Juans, including Ouray. However, even though Telluride looks close on a map, it is still over a two-hour drive away. So, we opted to pass on Telluride to explore the areas closer to use instead.
Fast forward to this summer (2023). It was a few days before the Fourth of July weekend, and our original plans fell through. We had a four-day summer weekend ahead of us and wanted to plan an incredible trip.
Just for fun, we decided to check out places to stay in Telluride. To our surprise, we found this incredible campsite next to downtown for only $36 a night. What was even more remarkable was that there was one spot left. We were so excited and grateful to get it.
Pros of Camping in Telluride’s Town Park Campground
Long story short, this is the perfect way to visit Telluride on a budget if you enjoy camping. Additionally, this was by far the nicest, prettiest, and most convenient campground I’ve ever stayed at.
Where Telluride’s Town Park Campground is Located
Town Park is located on the east side of downtown Telluride. It’s a beautiful, well-manicured public park surrounded by tall, rugged mountains. There are plenty of activities and amenities in the park alone, including:
- A swimming pool
- Kids fishing pond
- Entertainment stage (where music festivals are hosted)
- Public sports facilities (Baseball, tennis, pickleball, volleyball, etc.)
- Plenty of green space and trees for relaxing & hammocking
You’ll find the Town Park campsites on the far east side of the park. Despite being next to many public amenities, it remains secluded and free from public foot traffic. It’s nestled between the edge of the park and the beautiful Cornet Creek.
Easy access to downtown
My favorite thing about the campsite’s location is its proximity to downtown Telluride and other activities. Seriously, it’s such an easy walk to downtown, the free gondola, several trailheads, and so many activities.
You don’t have to pay for parking or worry about driving around town. You can leave your car at the campsite since there’s so much to do and see within a short walk away.
The only time we used our car while camping there was to get closer to the Bridal Veil Falls trailhead. It’s only about two miles from the campsite, but we wanted to get up there early to get sunrise photos!
Views from Telluride’s Town Park Campground
Speaking of Cornet Creek, our favorite thing to do here was pull up our chairs to sit by this scenic opening next to the creek. It was so close to our campsite and others, making it easy to access. This part of the campground is open to everyone staying there, and there is plenty of space.
In the background, you can get a clear view of various peaks and waterfalls. Including:
- Bridal Veil Falls
- Ingram Falls
- Telluride Peak
- Trico Peak
- Black Bear Pass
- & More!
I’ve also seen people taking a dip in Cornet Creek, but I can imagine it’s freezing! It’s all snowmelt from high altitudes. Perfect for a cold plunge, at least!
These were by far the cleanest and most well-maintained campground bathrooms I’ve ever seen. They’re cleaned twice daily, and the other campers help keep them clean. I can’t find the info to back it up, but I wouldn’t be surprised if these bathrooms were renovated within the last few years.
The bathrooms include plenty of stalls and three clean shower areas. I can be pretty picky, and I didn’t feel grossed out brushing my teeth using the public sinks. The worst part is that you have to pay per 90 seconds for showers. Just remember to bring cash, and you’ll be fine!
Pricing + Campsite Types
Compared to staying at a hotel or vacation rental in Telluride, camping is sooo cheap!! Yeah, it’s more than what you’d pay for most campsites, but given the amenities and easy access to town, it’s so worth it.
Here’s the pricing info as of July 2023. Please keep in mind that this is subject to change. There is also a $3 processing fee for each reservation.
Walk-up sites: $29 per night
This is the cheapest and most remote option. Campers will leave their car in the public Town Park parking lot and pack their items in. It’s a great option if you:
- Have backpacking gear (especially if you want to test it before going on an actual backpacking trip), or
- Have a light camp set up and a wagon or some other easy way to bring your gear in
The walk-up sites are in their own area of the campground. You can access them by crossing over a bridge. There’s no vehicle access to this area, making it much quieter. It sits along the creek, which is all you hear in this area.
Standard campsites: $39 per night
Standard campsites can accommodate tents and some RVs. Please call the campgrounds in advance for RVs and longer vehicle setups. Campsite sizes vary, so you’ll want to ensure your RV will fit before you get there.
You can drive up to all the standard campsites. They have easy access to the bathrooms and creek. You can have up to two vehicles and six people per site.
Premium, large campsites: $49 per night
Large, premium campsites are also available. These are the best ones to book for RVs. Once again, please call in advance to ensure the site you book can accommodate your RV and/or camp setup. These are the sites that sit along the creek.
Cons of Camping in Telluride’s Town Park Campground
Most of the cons are exactly what you’d expect from camping, except for how fast the campsite reservations fill up.
Bring your own camping gear
Of course, you must bring (and buy!) your camping gear. Gear can be expensive, so if this is a one-time camping trip, it may not be worth it. Unless you specifically want a camping experience.
Everyone who has camped knows there is much more effort in camping than staying at a resort or vacation rental. Camping requires plenty of time for planning, prep time, site setup, and tear-down. There’s also more effort in basic activities like carrying your shower and other hygiene items to the bathroom, setting up a campfire, and making camp meals.
Not luxurious like staying at a resort or a nice vacation rental
Even with the nice bathrooms, camping is nowhere near as luxurious as a resort or vacation rental. Sometimes, that’s part of the vacation experience that you want. If that’s the case, then by all means, invest in staying at a relaxing, luxurious resort.
May not sleep as well
Similar to the last point, sleeping outside and within easy earshot of other people is quite the opposite of luxurious. How well you’ll sleep camping depends on you and your camp setup. Many people may definitely prefer sleeping in a nice bed indoors while on vacation as opposed to outside in a tent.
Once again, this is a personal preference and comes in the territory of camping!
Campsite reservations sell out FAST
This is the most surprising item on the cons list. According to the Town of Telluride website, campsites sell out within minutes of becoming available. I recommend taking note of exactly when they open and being ready to reserve a site the second they’re available.
We really lucked out when we reserved our campsite. Someone must have canceled at the last minute, and we were the first to notice and book it. We enjoyed our stay so much that we want to make this a yearly trip. We’ve marketed the date and time campsites open and plan to book one as soon as it becomes available.
If you enjoy camping and want to save hundreds or even thousands of dollars on a Telluride vacation, the Town Park campgrounds are for you. However, if you want a more luxurious trip, then by all means, stay in a resort or nice vacation rental!
It’s all really up to personal preference. Still, we enjoyed it so much that we plan to make camping in Telluride a yearly trip. If you want to camp here as well, make sure to plan months in advance and be ready to reserve your site as soon as they become available.