Privately owned and operated campgrounds that stay open during winter often serve as base camps for a wide range of winter recreation activities, ranging from skiing and snowboarding to snowmobiling, ice fishing and ice skating. But some campgrounds also have unique on-site winter activities you won’t find anywhere else.
Fun Places to Camp During the Winter
One case in point is Terry Bison Ranch in Cheyenne, Wyo., which offers a train ride across the ranch to view a bison herd in the snow. Another winter activity onsite includes horseback riding. The ranch also has its own steakhouse and a 43-site RV park that’s open during winter.
Another unique place for winter snow camping is Belmont Hot Springs RV Park and Resort in Garland, Utah, which offers a 60-foot-deep mineral hot springs lake that’s popular with scuba diving enthusiasts — even in winter, according to park owner, Michael Yamin.
Of course, private campgrounds are also widely used as base camps for skiing and snowboarding enthusiasts.
Park City RV Resort in Park City, Utah is a popular base camp for skiers and snowboarders who enjoy three world-class ski resorts nearby, including The Canyons, Park City Mountain Resort and Deer Valley.
Winter recreation enthusiasts in Colorado often stay at the 9,600-foot Tiger Run Resort near the historic mining town of Breckenridge, which is close to several popular ski resorts, including Breckenridge, Keystone, and Copper Mountain, with Vail being about an hour away (depending on road conditions).
Meanwhile, winter visitors to Westerly RV Park just north of Durango, enjoy a variety of activities such as hot air balloon rides and skiing at Durango Mountain Resort and Purgatory and taking winter train rides on the historic Durango Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad. While the famous train does not go all the way up to the historic 9,200-foot mining town of Silverton during the winter months, it does offer shorter winter train rides up to Cascade Canyon.
“We have folks who come for the balloon festivals, including during the winter,” said Westerly RV Park co-owner, Eugenie Schlittgen. She added that many of her guests also enjoy a quick walk across the street to the newly upgraded Durango Hot Springs Resort & Spa. “That’s a big draw all year long. But it is especially nice to warm up our winter guests - especially after a day of skiing!” Schlittgen said.
In California’s Sierra Nevada, several privately owned and operated campgrounds accommodate winter recreation enthusiasts, including Mammoth Mountain RV Park & Campground in Mammoth Lakes, which features plowed RV sites with electric hookups as well as a water filling station and dump station. Other amenities include restrooms with hot showers and an indoor swimming pool and Jacuzzi. Activities in the Mammoth Lakes area include snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, downhill skiing and snowmobiling.
In the greater Lake Tahoe area, winter recreation enthusiasts often stay at Tahoe Valley Campground in South Lake Tahoe, which offers RV sites as well rental accommodations, including park models. Other Lake Tahoe area campgrounds open in winter include Coachland RV Resort in Truckee, which offers RV sites as well as park model accommodations.
Further to the South, Yosemite Lakes RV Resort in Groveland, just outside the western entrance to Yosemite National Park, is also open in winter, offering a variety of RV sites as well as furnished park model rentals. Yosemite Lakes is about 30 minutes from cross-country ski areas and a little over an hour’s drive from Badger Pass Ski Resort in Yosemite.
There are also more than 15 fishing lakes within an hour’s drive of Yosemite Lakes, including Don Pedro Reservoir, Cherry Lake and Hetch Hetchy Reservoir in Yosemite National Park.
In the Pacific Northwest, Mt. Hood Village RV Resort in Welches, Ore., outside of Portland, is a popular winter basecamp, with the Mt. Hood Skibowl just 13 miles away. The Mt. Hood Adventure Park is also just another two miles down the road.
Winter visitors to Leavenworth RV Campground, near the Bavarian-themed town of Leavenworth, Wash., east of Seattle, enjoy beautiful Cascade Mountain views as well as close proximity to Stevens Pass Ski Resort. Additional winter activities include cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and ice fishing, which is available at Fish Lake, just a few miles from the resort.
Winter visitors to the 300-acre Chehalis RV & Camping Resort in Chehalis, Wash.enjoy beautiful hiking trails and local area attractions that include winter fishing in the Cowlitz River, which is known to have one of Washington’s best runs of steelhead trout.
In the Midwest, several privately owned campgrounds also stay open during the winter months, including Evergreen Campsites & Resort in Wild Rose, Wis., which offers dry camping with electrical hookups and a water hookup for guest use. The campground is next to a 70-acre lake, which is popular with ice skating and ice fishing enthusiasts, while Nordic Mountain, which offers skiing, snowboarding and snow tubing, is only a 20-minute drive from the campground.