Cheley Colorado Camps is a family-owned, co-ed, residential summer camp that was started in 1921 by Frank H. Cheley. We are youth development professionals focused on having a positive lasting impact. Comprised of outdoor adventures, horseback riding, athletics, target sports, fine & performing arts, and aquatics, "We build the lasting character and resiliency of young people, creating unique life experiences in a challenging and nurturing natural environment."
A summer at Cheley Colorado Camps means spending time hiking, backpacking, horseback riding, rafting, paddleboarding, mountain biking, and playing in the beautiful Rocky Mountains. Wake up each morning to the fresh mountain air, views of peaks that soar to 14,000 feet, and the laughter of fellow campers and staff. Since 1921, Cheley Colorado Camps has welcomed more than 50,000 young people from every state and more than a dozen countries, including many second, third, and now fourth generation Cheley campers. Offering two traditional 4-week terms, a 5-night program for younger campers interested in a taste of camp, a family camp, and more, Cheley hosts over 1,200 campers each summer with ~220 seasonal staff and a small team of year-round staff.
People choose Cheley because they know they can expect an experience of exceptional richness, quality, and consistency in a community that celebrates the individual interests and needs of each participant. Camp lies 75 miles northwest of Denver on the 750-acre Land O'Peaks Ranch south of Estes Park, surrounded by the snow-capped peaks and forests of Rocky Mountain National Park, Indian Peaks Wilderness Area, and the Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forests. Cheley operates its backcountry program on permits from the National Park Service and the Forest Service. In addition to the Land O'Peaks Ranch, Cheley owns five more locations totaling approximately 700 acres. Two of these locations are the site of two additional camper units – the Trail's End Ranches, where campers sleep in covered wagons – while the other three locations serve as overnight camping spots. No matter how many years you come to camp, it's tough to see it all.
In Rocky Mountain National Park alone, more than 600 miles of trails wind through sunlit meadows of wildflowers, cool forests, brilliant snowfields, and vast boulder fields to high country lakes, ponds, glaciers, and rivers, and alpine peaks. Cheley's facilities include five horseback riding rings, a climbing wall, a gymnasium, a fleet of 40 mountain bikes, a low and high ropes course, a grassy amphitheater with a lighted stage, a soccer field beside an aspen grove, a fishing pond, and facilities for working with leather, paints, ceramics, and wood. Camp buildings, much like the Cheley Experience, are rich in tradition and steeped in memory. Handsome lodges and snug log cabins dating to the 1920s merge gracefully with the rocky landscape, offering stunning views at every turn. The facilities and grounds are constantly improved and scrupulously maintained for the safety, comfort, and enjoyment of campers and staff.
Cheley Colorado Camps has survived wars, economic depressions, natural disasters, and pandemics, truly withstanding the test of time. Following our Centennial in 2021, we know our challenge as leaders in youth development is to protect and preserve the rugged, rustic character of their experience while providing opportunities for growth, personal responsibility, and self-reliance. This is what makes Cheley a top-rated summer camp and we intend on improving every year.
Cheley Colorado Camps is accredited by the American Camp Association, the Western Association of Independent Camps, the Camp Owners and Directors Association, and is a Leave No Trace partner.