Looking for an unique place to camp in Colorado? Check out the Missile Site Campground in Greeley, CO. We stumbled upon this decommissioned Atlas Missile Site during our search for a place to camp in our RV. Missile Site Park offers a beautiful view of the sun setting over Windsor city. Complimentary tours of the site are available Monday through Friday and must be scheduled in advance by calling (970) 373-8140. You do not have to be camped at the site to go on the tour.
The cost was $20/night with no hookups and a five night maximum, no reservations. The pay station is at the entrance and accepts cash or checks made out to Weld County. The road to the campsites is a well maintained gravel road. Each site included a covered picnic table and BBQ grill. Some sites have trees that provide a little bit of shade while the rest of the grounds are covered in dry grass and weeds. While we were there we saw rabbits, gophers and some very beautiful birds. Potable city water is available to fill up a water tank and there was a dump station for $5 (at the time of this post, the non-potable water for flushing was not working). Bathrooms with flushing toilets were also on site.
For the most part, we felt safe at the campground. There was an incident one night when some kids drove up in the middle of the night, set off fireworks and played on the swings. We didn’t feel in danger, but kept our eyes open the rest of the time we were there.
The tour of the site was given by the groundskeeper, Ruben, who is retired from the Air Force. He is an absolute wealth of knowledge when it comes to the missile site and how things functioned. Although the site was decommissioned in 1965, it has been well preserved and represents an interesting and very scary time in our history. The site is still used today by the county to store records, which is why they continue to maintain it.
During the tour we got to visit the “tomb” where the missile was housed, which includes a simple mock up of the Atlas along with the original cradle and lifting apparatus for the missile. Unlike the missiles housed in silos, the Atlas was laid down and it took 12 to 15 minutes to stand it up. There was no structure to the missile so it would collapse unless it was pressurized. Throughout the tour, there are photos depicting what the active site looked like including the crew that worked there.
Here are a two interesting facts we learned on the tour:
- The Atlas weighed 265,000 pounds at launch
- The speed of the Atlas was 12x that of a .45 caliber bullet
Overall, we really enjoyed our stay and suggest that anyone in the area looking for a place to camp for a few days to check out the Missile Site and take the tour. Even if you’re not camping at the site, it’s well worth the drive to take the tour. One item to note, the site did not appear to be wheelchair accessible.