Avoid the crowds, try cliff camping in Colorado

Colorado campgrounds are packed this time of year.

And if you're tired of fighting the crowds to find a place to pitch your tent, you're in luck.

There's a new twist on this favorite summer activity. It's a new, crowd-free way to camp and an experience that should be on every thrill seeker's bucket list.

It's called cliff camping. Campers pitch their tents on a small 5 by 4 foot platform on the side of a 300 foot tall cliff. The porta-ledge, as it's called, is typically about 200 feet off the ground.

"Once we decided we were going to Colorado this wasn't even a question. It was a must do, once in a life time kind of thing," said Josh Winter. Josh and his wife Kristen traveled to Estes Park from Pennsylvania to cliff camp.

They read about it in a magazine.

"I have to try it," said Josh.

The adventure begins with a 40 minute trek over the river and through the woods. Campers then rope up with climbing gear so that they can either climb up or drop down to the ledge.

"No one else we know is doing this in the United States," explained Harry Kent, the owner of Kent Mountain Adventure Center.

Once you get past the fear of climbing, campers begin to reap the rewards: spectacular views as far as the eye can see.

"You can see the snow capped mountains and beautiful blue skies. Peaks in every direction," said Josh.

"I think the neatest part for me is looking at the rock," added Kristen. "This is something you wouldn't see unless you were stuck to the side of a cliff."

Kent Mountain Adventure Center started their cliff camping experiences 3 years ago.

"I think it's just wide enough for two people. Two people who could not shift their weight or move the whole night," said Kristen, referring to the porta-ledge.

That's one reason winters opted for a picnic, otherwise known as a "cliffnic."

However, camping on the ledge is more safe than most people realize. Every person and almost every item is attached to an anchor.

"We don't call this a dangerous activity. We use so many systems that a redundant for safety," said Harry Kent.

It's a picnic the Winter's will remember forever, the day they experienced Colorado and all its majesty from the side of a cliff.

"We're not trying skydiving. That's where we draw the line," said Kristin.

If you're interested in trying cliff camping or booking a cliffnic for yourself, here is pricing information from Kent Mountain Adventure Center.