White River National Forest, COLORADO
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Camping Colorado White River National Forest
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Great Lake. Great hiking. Great town.

Loved this campground. Quiet and clean and unforgettable sunsets over the lake. I highly recommend hiking up to Scarp Ridge. It's steep, but you get 360 degree views.

Wooded campsite along Maroon Creek

This is a very small campground. Of the six available sites, one is reserved for walk-ins. Our site was along Maroon Creek, and nestled in a thick aspen grove. With our camping pass, we were able to park in the Maroon Bells parking lot so we were able to catch both a sunrise and a sunset. (Don't miss the sunrise!) There were a lot of biting bugs—both at the campsite and on the trails—so come prepared, Crater Lake is a short but rewarding hike out of the Maroon Bells parking lot, but I also recommend driving over to hike to both American Lake and Cathedral Lake. Both have significant elevation gain, so if you are going in the summer, head up early, or late.

Weekend tent camping

Stayed here over the weekend of 8/16. Arrived at campground around 8pm, the site had my name posted on the campsite, did not have to check in. Bear locker on site was helpful to store food, also the fire pit was clutch! Was able to park car at campsite. Hiked on Saturday on the Ruedi trail, which was accessed on frying pan road. Hiked 2 miles in and had a good view on the reservoir. Wanted to swim but there was no beach area and no other people swimming, just boats. A beautiful drive coming from Basalt to the campground. The campground was full and camping sites are pretty close to each other. Right after sunset, saw a deer walk up to the water station. Also saw a bear and a fox on the tree line surrounding the campground but did not have any bear activity on our site!

Great Spot!

Nice campsite right on the banks of Roaring Fork River. Small site with 10 spots, first come, first serve. Arrived on a Wednesday in July just before noon and there were several spots to pick from. Sites 4 - 7 are on the river, which was very nice, good for sleeping. There are as fire pits and tables at each campsite. Vault toilets and a water spout on site. Plenty of lodgepole pines between sites so it feels private. Trail head for Lost Man Trail is right across the street, or head east on Hwy 82 to Independence and Lost Man Lake Tail head for a nice out and back.

Awesome disperses camping.

Dogs welcome. No bathroom or water. Along a river. Free. Fire pits at certain sites. Rarely neighbors. Quiet. Close to midturn, red cliff, and Avon should you have forgotten anything. Perfect for a quick weekend get away

Disperse Camp between Horseshoe and Four mile

Accessible by 2-WD with standard clearance, plenty of space between 4 mile campground and horseshoe campground. On the road to Mt. Sherman trailhead (4-WD and high clearance recommended for trailhead but 2-WD will get you pretty close). Lots of space and established camp sites with fire rings

Beautiful lake

The lake is lovely and there is a trail for mountain bikes and hikers that goes halfway around.

Highway noise

The reservoir is beautiful but the campsites are right next to I 70 and you can hear the traffic all day and all night. That said, if you’re going, bring your paddleboard or kayak or rent a sailboat. And you can bike along the trail that runs all the way around the reservoir.

Easy to get to, Clean facilities

It was a Friday afternoon in the middle of August and we knew available campsites would be scarce, so we pulled into the first one we came to and stayed put through Sunday morning. We were close to an old boat ramp which ended up being a great spot to park the jet ski. There was no shade, so our pop up tent helped tremendously. Bathrooms were just a few steps away which was convenient, but unfortunately that meant other campers walking through our site to get to them. The noise from the highway could be heard throughout the day and night, but we kind of expected that since we could see the highway from the campsite. Overall very clean and a very relaxing couple days!

Dispersed Free Camping Near Buena Vista CO

Elephant Rock Campground is a free BLM dispersed camping just a few miles north of Buena Vista Colorado. The site is located on a dirt road along the Arkansas River. The site has about a dozen spots and can be crowded in the summer. The river is home to some of the best white water rafting in the Colorado with class III and IV rapids. The site also has some great rock climbing sites and hiking trails. The road is former railroad track from the Midland Railway Company. You drive through the rock cutouts from old railway. It’s a very cool area with lots to see and do. The camp is like many free BLM sites with few if any amenities. Buena Vista is very close and a great place for bars, cafes, and one good grocery store on the highway. The camp had a wide range of users including tents, vans, and trailers. The campsite can get very muddy after rain and is about 8100 feet in elevation. Leadville is about 20 minutes north along the main highway and well worth the visit.


Beautiful views, right on the lake. Some beetle kill has opened up the campground where there used to be trees.

Parking on Asphalt But Beautiful Scenery

Located just up the road from Peak One campground the Pine Cove campground is a great back up if no walk up sites are available at Peak One. The campground is situated on an asphalt parking lot however the hosts are very nice and it is located right on the lake.

Not a ton of amenities other than pit toilets and water, however it is worth staying nearby the National Forest.

Beautiful Scenery - Challenging Reservations

This was a great campground for a night however you must take into account the less time needed to reserve online or else you need to do a walk-in site. If it’s filled check out Pine Cove which is down the street.

Lots of room

There are a ton of spots, but be careful and make sure they're approved. We stopped at one that had a fire ring made from rocks but it wasn't 100' from water. we parked at night so we didn't see the  sign that said it wasn't a legal camping spot, then the next day we got a ticket from a park ranger. It was our fault but just thought I should mention it so others don't make the same mistake. There were several other spots, we just liked the location of this one.  Anyway, tons of tree cover, streams, trails, wild flowers etc. There was also a decent amount of traffic from other campers and off road vehicles/ATV's but if you go farther up the road and then find a spot a little farther from the road, it wont be a big deal.


There is plenty of camping away from fee area down the road. my buddy and I were planning to do Mount. massive form the North Half Moon Lake Trailhead. I have a tiny chevy hatchback that handled the road pretty well. We made it past the Elbert Trailhead, but were about 1.5 miles short of the Halfmoon Lake Trailehead. 4-WD/high clearance is ideal, but not necessary. We dispersed camped along the road at an existing campsite with a fire ring and the area was perfect.

Everything a primitive camper needs

2-WD may have trouble accessing the parking lot but should be able to get pretty close. Their is a $3 day use fee and a $12 overnight fee. The campground has an outhouse which is nice but otherwise it is very simple and spread out with beautiful views of Kite Lake, Mt. Bross, Mt. Cameron, and Mt. Democrat. You are able to hike right next to the trail head and the parking lot is nearby as well. Nice place, quiet and serene, perfect for tackling the fourteeners or a serene excursion into solitude, plenty to explore here.

Loved it!

Bogan Flats is a great campground if you want to get away. Great for singles and families. Most campsites are large and allow for several families to one site. They were also semi private. The sites next to the river are the best. The sites closer to the entrance and on the river offer the best shade. My site #25 was next to the water and is an excellent spot for RVs, allowing you to drive through and park. There wasn’t a lot of shade though. At this altitude the heat wouldn’t be a big deal except the weekend we went the temps were in the 90’s. It’s about a 40 minutes drive to Aspen, 20 minutes to Carbondale (and phone connectivity), and 30 minutes to Glenwood Springs. Sleeping next to the roar or the river was wonderful. Each site offers a bear box, picnic table, and campfire rings. The vault toilets are kept clean. There is a faucet for drinking water and dishes. Its a fly fisherman’s heaven. I definitely will be back!

Excellent campgrounds on the river

Outstanding camping experience. Small campground on the river with plenty of trees for relaxing in nature. The grounds were clean and organized and the camp host, Doug, was exceptional. Highly recommended.

Stay here and you'll be ~1 mile from the start of the Missouri Lakes hike. One of CO's best.

Dispersed camping sites were a life saver!

Super clean and accessible sites with easy access to the Mt. Elbert and Mt. Massive trailheads. There’s a water spicket across from the Elbert trailhead in the main campgrounds that was a lifesaver.

Great blend: smaller, out in nature but 45 minutes from town

We loved tent camping here with our dog. We saw plenty of trailers and smaller RVs as well. The road around the loop is paved but the sites themselves are not. You tent peg into the dirt. It’s a 5, 10-minute walk to the reservoir but you feel a world away from it’s busy day visitors. All the spots are a little different, a few in the inner campsites have less shade, but most make the use of trees, tall grasses, and positioning of each site and where you’d park your car, for privacy. The flush toilets at Little Maud are immaculate and well-spaced at the top and bottom of the loop. Be bear aware: there are great bear-proof storage lockers on each site to use. Keep your toiletries in your car or bear locker too - your toothpaste, sunscreen, all of that, smells like food. The local black bears are shy but they do come around. One came quite close to us at site #4. We think it wanted the cool shade of the stream. It was a little hard to hear it’s rustling/approach with the white noise of the stream. The hosts said to make a lot of noise and they will leave. Our banging of the fire grate wasn’t noisy enough but the host had an air horn that worked. No cell service here or on most of the road up after you leave nearby Basalt. We loved it and will definitely be back.


Absolutely loved this spot!

Great location but noisy

This was a great campground for our first family camping trip. The hosts were helpful. The vault toilets were clean. The location was great for hiking the Colorado trail. The only thing I didn’t like was the noise from the highway, you could hear trucks and cars all night.

Leave no trace!

Beautiful!! Please make sure you are leaving no trace! There are a lot of people around this area, please do your part to keep the land as natural as possible. The poop fairy does NOT live here- pack it out!

Nice Campground in Great Area of Colorado

We enjoyed this campground a lot. Our spot (32) was quiet and surrounded by trees, you could barely see the other spots. The bathroom/shower was right across from us though so you did see people coming and going from there. The showers were actually warm and the vault toilets were well cleaned and maintained throughout our stay. The views around the campsite were very nice. We used this campground as a jump off for a few day trips - 1 day to Aspen to see Maroon Bells, 1day to Paonia to pick fresh fruit and do wine tastings, 1 day to Glenwood springs to the hotsprings pool. We also had dinner at Slow Groovin BBQ in Marble one night and went into Carbondale one night as they were having a local fair. We also checked out the Penny hotsprings (natural hotsprings in the river near mile marker 55) but the river was high this year so it wasn't possible to find a nice soaking spot (you were either right in the super hot spring water or in the super cold river water with no in between), still cool to check out though.

Warning a few spots are weird "shared sites" where 2 sites literally share the drive and are right next to each other. I think for our loop there were 2 that I *think* were 34/35 and 23/24

Elbert Creek Site 1

Elbert Creek is locates at the base of two trailheads: Mt. Elbert and Mt. Massive. Both are great 14ers with beautiful views. The campground is nice with good distance between each sites and plenty of trees. No reservations are required, all sites are first come first serve. A water pump is available, but the water needs to be treated before drinking. Firewood is not available at the site but I was able to find some at the entrance of the Forest Rd. Both mountains are popular hikes so expect people to arrive around 4am to begin their hike.

Pleasant High-Country Camping.

This is a basic Forest Service campground, but it's good one with lots of space at the sites and ample room to drive in and out. Access to the South Mt. Elbert Trailhead is a short walk, and it's a short drive to swim in Twin Lakes, drive up Independence Pass, or fish in the Arkansas headwaters. Only 10 minutes to Leadville, as well. 

The pit toilets were clean and there's water spigots throughout the campground so you don't have to walk far for dish water or drinking water. Firewood bundles were available at the campground manager's trailer for $5. 

It's not luxury camping, but it's pretty darn good.

Great family campground

We come here every year. The kids like to play in the reservoir and ride their bikes around it or around the campground. A lot of the sites are closer than I would prefer. You can find a few sites that offer more privacy. The negative is that there is a lot of lose dirt where you cook and eat. Also even though there is a ten o’clock curfew, I’ve been there when it’s ignored and people are partying.

The bathrooms are okay. Pretty clean. They have well water for dishes and it’s drinkable. No showers.

If you plan early for July 4th you can watch fireworks from your site.

Perfect spot in Vail

I loved camping here. Some of the campsites require a short walk. We camped with two of our children. Our site was more secluded then other sites. I noticed that some of the sites required walking up a steep hill.

I loved that we could hear the roar of the river nearby. Added to a restful sleep. The toilets were very clean. No showers. There are bear boxes at every site. Everyone seemed friendly. I will definitely be back.

Amazing Views!

Drove in on a Saturday afternoon in June without a reservation thinking we had a slim chance of getting a site. Luckily this is a large campground with three (I think) loops of first-come, first-serve sites. Plenty of sites to choose from. Some not great for tents, but we happened to come upon a site with one of the best views of any campsite I’ve ever stayed at. Amazing!

Credit cards are not accepted at the campground, so if you don’t have a reservation, be sure to bring cash.

Incredible campground, great mountain views

We car camped right down the road from the pull in spot marked on this map. It was a perfect, meadow opening with an existing fire pit. Easy get to the car level. The spot is just above the creek, it looked like a moose's dream spot but we didn't see any. There were trees and bushes along the creek, but no privacy from the dirt road. You'd be pretty exposed in a down pour. There is forrest just across the road though. While we were there for one night, we saw maybe 6 cars go by. The dirt road in from the east side is fine for SUVs, smaller cars might have some trouble. We drove west towards Leadville when we left and there was a ton of amazing camping spots along the road. One of the best places I've camped.