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White River National Forest, COLORADO
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Most Recent White River National Forest Camping Reviews
Nice Weekend Getaway

This is nice for quick getaway - easy drive from Denver and right at Kenosha Pass which has fall beautiful colors. We bought a new pop up tent and had to try it out arrived in the dark and awoke to beautiful fall colors - hiking trails closeby. Vault toilets very clean only about 20 sites forest service campground. Rating reflects some highway noise closeby only downside

Great site for fishing and cheap

If you are looking for a place to set up that is close to fishing this is your spot. There are a couple sites that are right by the river and a very short walk to wet your hook.

Yes the road noise is noticeable but it's unbearable. I would say just try to find one of the sites closer to the river verses the road.

I don't recall seeing a water faucet but did see one sight with power hook-up. Did it work? I haven't a clue. Only 2 other campers when I set up camp and both were in smaller RV's. Fire rings, picnic table and a fairly level site. Pit toilets that were bearable.

The views and the river is what this campground is all about

Smaller Mountain Campground With Hiking Nearby

This is one of the smaller sites alongside the main road you will find just a short distance outside of Aspen. I was passing through late in the season, technically during "closure" but was able to snag a site because it had not yet been closed due to unusually warmer fall. There had been some snowfall higher up but where I was there had not so the camp had not been closed. They had however turned off the potable water source but vault toilets and sites remained open.

I was located in site 5 which had a small back in area, a picnic table and fire ring. There were also bear boxes throughout camp, which you need to use if you are here because there is a population of bears that will raid camp. I made sure to keep any food in the car behind doors and cleaned up away from camp with my own water source so as to not attract anything to come near. Bears do scare me a bit!!

The site for my tent was lush and grassy, it had not yet frozen or died for the season so it felt very fluffy underneath my tent.

Temperatures dropped dramatically at night and I was happy there was no fire ban when I visited because I used my fire for a heat source in the evening and then hand warmers inside extra socks at night. It was pretty peaceful at the camp as a whole.

While there I enjoyed hiking on the Weller Trail which heads directly out from the parking area near the camp and treks a short distance with some amazing views. I was so happy to have found this site for only $21.

TIPS:

  • Typical season is May to the end of September if it is before or after this time check with the Forest Service to see if they have opened camp for season.

  • Bring a flashlight there is no external light at the campground so you will not be able to see anything without one.

Great accessible campground

Small place, but great campground spots at the lower level by the river. No cell service. First come first served.

Second choice

I wish I could write a review about Cataract Creek campground, which is nestled in the trees 2 miles above Green MountaIn Resevoir. But even in October those 5 sites filled up too fast.
Instead we ended up at McDonald Flats on the south end of the lake near the boat ramp. I like sites with a few trees, no road noise, and limited views of my neighbors. This campground didn’t offer any of those. We had the sites and sounds of semis barreling down HWY 9 all night. Our neighbors were friendly and polite, but we were parked right next to them and heard their car doors as they set out at 6:30 am to go hunting. Regardless, we were happy to have the spot sInce most of the other campgrounds had closed for the season. ServIces lIke trash removal had been suspended for the season, the sIte was free, whIch was a nIce surprIse. The water levels were way too low in October to really enjoy the lake, but it would be a great camp for boaters in the summer. A hIghlIght of the weekend was takIng the 15 minute trek to Kremmling and hitting Grand Adventure Brewery. We loved theIr dog frIendly patIo, diverse beer list, tasty food and friendly service.

Nice campground

Easy access. Clean bathrooms. Fire ring and picnic table. Lots of road noise from I-70 but good access for biking, hiking, and fishing. Great BLM campground.

Perfect getaway location with recreation options abound within minutes.

So close to everything, no worries if you forgot anything.

Chilly, Beautiful, Empty in Early October

The campground was more or less deserted when I was there. It was also very cold and windy but incredibly beautiful. With easy access to area attractions, I chose to stay here because there is was just off my route between Grand Junction and Denver. There are several areas that are specifically for tents although it didn't look as if all of the tent sites had great spots to actually pitch a tent. It's also a deceptively large campground and I drove around for quite a while before finding a good site.

Breathtaking Free Campsite

Wow. Totally worth checking this out. There were plenty of other free spots at lower elevation but the view here is worth it. You drive up the mountain and then it’s a very short dirt road to the sites(about 5 in total). My little Saturn car was able to make it with 2 wheel drive easy. No water or amenities. Campfire rings and spots for tents. I wouldn’t bring an rv up there. Enjoy!!

Great camping near Leadville

Sitting above Twin Lakes Reservoir is Lakeview Campground.  There are several loops of camping, with no real separation between RV and tent camping. We got here late in the afternoon after checking a few other campgrounds and not finding any sites and were lucky to get one of the last two sites available. The camp host was friendly, but not much help in deciding between a slightly sloped site and a site lower down that might be breezy. We rolled the dice and took the lower site (loop E I think) and lucked out when the wind died down with the setting sun. There are no showers but fairly clean vault toilets and lots of access to water pumps. And of course, the usual picnic table, fire pit, and a nice addition of  standing grills. There was plenty of dead sage and some downed limbs to gather for our campfire. There wasn’t much privacy from other sites as there really isn’t any underbrush and no real trees. Which means nowhere to hang the hammock in our site (it looked like some other sites had a couple nice trees for hammocking, but not all sites were so lucky). The Continental Divide Trail goes right through the middle of the campground, so you have access to great hiking. There is also a nice trail that goes partly around the reservoir; or at least I thought it was a trail until it petered out into nothing, not even a game trail.  The campground is close to Mount Massive Wilderness, Leadville, and Independence Pass, so lots of hiking and sightseeing nearby.

RV camping in Silverton

In downtown Silverton, the Red Mountain Lodge is a large RV campground with some cabins and motel rooms. It was a bit confusing trying to navigate the access roads in the campground as it was extremely large. However it had several amenities including a pool, free showers (that campers from outside of town can come use for a small fee), full hook-ups, access to the many off highway trails heading out of town (including trails that start in the campground), access to the Silverton Railroad Station (a few blocks away), jeep rentals, hot tub, rec center, laundry, and a playground. There is a SMALL tent area that is really just a grassy lawn between two of the rental units. The rental units are older and in need of some sprucing up (the paint on the exterior was peeling in large swaths). A short walk down the road takes you to some good restaurants as well as a microbrewery. Across the street is the grocery store/general store/post office, and a gas station is just down the road.

Lifesaver!

Camped here over the summer on a biking trip. Came in very late one night and luckily there was an open spot with no reservation. Awesome view of the lake from the tent and the camp host was great! Told us a bunch of cool things to do in the area and just chatted with us forever. Cheers to an awesome trip and campground!

Easy access roadside campsites, nice views.

This this is a long Winding Road up the mountain that has many nice places to pull over and Camp right off the road. Some are a bit further back than others. Most are accessible to any vehicle. Further on up the mountain you will find the remanence of an old train stop, cabin, train car… It's all free but there's been a fire ban all summer.

First to Review
Convenient Maroon Bells campsite

Great campsite, right on the creek, includes admission to Maroon Bells and priority parking at the trailhead. Would definitely stay here again.

Decent size sites spectacular views

Be weary of your neighbors you intend to camp next to. Pick a good day that has less traffic here

Great private, open campgrounds!!

Campgrounds are spaced wide apart on first come basis. Enclosed fire pits. Get there early! We were there early in the afternoon on a Friday, in Sept, and the vehicles kept coming. Good thing is that the road is 3 or 4 miles long, so there must be a lot of spots further back. Great place see the stars and enjoy the quite!

Exposed and Scenic

most reasons to head out to the kite lake area are to try and summit 4 fourteeners in one day. Mt. Democrat, Mt. Lincoln, Mt Cameron, and Mt. Bross. We were there to do just that, while we only were able to summit one due to the conditions we still had a great time.

The campsite itself is pretty modest, there are only a few designated spots but plenty of area for extra tents. We went in Late September and there were only 3 other people camping. The temps got way down into the low teens that night so it was a chilly one. The campsite sits at over 12,000 ft so right away the temps will be much colder than other places. Also if you are not from the area or visiting from out of state, remember that you are staying at 12,000 ft and the altitude will effect you much more. Each spot had a metal fire ring and a picnic table. 2 vault toilets were located in the parking lot area and we saw people there that night up keeping them (which is always nice to see)

There is a fee to use this campground, $12 per night or $3 per day use. Envelopes and a drop box are located near the information sign. The road to get out here was pretty rough, 5.5 miles of ruts and bumps. I would stick to a decently high clearance car, 4 wheel drive if the weather is bad.

Note- There is no drinking water out here, so if you are heading up to go for a big hike or just want to spend the night at 12,000 ft you must bring it all in. Oh yea and Kite Lake itself, incredibly scenic and there are tons of trout in there. Bring a rod and spend some time fishing.

I will Camp here again!

Campground Campground is way up in a mountain, a beautiful drive and itself. The spaces are well-kept and far apart from each other. They also each have a bear proof Locker for your items. The river is just nearby, as are some wonderful hiking trails. There is a composting toilet system, never my favorite thing in the world, but it's as good as they get. I will definitely use this campsite again.

Beautiful Lake Spot

Lake Constantine sits about 4 miles off of Tigiwon Rd outside of the town of Minturn. These camp spots are only accessible by hiking in. The lake can get fairly busy on weekends in the summer but the weekdays are usually quiet. We spent a night up there in early July and saw 1 other person on a Monday night. The hike to the lake was fairly easy, takes about 2 hours each way and climbs roughly 1300 ft. Upon leaving the parking lot you MUST fill out the overnight camping sheet and attach a tag to yourself. This is your permit for the night and it is free.

Spots are laid out along the edge of the lake on either side and are not numbered or marked. This is a first come, first served area. The spot we found was to the left side of the lake right off of the trail and had enough room for a couple tents. Coincidentally, this is the same spot where many of our friends have camped as well. I would say this is one of the better areas. There was a pre made rock fire ring that sat against a rock to reflect heat back (we went during Colorado's 2018 summer long fire ban), so we could not take advantage of this and had no fire this weekend.

The lake itself is very large and offers some amazing high alpine fishing. We caught many trout while fly fishing throughout the day and night.Dry flies worked very well at dusk. Because of the lake and the creek, the mosquitoes in this area are bad. BRING BUG SPRAY!

Remember, this area is only accessible by backpacking in and there are no camping amenities. Lake Constantine sits in US Forest Service land so you must obey all forest service rules and closures when in place. Overall, amazing spot. Great for a night getaway or for someones first backpacking trip.

Great Views and a Great Lake

The Deep Lake area of Flat tops Wilderness offers a variety of scenic hikes and drives as well as 4x4 trails and great lake fishing. The drive up to this area is up a dirt road about 10 miles, the road can be a beat beat up in areas. I blew a tire on my truck on the way up. Other than that the drive up is very scenic, you will pass the deep creek overlook and can see Aspen, Beaver Creek, and Vail Ski Resorts all in the same view.

The campgrounds are very large and spaced out. We went with a large group, 5 cars and many tents and had plenty of room. Some site are able to accommodate an RV or trailers. Sites vary between open and exposed to set against the forest for shaded. Restrooms were located fairly close to our spot and i remember it being one of the cleanest vault toilets i have ever used! Each spot also has a metal fire pit with a grill over top.

Like i mentioned earlier the Deep Lake area is a great base camp to go out and explore. You will find many people driving off road vehicles around. The fishing in the lake is also very good, the Forest Service stocks the lake every year. Lastly the campground sits at 10.500 ft so it does gets chilly up there even in the middle of summer.

Local Favorite

The Piney Lake area of Vail is by far the most scenic spot anyone can drive to. The ranch at the lake is ever growing and offers a restaurant, canoe rentals, SUP, fly fishing lessons as well as cabin and yurts to rent for the night. If you are looking to spend your night closer to nature the campground is just located about a mile away from the lake.

This may get confusing as there are camp spots along the road that are forest service controlled and have fire rings and right next to that you will find many spots that are in the National Forest but are primitive. The "Camp Spots" that have fire rings are located on the final stretch to the lake. There are maybe 6 or 8 of them. Really the only difference in these spots compared to the primitive ones right next door are the fire rings and the fact that they are fenced in with a small wooden fence.

The upside to grabbing one of these spots is all of summer 2018 in the valley we were in a stage 1 fire ban, meaning you could only have a fire in a permanent fire ring, leaving these few spots the only legal camping in the area. The spots themselves are fairly large, we have put 4 cars and 5+ tents comfortably in one of them. There are no toilets or anywhere to get water unless you drive to the ranch (the ranch is privately owned and closes and opens at a certain time, the lake is public and can be accessed anytime) There is also no fee which is always a plus.

Quiet Location on Turquoise Lake

We stayed here in Mid September, the last day the campground was open. Note about this spot compared to the other campgrounds around Turquoise Lake is that even after the campground closes for the summer they keep the gates open so you can still camp here.

The spots are large and set back against the forest with the lake at the end of the road. Each spot has a driveway big enough for a couple cars. There are some spots that offers areas big enough for a trailer. 2 bathrooms are located in the campground, one on either end. There is a campground host located in the middle of the grounds during open season, which runs from Memorial day to September 17th. All other campgrounds around the lake close on the Tuesday after Memorial Day.

Each site has a fire ring, picnic table and a standing charcoal grill. The spots had their numbers removed when we were there but we camped in the second spot on the left and we could have easily fit 5+ tents. The campground also allows dogs! the must be leashed up though. The opposite side of the campground is Butcher boy picnic area which offers grills and tables overlooking the lake for day use.

This side of Turquoise Lake is much less trafficked and quieter, but with less spots. Great camp spot for a night or a few. Leadville is at 10000+ ft so it gets chilly, dress warm.

OK Spots...better camping further up

We stayed in these spots entirely due to the fact that bear lake was still frozen and the road up there was impassable. They were not the worst spots but they are nothing special. There is a vault toilet further down the road but we were nowhere near that. Our spot was off the road, away from anyone else and backed right up to the forest. Some of the other spots available are much more exposed and you will be on top of your neighbors. To reserve on of these spots you must stop at the Forest Service sign towards the beginning of the road to grab a reservation slip, then find a spot and drive back to drop it off.

If you head to this area on a crowded weekend, these are OK, if you have the choice, camp further up past the reservoir, there are a few other campgrounds: Bear Lake & Cold Springs.

This area offers multiple lakes and creeks for great fishing as well as some amazing hikes like The Devils Causeway (not for people afraid of heights)

Great spot outside of town

I love this area of crested butte. Gothic road is home to some 4x4 drives and of course great hiking and scenic spots. We spent a few nights here, the spots are spaced out and quiet. This is dispersed camping, I did not see any vault toilets close by but did see on further down the road. No fire rings or tables, but plenty of trees for cover or room to set up a canopy. Some spots for larger Trucks or RV's were available on a first come first served. Not far from the spots you will find the nature center that will offer restrooms as well and a few things to purchase if necessary.

I recommend a drive to emerald lake when your there. We did experience some crazy storms while we were there, apparently the lighting is worse there because of the amount of iron n the mountains.

Go to Spots

These are my go to spots to get away for a day or two. The area is surround by rivers to fish, many hiking trails, backpacking and some climbing. The spots are dispersed along home stake road which runs for about 10 miles and some spots are also along Missouri Creek. The best part about this area is that it is free. Don't get confused with the FS designated campground about 7 miles down the road (Gold Park, this is a paid spot with vault toilets, fire rings and tables)

Each spot is of course unique, some are small and some large enough for RV's and trailers, though i have not seen many RV's in the area and i would not recommend it based on road width and lack of turn arounds. These spots do not have fire rings or tables, they are primitive and you will find rock rings in most areas. I highly recommend this area, it does get very busy on the weekends as its a favorite local spot. At the end of the road, roughly 10 miles, you come to a large reservoir that is good for fishing and non motorized rafts.

Homestake road is usually a easy drive and most cars will be fine on it. Like most areas in the White River National Forest, the roads will open and close based on weather. Usually this is open Mid June to Mid October.

Great base camp

Halfmoon campground is about 30 minutes from the town of Minturn, up Tigiwon Road, and a great jump off spot to many hikes; Notch Mountain, Mount of the Holy Cross, Tuhare and Lake Constantine as well as a few others. All of those spots offer great fishing, hiking and backpacking areas.

The campground itself is basic, 7 spots and two vault toilets.The spots are fairly spaced out and can fit a few tents in each. The areas to park are fairly small, one or maybe two cars but this is definitely not an area you want to bring a big RV or trailer. Most people staying here are there for a night and will be setting out on a hike the next day. This is a NFS run campsite so there is a fee and rules are enforced such as no camping within 100 feet of a source of water. That bring me to my next point, Notch Mountain Creek runs straight though the grounds and is a mosquito haven, Bring bug spray!!

The road up can be a bit beat up, most times any car can make it but be weary if you have a low clearance car. Rain and snow melt always play a part in how well the roads are. The road and campground usually open late June and close late to early September. Overall this is a great spot to use as a base camp for hiking.

Dispersed camping close to great hiking

beautiful spot for dispersed camping. Close to a bunch of hiking including quandary peak.

Road is a bit bumpy to get down to the lake, but not a problem with 4wd. Not too crowded and great views!

Large campground near Lake Dillon

This campground has 100+ spots and costs about $23/night. They have picnic tables at each site and where we were, there was plenty of space between us and the next group. We could walk (about 8 minutes) to the lake - without a clear trail from our site.

It it does not require 4-wheel drive to get in

Riverside camping

It has spots along the river. Cost is around $20/night. Road getting in is bumpy and would probably require 4-wheel drive anytime but summer. It is first come first served here.

Beautiful view but too close together

Spaces are tight, very close together. Lots of uneven camp spaces. Beautiful landscape and scenery, if you are close to the lake.