Located 5 miles southeast of Aspen, Colorado, Difficult Campground sits on the banks of the Roaring Fork River on the western slope of the Colorado Rockies.
Campsites are nestled in a mixed forest of aspen, cottonwood, pine, fir, scrub oak, and spruce, and several are at the river's edge, offering an ideal setting for guests seeking recreation and relaxation.
Renowned for its fly fishing, the Roaring Fork River sustains populations of large rainbow, brown, cutthroat and brook trout. The nearby peaks and soothing sounds from the river offer anglers a perfect backdrop for an afternoon of fishing.
Whitewater adventure seekers may want to raft portions of the Roaring Fork, as it is navigable by small craft throughout most of its length to its confluence with the Colorado.
Hikers can access trails near the campground.
Difficult Campground has 47 standard sites, including a group site.
It is important to note that vehicles over 35 feet in length are prohibited over Independence Pass but can access the campground via Aspen.
The campground is equipped with picnic tables, campfire rings, vault toilets, and drinking water. Electrical hook-ups are not available. Firewood is available for sale at the site.
Campground radius turns are tight for large RVs, and brush encroaches on roadways and spurs.
In the heart of the Rocky Mountains, the 2.3 million acre White River National Forest is a place of serenity and adventure, boasting 8 wilderness areas, 4 defined seasons, and 10 peaks surpassing 14,000 feet in elevation.
Wildlife in the area abounds. Bighorn sheep navigate rocky ridges and bull elk bugle at dusk. Scenic rivers sustain populations of cutthroat, rainbow, and brown trout. Alpine regions provide habitat for pika and ptarmigan. These species, along with many others, depend on surrounding undeveloped wilderness, clean streams, and diverse forests to live.
The Roaring Fork River flows by the campground, a tributary of the mighty Colorado. Deep, swift and clear, the Roaring Fork rises in the Sawatch Range on the west side of the Continental Divide and drains an area of the Colorado Western Slope called the Roaring Fork Valley.
The nearby town of Aspen is a popular destination for visitors to the area. From downhill skiing and world-class fly fishing, to dining and resorts, there is a multitude of outdoor and indoor opportunites in this mountain town.
ADA Access: N
We have stayed at this campground several times as it is convenient to Aspen and Maroon Bells, gives great access to Independence Pass, and each site has a secured bear box and tends to have some privacy. However it has come to our attention that the information in the online reservation system regarding this campground is incorrect. The Camp Host does nothing to alleviate the confusion, if fact she seems to take pleasure in adding to it, then announcing to campers they must depart once they have paid for their campsite and set up camp. We witnessed this happen to about a half dozen campers over a recent weekend trip. She behaves more like a Land Baron than a Camp Host, the title of her job.
I would take great care before setting up here, even if you have confirmed a reservation online.
Definitely one of the better sites we've camped at. Plenty of space between sites (we could only see the site across the street from us, all others were behind tree cover), so lots of privacy. Bathrooms were immaculate and had no odor whatsoever. About a 15 minute drive into Aspen, so easy to get into town…but if you want to catch Maroon Bells at sunrise, I'd suggest staying at Silver Bells or Silver Queen as it's a good 30-45 mins to get to the Bells from here.
Firewood is available for $7/bundle (cash only)
It's a great campground. Had bear box for food storage and a grill.
All the campsites seemed secluded because of the trees around.
One downside we faced was even though we reserved our campsite, someone had already occupied ours probably because we ended up reaching the campsite at 8:40pm. So be careful!
40- the campground exceeded my expectations! This site is perfect for easy access to all the outdoor activities in the area. We enjoyed biking and walking on the nice trails that lead from the campground directly to Aspen (approx 7mi round trip). There is also a calm river nearby for fishing and SUP. The campground was well maintained with plenty of trees for privacy.
Bears are around, quiet time 10-6. Families camping, great views
Dog friendly, clean, quiet. Nice views all around. Bear box provided
I booked two spots on recreation.gov for a spot to camp the night before we started our Four pass loop trip. I honestly wasnt expecting much but was pleasantly surprised. The camp host came round and was super friendly. Bear boxes as well as picnic tables at every site. You are within walking distance to the river, which was gorgeous. The camp is only about 5 miles from downtown Aspen and a grocery store. Surrounded by beautiful Aspen trees, quiet, and clean. We had a wonderful stay.
We stopped here after a late drive from golden, CO. independence pass was beautiful! The site is on the left as your are driving from independence pass to Aspen and could be missed if you arent paying attention. There;s some really nice(but hard) rock climbing just before the campsite as well.
Campsite was right next to the Roaring Fork river and we saw tons of wildlife, rafters, and fly fishing. Sites were pretty basic, but worked. the fire ban was on, so no campfires but we could use our stoves. Vault toilets, running water and great hiking trails nearby!
So much of Colorado is impressive, let me just start with that. I wanted to swing through Aspen to check out the John Denver Sanctuary before heading to Denver and found the Difficult Campground on a listing for the area.
Like many campgrounds in Colorado, facilities are limited in fall and winter as they prepare for cold weather. The campground itself was no exception. CLOSED! I was so upset, however I stumbled upon a ranger in the area and he said I could stay if I parked and walked in from the entrance and would not have access to toilets.
Seemed fair, backcountry style camping with some amenities like a fire ring and table. I thought Indeed it would be a winning experience!! Boy was a right!!
The river flows alongside the campground and makes for such a relaxing sound throughout the evening. I saw several small animals as I hiked in, mostly squirrels, birds and a small fox.
The tree coverage of the area cut the wind in the evening just enough. I had the campground to myself and it was one of the coolest feelings ever!
There was no cell service at the campground.
I had to bring in my own small firewood because they discourage you from foraging for fallen branches at the campgrounds typically. I have seen that during the regular season there is a small store that has firewood available near the entrance area.
I look forward to getting back to this site during the summer season!!
Bring your own firewood. While sometimes it is available in the area, you will want to bring your own just in case to make sure you are keeping it in the fire ring.
Check the website first. I was looking online at this campsite and discovered if they have weather related closings or fire bans they list them very vividly on their site which can be very helpful in helping you determine if you would like to stay here.
This Forest Service campground is just outside of Aspen in the White River National Forest. We hadn't planned to come as far south as Aspen, but fires kept us from getting to another campground and a dispersed camping area. Sites are reservable, but we were able to get a site on a rainy Sunday evening for two nights. The campground filled up both nights (although there were no shows for reserved sites both nights.
This campground is tucked away east of Aspen in a beautiful forest of aspens between mountains covered with pines. For the most part, the sites are carved out with plenty of space and cover between you and your neighbors. Everything is lush and green, but no campfires and no outdoor smoking are allowed (July 2018) because of fire danger.
Our site (#9) must have had a 20 foot buffer between us and our neighbors. (See 360 degree video.)
Cool sites in addition to #9:
12 and 13 - there is a steep boulder field behind these sites which looks like a fun climb
18 and 40 - pitch your tent way back, or the driveway is good for a camper and tow vehicle
43 - nice view, deep site
1) Difficult River runs along one side of the campground, and the Difficult Trail begins near the entrance. The trail starts at about 8,000 feet and is not maintained after 3 miles (according to the camp host) but continues on for 3 miles up to an elevation of more than 10,000 feet.
2) Bike the paved/packed stone bike path known as the East of Aspen Trail Extension into Aspen. It's an easy ride and goes through a wetlands area with viewing stops. There's supposed to be a moose in the area, but I only saw a fairly large fox early one morning. The host had warned us that the fox would go after anything you leave out.
3) In Aspen, you can connect with the Rio Grande Trail, a 42 mile paved trail (with a small portion of gravel somewhere that I didn't see). This trail connects Aspen to Glenwood Springs and goes through the towns of Basalt and Carbondale. It follows an old railroad bed, so it doesn't have steep climbs although the trail brochure mentions some short, steep climbs into Aspen from the north. We didn't bike that part. The trail between Carbondale and Arciero/Old Snowmass Trailhead has great scenery - Roaring Fork River, Cottonwood Pass, Basalt Mountains, ranches. There are several points where you can catch a bus if you want to do a one way ride. Here is the URL for an excellent brochure: https://www.rfta.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/trailmap.pdf