This spot is a little tough to find but can be worth it if you need a good free camp for the night. Located off Hwy 160, about 14 miles from Durango you will find BLM land. After crossing a cattle guard and a building you will then enter into BLM land and can camp wherever you need. There are about 10 spots already created with rock fire pits but that is about it here. It is very dispersed and there are no facilities.
We stayed out here during the off season and had no problem getting a spot but during the high season it can get pretty busy here. The views are just OK, you are treated to an over view of the plains. You may also have some visitors in the night, Cattle. We had many of them around us all night and we even heard a pack of coyotes in the distance.
Overall good spot not far from town. Free really helps.
Blue lakes is one of the most vibrant colored lakes in Colorado and you can camp right at its shores! This is dispersed/backcountry camping only. Spots can be found right before the lake, look for a clearing and setup. This area can get really busy with day hikers and campers so go early and try for a weekday. We went up there on a weekday and saw about 10 other tents. Camping is free, make sure to pack it out there.
Great jump off point to hike Mt Sneffles or up to the other lakes. The hike is around 3.2 miles one way but worth every step.
Located inside of Colorado National Monument, Saddle horn is a great spot for a base camp. The spots are not bad, We got lucky and chose one towards the canyon. We had a great view for sunset and a quiet night with no one around us. The parking was a bit small for us, car was pretty much on the road.
Each spot had a fire ring and picnic table. Restrooms located around the campground and cost was 22 a night. Overall we would stay here again, its very minimal but perfect if you want to explore the monument.
Reserve spots through Recreation.gov
About 35 minutes from Canon City, The Banks and sand gulch is a BLM run campsite with over 30 spots each. Spots are$7 for individual and$14 for group spots, they also accept annual park passes for a discount. There is a campground host as well as picnic tables and fire pits at each site. Vault toilets are located in a few spots around the campground.
Each spot has a different layout, some are much more private and others are exposed and wide open but some are large enough for trailers or RV’s, however the road leading up to the banks is not great. Passable by all passenger vehicles but it can get a bit bumpy. These sites and this area in general is very popular among rock climbers and hikers. Sand Gulch is a bit more exposed with little tree coverage.
There is also a beautiful drive that brings you to Cripple Creek on Shelf Road. We spent a few days out here and did some hiking and made the drive, it was well worth it.
Whitney lake is a very popular hiking spot located about 20 minutes south of Vail. The trail is al little over 2.5 miles to the lake and is a moderate hike. Being that the hike is short and fairly easy, this is a great backpacking spot for someone looking for something quick or for a first time trip.
I spent a night here a couple years back and we loved it! It was my first backpacking trip and we managed to get the lake to ourselves. There are some"spots" around the lake that have been built up over time with a rock walk fore pit and some log benches. This is dispersed camping, no cell service or facilities. We had a really great night here, the lake has a great view of Savage Mountain behind it and there is some good fishing here as well.
Sorry for the bad photos, they were taken a few years back.
Located near the town of Granite, this forest service road is host to trailheads and lots of dispersed camping. Off of highway 24 you will find Clear Creek Reservoir, this is a great spot to do some fishing form the shore or in a boat. There is also an established campground beyond the lake that is forest service run and does cost money. However if you keep driving for a few miles the road will open up to free dispersed camping.
We showed up on friday at around 4 pm and it was packed! Spots range in size from one care to huge areas big enough for 20 cars and we saw just that. Lots of big camp trips happening. That being said, the camping was still pretty good despite all the people. We managed to find a spot next to another couple in a little turn off. Some groups were parked on the road and walked into the trees to set up a spot. It was kind of a free for all back there.
With all those people and trailheads to several 14ers on the road, there ware many cars driving by. It did stay pretty active until later in the night.
Campsites: Dispersed with no amenities. No metal fire rings, picnic tables, restrooms or trash bins. Restrooms were located at a trail head but on one set.
We enjoyed the spot, it was a little dusty but not terrible. Perfect spot if you are trying to hike Belford, Oxford, Missouri or Huron. Road was in good condition, any car will make it.
Located about 20 minutes from the town of Crested Butte, Slate River Road is home to a bunch of campgrounds. Note: These areas differ from the BLM section you will drive through. After the Oh Be Joyful BLM land, you will then make your way into Forest Service operated areas where there is tons of dispersed camping and it is free.
We spent some time here around 4th of July and all the spots were filled as expected. Camp grounds are all dispersed, free and have no amenities at the site except some areas have vault toilets. There are a few campgrounds on the left side of the road and if those are all full there are many other spots just along the sides of the roads. The spot where the pin is for this site is one of the few “Camp grounds” where there is a small parking lot built and spots are somewhat defined.
Most of them were big enough for multiple cars and tents as well as full sized RV’s. The forest service does patrol this area and we saw them writing tickets for people who were parked in areas they should not be in. It seems they used rocks to define camping areas and people were parked beyond them. Keep that in mind when selecting a spot.
If you cannot find a spot in one of these campgrounds, keep driving. A good portion of the road is Forest Service and camping is allowed on the sides of the road. We saw people camping for miles up the road.
As is with most of Crested Butte, there is tons to do in this area. Drives, hikes, mountain biking, fishing…the list goes on. We spent a long weekend here, it was a great base camp spot however our spot was pretty exposed to the sun.
Bonus: We saw tons of wildlife every day right across the river from our camp chairs. Deer. Moose and a Bear!
This has to be one of the more scenic camp spots in Colorado. Located above tree line, spots are dispersed and spread out all around the valley. If you are looking for a spot deep in the wilderness, no where near town, you found it. The roads leading out to here are not for the faint of heart and should not be attempted in anything smaller than an SUV. We saw multiple cars with flats on the way up and down.
That being said, Paradise Divide is truly beautiful and this is a great area to spend a few nights. Go during a new moon and you will see the sky like you never have before. Like a mentioned before, these are dispersed with no facilities or amenities. Site are spread out, FF/FS and are not marked. Each spot ranges in size. Pack it in, Pack it out.
During the holidays this area can get very busy and spots will go really quick. 4th of July weekend was packed up here.
Lost lake is a very popular hike located outside of Vail but there are a few great spots around the lake to spend the night at. There are two options to get here, the first is hiking from the main trail head. The hike is short, only about 3 miles or you can drive a back road to cut the hike down to about .5 miles. The back road is very rough and not recommended.
Spots are very primitive and there are only a few dotted around the lake. You will find a nice clearing and a small fire pit made of rocks. As always, check for fire restrictions as this is on forest service land. We found a great spot on the far side of the lake that could easily accommodate 3 or so tents and had a great view of the Gore Range.
Great lake and peaceful place to spend the night. We were the only people out there after the day hikers went home.
Located in the middle of Salida and Buena Vista, there are a lot of spots in this area. Most of them are very large and can accommodate RVs and trailers. I loved this spot, they are spaced out from each other which makes it quiet and there is plenty of room for multiple cars, trailers and tents.
This is dispersed camping, no facilities, tables or fire pits but free. Spots are managed by the forest service and follow all NFS rules, keep a look out for fire bans as this area is prone to dry spells. Camp spots are easily accessible via a dirt from off of the main highway. Road is in great shape and any car can make it.
Close by you will find great hiking trails and mountain biking and not far from the spots are some 14ers to hike. Browns Creek trail is right off of the road and a very pretty hike. Salida and Buena Vista are about 20 minutes away if you need to go into town for food or to check out some great breweries.
We stayed here a few nights ago, the first major thing to point out is the location and its ease to access for front rangers. Only about 30 minutes form boulder, these are great spots to get you out in the wilderness but with that comes crowds. We arrived on Friday mid day and found one spot left. Some people looked like they had been there for a while.
That being said, this was a great spot for a quick stay over. We were looking for a free spot just to spend one night to get an early jump on a hike the next morning. Each spot is spaced apart even though we could still hear out neighbors. This is dispersed so no metal pits, tables or anything like that but they are free! As you can tell by my pictures, our spot was tight. bIg enough to park one car but have multiple tents if placing them around the parking spot. Other spots are huge, easily big enough for an RV.
Access is easy, just off the main highway and then onto a well maintained dirt road. The first few miles are private but the signage is easy to read. There is some hiking nearby, lots of people on ATV's and a decent amount of car traffic so not the most quiet but overall we like this spot. Not much to do on this exact road except a one hike out past the reservoir. This is a great quick stay spot.
We headed out to these spots on memorial day weekend and it was busy. So busy that we had to go in the middle of the week to get a spot, so plan ahead here and expect crowds. That being said, each spot is unique and we loved it. We ended up staying as far up the road as possible and found a large spot big enough for a trailer and a few cars.
Keep in mind there is buffalo creek campground ($) and buffalo creek rec area that is free with dispersed camping. The dispersed camping is where we stayed and i believe there are over 40+ spots if you explore all the roads. A lot of the spots are large enough to accommodate a trailer or small RV. No bathrooms on site ad fire rings are made of rocks. Most spots are near the road, as you can see from my photo but the further up the road you get, the traffic will calm down. We did not see this as a problem at all. This are is prone to wildfires and has been in a fire ban since the winter.
Plenty to do up here as well, hiking, biking and world class fishing just down the road in Deckers.
Get here early and find a spot that fits you.
What an amazing spot! To get to the campground you must first brave the road to the trailhead. If you have a 4x4 truck/SUV the road is achievable but very rough. From the upper trail head, it was about a 4 mile hike to the campground near the lower lake. If you cant make the drive, add 2.5 miles each way to that total.
Once to the campgrounds, you will find spots scattered all around the lakes and in the trees. Some areas before the lake have metal fire rings set up but for the most part you will find rock rings. We found a nice little spot in the trees a couple minute walk from the lake and a stream. This was perfect for getting water and doing some afternoon fishing.
Keep in mind these are backcountry camp spots. There are no facilities like water and bathroom and everything must be packed in and out. Each spot is fc/fs and this area can get very busy on weekends. We saw many groups up there.
Activities are plentiful in the basin. The lakes are stocked so the fishing is great. There are also 3 14ers and plenty of rock climbing to be had. This is one of my new favorite spots.
First off this is a free spot. Basic dispersed camping, no tables or ring rings. There are many spots in the area of Ironton Park, upon turning onto county road 20, you will drive past a few spots once you get into the trees. The roads go in many directions and there are camp spots in every little hole. The spots range in size and privacy but all have rock fire rings already built. Our spots was right in the middle of the two roads. We didn’t see many cars until about 830 am.
Ironton park is the jump off point for many 4x4 and scenic drives around the silverton/Ouray area and because of that you will see lots of jeeps and atvs in the area The camp spots are 8 miles south of Ouray and 16 miles north of silverton on top of red mountain pass making this a great spot to base camp while exploring these towns.
Overall this was a great spot to spend the night. It was free, quiet and in a great location. Side note: we heard a pack of coyotes very close by making a lot of noise after dark. It was u unsettling and awesome at the same time.
Camp Site Review:
I came across this spot from a previous Rangers review! We were looking for something in the Buena Vista/ Salida area. The spots are about 20 south of BV and about 10 minutes north of Salida. A great base camp for a multitude of activities. The Arkansas river is a minute down the road, it is the take out spot for the popular Browns Canyon section. Within 20 minutes of driving you have multiple Colorado 14ers to hike, amazing fishing, miles of mountain biking trails and 2 amazing towns with great places to eat or grab a beer.
The spot itself is very basic, as most BLM sites are. A simple rock fire ring built by past occupants and a small spot to park. That is about it. No bathrooms, no tables and no designated spots. I counted about 8 or so "spots", all fairly spread out. There were a few RV's parked, so plenty of room if that is what you are driving. Did i mention its free!
Vey easy to find, follow highway 285 until you see the Hecla Juntion forest service sign. Once turning off 285 onto country road 194, you will drive about 1/4 mile, looking on your right for a small white sign with some rules for camping and the BLM logo.
Overall i was very impressed with this spot. Easy to get to and the spot was large and flat for tents. The view was the best part, multiple 14ers directly in eye shot while hanging around by the fire. Cant beat it.
As a Ranger of The Dyrt, i sometimes get to test out products. At this campground i tested the Wenzel Camp Quilts. My first impression was i loved the look. The design on the quilt is beautiful and vibrant. The feel is that of a sleeping bag, it is very soft and comfortable. The reason i wanted one of these quilts is because i live in Colorado and even in the middle of summer, most camp spots will get down to the mid 40's. The quilt did not disappoint. It was very warm when sitting out side and around the fire. To really test it out, i decided to not use my sleeping bag and just use the quilt. The temp got down to 43 degrees and i woke up extremely warm. The only negative i have here is that i feel the blanket will get beat up using it outdoors a lot.
Campground Review: All walk in campground near the Colorado river next to the Wall Street climbing area. I really liked this spot despite its location to the road. There are 7 spots in total, they slightly vary in size. This is an all walk in campground, some spots are steps from the parking lot and others are about 100 feet or so. First com everest served, no reservations possible. Fee was $20 a night but can be reduced with a parks pass. One vault toilet and a large dumpster for trash.
The spots themselves are typical. Fire ring and a picnic table. We stayed din spot two, it was a little more secluded from the rest but on had room for one tent. Other spots are able to accommodate up to 3 tents. For our few nights there the campground was quiet and once night fell the cars all but stopped. It ended up being a great spot.
The campground is near climbing, river access, hiking (Corona Arch is just a few minute drive) and only a 10 minute drive into Moab. Overall it was a great spot, the only draw backs being so close to the road (unavoidable in that area) and the campsites being right on top of each other.
As a Ranger for The Dyrt, I get to test products from time to time. Today i tested the Gregory Zulu 40 Backpack. I decided on this pack for long day trips or over nights. It advertises as good fro short backpacking trips. I think this bag excels as a day trip bag, i think it would work for overnights as long as you pack light. The bag itself is really nice, i love the design and colors. The pockets are all well placed and its very spacious. In the interest of testing the bag, i decided to carry every thing for 2 people just to see how well this holds up. It did not disappoint.
I had way more than enough room to carry extra clothes, water, snacks, camera and anything else we needed for two people. The bag opens via the top or can be opened by a front zipper. The zipper on the front is great for grabbing gear near the bottom of the bag. My favorite part about the bag, the included rain fly its own pocket. We didn't need to use it but we did get rained on and its great always having one just in case.
Overall, great bag. I cant wait to give it a try on a backpacking trip!!
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.
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.
Upon entering Bryce National Park last year we discovered all of the campgrounds were full. We decided to ask a park ranger where else we could camp, he handed us a map (in the pictures) and sent us on our way. About 5-10 minutes outside of the park there is a series of dirt roads on the left hand side that offers free dispersed camping. Forest road 090 or 1173, the main road in the area is called The Great Western Trail.
The spots here are your typical dispersed camping, with no official marking for sites. No picnic tables or restrooms and there a no fire rings. We found a nice clearing with a rock fire ring already made. While driving down the dirt road we did see a few RV's and trailers, i would say you could comfortably take any vehicle down this way to spend a night camping. The road was fairly well maintained, a few bumps and holes along the way but nothing major. Id say all in all we drove about 10 or 15 minutes to find a camp spot.
The distance back to the National Park was about 10-15 minutes from our camp spot, well worth it to stay outside the park and save some money as well as have a nice quiet and private area. The directions we were given by the park ranger had us take an immediate left after the Bryce Canyon NP sign onto rd 090. We eventually found a spot about a mile or so down that area.
Note on the map, if you follow road 087 down towards the reservoir, the Park Service recommends this as the best place to view wildlife before dusk. Next time you are down in the area, try out these spots. You will not be disappointed.
I will start with saying this is my favorite spot i have ever camped. In particular the spot in the pictures (I will not tell you the spot number, find it if you can) Besides camping, the sand flats recreation area offers an array of activities. Slick rock is a famous mountain biking trail that is inside of the recreation area as well as endless trails for 4x4 vehicles. Through out the night you can hear the roar of engines driving around the sand flats. My favorite part of this area is how right around every camp spot you will find slick rock hills and trails to hike around and take in the view. Watching sunset from up above the campgrounds is amazing.
There is a fee upon entering the Sand Flat Area, one for day use ($5 per vehicle) and one for camping use ($15 per vehicle). There are many campgrounds spread out around miles of road, all are first come first served. You will find walk in sites as well as RV and tent sites. Campgrounds are marked with a letter and in each campground there will be around 10 spots. 120 in total.Each spot has a picnic table and a metal fire ring. Vault toilets are available in each campground, some of them are open air. Just a fence surrounding the toilet with nature and sky up above.
Spot size depends on which campground you are in, they will vary significantly. We have had spots with 5+ tents with plenty of room and we had been to areas where 3 of us are on top of each other. Choose wisely but choose quickly, spots fill up very fast in Moab's busy season which runs from late April to Late October. Try to arrive early in the day to get spots as people leave. Remember, temperatures get very hot here, i would bring a canopy or tarp to set up a shelter in the day.