Steve & Ashley G.
Austin, TX
Joined May 2019
We love to travel in our 4x4 Sprinter Van and explore new places. We have travelled all over the world and love trekking, mountain biking, and kayaking. Great to be part of the Dyrt Community.
ATV Dispersed Camping

This site is on Marshall Pass Road off of highway 285. The dispersed sites are near the intersection of Marshall Pass Road and Forest Service Rod 200. This intersection at the base off the access road up to Ohaver Lake Campground. The primitive sites are spread along the creek just off the Forest Service Road. Like many dispersed camps, the sites only have flat cleared areas with fire pits and no other amenities. The area is a great spot for ATV Riders to trailer into area as well as horse trailers to park and access the mountain roads and trails. The location is not the best for scenery and can get busy in the summer especially on weekends since it’s so close to the highway and Salida, Colorado.

Ghost town camping

This site includes about 4 small dispersed camping areas near the town of Hancock Colorado. They old town is just some foundations and ruins in a grass clearing. This have some good signage telling about the history of the town and railroad. This sites are across the road from the grass meadow closer to the creek. Unlike the Alpine Tunnel dispersed area about 1/2 mile up the road, this site can be access by a small RV or camper if you can make it the steep gravel road to this area. The site was not occupied on the weekend we visited the area in July. The site is at 11,027 feet. So you will need to prepare for bad weather even in the summer. This area would only be accessed by tracked snow mobiles in the winter. It’s about 5 miles up hill from St Elmo which is well worth the visit despite the summer crowds. The dispersed campsite is very primitive and only provides a flat gravel area with fire rings. The area could accommodate 4 or 5 vans or small trailers. You will need pack in and out your food, waste, and trash. The mountain vistas are worth the drive and the Alpine Tunnel Trail is hard to beat.

Incredible Alpine Site

This is a USDA Forest Service dispersed camping site at the start of the Alpine Tunnel Trailhead. The camp is about 5 miles northwest of St Elmo Colorado near the ghost town of Hancock Colorado. The siteS are very primitive and can only be accessed by 4x4 vehicles or hikers. The sites are flat areas with rock fire pits and no other amenities. The conditions here are not for the beginner. The site is at 11,027 elevation and the weather can be extreme even in the summer. The road is inaccessible in the winter except by snow mobile. The site has 360 views of the mountains and has to be one of the most beautiful places we have visited in Colorado. The drive up from Nathrop takes about 1 hour along a dirt and gravel road. This would be a great spot for hikers traveling along the Alpine Tunnel trail. A mountain stream runs near the camp. So hikers can filter their water. However, you will need to pack in everything else including food, waste, and trash.

Large Municipal Texas Park

This is a large City Park locates in San Patricio County in Sinton, Texas. The park contains hundreds of acres of property that include a public golf course, baseball, basketball, and soccer facilities. The park also includes a full service RV Park. The sites include full hookup for large and small RVs and vans. The sites has showers and toilet facilities. It’s location is north of Corpus Christi about an hour from the coast. This could serve as a nice stopover for folks traveling along the Texas coast or heading to Padre Island. RV sites do not have privacy and some of the sites are occupied by full timers. We have this a lower rating based on the location and overall condition of the park.

Historical Park

This Texas State Park is located in Goliad Texas. This is in the south central area of the state between Victoria and Austin on Highway 183. The park has some great historical sites including a 16th century Spanish mission. The campground is situated along the San Antonio River. You can kayak along the 6 mile long kayak paddle trail or try your luck at fishing. The campground is well maintained and offers a nice range of sites from tent to RVs and small cabins. The sites are located along the river with no privacy. They have some walk in tent sites as well. The town of Goliad is a hidden gem with a rich history and some cool antique shops and cafes. We plan to stop again here on our next trip to the coast.

Great Canyon Campsite

The campsite is west of Nathrop Colorado in the Chalk Canyon. It’s one of three National Forest Service campgrounds in the canyon. The other sites at Chalk Canyon and Cascade are each a mile or so along the same canyon highway. Princeton has a camp host and and great facilities like the other camps. Each sites has a picnic table and fire ring. The sites have some privacy depending on the location. The creek runs along the sites on the south side of the camp. The sites are best suited for tent campers or small vans. The views from Princeton are incredible. The camp was full in the summer peak. So, reservations are highly recommended at this site.

Nice Canyon Campground

We stayed here for 3 nights in July. The campground is one of three National Forest Service campgrounds in Chalk Canyon. The canyon is a west of Northrop Co. The base of the canyon has a couple of hot springs resorts with swimming pools and hotel rooms. The 3 NFS campgrounds are about half way up the canyon near Chalk Lake. You can continue up the canyon to St Elmo and the Alpine Pass which over 11,000 ft altitude. Chalk Lake Campground has about 18 sites. Most of the sites are situated along a fast running canyon creek. The sites are very close to each other and lack privacy. The camp host was very helpful and had plenty of firewood for sale. Many of the campers came either for the hiking or the fishing at Chalk Lake. We had site 16 which had some privacy and a nice view of the mountains. The sites are best suited for tent campers but will accommodate vans and small trailers. The Mountain View’s here are incredible and the hummingbirds are all over the camp. The camp is very popular and reservations are a must. We plan to come back in the Fall.

Beautiful Colorado Canyon

Chalk Creek Canyon is west of Nathrop Colorado about 5 five miles. The canyon continues up the mountain for about 10 miles. They have a couple of hot springs resorts at the base. They also have three good National Forest Service Campgrounds near the mid point of canyon including Mt Princeton, Chalk Lake, and Cascade. All three offer basic camping with picnic tables and fire rings at each site along with clean pit toilets. The river runs along each of the sites and good fishing can be found at Chalk Lake, including a ample stock of large brown trout. The canyon has some interesting history from its mining days and some great hikes to waterfalls and shear canyon walls for climbing. You can travel up to St Elmo which is very interesting old town and even further to old ghost town. We really like this area and plan to visit in the fall when the crowds die down. The 3 campgrounds are very popular and can be very crowded in the summer months.

Our Top Colorado River Site

Ruby Mountain is located a few miles south of Buena Vista Colorado along the Arkansas River. The site can be accessed from the main highway down a dirt and gravel road. The road is single lane near the end and a bit precarious with the rock cliff on one side and the river on the other. The main attraction here is the river. The boat ramp provides access to private users and the backup for commercial users when the river is low. The have about 30 campsites here all facing the west with great views of the mountains and the river. The sites are the best we have seen. The have boulders outlining each of the sites with gravel underneath for tents. The sites can accommodate large fifth trailers and vans as well. Each sites is equipped with picnic tables and fire rings. The site host is awesome. He provided free firewood and welcome us shortly after arriving. We stayed for three nights and it was great. We had beautiful sunsets and great views of the Rockies to the west. They have clean toilets and a great boat ramp for white water rafters. The have some short hikes in the surrounding rocky hills and also some good fishing in the river. We are coming back here for sue.

World Class River Rafting

Hecla Junction is one of my favorite sites. The campground is north of Salida Colorado on the Arkansas River. This is the busy spot at the end of the commercial river rafting run. You access the campground from the main highway along a windy dirt road. It takes about 25 minutes to reach the river and the campground which is next to the boat ramp. The campground has great facilities and well designed sites. They have a few sites with views of the river on north end of the site. Each campground site has boulders to define the site, gravel base for tents, picnic tables, and fire rings. The toilets are very clean and well maintained and a camp host is on site. The highlight here is the river. We had fast moving water this summer with class III and IV rapids. It’s a great run from Buena Vista down to Hecla Junction. If the Hecla Junction Campground is full, we counted at least 3 dispersed sites on road leading down to the river including a BLM dispersed site.

Nice Fishing Campground

La Sombra is a National Forest Service camp the highway 64 southeast of Taos New Mexico. The campground is of a number of NFS along this route. They have a nice trout stream for fishing and access to good hikes up out of the canyon. The sites all have fire rings and picnic tables. We camped here for one night on our way back to Texas. The road noise is the only downside. They had clean pit toilets and plenty of space even in the summer.

Beautiful Canyon

We stayed here on the way to Taos New Mexico. The canyon is along highway 64 in between Cimarron and Taos. The Cimarron Canyon State Park runs for about 8 miles along the base of the canyon. The park has 4 small roadside campgrounds which have good facilities and camp hosts. The sites aren’t the best but the nightly fee is only $10. We found room at two of the camps during the summer peak season without a reservation. The canyon has suffered from major wildfire events in recent years, especially on the eastern side. The forest is in better shape as you rise in elevation closer to Taos. The elevation is around 7500. So the temps stay fairly moderate even in the summer. The Cimarron River runs through the canyon with great fishing as well.

Nice Lakeside Park

This is a small park on Lake Travis. about 15 miles outside of Austin Texas. They have a nice boat ramp and family picnic areas on the lake. The park has some larger group sites on the northern end. The park authority regularly patrols the area. Although this was listed on Dyrt, we discovered this was a day use park and no longer allowed camping. If you are camping in the area, this may be a good place to access the lake for fishing or just a family picnic.

Nice Lakeside Camping

Sandy Creek is a local water authority campground located on lake Travis just outside of Austin, Texas. The site has about 10 or so sites best suited for tent or small camper vans. During our visit, the camp was empty on a holiday weekend. They have a nice boat ramp and boat trailer parking lot as well as swimming facilities on the lakeshore. The camp sites are located along the tree line with some limited views of the lake. They have restrooms and each site has a picnic table and a fire pit. Given the proximity to Austin and the lake we gave this a 3 out of 5. I suspect when the weather cools this would be a popular option for visitors and locals.

First to Review
Under Construction

This RV Park is about 20 miles northwest of Austin Texas near Cedar Park. The RV park is located 1/4 mile off the highway and backs onto a scenic view of the surrounding hill country views. The park is currently undoing a major expansion and renovation. During our visit the dust and noise from the construction escalating was Lou’s and very dusty. The current park is full of long term campers looking for low cost housing near Austin TX. The rows are crowded with little to no privacy. With all the construction, I would not recommend for children or families. They have full service hookups for the largest RVs including power, water and sewer at each site. The have a laundry facilities and areas for walking pets at the far end of the camp. I would take a pass an this place until they complete the construction and hopefully provide some better and less crowded sites.

Needs Work

The North Crestone Creek Camground is just a few miles uphill from Crestone Colorado. Crestone is a small artist village nestled in the pines at the base of mountain range. Crestone is worth visiting on a day trip. It’s about 15 east off the main highway and has some nice artist galleries and gift shops. The campground was a disappointment. It’s very overused and in need of some basic maintenance. The sites are overgrown and facilities are unkept. The mosquitoes are really bad in the summer season. You could hardly go outside due to the swarms. The sites are positioned along the creek up the mountain. They have pit toilets, picnic tables and fire rings like many other NFS Sites. The sites was dusty and hot even in the shaded areas. I can’t recommend this one unless you are out of options in Crestone and come after the bugs are gone.

Nice Staging for Arkansas River

This is a BLM dispersed camping site north of Salida on the road to Hecla Junction Recreation Area. The river access is about 5 miles away down a steep dirt and gravel road. The BLM site is very basic with no facilities. The campsites are not marked but easy to identify by the campfire rocks and road patterns. You can’t beat the price if you are looking for free camping near world class river rafting. Like all dispersed camp sites you get a diverse mix of users from long term residents to temporary van and tent campers. The site is located immediately off the access road to the river and provides some tree cover for the sun and wind. It can be a rather windy and dusty spot. So you will need to have a good tent or other cover in the summer or during wind events. The site is patrolled by BLM and other park officials. They have some great hikes here and nice scenery. However, the highlight here is the proximity to the Arkansas River and river rafting. The the Hecla Campground is full this could serve as a good plan B for free. You will need your own toilet, food, and water. You will also need to pack out your trash as they do not have any trash removal. If you are used to dispersed camping, this will be straightforward.

Roadside Northern New Mexico

I liked the small roadside campground in the Carson National Forest. It’s located near some of the smaller ski slopes about 30 miles south of Taos NM on Highway 518 near Rock Wall New Mexico. The National Forest Service campground has 10 sites along a nice mountain stream. The campground is just off the highway with some privacy between the campsites. They have picnic tables and fire rings and clean Pit toilets. This site did not have a host and works from a self service. The hiking and fishing are the highlights here along with the scenery. I also appreciated this was mostly empty in the peak summer season. This is a nice option if you want to avoid the crowds a do some trout fishing in a relatively quite location. The only downside is the noise from the highway.

Incredible Whitewater Campsite

This is one of the best campsites we have visited in Colorado. It’s located a few miles north of Buena Vista Colorado next to the Arkansas River. The site has terrific walk-in tent sites along the river as well as group picnic facilities and drive camping for campers and vans. They have a huge boat launch to access the world class white water rapids on the Arkansas River. The site has about a 30 campsites and was only about half full during g the summer peak. The access road is dirt but flat graded. They have a camp host on site. The sites have fire rings and picnic tables. The facilities are new and well maintained. The river is powerful and campers with kids should take care. Great hiking and rock climbing in the area. This is a must see.

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.