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Dispersed Camping Near Colorado Springs

Blanco River Group Campground

Mount Herman Road camping near Colorado Springs – Views of Pikes Peak

Located on the banks of the Blanco River, this group campground offers a perfect spot for family reunions, business retreats, or just for friends to gather. Fishing and hiking are popular pastimes. Large cottonwood and Ponderosa pine trees offer shade during summer months when the weather can get hot. Rainbow and brook trout await the angler on this lightly fished section of the Blanco.

  • Closest town: Pagosa Springs
  • Specs: One group campsite, water, vault toilet, open mid-May to mid-September
  • Amenities: Group camping up to 100 people, four parking spurs, three picnic areas able to handle large RVs, volleyball court, fire rings
  • Reservations: Yes, at recreation.gov
  • Address: Forest Service Road 656, Pagosa Springs, CO 81147
  • Directions: From Pagosa Springs take US Highway 160 East / Pagosa Street .7 miles. Turn right onto US Highway 84 East, go 11.5 miles. Turn left onto Forest Service Road 656 go 2.5 miles to the campground.

When Is The Best Time To Camp Near Colorado Springs

Situated along the Southern Rocky Mountains, Colorado Springs sits only 12 miles away from the majestic Pikes Peak. One of the reasons why this city has a longer camping season than many other places in Colorado is due to the fact that it sits at an elevation of just over 6,000 feet.

But still, a lot of the dispersed camping areas found in the vicinity of Colorado Springs are situated in the foothills that surround this city. In other words, those planning to camp here should do so during a specific time period between April and October.

This period is about two months shorter for camping areas located at higher elevations. As you can already guess, the reason behind this is that they hold snow significantly longer than the low-elevation zones.

The last thing worth mentioning here is that folks who decide to spend time in the wilderness around Colorado Springs in their RVs dont have to worry about this that much they can easily extend their camping season.

Free Dispersed Piedra River Road: Fsr 631/633

  • Closest town: Pagosa Springs
  • Address: Piedra River Rd/FSR 631, Pagosa Springs, CO 81147
  • Directions: Head towards Williams Creek Reservoir. Piedra River becomes Forest Service Road 631. When there is a fork to take right toward 633 fork, this is where dispersed camping starts. You can take either one for dispersed camping, with 631 leading to 640 and the lake. Camping is on permitted along 631 before the lake. You wont find dispersed camping on the road beside the lake. There are two paid campgrounds by the lake.

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What Should I Know About Seasonal Fires Near Colorado Springs

In the Southwestern United States, seasonal fire restrictions are a common occurrence, and the same goes for the Colorado Springs region.

Therefore, it is extremely important that every outdoor enthusiast heading to this area for camping checks the current fire restrictions. For most up-to-date info on this matter, visit this website here, you will find out everything you need to know about fire bans on BLM and USFS lands in the state of Colorado.

If having a campfire is allowed in the dispersed camping area youll be spending time in, make sure to put it out completely before leaving the place. Also, always put out your campfire when leaving the campsite for a day hike.

Free Camping Pullouts Near Steamboat Springs Co

A Guide to Dispersed Camping in the Mountain West

General area: 40.354325, -106.764498

On your way out of Steamboat Springs into the national forest, it is pretty well marked where the national forest starts .

There were several pullouts available, but they seemed busy since they are literally right off the main road. It didnt look like youll have much privacy. Good for an overnighter.

This one seemed to have a little more space than the other pullouts: 40.349889, -106.743639.

Also Forest Road 295 seemed like a decent option to check out as well 40.368500, -106.741972.

I opted out of those spots because I assumed I wouldnt find a spot or it would be right next to another camper since they are a little more popular.

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Camping Near Yampa By Flat Tops

Less than thirty minutest west of Yampa on County Road 8, aka the Flat Tops Trail, puts you in the heart of the Flat Top Mountains. Chapman Reservoir Campground is the first one youll reach, but even before then there are opportunities for free dispersed camping. If youre looking to do a looking hiking or even backpacking, there are oodles of trails along the way, especially within the Flat Tops Wilderness.

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Free Tent Camping In Colorado Springs

These are large PDFs made available from the Forest Service.

Many, but not all, of these maps show where dispersed camping is permitted. Roads with dots on either side represent free campsites. Each map has a legend.

Its best to download them for an easier time viewing, and so you have them with you if bring a computer on the road. I havent tried viewing them on a cell phone, but they are very large and it would be a headache.

To Print Open the map and find the area you need to print. Go to File, Print, and under Pages to Print, select More Options and Current view. Next under Page Sizing & Handling choose Fit. Select Orientation and then Print.

Tip Bring up the location in Google Maps too, so you can get more street names and info.

MVUM National Forests

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Being A Responsible Camper

Once youve found your camping spot, make sure you leave your pitch the way you found it, and minimize waste. When going to the toilet you should do it at least 100m from a water source , and use a trowel to bury human waste at least six inches underground. Take any tissue paper back home with you use a ziplock bag to keep it sealed.

There are many different water sources in Colorado, but remember to always have plenty of water on you when camping and walking. A space-saving collapsible water bottle would be a good purchase. But do ensure that water from any undeveloped source is safe by treating it. That means heating it until it comes to a boil, or using water purification tablets/filter.

Campers are also asked to abide by the seven principles of leave no trace they can be seen here.

With bears roaming Colorados forests, you must take steps to avoid attracting them to your campsite. We advise:

  • If you have a vehicle nearby, store food there rather than in a tent
  • Use a bear box or bear canister to store food, rubbish, and anything with a scent
  • Dont pitch your tent near where food is being stored
  • Never approach any bear, regardless of its size
  • Dont spray anything with a scent

Carson Lake Recreation Area

Free Dispersed Camping: Fall River Road, Idaho Springs, Colorado.

Location: Near Grand Junction

Carson Lake Recreation Area and the surrounding national forest land is a great spot for free camping near Grand Junction on the Grand Mesa.

The free campsites at the lake itself are marked. Each of these four campsites has a picnic table and a fire ring. A vault toilet is located on-site. A ranger tends to check on things at least once daily, especially during the summer months.

Prefer not to stay in a developed, albeit free, campground? Youll find several dispersed campsites along Forest Roads 100 and 108 on your way to the lake. Forest Roads 105 and 109 also have additional options for dispersed camping.

The roads leading to Carson Lake are unpaved but not usually very rough beyond minor washboarding. The four lakeside campsites accommodate small to medium RVs and trailers, say up to around 26 feet max. Bigger rigs should probably stick to one of the paid developed campgrounds along Highway 65 .

Do note that, while fishing is allowed here, youre not actually allowed to enter the water. This means theres no swimming, floating, or boating. Anglers must fish from the shore and refrain from wading into the water.

What I Like:

Carson Lake is quiet and peaceful with beautiful scenery. Its not technically dispersed camping, but it is completely free. Each site has a picnic table which is a nice change of pace if youre typically used to true dispersed camping.

What I Dont Like:

Other Free Campsites Nearby:

For More Info:

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Camping By Williams Fork Reservoir Near Parshall

There isnt much commerce in the little riverside village of Parshall, aside from a post office and one restaurant/bar. The latter is worth a stop for a cold brew and bite to each if you got the time. South of the town is the Williams Fork Reservoir, along with access to the national forest.

Williams Fork Reservoir was formed in 1959 to divert water to western Denver. The lake the dam produced is popular for a wide variety of outdoor activities all 12 months of the year.

  • Closest town: Parshall , Kremmling
  • Specs: RV, trailer, tent sites, vault toilet, open year-round
  • Amenities: Access to Williams Fork Reservoir
  • Recreation: Biking, canoeing, big game hunting, fishing, ice fishing, kayaking, boating, waterfowl hunting, wind surfing
  • Reservations: No, first-come, first-serve
  • Address: County Road 341, Parshall, CO 80468
  • Directions: From Kremmling go east on U.S. Highway 40 12.8 miles. Turn right on Colorado Road 3, go 2.5 miles. Turn right on County Road 341, go 1 mile, the campground will be on the left.

A little used campground nestled in the Williams Fork Valley. Pine beetles have damaged or destroyed much of the pine forest but aspens remain.

Where And How To Camp At Red Feather Lakes

There are many options for where to stay at Red Feather Lakes. There are multiple campgrounds which have reserved and first-come-first-served campsites. You can also find many dispersed camping areas, some accessible by car and some by backpacking only. Red Feather Lakes dispersed camping should not be missed.

This is bear country and it is an area where we all have to work to minimize our impact so that we dont destroy the beauty. For more information about being bear aware, check out the Colorado Parks and Wildlife videos posted here.

Learn more about preserving natures beauty through leave no trace principles on this website.

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When To Camp Near Colorado Springs Co

Located along Colorados Front Range, Colorado Springs sits at the base of the famous Pikes Peak. Sitting at an elevation of just over 6,000 means Colorado Springs has a longer camping season than much of the surrounding mountains.

However, many of the dispersed camping options near Colorado Springs are located in the foothills surrounding town. This means you should generally plan your camping trip in the area between April October. For the sites at higher elevations that may be shortened a bit depending on the previous seasons snow. Of course those in a camper or RV will be able to significantly extend their camping season.

Hiking Garden Of The Gods

Lower Piedra Dispersed Camping

Are you wanting a more extended hike? 5.5 miles of interconnecting trails traverse the landscape of Garden of the Gods. See a variety of flora and fauna specific to Southern Illinois. Enjoy the delicate wildflowers of Spring or the beautiful colors of Autumn while you traverse the Garden of the Gods. Make Garden of the Gods a day trip and bring lunch to eat at one of the various picnicking sites located along the trails.

Equestrian trails and hiker-only trails meet up with the River to River trail along this scenic valley. Each trail is marked by a different color making the hikes easy to navigate. If you are looking for a wonderful family friendly and educational afternoon along the observation trail or a more vigorous hiking or horseback riding experience, Garden of the Gods in Southern Illinois has everything you want and more.

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Turkey Springs Road Dispersed Camping

This area gets its name from the flocks of wild turkeys that live in the area. You can hear them at night just as the sun sets. Coyote howls are common night music as well, along with many mule deer. This is a primitive area, with a solid link to the undeveloped past of the Colorado wilderness. There are no amenities aside from being free. This is a pack-it-in, pack-it-out area.

  • Closest town: Pagosa Springs
  • Specs: Dispersed camping, no water, no toilet, open year-round
  • Amenities: Free

Where Is Dispersed Camping Allowed In Colorado

The first step is planning a Colorado dispersed camping trip is to understand exactly where dispersed camping is permitted. In Colorado, there are several public agencies that allow dispersed camping on land they control. The two largest of these are the United States Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management .

Find additional details on dispersed camping on USFS and BLM land in Colorado below:

US Forest Service Dispersed Camping in Colorado

The USFS manages millions of acres across 11 distinct National Forests in Colorado. These are home to some of our favorite dispersed camping areas. All of these national forests permit dispersed camping within their boundaries and they all feature tons of great recreational opportunities. These forests are always our first choice for dispersed camping in Colorado, and weve provided additional information on each one below.

Each of Colorados 11 National Forests are listed below along with a link to the dispersed camping guidelines for that area:

The map below shows where each of Colorados National Forests are located and is a helpful resource when planning your trip:

The BLM has four administrative offices in Colorado, and we always recommend reaching out to them if youre not clear whether dispersed camping is permitted in a specific area or not:

In addition, you can find a good overview of BLM dispersed camping rules here.

Colorado National Grasslands Dispersed Camping

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Rules And Guidelines For Dispersed Camping

  • Dispersed campers can only stay in a single spot for 14 days in a 30-day period. Generally, campers must move at least three miles from the original campsite before setting up camp again.
  • After two 14-day periods of camping, campers must leave the national forest or grassland. Even with movement, campers can only camp in a specific national forest or grassland for a total of 28 days within a 60-day period, according to the US Forest Service.
  • Campers must travel to campsites on designated roads and trails.
  • Due to limited services, its crucial that dispersed campers follow the Leave No Trace guidelines.
  • Campsites should be set up a minimum of 200 feet from a road, trail, or water source.
  • When dispersed camping, be extra cautious of private property.
  • Carry a GPS and know how to use it.
  • Plan ahead for clean water.
  • If you find a fire pit near your dispersed campsite, use that for minimum impact.
  • Follow all fire restrictions and land use restrictions.
  • Pack out everything you pack in.
  • Poop responsibly.
  • Seven Lakes Road/forest Service Road 376

    Best Dispersed Camping Near Colorado Springs

    Distance to Colorado Springs: 52 milesRestrooms: NoWater: No, but water may be available from Middle Beaver CreekCrowds: ModerateMap

    Located in the vast wilderness west of Colorado Springs and in the shadow of Pikes Peak, Seven Lakes Road offers tons of dispersed campsites to choose from. Keep in mind there isnt a great way to get here from Colorado Springs, so expect the drive to take approximately 1.5 hours.

    However, for those willing to make the trek here youll enjoy quiet campsites along a nice Forest Service Road. The drive in along Gold Camp Road has tremendous scenery as well, including the Cathedral Park climbing area.

    Keep in mind that there isnt a reliable water source along Seven Lakes Road, so it is best to come prepared. This is a popular area for off-roading, so we think a 4WD vehicle will be best suited to camp here.

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    Forest Road 788 In Gunnison

    For sweeping views of the San Juans and easy access to Crested Butte and beyond, camp along Forest Road 788. This uber-remote area offers plenty of solitutde and beautiful views. Seriously, this area is one of the most scenic spots in Colorado.

    Nearby hiking, mountain biking, and scenic drives make Forest Road 788 an amazing spot to find dispersed camping in Colorado for the weekend. Youll be spoilt for choice with activities.

    Dispersed Camping In Colorado: The Rules Around Campfires

    Wildfires are a big problem in Colorado, and the penalties for ignoring fire restrictions can be severe.

    The restrictions vary from region to region, and the best way to check is with the local branch of the BLM area or Forest Service you are planning to camp in. Many have fire restrictions online too for example information for the Rocky Mountains can be found here.

    When restrictions are in place, open fires are usually completely banned such as campfires in a pit, or fire on a grill.

    When there are no restrictions you are sometimes allowed to have campfires but its best to check each region in which you plan to camp.

    Campfires still must be contained within a pit, be small in size, and not placed near vegetation that is a fire risk, or below overhanging branches. Furthermore some regions only allow campfires to be built in already existing fire pits which you can find in dispersed camping areas.

    When building a fire remember to only use dead wood that is no larger than wrist size, and to never leave a campfire or stove unattended it is illegal to do so. You will know your campfire is out if you can stick your hand into the ashes and they are cool to the touch.

    Instead of building campfires, we recommend using a storm cooker, which are often allowed even when restrictions are in place. Then there is much less wildfire risk and you can cook knowing that the fire is contained. We believe the best ones on the market are Trangia storm cookers.

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