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Dispersed Camping Near Vail Colorado

Camping By Gypsum Near Eagle

Best Dispersed Camping Near Boulder, Colorado

The town of Gypsum isnt a popular resort town or even much of a tourist stop. Its probably most well known for housing the Eagle County Regional Airport, which serves the ski towns of Vail and Beaver Creek. Gypsum does, however, post a large mountain town population over 7,000 residents and access to some exceptional outdoor recreation. The Eagle River flows through town and federal land within the White River National Forest and BLM are easy to reach, along with some worthy campgrounds. If you continue west thirty minutes youll come to the hot springs resort town and additional camping near Glenwood Springs in Garfield County.

Dispersed Camping Near Leadville Co

The following list contains what we consider the nine best dispersed camping areas near Leadville, CO. Weve done our best to include a variety of options in the surrounding area. The map below gives an overview of each sites location with a full description included in the following section. Enjoy!

Heading over Independence Pass? Check out our Dispersed Camping near Aspen Guide.

Camping Near Breck Dillon Frisco And Silverthorne All Around Summit County

Summit County is probably the most popular weekend destination for the millions living on the plains around Denver. Summer or winter brings in the masses, looking for the world class recreation like camping and skiing it offers in abundance, and convenience to the greater metropolitan.

The summit county seat and most popular spot for many is Breckenridge, located on the further end than others from Denver, at just a little over 1.5 hours. Combined with Frisco, Dillon, Silverthorne and Keystone, are reside by the Dillion Reservoir, the areas most well known landmark, other then its ski slopes.

The campgrounds closest to these cities reside around Lake Dillon, so you wont find any in the town of either Breck or Copper Mountain. Theres also a stash of phenomenal camping north of Silverthorne on CO-9 at Green Mountain Reservoir in Heeney, CO. Most of the Summit County campgrounds reside within the White River National Forest, which does offer some dispersed camping within its woods. For that primitive approach try north of Silverthorne toward the reservoir for forest access points.

Please camp only in pre-existing campsites and clean up after yourself completely. Its best to bring cash if are using first-come, first serve campgrounds. Most campgrounds take reservations and are especially popular around the lakes during peak season.

This camping list covers the closest campgrounds to the Summit County towns of:

  • Breckenridge

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San Juan National Forest

San Juan National Forest is in the southwest corner of the state, just west of Rio Grande National Forest. Landmark towns include Durango, Telluride and Ouray.

Most campgrounds in San Juan National Forest are large and offer a mix of both reservable sites and non-reservable sites. To see a full list of San Juan National Forests campgrounds, .

San Juan National Forest does not currently offer any dispersed camping grounds.

Location: Durango, CO

Sites available: 26

South Mineral Campground provides a diverse selection of 26 campsites for the taking. Relax on-site along South Mineral Creek, take on the Ice Lake Basin Trail, or cast a line at Clear Lake, just a 3-mile hike from camp.

Colorado Roads Less Traveled

Best dispersed camping in Colorado

Colorado has so many camping hotspots that most people flock to throughout the year, it can get a little crowded out in those wide open spaces. So, rather than fighting for a spot at the most popular areas of these parks, try the road less traveled. These hidden gems offer the same spectacular views, but often with fewer crowds during the height of camping season.

  • Yampa River Canyon near Dinosaur National Monument: The beautiful Yampa Valley is west of Steamboat Springs with gorgeous views of the river. The whitewater rafting, excellent fishing, and mountain biking activities will keep every camper busy. Headquarters Campground near Hayden, Colorado has 35 electric RV sites, and there are 13 access points to the river for 134 miles to the Dinosaur National Monument.
  • Wetherill Mesa at Mesa Verde National Park: While people are lining up to see the most popular cave homes of the Ancestral Pueblo people at Cliff Palace, you can see the parkâs second-largest dwelling at the less crowded Morefield Campground. With 15 full hookup RV slots and hundreds of tent sites, this hidden gem offers spectacular views of the valley and mountains. There is even an all-you-can-eat pancake breakfast, gas, dumping station, laundry, and free showers at the full-service village.

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Pros Of Dispersed Camping:

  • More sense of freedom and exploration

  • Further from crowds and tourist traps

  • Ample space and sense of privacy

  • More privacy away from noisy people and highway traffic

  • Instills a sense of adventure and confidence in your outdoor abilities

  • Greater chance of wildlife viewing

  • Lots of fun finding your own location and setting up camp

Tips For Dispersed Camping

  • Always pack out what you bring in this means trash, food, bathroom waste, etc. Brush up on the 7 Leave No Trace principles for guidance.

  • Overnight camping is usually not allowed in picnic areas, trailhead parking, and parking lots.

  • Bring plenty of water! If you plan to take water from a local stream or another source, you need to filter it properly or risk getting sick.

  • Fire bans and restrictions are common in Colorado. Always check local regulations and follow safe fire practices:

  • Use a fire pit if available. If not, build your own by placing medium-sized rocks in a ring. This helps keep it contained and embers from flying all over.

  • Never leave a campfire unattended! Colorado is dry in summer and forest fires can start easily.

  • Have a plan to extinguish your fire and always make sure it is completely out before going to bed or leaving your campsite.

Ready for Your Next adVANture?

In Colorado, there are endless options for all types of campers, regardless of your experience level. Every style of camping has its pros and cons, but each one is guaranteed to provide breathtaking views and unforgettable memories.

But lets face it sometimes it can feel a bit overwhelming when deciding what to pack before you head out. Thats why weve put together a guide to help you check off the absolute essentials that every camper should bring on their next outdoor adventure.

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Browns Canyon National Monument

Why you should camp here: World-class fishing, views of the Rocky Mountains, and relaxation for days

  • Reservations accepted: No
  • Campsite type: Tent, small RV
  • RV hookups: No

Browns Canyon is a relatively new National Monument in Colorado it was one of the designations in 2015s Antiquities Act. Between Buena Vista and Salida, Browns Canyon is on a Gold Medal Water section of the Arkansas River.

Fishing and rafting the Arkansas River from Browns Canyon are very popular. You can easily find outfitters and guides for both activities in Buena Vista or Salida. Out of the water, Buena Vista is home to the Collegiate Peak range of 14er summit trails and Salida has epic mountain biking trails.

A post shared by matthew blackwelder on Sep 12, 2020 at 3:36pm PDT

Why you should camp here: An amazing hideaway in the canyons of the Western Slope Desert

  • Reservations accepted: No
  • Best seasons: Spring, Summer, Fall
  • Campsite type: Tent, RV
  • RV hookups: No

South of Grand Junction lies a massive plot of BLM land known as Dominguez-Escalante National Conservation Area. And if youre looking to find peace and quiet in a canyon, Escalante Canyon wont disappoint. The location has fabulous views, especially at night.

I have yet to find another location that has better star gazing than Escalante! The canyon walls block out light pollution and just simply create a stunning nighttime view.Writer

A post shared by Jon C. Reed on Sep 30, 2019 at 6:03pm PDT

How To Find The Best Camping In Colorado

Best Dispersed Camping Near Ouray, Colorado

So youve booked your Overland Adventure rental campervan or overlander camper and are ready to plan your trip to Colorado!

Colorado is well known for its beautiful mountain scenery, over 300 days of sunshine a year, and an abundance of outdoor adventures just waiting to be had. Whether you consider yourself a city slicker, an adventure junkie, or somewhere in between, Colorado offers something for everyone.

And of course, one of the best activities for travelers of all ages and backgrounds is camping!

With thousands of established campsites across the state and millions of acres of public land waiting to be explored, Colorado is truly a mecca for backcountry backpackers and casual weekend campers alike.

But if youre new to the area, you might get overwhelmed in your quest to find the right campsite for you. Googling things like campgrounds in Colorado or RV/Car camping in Colorado brings up thousands of results. And in those results, you might be wondering about the differences between established campgrounds and dispersed campsites, and whats included in each type of camping.

Trust us, weve been there! The choice comes down to whether youre looking for a more structured experience in an established campground or a remote adventure in dispersed campsites.

Weve organized the main types of camping sites in Colorado into two categories:

  • Established Campgrounds

  • Dispersed Campsites

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    Camping Near You Find A Free Campsite

    Whether you just need to know where to camp nearby or you want to plan a free camping road trip, we’ve got you covered. You can simply use your smart phone’s GPS to find camping near you or even use our trip planner to plan your route from coast to coast.

    Our community provides the best free camping information available. Free campgrounds can be hard to find. makes it easy. We give you a simple, map based search engine to find free and cheap camping areas. Community reviews and ratings provide you with up to date information and help you select the best camp site for your next camping trip.

    This is a platform for sharing campgrounds and camp sites you have discovered. We are community driven, and while we will be adding many free camping spots, we hope that you will add some of your favorite camping places as well. By sharing camping information freely, we can all spend less time researching campgrounds, spend less money, and more time camping. If everyone contributes a few campsites, we’ll all have more places to go camping.

    Please come back and let us know what you find!

    We are not actively seeking Wal-Marts, truckstops or other parking lots and will not be adding very many of these. There are enough Wal-Mart and truck stop directories out there already. However, if a member of the community finds one of these locations to be useful for overnight RV parking and creates an entry, we may approve the listing.

    Please come back and let us know what you find!

    Brush Creek Road Dispersed Camping

    Not all camping in Crested Butte has to be at a dedicated campground. The Brush Creek area is a dispersed camping site that is open without reservations and is free of charge.

    The camping area is often where Brush Creek meets the Upper Kern River, and the best season for camping is summer. Because this is dispersed camping, the amenities are quite limited. No water is provided, though a rest room is available. In order to make a fire, a campfire permit is required. This includes for barbecues and camp stoves, and the use of these may be prohibited if a fire risk is high.

    If it seems like this is roughing it, that’s because it is. But for the more experienced campers, Brush Creek provides some of the most VIP access to the White River National Forest backcountry.

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    How To Find Dispersed Camping In Colorado

    Finding a free, dispersed campsite in Colorado is relatively straightforward if you know what you are looking for. Our first recommendation is to use the destination specific dispersed camping guides weve created that are included in the next section.

    There are also numerous resources available ranging from online apps, USFS resources, and of course our website! Youll also want to be prepared to navigate forest service roads and read USFS maps, both of which should be fairly straightforward.

    When searching for a good dispersed campsite in Colorado ourselves, we prefer to use a combination of several online apps/websites along with publically available USFS/BLM maps.

    Our favorite resources are below:

    • Our go to resource for finding free camping in the US. Simply enter your desired location and filter through the results.
    • The Dyrt An app that lets you filter for free and dispersed campsites.
    • Campendium A website and app that allows you to see user reviews for campsites and campgrounds across the country.

    Check out our Dispersed Camping App guide here for more information on how to use apps to find dispersed camping in Colorado.

    While these apps and websites are a good starting place the best resource for finding dispersed camping is often reaching out directly to the relevant USFS Ranger District or BLM Office in the area youd like to camp to inquire on camping locations.

    Our Top Camping App The Dyrt PRO

    Dispersed Camping On Public Lands

    Dispersed Camping in Western Colorado

    Did you know that more than 30 percent of Colorado is publicly owned land? While you may not realize it, RV camping is allowed outside of the designated campgrounds on these public lands. There are no hookups, but most RVs are equipped to handle a few days of disconnected boondocking. Most National Forests charge you to camp in designated sites, but you can drive a short distance away and camp for free. There are 11 National Forests and multiple State Parks in Colorado that offer spectacular views and secluded RV camping with plenty of free wilderness and outdoor activities to enjoy.

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    Oh Be Joyful Recreation Area

    Just five miles from downtown Crested Butte, the Oh Be Joyful Campground feels like you’re in the heart of the Elk Mountain wilderness. This 30-unit campground sits on the Slate River, surrounded by towering mountains. It is a spectacular, jaw-dropping backdrop not far from the creature comforts of downtown Crested Butte.

    The recently renovated campground features 12 RV campsites, 18 walk-in tent sites and one walk-in group rest room. Each campsite has a fire ring, picnic table, tent pad, and bear-proof food locker. Reservations are strongly recommended, and with one look at this campground, you’ll understand why. The scenery is mesmerizing.

    The campground does not provide drinking water, nor electric hookups or trash service, so this is something to keep in mind before you make your arrangements. The campground does have three vault toilets.

    The area of the campground sits on a 600-acre tract of land managed by the Bureau of Land Management. A short hike along the Oh Be Joyful Creek leads to some beautiful waterfalls, and the Slate River runs next to the campground.

    Address: 2343-2345 Co Rd 734, Crested Butte, Colorado

    County Road 48 Near Turquoise Lake

    Distance to Leadville: 4 milesRestrooms: NoMap

    County Road 48 just south of Turquoise Lake is the closest dispersed camping area to Leadville. This is a popular camping area, so expect neighbors and be sure to leave no trace if you do camp here. Youll be well located to explore Turquoise Lake as well as the Mt. Massive Wilderness Area. Views of Mt. Elbert from the camping area are also stunning.

    To reach the dispersed camping area here head west on 6th Street from central Leadville until it dead ends into County Road 4. Turn north on County Road 4 and continue until you get to the junction with County Road 48. Proceed a short distance on CR48 to find the dispersed camping area, with sites on both sides of the road.

    The road is gravel and should be passable by most vehicles and rigs.

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    Rules For Dispersed Camping In Colorado

    The rules for dispersed camping are pretty similar for all National Forests in the US. This park system is managed by the United States Department of Agriculture .

    The most important rules for dispersed camping are:

    • Camp within 150 feet of roadways, if possible
    • Always use existing fire rings when available
    • No camping within 100 feet of a water source
    • No camping at developed trailheads or picnic areas
    • You must move your campsite every 14 days
    • Do not leave personal property unattended for more than 10 days
    • Minimize your environmental impact
    • Leave no trace

    14 Day Stay Limits

    All National Forests have a 14-day stay limit. This is to prevent excess damage to the environment. In Colorado, this means that you cant camp in the same spot for more than 14 days within a 28 day timeframe.

    That includes both consecutive and non-consecutive visits.

    After youve reached the 14 day maximum, you must move your campsite outside of a 25 mile radius.

    Turquoise Lake Dispersed Camping

    Our Favorite Colorado Campgrounds How to Find Free Dispersed Campsites in Colorado!

    Distance to Leadville: 10 milesRestrooms: NoMap

    Although there is no dispersed camping permitted in the Turquoise Lake Recreation Area, there are ample opportunities to pitch your tent for free in the surrounding wilderness. In addition to County Road 48, described above, there is also excellent dispersed camping available on Forest Service Road 105A above Turquoise Lake.

    This area is best suited for those with 4WD and high-clearance as the road up can get quite rough. However, for those who are prepared youll enjoy a beautiful hilltop campground overlooking the lake.

    To get here take County Road 4 along the southside of Turquoise Lake. Stay on CR4 until you get to the intersection with Forest Service Road 105A. From here, head up the road until you reach the camping area.

    Looking for more camping in the area? Check out our Turquoise Lake Camping guide.

    North of Leadville along Highway 24 is the West Tennessee Creek dispersed camping area. This is a good option for those hoping to camp near the top of Tennessee Pass or who want easy access to the Colorado Trail. Dont expect any big views here as most of the camping options are located in dense forest. However, that provides a bit of privacy that can be hard to find at other dispersed camping areas.

    Distance to Leadville: 9 milesRestrooms: No, although there are vault toilets at nearby trailheads.Water: No, although creek access is possible. Crowds: BusyMap

    Distance to Leadville: 10 milesRestrooms: No.Map

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