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Free Camping Rocky Mountain National Park

Best Dispersed Camping In Colorado

11 Top Rocky Mountain National Park Boondocking – Free Camping Spots

Depending on the time of year, campsites outside of Durango and Grand Junction offer a little more heat and are best enjoyed in the shoulder seasons of Fall and Spring, when golden aspens light up the mountainsides and brilliant fields of wildflowers rush through the valleys, respectively. All summer long, the stretch of highway connecting Leadville to Salida is home to a new national monument celebrating the Arkansas River. Further north, wilderness less explored can be had outside of Dinosaur National Monument and all through the Medicine Bow National Forest. Or skip right to the cream of the crop and set your GPS to Crested Butte’s many, many stunning options for dispersed camping.

Just remember that this type of free camping isn’t exactly a right, and it is up to each and every one of us to take care of our public lands to ensure that they remain not only wild and beautiful but open to the public for camping. Practice Leave No Trace, and always pack out everything you bring in, don’t try and create new spots, use those that have already been established, and if you can, leave the site better than you found it.

Rocky Mountain National Park Proposes Increase On Entrance


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Free Camping In Colorado

Free camping is easy to come by, as long as you know where to look. National forests hold most of the free camping in Colorado, followed up by BLM land .

Camping for free is generally referred to as dispersed camping, which is camping in approved areas other than campgrounds. The best part about dispersed camping, aside from the cost, is the privacy. Campsites are often wider apart than in a campground. And sites are usually right next to the road, so its perfect for car camping.

The downside to dispersed camping is a lack of amenities. You are not going to have running water or restrooms nearby. If you need a little bit of luxury, consider renting an RV around Denver before you head out.

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Shavano Wildlife Management Area

Located close to the touristy town of Salida. GPS 385543- 106.1160.

This is one of the most popular boon docking area in Colorado. With plenty of space for 40 to 50 large RVs.

Most sites are spaced apart nicely and they are very private. Big or small rigs can fit perfectly. There are spaces large enough for group camping.

It is a quiet and peaceful environment. You will enjoy nice trees and beautiful mountain views.

Beautiful vistas of Mt Shavano peaking above pinyon pines and ground cacti await your eyes to behold.

Cell service is good 3 to 4 bars for Verizon, AT& T, Sprint and 2 bars T-Mobile 4G/LTE. The higher you go the better the signal.


Rough road here but a slow drive will get you in easily. The road is a mix of deep wash rock and chunky rocks.

The roads are mostly accessible but some spots can be hard to get to. The further in you go the more narrow the roads become.

Remember this is a large and sloped plateau so getting level will be a test of your creativity.


  • There are fire rings at every site.
  • No dumping areas, no bathrooms and no water but the town of Salida is 5miles away and you can get all the amenities you need.
  • And the Poncha springs visitor Centre dump station is about 2 miles away.

Things to do when camping at Shavano wildlife management area

Amenities For Rocky Mountain Np Campers

CampgroundCrazy: Glacier Basin Campground, Rocky Mountain ...

The best camping in Rocky Mountain National Park is really about unplugging and embracing your surroundings. For that reason, amenities are pretty limited in RMNP. Tent camping in Rocky Mountain National Park is very popular because there are large sections designated only to tents. Youll also find generous campsites that are very comfortable for campers and RVers.

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Camping Near Rocky Mountain National Park 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. Freecampsites.net 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!

Packing For Rocky Mountain National Park

Because of the high elevations, youll want to pack layers as the temperature can drop significantly at night. Be sure to check what types of amenities are provided at the campground youve chosen. Some campgrounds are also secluded and will require you to walk to your site. If you have to walk, pack light so that you can carry all of your gear.

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Trail Ridge Road And Other Roads

Trail Ridge Road is 48 miles long and connects the entrances in Grand Lake and Estes Park. Running generally eastwest through many hairpin turns, the road crosses Milner Pass through the Continental Divide at an elevation of 10,758 ft . The highest point of the road is 12,183 feet , with eleven miles of the road being above tree line which is approximately 11,500 feet . The road is the highest continuously paved highway in the country, and includes many large turnouts at key points to stop and observe the scenery.

Most visitors to the park drive over the famous Trail Ridge Road, but other roads include Fall River Road and Bear Lake Road. The park is open every day of the year, weather permitting. Due to the extended winter season in higher elevations, Trail Ridge Road between Many Parks Curve and the Colorado River Trailhead is closed much of the year. The road is usually open again by Memorial Day and closes in mid-October, generally after Columbus Day. Fall River Road does not open until about July 4 and closes by, or in, October for vehicular traffic. Snow may also fall in sufficient quantities in higher elevations to require temporary closure of the roads into July, which is reported on the road status site.

Estes Park Campground At East Portal

Daily Visitation Fee, Camping Fees At Rocky Mountain National Park Could Go Up

This beautiful campground has 66 shaded sites and is on a sloping hillside. It is at 3420 Tunnel Road southwest of Estes Park, Colorado. The campground can accommodate RVs or trailers up to 22 feet in length.

The sites are among lodgepole pines, ponderosa pines and aspens. The campground is close to the Rocky Mountain National Forest. You can enjoy spectacular views of the mountains right from your campsite. Wildlife also ventures into the campground on a regular basis, including bear. Make sure to store your food properly. If you would like to learn about the cooler we use check out our post here.

There is a dump station, hot showers, drinking water, water and electric hookups and flush toilets. The sites have a picnic table and fire rings. You can buy firewood and ice at the campground. They even have a playground for the kids to burn off some energy.

From this location you can hike, mountain bike and fish at the nearby East Portal Reservoir. Additionally you can horseback ride, golf, go cart, play mini golf or even dine out in Estes Park.

To contact the campground office call 970-586-4188. To get a map of the campground go here.

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Best Free Camping Spots In Colorado You Should Visit

Camping is such a fulfilling experience. How amazing is it to ditch your cell phone and screens and connect to the green space. There is just something about losing yourself in the wood.

Its a good way to refresh the human body and boost the overall energy levels. Talk of the fresh air, socialization, exploration, increased level of awareness and it gives you a chance to increase the real connections.

Colorado is one of the most rewarding destination for campers. It gives an exceptional array of hiking, camping and fishing options. Where else can you find ancestral cliff dwellings, arid desert, river canyons and snow covered rocky mountains?

We explored some of the free campgrounds in Colorado. Find them here from RV parks, to tent camping spots, we got it all covered.

Where To Get Supplies

Rocky Mountain National Park is well served on both the east and west side of the park. Youll have no problem getting anything and everything you could possibly need for your camping trip in the two adjacent towns, outlined below:

  • Estes Park: Estes Park is a hub of activity on the east side of Rocky Mountain National Park. This lovely town is just a few short miles from multiple entrances to the park and has everything you might need to prepare for your trip. Restaurants, outdoor stores, gas station, and a grocery store are all easily accessed here.
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    Valley Of The Gods Dispersed Camping

    Discover the stunning and unique landforms of this humble valley in south East Utah.

    The road is relatively smooth and can be driven over by any car. But beware of flash flooding in the washes and muddy conditions after rains.

    You can drive in from any direction one entrance is off Highway 163, 15 miles west of Bluff and 7 miles east of Mexican Hat. And the other entrance is off Highway 261, 10 miles northeast of Mexican Hat.

    There are dozens of spots to choose from, along the 17 mile dirt road loop. There are no markers or signs but if you see an open space that has been cleared out, off to the side of the road, you can park and camp there.

    If you dont like crowded areas this is a place for you.

    You will enjoy scenic views of beautiful cedar mesa sandstone monoliths in every direction.

    You will also see why they call it the valley of the Gods by seeing the grand god-like faces carved into the profiles of these monoliths.

    You will also enjoy amazing sunrise and sunsets, stunning lights and shadows, beautiful buttes and other rock formations. When camping here you will feel like you stepped into a western movie set.

    There are no amenities so you may need to stock up on any supplies that you need before you enter this remote camping station.

    Ouzel Lake On The South Side

    Camping in Rocky Mountain National Park at Pear Lake

    A 4.9-mile hike in, Ouzel Lake is located in Wild Basin, a more rugged area of Rocky Mountain National Park. It sits at 10,020 feet.

    Along the way to the lake, you will pass Calypso Cascades and Ouzel Falls, popular destinations, but most people turn around at the falls, leaving the trail less crowded once you leave the falls behind. Wildlife are abundant here, so keep your eyes out, especially for moose. Youll also see a number of peaks, including Mount Meeker at 13,911.

    Because of the distance required to get to Ouzel Lake, youll find few people and plenty of solitude once you set up camp. Park officials ask that you pitch your tent close to the indicated site out of potential hazards of standing dead trees. A maximum of 7 people are allowed at individual sites and 12 maximum at group sites. There is a privy at the backcountry campsite at Ouzel Lake.

    If you spend two nights here, you can do a nice, strenuous day hike to Bluebird Lake, two miles and nearly 1,000 feet above you.

    You need a permit to camp overnight in the backcountry, and you can reserve a permit in advance online at www.pay.gov/public/form/start/68498987, which is highly recommended, or pick one up at either of two backcountry offices in the park, beginning March 1 at 8 a.m. for the current calendar year. At Rocky Mountain National Park, you cannot fax or call in permit requests.

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    Region : Waterfalls And Backcountry

    Region 5, known for waterfalls and backcountry, is south of Estes Park and contains Longs Peakthe park’s iconic fourteenerand the Wild Basin area. Other peaks and passes include Lily Mountain, Estes Cone, Twin Sisters, Boulder-Grand Pass, and Granite Pass. Eugenia Mine operated about the late-19th to early-20th century, with some old equipment and a log cabin remaining. Sites and trails include Boulder Field, Wild Basin Trail, and Homer Rouse Memorial Trail.

    Enos Mills, the main figure behind the creation of Rocky Mountain National Park, enjoyed walking to Lily Lake from his nearby cabin. Wildflowers are common in the spring and early summer. In the winter, the trail around the lake is often suitable for walking in boots, or as a short snowshoe or ski. Other lakes in the Wild Basin include Chasm Lake, Snowbank Lake, Lion Lakes 1 and 2, Thunder Lake, Ouzel Lake, Finch Lake, Bluebird Lake, Pear Lake, and Sandbeach Lake. Many of the lakes have backcountry campsites. Waterfalls include Ouzel Falls, Trio Falls, Copeland Falls, and Calypso Cascades.

    The Broadmoor’s Cloud Camp

    Explore the numerous trails inside Pike National Forest or with guided nature walks. In the evenings, spend some time roasting s’mores around a fire at over 9,000 feet in elevation. Cloud Camp’s wilderness experience boasts unobstructed 360-degree views that showcase the incomparable splendor of Pikes Peak – America’s Mountain.

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    Longs Peak Campground On The East Side

    Longs Peak towering over a grove of aspen in autumn in Rocky Mountain National Park

    Looking for a tents-only campground that serves as a basecamp for climbers hoping to ascend Longs Peak, the parks highest peak at 14,259.

    Head to Longs Peak Campground, a first-come, first-served area with 26 site nestled in a pine forest. The price for the highest campground in the park at 9,500 feet is $26 per night. Because the campground is at such a high elevation, bring warm layers for the evenings and early mornings. Summer 2016 opening dates have not been posted, pending a water project at the campground, so stay tuned.

    Note this is on the edge of the park south of the main entrance on the eastern side. To get there, head nine miles south of the town of Estes Park off of Highway 7.

    Free Campsites In The Central Rocky Mountains

    Rocky Mountain National Park | Winter Camping

    Every boondocker has their favorite out-of-the-way free campsites. Sometimes it is nice to shake things up and try a new spot. There are several websites out there that help adventure-seekers find good free sites, such as Campground Reviews and Freecampsites.net.

    Most public lands offer free dispersed camping as well, although some established campgrounds on public lands do have a use fee. Here are some new ideas to try for your next outing.

    Be sure to check to make sure that your particular rig can access these campgrounds, as some are fairly remote or cannot accommodate longer rigs. Also, keep in mind that free campsites often also mean limited or no services, so plan accordingly.

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    Around Heyfield Licola And Dargo In The Wonnangatta

    Toilets, picnic tables and fireplaces are provided at the following camping areas:

    • Wellington River – 13 unnumbered camping areas beneath shady peppermints and manna gums, toilets located at some sites. Horse yards at site 12. Tamboritha Road approximately 10 km from Licola.
    • Horseyard Flat – set amongst Black Sallees on the banks of the Moroka River.
    • Eaglevale – on the Wonnangatta River below the towering ramparts of Mt Kent and Snowy Bluff.
    • Wonnangatta Valley – near the historic site of the Wonnangatta Homestead.
    • Talbotville – on the grassy flats of the Crooked River.
    • Grant – a grassy clearing in the forest and all that remains of a once thriving gold mining town.
    • Sheepyard and Frys Flats, and several other flats upstream along the Howqua River
    • Bluff Hut
    • Bennies camping area beside the Rose River
    • Lake Cobbler
    • Pineapple Flat

    Camping In Rocky Mountain National Park

    In Rocky Mountain National Park there are three reservable campgrounds and two first-come-first-serve campgrounds. Reservable campgrounds can be reserved up to 6 months ahead of arrival, and they fill up fast. If you know you want to camp in Rocky Mountain National Park, reserve your spot now. If you want to try your luck and show up to get the first-come-first-serve campground, then be sure to get there early. Almost all campgrounds will fill up by early afternoon.

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