Motor Vehicle Use Maps
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
Free Camping In Colorado Springs: Wye Campground
Wye Campground will not be opening in summer 2017. There is no expected re-opening of the campground at this time due to health and safety concerns as well as failing infrastructure. WYE CAMPGROUND IS CLOSED.
Important note: we are not in any way affiliate with this campground. Please do not call us with questions about this campground. If you need more information, contact the National Forest Service.
There are lots of great places to camp in and near Colorado Springs, but not too many that are free. Well, theres always the backcountry option, but for those of us that are not quite up for that, try Wye Campground.
Wye Campground is a free National Forest Service Campground in Pike National Forest. There are 21 campsites and two outhouses . Each campsite has a picnic table and fire ring beyond that, there is not much in the way of amenities. No reservations are accepted. Campfires are permitted as long as they havent been banned in the forest call the forest service at 719.553.1400 to confirm. Youll need to pack out your trash.
If you read about Wye Campground other places online, you might think its inaccessible to two-wheel drive vehicles, but the opposite is true: while the road to the campground has a few washouts that you wont exactly be speeding through, we took a minivan and passenger car there no problem.
Related: At the intersection of Old Stage and Gold Camp is a short hike to St. Peters Dome spectacular views from up top!
Forest Service Road 296 Rabbit Ears Pass West
Distance to Steamboat Springs: 15 milesRestrooms: NoMap
Continuing up Rabbit Ears Pass from Steamboat will bring you to the FR 296 dispersed camping area. This is a relatively popular spot near the summit of the pass with a variety of sites to choose from. Dispersed camping is permitted along the entire length of the road, so larger rigs should plan to take a site closer to the highway while those with 4WD can head back quite a ways in hopes of find a more private campsite.
Keep in mind that these campsites are all above 9,000 in elevation so youll want to bring plenty of water!
Youre only a 20 minute drive from Steamboat Springs here making this one of our favorite dispersed campsites in the area.
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Dispersed Camping Sites With Bathrooms In Colorado
Not everyone has the luxury of traveling with a portable toilet. Likewise, not everyone wants to do their duty in the outdoors. Fortunately, you can still find campsites that are free, and come with bathrooms!
For starters, apps like The Dyrt already list campground amenities so if youve found one you want to visit bathrooms are easy to check.
As a rule of thumb, you should expect all dispersed camping areas to be primitive and undeveloped unless otherwise stated.
You can look up bathrooms and other amenities at specific campgrounds using these links:
For the National Forest and BLM campsites, click dispersed camping and you can find information including location, directions, water and restroom facilities.
Developed Campgrounds Near Garden Of The Gods
There are two developed campgrounds near Garden of the Gods that make a good place to spend the night if youre interested in some basic amenities without staying at full fledged RV campground. These includes things such as potable water, picnic tables, restrooms, and trash services.
Both of our recommended developed campgrounds can accommodate smaller trailers and RVs, although there wont be any hookups available.
We think these campgrounds are best for car campers, those with smaller rigs who dont need all the hookups, and for anyone looking for a classic camping experience near Garden of the Gods.
Keep reading to see our top picks:
Number of sites:21 campsitesRVs:Yes, but no hookups available. Max length of 30Reservations: Recommended. Pets: Allowed
The Thunder Ridge Campground is located northwest of Garden of the Gods in Pike National Forest. This USFS campground is about 45 minutes from the park via the winding Highway 24. For those that are willing to make the drive, youll find 21 individual campsites here set in a beautiful forest with views over Rampart Reservoir. Each site has a picnic table, fire ring, room for a tent and a ~30 parking area.
Common amenities at Thunder Ridge include a drinking water source as well as vault toilets. There are no RV hookups here, so if youre after a more deluxe RV camping experience youll want to look elsewhere.
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North Sand Hills Sage Campground
A post shared by @ totally_like_whatever on Sep 8, 2020 at 1:36pm PDT
Why you should camp here: The only sand dunes in Colorado where OHV riding is allowed
- Reservations accepted: No
- Campsite type: Tent, RV
- RV hookups: No
If you thought the Great Sand Dunes in Alamosa were the only sand dunes in Colorado, think again: North Sand Hills is maintained by the BLM, and is largely unknown due to its location. Locals flock to these dunes for OHV riding Its the only area in Colorado where OHV riding is allowed on the dunes.
East of the small town called Cowdrey, North Sand Hills Park offers spectacular views of the dunes with the Medicine Bow Range in the background. Trails connect the park with Routt National Forest and the not-so-cleverly named State Forest State Park, where you can often see wild moose.
How To Find Free Camping In Colorado
Those free camping websites you find are often disappointing and they never really deliver you the best free camping out there. Its no secret that finding free camping in Colorado takes a little bit of research.
Dont worry though, if you want to learn the secret to finding free campsites, Ive got you covered with a comprehensive course to free camping in Colorado.
Youll get my secret sauce to scoring excellent free campsites throughout the US. Ive used this step-by-step proven method to find g-o-r-g-e-o-u-s dispersed camp sites all over Colorado and beyond.
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Hiking Garden Of The Gods
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.
Fountain Creek Rv Park
Located minutes from Garden of the Gods, the Fountain Creek RV Park is a great RV camping option. Located next to the bubbling Fountain Creek, the RV park is also close to restaurants and shopping near Old Colorado City, Manitou Springs, and downtown Colorado Springs.
Compared to the Garden of the Gods RV Resort, the Fountain Creek RV Park has only basic amenities, but they do have internet and cable tv.
Note: This location only has hookups for RVs, not campsites. They do also have some camper cabins.
Costs vary. To make a reservation or learn more, call 719-633-2192.
Address: 3023 1/2 W Colorado Avenue, Colorado Springs, CO 80904
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Garden Of The Gods And Camping:
While traditional camping is not allowed in the Garden of the Gods, RV camping is done by many families as families travel and camp while bringing along the comforts of their home. And RV Parks, RV Resorts have mushroomed within the vicinity of natural outdoor sites, such as for the outdoor delights of the Garden of the Gods camping.
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Camping Regulations By Segment Of The Ring The Peak Trail
Starting on the south side and going counterclockwise, camping is allowed from Forest Road 376, along Forest Service Road 379, and Forest Service trails 701, and 668 up to the ridge between the Cheyenne watershed and the Bear Creek watershed. Additionally, campfires are not allowed in the Cheyenne watershed , so while trail users can camp in the area near 701 and the south part of 668, they cannot have campfires there.
Then comes a long stretch of trail through areas that prohibit camping.
Though Forest Service generally allows dispersed camping, camping and campfires are not allowed in the Bear Creek watershed, which includes the north part of 668, 667, 776, and 666. Sections of those trails are in El Paso County property, Jones Park, which also does not allow camping. The next part of the Ring is in Colorado Springs parks, on the Bear Creek trail, High Drive, the Palmer Red Rock loop, and part of the Intemann Trail, through Bear Creek Canyon Park and Red Rock Canyon Open Space, so also no camping through there. Manitou Springs does not allow camping, so there is no camping along the Intemann Trail or Iron Mountain Trail. El Paso County does not allow camping, so there is no camping along the Ute Pass Trail, and no camping along the current work around for the missing parts of the Ute Pass Trail, and also no camping on the lower part of the Mount Esther trail, which is on an easement through private property.
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Halfmoon Road Near Leadville
Take Highway 24 south out of Copper Leadville. Just outside of Leadville make your way along Halfmoon Road. This is also home to the trailheads for both Mount Massive and Mount Elbert, Colorados tallest peak.
Halfmoon Road is bursting with free camping opportunities. What I love the most about camping here is that theres plenty of room for larger groups and campers.
Almost all of the camping has plenty of space and privacy. Go on a nearby hike , head into town for some grub, or just relax with friends at camp.
Rabbit Ears Pass East/forest Service Road 100
Distance to Steamboat Springs: 21 milesRestrooms: NoMap
Forest Service Road 100 is located on the east side of Rabbit Ears Pass, just 21 miles from Steamboat Springs. The road is seemingly endless and there are tons of great dispersed campsites dotted along it starting as soon as your turn off Highway 40. The first several miles are fairly smooth, so this is a good option for larger rigs looking for dispersed camping near Steamboat Springs.
Some of the campsites have access to Muddy Creek, but it isnt always easy to pull water from. For that reason, we recommend coming prepared if youre planning to camp along FR100.
The turn off from Highway 40 to get here is signed for Buffalo Park, so keep an eye out once youre past the summit of the pass when coming from the Steamboat side.
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Chaffee County Road 390
This dirt road between Buena Vista and Twin Lakes offers stunning scenery deep in the mighty Sawatch Range, with several ghost towns and four 14,000-foot peaks to climb. Free, heavily used campsites can be found along the road. Passenger cars can make the drive for up to 12 miles along the road. Theres a large meadow near the Winfield ghost town if other sites are full, or if you have a high-clearance vehicle, you can continue on for more remote camping. This area is part of San Isabel National Forest, one of the best areas to camp for free in Colorado.
While youre there: Tackle some 14ers. Go for Mounts Columbia and Oxford , Missouri Mountain, or Huron Peak.
Jones Pass Near Highway 40
Camping at Jones Pass brings the high alpine experience right to your tent. This isnt just some of the best free camping near Denver, but its also some of the best free camping in Colorado too.
Best visited from July through early September, this high alpine camping experience has a lot on offer. Just 40 minutes from Denver along Highway 40 youll find yourself immersed in a sea of wildflowers and picture-perfect mountain scenery.
If you have even the slightest amount of clearance you can crawl your way to the top of the pass and hike up directly to the famous Continental Divide Trail.
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What Kind Of Camping Is Available
Youll find a variety of camping options close to Garden of the Gods and Colorado Springs. There are RV hookup sites that have so many amenities and services , itll feel like you actually did choose an Airbnb and not the camping option. Of course, there are also sites for traditional tent camping with the bonus of nearby restrooms. Or if youre really ready to rough it and experience nature, you can choose a camping option in the national forest that doesnt even have a proper tent site.
Here are some great places to camp near Garden of the Gods:
Blue River South Of Breckenridge
If youre looking for free places to camp near Breckenridge, then head to the Blue Lakes area. Head south on Highway 9 to find a variety of free camping.
Keep in mind, many of these spots require high-clearance, 4WD vehicles since they head up old mining roads. Check out the Jeep Road up to Crystal Lake, the roads around the Mohawk Lakes Trailhead, Spruce Creek Trailhead, and the Kite Lake area .
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Buena Vista And Cottonwood Pass
Cottonwood Pass has been a long-time favorite place of mine to find Boondocking in Colorado. The front half of the road is paved, while the road turns to dirt on the backside of the pass.
Along this scenic stretch of tarmac, youll find several first-come-first-serve free campgrounds. Alternatively, you can pull off on one of the many dirt roads to snag a hidden free campsite.
These roads stay closed for part of the year, so come with a sense of adventure if youre traveling between Labor Day and Memorial Day. Once the road turns to dirt, there are several options for camping along pullouts and other dirt roads.
Picking A Campsite In Colorado
There are thousands of campsites in Colorados state park and public land systems and hundreds more private sites. You simply need to find the part of the state you want to visit, choose a site with the amenities you need and make a reservation.
Colorado State Parks CampingForty-one parks all over the state are administered by Colorado State Parks. The system boasts more than 4,000 campsites. Amenities at many parks include restrooms, full electrical hookups and shower facilities, and some even have laundry facilities and playgrounds. Yurts and cabins available for rent offer comfortable, year-round alternatives to traditional camping. Campgrounds can book up months in advance, so plan well ahead and make a reservation as soon as possible.
Federal LandsThe U.S. Forest Service manages 14 million acres of land in the states 11 National Forests and two National Grasslands, while the Bureau of Land Management oversees an additional 8.4 million acres. Both agencies have campsites that range from developed areas with restrooms, fire rings, water and other amenities to remote areas with no amenities that are reached only by horse, mountain bike or backpacking. Reservations can be made at recreation.gov.
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Best Early Season Camping In Lost Creek
Most people dont know that you cant really camp in the mountains until mid to late June. It takes a while for the snow to melt in the Rockies, but every year, you get the itch to go camping early in the season.
Only an hour from Denver, Lost Creek Wilderness offers a variety of free dispersed camping perfect for low-elevation camping adventures.
Check out Stoney Pass Road near Segment Three of the Colorado Trail. There are also other options around the Wellington Lake area too.
Use Google Terrain to find some hidden free campsites in Colorados Lost Creek Wilderness. Some of the best hiking trails near Denver can be found nearby.
Lost Creek Wilderness used to be a quiet spot to set up camp, but this area has been increasing in popularity. However, beggars cant be choosers when the high-altitude spots are still socked in with snow.
Head to Lost Creek early or late season for the pine-tastic camping weekend. Most camping within Lost Creek doesnt require a high clearance vehicle, but be sure to Google around your specific camp area to make sure.
Hot Springs Resorts That Offer Camping On
Lodging is usually available nearby to most amazing hot springs. There are many hot springs with lodging on-site. And many of these even provide campgrounds in addition to their hotel or cabin accommodations.
Campers pay a fee to camp, which can include overnight hot springs access at select resorts. Camping at hot springs is a fantastic way to save money and soak in a lot of hot springs on your road trip.
Here are the Colorado hot springs with camping, in no particular order:
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