Is Blm Camping Worth It
BLM camping can be as primitive or as elaborate as you want it to be. You just need to seek out the BLM campsites that match your style.
When you know your style and youve done a bit of planning, getting whisked away to a BLM campsite is most definitely worth it. The lands explored and the starry nights gazed upon will not be forgotten when camping on BLM lands.
Will you go BLM camping?
While the Western United States are filled with seemingly endless opportunities to find beautiful, free camping, few states do it quite as well as Colorado.
From desert cliff-dwelling to the Rocky MountainsÃ¢ abundance of forests, and beyond to the Front Range including Denver and Fort Collins, finding free a free place to camp is not just about saving a buck itÃ¢s about living within the most splendid scenery the state has to offer.
Dispersed camping in the Centennial State is downright prolific throughout the dozen or so national forests and grasslands within the stateÃ¢s borders. Are you looking for camping spots near Steamboat Springs? Forest roads and mountain passes galore await. Need beautiful free camping near Denver? Idaho Springs is only about a half-hour from town, yet filled with places to go mountain biking, tent camping, or enjoy your national forest.
Jones Pass Near Highway 40
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.
Pingree Road Dispersed Camping
Distance to Fort Collins: 38 milesRestrooms: NoMap
Pingree Roads offers tons of dispersed campsites near Fort Collins. Youll be close to the Poudre River here as well as several excellent trailheads, making this a great weekend camping option. Dispersed camping is permitted almost immediately after turning off Highway 14, and there are several large camping areas within the first half mile.
For those looking for more solitude, you can continue up Pingree Road and find plenty of great sites. For those venturing further, youll want t to have a high clearance vehicle.
Keep in mind that dispersed camping is not permitted once you pass FR127, so if you dont find a site before then youll want to look for other options.
There is no water or other facilities along Pingree Road, so plan to be self-sufficient when camping here.
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Alpine Lodge At Red Feather Lakes
Nestled amidst the 600,000+ acre Roosevelt National Forest this campground offers a perfect base for year-round outdoor adventure. Wildlife, hiking trails, with nearby whitewater rafting, paddle boarding, fishing, and canoeing are all popular activities. Close proximity to the many mountain lakes that give this area its name makes it a perfect spot for anglers.
- Closest town: Red Feather Lakes , Laporte
- Specs: 20 sites, 15 RV / Trailer sites, 5 tent sites, water, toilets, electricity, RV sites open May 1 to September 30, tent sites open year-round
- Amenities: 4 fully equipped cabins
- Reservations: Yes, at alpinelodgeredfeatherlakes.com
- Address: 157 County Road 67J, Red Feather Lakes, CO 80545
- Directions: From Laporte take U.S. Highway 27 B 2.5 miles. Turn left on U.S. Highway 287 North, go 12.3 miles. Turn left on County Road 74E / Red Feather Lakes Road go 23.4 miles. Turn right onto County Road 67J go .2 miles to the campground.
Camping Near Cache La Poudre River
The Cache La Poudre River winds along Highway 14 creating a beautiful views and recreation opportunities. Some folks will go rafting on the Poudre River, as its known locally. There are several riverside campgrounds easily accessible from Highway 14, aka the Cache La Poudre-North Park National Scenic Byway.
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What Is Blm Land
Those who are unfamiliar with dispersed camping may be wondering, what is BLM land? First, we need to look at the acronym BLM to find out more about the organization that oversees BLM land.
These lands are managed by the Bureau of Land Management, which is part of the U.S. Department of the Interior. The Bureau of Land Management is tasked with responsibly managing land and resources for the use and enjoyment of the public.
The BLM is accountable for managing public lands for an array of uses such as energy and mineral development, grazing of livestock, recreation, along with timber harvesting, while ensuring cultural, natural, and historic resources are maintained for this and future generations.
Currently, the BLM oversees 245 million surface acres of public lands for the American people. The agency manages 1 in 10 acres in the U.S., or about 12 percent of the landmass of the U.S. Thats a little bit less than the size of Texas. The land is primarily located in the western states, including Alaska, California, New Mexico, and Wyoming.
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What Areas Allow Dispersed Camping
Almost all national forests and state parks allow dispersed camping. With that said even with dispersed camping in Colorado, we recommend researching the specific forest or park you are considering for site-specific rules and regulations.
Some areas require dispersed campers to move after 14-16 days, depending on the federal regulations for that forest or park, other areas are surrounded by private land.
The forest service website will help you find what areas are safe and what areas should be avoided.
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Quick Tips For Free Camping In Colorado
There are a few things you should know before you go camping in Colorado. For starters, if you plan on going dispersed camping in Colorado, be prepared. Youll want to bring a trash bag for ALL of your trash, all of your water, and a proper backcountry bathroom kit.
Additionally, keep the following in mind when you go camping in Colorado:
Check for road closures and fire bans. Conditions change constantly in Colorado, so be sure to check before you head out.
Be prepared. If youre camping in the alpine, storms typically roll in every afternoon. Dont get caught and be prepared. Stay off of ridgelines or summits in a storm.
Acclimatize properly. Altitude adjustment can be a little rough so take your time if youre arriving from out of town.
Dont chop live trees. Its not only illegal, but it makes for a smoky mess. Instead, forage for fallen trees or branches you can snap. Bring your own firewood only if its been locally sourced to prevent the spread of plant disease.
Stay in designated spots only. Dont create a new campsite. Use whats already established to avoid trampling pristine nature.
Now youve got the inside scoop about dispersed camping in Colorado. This exclusive local guide gives you a complete look at some of the most amazing dispersed camping in Colorado. So pitch your tent and happy camping!
Dispersed Camping Gear Checklist
Having the right gear makes camping enjoyable. If youre in the high country in Colorado, you will be cold at some point. You may get wet. And youll definitely get hungry. Lets review items you can bring to ensure that no matter the weather, youll have a great time.
Click on this link for a definitive list of Camping Essentials to help you organize your next trip.
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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:
Devils Head In Rampart Range
Devils Head has been a camping haunt of mine for nearly a decade. This area is mostly known for ATVing, dirt biking, and climbing, but theres plenty of fun car camping to be had.
Located just southwest of Castle Rock, Devils Head has some of the best hikes near Denver , excellent trad and sport climbing, and features some of the best warm-weather camping in the state.
Head along Rampart Range Road and snag a free camp spot. This area is well-known, and the gate closes in winter, so check recent conditions and head out early to get the best spots.
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Steamboat Lake State Park Campgrounds
Steamboat Lake is often described as one of the jewels of the Colorado wilderness. With over 1,000 acres of mountain lake, views of Hahn Peak, and close proximity to ski areas this lake and the two modern, well-equipped campgrounds on it are extremely popular destinations. You can boat, fish, hike, ride horses, or mountain bikes while taking in the spectacular scenery. With 188 campsites to choose from you can have a wilderness experience with nearly all the comforts of home. A note to campers, a camping permit required in addition to a daily or annual vehicle pass.
- Closest town: Clark Steamboat Springs
- Specs: 78 sites arranged in three loops, water, flush toilets, open
- Amenities: Convenience store, marina, swim beach, showers, laundry, electric sites at Wheeler loop
- Reservations: Yes, at cpwshop.com for the week before Memorial Day to Labor Day, first-come, first-serve remainder of the year
- Address: County Road 62, Clark, CO 80428
- Directions: From Clark take County Road 129 9.1 miles. Turn left on County Road 62, go 1.1 miles. The campground will be on the right.
Fort Collins Camping: Your Gateway To Northern Colorado
This article about Fort Collins camping is brought to you by Hammock Gear. Their variety of outdoor gear will prepare you for any of these campgrounds.
A Fort Collins camping trip is the perfect way to explore northern Colorado. This vibrant town offers 300 days annually of sunshine to maximize your enjoyment of the outdoors. With snow-capped mountains, crystal clear rivers, and peaceful lakes a short drive away, its no wonder Fort Collins is a top camping destination.
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Permits Fees And Reservations
All of the dispersed camping areas in this guide are located within Roosevelt National Forests Canyon Lakes Ranger District. Campers will be delighted to learn that no permits, fees, or reservations are required to camp on these lands.
However, it is important to check local regulations on dispersed camping before setting out. This ensures you are camping in an area that permits dispersed camping. There are almost always restrictions regarding proximity to water and roads, so pay attention to the details in your area.
These resources, provided by the Canyon Lakes Ranger District, are especially helpful for planning your dispersed camping trip:
- Dispersed Camping Overview: This helpful page contains resources on where camping is allowed.
- Motor Vehicle Use Maps: These maps show where dispersed camping is allowed. It is typically designated by dots on either side of a specific road.
- Alerts & Notices: Check here for up to date information on fire restrictions, area closures, and other information that may impact camping availability.
Southwest Colorado Dispersed Camping
The San Juan mountains make for some of Colorados most impressive scenery and youll find an abundance of public land in this part of the State. In addition to the beautiful wilderness there are also plenty of great towns worth exploring. The southwest gets our vote for the top dispersed camping destination in Colorado. Here are the relevant dispersed camping guides along with a few of our favorite campsites:
- Telluride: The Telluride area has tons of excellent dispersed camping options. Be sure to check out Alta Lakes!
- Lake City: The wilderness around Lake City is perfect for finding a bit of solitude.
- Silverton: Big views and great campsites are the highlight of dispersed camping near Silverton.
- Durango: A southwest road trip isnt complete without a stop in Durango.
Our favorite dispersed campsites in the area include:
Alta Lakes Telluride Area
Water: No, but can be filtered from the lake. Crowds: BusyMap
Alta Lakes lives up to its reputation as one of the most beautiful places in Colorado, and a night under the stars here is an unforgettable experience. There are about 20 dispersed campsites in the area surrounding the lakes. Most sites are pretty well spaced out, allowing for privacy and spectacular alpine views. There are some additional sites located along the road up to the lakes.
Kendall Camping Area Silverton area
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Crown Point Road Dispersed Camping Closed
Distance to Fort Collins: 41 milesRestrooms: No
Located just southwest of Bellaire Lake is the Forest Service Road 517 dispersed camping area. Youll be less than 50 miles from Fort Collins here and also close to Red Feather Lakes. Unfortunately, that means these sites are often crowded, although youre still likely to find an open site most weekends.
The sites closer to the junction with Manhattan Road will be best suited to larger rigs or those in passenger vehicles. If you have 4WD and higher clearance, we recommend heading a bit further back along the road to get more privacy.
As with the majority of dispersed camping areas in this guide, there is no water or other facilities here. That means youll need to be prepared to practice Leave No Trace camping and be sure to leave your site in better condition than you found it!
List Of The Best Colorado Dispersed Camping Areas
1. Red Feather Lakes Deadman Road
Located just an hour from Fort Collins, this area is a labyrinth of forest service roads that offer endless camping opportunities. Dispersed sites are abundant in this area. One of our favorite spots is located at the junction of Deadman Road and Forest Service Road 502.
How to Get There: The area is located up Deadman Road, northwest of Red Feather Lakes. To get there from Fort Collins, take US Hwy 287 north to Livermore, turn west onto County Road 74E towards Red Feather Lakes. Turn left on County Road 86 . There are spots all along Deadman Road, which runs about 15 miles.
Colorados Great Outdoors
2. Jones Pass
This area offers some great off-road driving and dispersed camping sites. Its located just an hour from Denver and provides quick access to the Continental Divide. Some of the campsites have amazing views perfect for staring down valley while roasting marshmallows over an open flame.
How to Get There: Drive west on I-70 from Denver. Take exit 232 from I-70 onto US Hwy 40, and head towards Empire/Winter Park. Continue on US-40 west past Empire. Take a left on Henderson Mine Road to Jones Pass Road.
3. Caribou Townsite
The Caribou Townsite has 11 designated camping spots that can fill up quickly especially on the weekend. This is an exceptional location, camping next to Colorados famed Indian Peaks Wilderness Area. Its just miles away from the funky mountain community of Nederland.
4. Guenella Pass
5. Montezuma Road
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How Do You Find An Approved Dispersed Campsite
Some dispersed campsites will have numbers to indicate each campsite. However, this isnt always the case. In fact, its sorta rare to find a campsite with a sign marked for camping. Youll know a disbursed campsite because therell be a flat clearing, the ground will look worn, and there will most likely be a rock built fire-pit.
Again, in this post, were NOT referring to backpacking. So your campsite will typically be along roads and larger off road trails that are accessible by your 4×4 vehicle.
Its best practice to NEVER make or create a campsite. Meaning: you should never clear an area and setup a spot . Overuse and poor use have closed down several disbursed camping areas in Colorado. Dont be that guy.
Dispersed Camping Near Red Feather Lakes Co
6590 views1July 2, 2021Updated on September 2, 2022
Dispersed camping near Red Feather Lakes, CO is kinda hard to come by due to local town officials and businesses pressuring the U.S. Forest Service to keep boondockers at a distance. But there are some dispersed camping sites within reasonable distance.
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Where Can I Camp In Colorado : A Guide To Dispersed Camping
Stargazing is one of the great pleasures of camping in Colorado. Photo Credit: Zach Dischner
If youre a hardcore camper in Colorado, youve probably figured out that dispersed camping is the way to go. Youve got more options, fewer crowds, and plenty of space. That being said, if youre getting into dispersed camping for the first time, there are a few things youll need to know first.
Summary Of Red Feather Lakes Dispersed Camping
Red Feather Lakes dispersed camping should not be missed. Its a beautiful area with numerous options for camping of all types. Gorgeous lakes are ready for a good swim, and plenty of peaks need to be conquered to see stunning views. It is a unique part of the state with large boulder outcroppings spotted throughout, and heavily forested nearly everywhere. Avoid the people and avoid I-70 with this Colorado gem.
If youre wondering how in the world I found these areas instead of the usual Dowdy Lake area, check out How to Find Campsites, and pay attention to the discussion on Strava heat maps. It takes some effort to find hidden spots!
What are your favorite camping spots in Colorado? Let us know in the comments below.
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