The Hotspots‌ ‌for‌ ‌Free‌ ‌Camping‌ ‌in‌ ‌Colorado‌

The Hotspots‌ ‌for‌ ‌Free‌ ‌Camping‌ ‌in‌ ‌Colorado‌

Hotspots‌ ‌for‌ ‌Free‌ ‌Camping‌ ‌in‌ ‌Colorado‌ is quite a mouthful, but the state is one of the best for a free vacation. With a variety of landscapes and terrains in a relatively small area, it’s no wonder why Colorado is a hotspot for outdoor activities, especially camping.

Whether you have your sights set on the alpine tundra to the high peaks of the Rocky Mountains or prefer to camp by lakes and rivers in the foothills, free camping is still an option. Moreover, if you are concerned about a budget while traveling, this camping might be an option.

This article will look into Colorado and the hotspots for free camping in Colorado.

Contents

Where is Colorado

Geographical Location

Colorado which is classified as a mountain state is the 8 the largest state and is ranked 3 rd in size among the 50 states (Wikipedia). The capital of this state is Denver. With an average elevation of 6,800 ft. above sea level, it is home to 54 mountain peaks which are more than 14,000 feet high in elevation.

Climate

The state has a continental climate in which the summers are hot and dry along with cold winters in the high country regions.

In Eastern Colorado, the climate is semi-arid, where there are low amounts of precipitation.

The mountainous regions of the western part of Colorado tend to be milder in temperature, and sunny which is ideal for camping.

Population 

With a population of 5,893,634, Colorado is home to 7 national parks, 417 state parks, 2 national monuments, 4 national recreation trails, and 8 national historic trails.

Colorado is worth a visit with abundant beauty and camping spots for a free vacation.  

Pocket 10 Hotspots for Free Camping in Colorado

Colorado is a great place to enjoy free camping as it is teeming with beautiful spots to pitch your tent. Moreover, it is a place full of adventure and fun. There are a couple of state parks that allow free camping, while the rest of the popular camping spots charge fees for their services.

The hotspots for free camping in Colorado are very tempting for backpackers and hikers as they offer a rustic campground where you can pitch your tent as well as enjoy the beauty of nature. Let’s have a look at the 10 of the most popular spots for camping in Colorado.

The Lost Creek Wilderness Great place for Hiking and Camping

The Lost Creek Wilderness | Image Source Pinterest

The trail is a creation by the Forest Service and is a part of the Pike-San Isabel National Forests. It was founded in 1993 and today it covers a total area of 119,790 acres. The elevation of this place ranges from 8,000 to 12,400 feet above sea level. This wilderness is known to be home to black bears, mountain lions, and deer.

It has 105 miles of trail network with four trails that are more than 100 miles long each. The most popular trails are the Goose Creek Trail and the Santa Fe Trail, which is 108 miles long.

Many people come here to hike and camp as it has many trailheads that lead into the Lost Creek Wilderness Area. There are three trailheads on the east side, which are Big Sandy, Paradise Divide, and Devil’s Head. On the west side of this wilderness area, there are two trailheads, which are Texas Creek and Willow Creek.

The variety of trails offered here is undoubted a reason why this place is popular for camping. Moreover, travelers feel that the campsites are well maintained, with good access to water and that they are very spacious. Also, there are many great picnic spots.

Best Seasons to Camp

This place is suitable for camping all year round.

Closest Town

The town of Bailey is the closest town to the trailheads. You can find a variety of food and lodging options in the town.

Other Close-by Towns Deckers, Fairplay, and Lake George

Map Coordinates

39°16′7″N 105°28′5″W

Main Public Transport

You can take a ride on the Pikes Peak Cog Railway from Manitou Springs to the summit, and then walk down.

Alternatively, you can take the bus to the trailhead.

Main Activities

  • Trails
  • Hiking
  • Camping
  • Horseback riding
  • Picnic campgrounds

Alta Lakes, Telluride Great Series of Small, Alpine Lakes

Alta Lakes, Telluride | Image Source Pinterest

The Alta Lakes is located in the Uncompahgre National Forest near Telluride, Colorado. They are one of the most popular camping sites in Colorado, and it is situated at an elevation of approximately 10,000 feet above sea level.

The stunning scenery here adds to the beauty of this place. The small lake reflects the surrounding peaks making it a perfect spot for camping with family and friends.

Best Seasons

The right season to enjoy this trail is from June until mid-October. However, conditions are considered to be very difficult during winter.

Closest Town

Ouray is the closest town to this trailhead.

Main Public Transport

Car,  bus

Map Coordinates

 37° 52′ 37.9344” N

107° 52′ 20.2656” W

Main Activities

  • Camping
  • Fishing
  • Hiking trails
  • Boating

Gordon Gulch Dispersed Camping Site, Nederland

Gordon Gulch Dispersed Camping Site | Image Source Reddit

This is a much-loved camping spot, and one of the most popular for those who wish to enjoy free camping. The site is managed by Boulder Ranger District as part of the Roosevelt National Forest.

Free camping at this site is allowed following the provisions of Title 36, Code of Federal Regulations 261.58 (a) and (b).  This regulation states that you can camp for up to 14 consecutive days at each campsite if your stay does not involve moving livestock or equipment through the area.

Best Seasons

The best time for camping in this area is from mid-June to September. Winter can get very muddy.

Closest Town

Boulder, CO is the closest town to this location

Map Coordinates

Latitude: 40.0113543713 

Longitude : -105.50019906200

Main Public Transport

Bus, car.

Main Activities

  • Hiking
  • Horse Riding
  • Camping
  • Picnic Sites
  • Scenic Driving
  • Hunting
  • Bycling

Canyon Escalante, Dominguez-Escalante National Conservation Area

Canyon Escalante, Dominguez-Escalante National Conservation Area | Image Source Pinterest

This is a breathtaking canyon in the Uncompahgre Plateau. It is known for its red rock canyons and sandstone bluffs.

The BLM states that camping here is free for up to 14 days if you are not moving livestock or equipment through the area. Moreover, the site offers immense outdoor recreation opportunities such as camping, hiking, and fishing.

Best Seasons

The ideal time to enjoy this location is from May until September when rainfall is minimal. You can also enjoy camping here during the winter months but you might get stuck in snowstorms.

Closest Town

Ouray, CO is the closest town to this area.

Main Public Transport

Car, bus

Map Coordinates

Latitude: 39.872218 

Longitude : -107.89190800000001

Main Activities

  • Camping
  • Hiking trails
  • Fishing
  • Cliffside Campground, Mesa Verde National Park
  • Hunting

Anvil Dispersed Camping Area, Silverton

Anvil Dispersed Camping Area, Silverton | Image Source Free Campsites

The Anvil Campground is a free dispersed campsite located near Silverton, Colorado. It offers great views of the rugged San Juan Mountains and is a popular destination for hikers and outdoor enthusiasts.

Best Seasons

You can enjoy camping here year-round. However, the prime time for enjoying this site is from June till October.

Closest Town

Ouray, Colorado is the closest town to this site.

Map Coordinates

37.82100481 N

107.7192494 W

Main Public Transport

Car, bus

Main Activities

  • Camping
  • Hiking trails
  • Fishing

Loch Lomond, Idaho Springs Colorado Offroad Trail

Loch Lomond, Idaho Springs | Image Source Pinterest

This is a perfect escape to enjoy picturesque views and serene wilderness. You can either hike up to the lake, which is about 3 miles, or drive up with your 4×4. Moreover, the area provides ample outdoor recreation opportunities such as fishing, boating, and hiking trails.

Best Seasons

The right season to enjoy this trail is from June till October. However, conditions are considered to be very difficult during winter.

Closest Town

Idaho Springs is the closest town to this location.

Map Coordinates

Latitude: 39.813293

Longitude : -105.656105

Main Public Transport

Car, bus

Main Activities

  • Camping
  • Hiking Trails
  • Cycling
  • Picnicking

Jouflas Campground, Grand Junction Campground in the Rabbit Valley

hotspots for free camping in Colorado
Jouflas Campground, Grand Junction | Image Source Pinterest

Located at the confluence of the Colorado and Gunnison Rivers, this monumental conservation area provides an excellent opportunity for outdoor recreation. With no fee to stay at the site, the campground makes it an ideal escape for those who wish to enjoy free camping. The site is managed by Boulder Ranger District as part of the Roosevelt National Forest.

Best Seasons

The best time to enjoy this location is from May until September when rainfall is minimal. You can also come during winter but prepare yourself for possible snowstorms.

Closest Town

Grand Junction, CO is the closest town to this location.

Map Coordinates

Latitude/ Longitude: 39.177, -109.021

Main Public Transport

Bus, car.

Main Activities

  • Camping
  • Hiking trails  
  • Bycling  
  • Picnic Campground

Molas Pass, Silverton  The Place called an All-American Road

Molas Pass, Silverton | Image Source Pinterest

The pass is an ideal roadside stop for travelers who want to stretch their legs and breath in the fresh mountain air. Moreover, you can enjoy free camping here along with hiking trails for your hiking pleasure.

Best Seasons

The right season to come here is from June till October when rainfall is minimal. You can also try during the winter months but conditions might get rough due to heavy snowfall.

Closest Town

Silverton is the closest town to this location.

Map Coordinates

37°44′16″N 107°41′53″W

Main Public Transport

Car, bus.

Main Activities

  • Camping
  • Hiking trails
  • Fishing
  • Picnicking

Campsites for sale or rent from private sellers

Mount Herman Road, Pike National Forest

hotspots for free camping in Colorado
Mount Herman Road, Pike National Forest | Image Source The Dyrt

This trail is one of the most popular hiking trails in Colorado. The site offers spectacular views of Pike National Forest along with Mount Evans, Bierstadt, and Evans. You can also come here during winter but conditions will be rough due to heavy snowfall.

Best Seasons

The best time to visit this location is from June till October when rainfall is minimal. However, you can also come during winter but prepare yourself for possible snowstorms.

Closest Town

Bailey is the closest town to this location.

Map Coordinates

Latitude: 39.071140

Longitude : -104.932103

Main Public Transport

Bus, car.

Main Activities

  • Camping
  • Hiking
  • Picnicking       
  • Nature Viewing    

Portal Campground, Aspen Best Place for Camping

hotspots for free camping in Colorado
Portal Campground, Aspen Best Place for Camping | Image Source Uncover Colorado

An amazing campground for anyone who wants to enjoy free camping. The site provides access to various activities such as biking, ATV riding, and fishing.

Best Seasons

The best time of the year to visit here is from June till October when rainfall is minimal. However, conditions are considered to be very rough during the winter months due to heavy snowfall.

Closest Town

Aspen is the closest town to this location.

Map Coordinates

39.07600066 N

106.61289075 W

Main Public Transport

Car, bus.

Main Activities

  • Camping
  • Fishing              
  • Hiking trails      
  • Picnicking
  • Nature Viewing
  • Mountain Biking
  • Cycling
  • ATV Riding
  • Motorcycle Riding

More places you need when traveling in Colorado

Rocky Mountain National Park

Rocky Mountain National Park | Image Source Pinterest

This park is home to many famous scenic drives such as Trail Ridge Road and Old Fall River Road. The site is known for its wildflowers, alpine tundra, and forests of pine and aspen trees. Hiking trails offer many opportunities to explore the park’s abundant wildlife.

Denver

hotspots for free camping in Colorado
Denver Colorado | Image Source Pinterest

This is one of the best places in Colorado to enjoy free camping and hiking. The most popular hikes in this location include the Mount Evans, Lariat Loop, and Green Mountain trails.

Colorado Springs

Colorado Springs | Image Source Pinterest

This city is home to Garden of the Gods, Seven Falls, and Red Rock Canyon. You can also visit here during the winter months but conditions might get rough due to heavy snowfall.

Mountains San Juan

hotspots for free camping in Colorado
Mountains San Juan | Image Source Pinterest

The location provides spectacular views as well as the opportunity to hike and bike. You can also come here for free camping with your friends or family.

FAQs  

Where to find free camping in Colorado?

If you want to find hotspots for free camping in Colorado, then visit Mountain Biking Trails or Cycling Trails. These trails offer good opportunities for free camping and hiking.

The best seasons to travel in Colorado are from June till October when rainfall is minimal. However, conditions become rough during the winter months due to heavy snowfall.

What Season is Suitable to Travel in Colorado?

Is Travel in Colorado Free?

Yes. If you want to enjoy free travel in Colorado, visit Mountain Biking Trails or Cycling Trails. These trails offer opportunities for free camping and hiking.

What do You Need for Travel in Colorado?

To travel with awareness about hotspots for free camping in Colorado, you need a place where you can camp and enjoy free activities such as hiking and biking. You also need to carry basic camping equipment such as tents and sleeping bags so that you can easily set up your campsite wherever you find free space.

Why You should Travel to Colorado in the Summer or Spring?

During the summer and spring seasons, the weather is nice and warm. However, heavy rainfall might occur in late summer which can make conditions rough. During the spring months, snowfall is common so be prepared for it.

Conclusion

Free camping is becoming popular in Colorado, especially because of the amazing activities you can enjoy in this location. This article has discussed the hotspots for free camping in Colorado to help you easily find a place where you can have fun with your family or friends. It also covers information about travel in this state and what equipment to carry to make your journey more enjoyable. Further, check out these backpacking trends for 2022 to keep yourself updated when traveling.

Luu Duc Hoang

Luu Duc Hoang

I am just a simple man, carrying around his laptop in a backpack. “Traveling combined with volunteering is always what I aim for”

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