Colorado is full of free camping spots, with many found in BLM land or National Forests. Referred to as dispersed camping, the campsites listed below are found along forest roads, making them great car camping spots. Many of the campsites have little to no amenities, but they will offer a more private and secluded experience than paid sites. Get out in nature this summer by staying at these 5 best camping spots in Colorado.
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The area around Guanella Pass is not only free but also absolutely breathtaking. Located in areas of the Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forests, this area is open for campers during late spring and summer. There are plenty of spots found along the road south of the pass. Located near I-70 and the town of Georgetown, you’re not too far away from the Front Range, making it a great getaway spot for those in Denver. If you’re hoping to hike a 14’er (14,000-foot mountain) this summer, Mount Bierstadt is in the area and is one of the easiest 14’ers to hike in the state.
Old Stage Road/Gold Camp Road
Located in Pike National Forest, the sites near Old Stage Road and Gold Camp Road are reachable by vehicle. There are many campsites along the road, but Wye Campground is also a great option if you’re wanting to camp near toilets. If you do have a 4-wheel-drive vehicle, then take Road 379 to reach even more sites in this beautifully forested area.
The area around the Crags, not to be confused with the Crags Campground, does have great car camping spots for free. Camping at the Crags Campground will cost you a nightly fee. If you’d like to find free car camping spots in the area, which is helpful information especially if the campground is full, then take the Forest Service Road 383. This area’s campsites are sometimes coveted spots during the summer, so be aware that they fill up fast on weekends.
Jones Pass Road
Denverites looking for a mountain escape should consider camping along Jones Pass Road. Dispersed camping spots are found along the road. If you’re looking for a more isolated spot, consider driving a four-wheel-drive vehicle to traverse further. There are a number of hiking trails in the area too, such as the Continental Divide Trail. The sites along Jones Pass Road are near Winter Park, CO.
Located in the San Isabel and Gunnison National Forests, Cottonwood Pass offers dispersed camping options near Buena Vista, CO. Found along the Continental Divide, Cottonwood Pass tops out at 12,216 feet in elevation. Sites can be found along both sides of the pass. The road up Cottonwood Pass follows a creek, offering car camping and tenting spots. Don’t miss out on exploring the charming town of Buena Vista while you’re in the area.