5 Places to Camp For Free In Colorado

Colorado is a camping paradise, boasting jaw-dropping natural landscapes and here's where you can camp in Colorado for free

Colorado is a camping paradise, boasting jaw-dropping natural landscapes that will absolutely knock your thermal socks off. From the towering Rocky Mountains to the expansive Great Plains, this state really knows how to put on a show for the outdoor enthusiasts!

Here are 5 of the best places to camp for free in Colorado (or almost free):

1. San Juan National Forest

First up on the list is the majestic San Juan National Forest. Are you looking for the perfect backdrop for your truck tent? Look no further! The San Juan National Forest is all you need and then some.

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This sprawling forest covers 1.8 million acres (yes, you read that right) and is home to some of the most stunning wilderness areas. Its rugged terrains are ideal for hiking and rock climbing. Set up camp by the Animas River, cast a line, and you might just hook a trout for dinner. This is nature’s playground, folks!

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2. Pike National Forest

Next up, let’s take a virtual drive to Pike National Forest. Famous for its breathtaking mountain views and superb trails, Pike National Forest is an adventurer’s dream come true.

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With your SUV tent tucked away in the heart of this forest, you’re just a stone’s throw away from the Colorado Trail, perfect for hiking or mountain biking. This free camping spot is perfect for those who love their solitude and wouldn’t mind a few chirping birds as their wake-up call.

If fishing is your thing, the South Platte River is stocked with a smorgasbord of fish species and is a renowned fly fishing spot in Colorado. Its Gold Medal Waters are teeming with brown and rainbow trout, providing an excellent opportunity for beginners and seasoned anglers alike.

3. Maroon Bells

If you’re looking for a campsite that’s out of a fairytale, then Maroon Bells is the place to be.

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Although it’s most famous for the Maroon Lake that reflects the snow-capped Maroon Bells Peaks, there are dispersed campsites near the area that are absolutely free.

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It’s an ideal location to camp with plenty of hiking trails, including the renowned Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness trails. *call ahead for information on vehicle camping. There are a few lots that don’t allow it*

Do bring your camera along; you’ll want to capture the sunrise over the iconic peaks.

4. Kebler Pass

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Don’t let anyone ever tell you that camping is not an all-season activity. Kebler Pass, situated near Crested Butte, has got you covered all year round. In the summer, the landscape explodes into a myriad of wildflowers that will make your heart sing.

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Come fall, and the aspen groves transform the pass into a golden wonderland. In the winter, the snow-covered slopes are perfect for snowshoeing or cross-country skiing. This is a camping spot for those who don’t mind a bit of adventure and are keen to experience the changing seasons in all their glory.

5. Buffalo Peaks Wilderness

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Last but certainly not least, I present to you the Buffalo Peaks Wilderness. This hidden gem is known for its rolling tundra, peaceful forests, and of course, the twin summits of Buffalo Peaks.

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This free camping site is less crowded compared to other spots in Colorado, making it perfect for folks who crave a bit of solitude. Its rich wildlife, including elk, mule deer, and a variety of birds, make it a wildlife enthusiast’s paradise.

There you have it, my fellow outdoor aficionados; five of the best free (or free-ish) camping spots in Colorado that’ll make you want to pack your truck tent, SUV tent or ground tent and hit the road right now! Don’t forget to check with individual parks for specific details on things like vehicle access, camping rules and fees. And as always, leave every campsite you visit the same or better than you found it.



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