10 Best Places for Free Dispersed Camping Colorado

Dispersed Camping Colorado

Introduction to Dispersed Camping in Colorado

One of the finest ways to appreciate Colorado’s natural beauty is to go camping. The Rocky Mountains and the Great Plains are only two of the state’s breathtaking natural features. Dispersed camping Colorado is one of the finest ways to experience all this splendor.

Camping outside of permitted campsites in undeveloped regions is known as dispersed camping. Without the throngs of people and the clamor of regular campers, it’s an excellent way to explore nature. There are several free camping options in Colorado, making it one of the greatest states for dispersed camping. In this post, we’ll examine Colorado’s top ten free dispersed camping locations.

Camping Colorado

What is Dispersed Camping?

Camping outside of a recognized campsite in an undeveloped region is known as dispersed camping. It’s a chance to enjoy nature in a more bare-bones environment without the conveniences of conventional campsites. Although dispersed camping is often free, it’s a good idea to check with the local land management organization to see if any fees or permits are necessary.

For individuals who prefer to avoid the crowds and bustle of typical campsites, dispersed camping is a fantastic choice. It’s a wonderful opportunity to take in Colorado’s natural beauty away from the stresses of contemporary life.

Rules and Regulations for Dispersed Camping in Colorado

Although dispersed camping is a wonderful way to explore nature, it’s crucial to abide by the policies put in place to save the ecosystem. On the majority of public lands in Colorado, dispersed camping is permitted, although there are certain regulations and best practices to adhere to.

Camping should always be done at least 100 feet away from any water source, including lakes, rivers, and streams. This is done to safeguard both the fauna that depends on the water and its quality. It’s crucial to pack out any garbage and rubbish and to leave the campground in the same state as when you arrived.

It’s also crucial to inquire about any fire restrictions with the neighborhood land management organization. Campfires may be restricted during dry spells to avoid wildfires. Last but not least, it’s critical to respect wildlife and maintain a safe distance from any creatures you may come into contact with.

Camping Colorado Springs

Safety Tips for Dispersed Camping

Although dispersed camping may be a wonderful way to see nature, it’s crucial to follow safety procedures to guarantee a safe vacation. First and foremost, make sure someone is aware of your whereabouts and anticipated return time. This might be a close friend, relative, or park ranger.

Having a first aid kit on hand and having a basic understanding of first aid are also essential. It’s crucial to have a mechanism to reach emergency services in case of an emergency. This might be a personal locator beacon or a satellite phone.

And last, it’s critical to be weather-ready. It’s crucial to pack clothing and equipment that will work in all weather situations because Colorado’s weather may be unexpected. Included in this are rain gear, cosy clothes, and a comfortable sleeping bag.

Top 10 Best Places for Dispersed Camping in Colorado

  • San Isabel National Forest: With breathtaking views of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, this national forest provides a large number of unreserved, free dispersed camping sites.
Camping Colorado
  • White River National Forest: The Maroon Bells, one of Colorado’s most popular picture locations, may be found in this woodland. Numerous unreserved dispersed camping locations are available nearby.
Dispersed Camping Colorado
  • Pike National Forest:  This forest, which is close to Colorado Springs, has a number of free, dispersed camping sites and is convenient for hiking and fishing.
  • Roosevelt National Forest: This forest, close to Fort Collins, has several unreserved free dispersed camping sites with breathtaking Rocky Mountain vistas
  • Grand Mesa National Forest: There are several free dispersed camping sites available in this area, which has over 300 lakes and is convenient for hiking and fishing.
Dispersed Camping Colorado
  • Gunnison National Forest: The West Elk Mountains may be seen from many of the free dispersed camping sites in this forest, which is close to Crested Butte.
  • Arapaho National Forest: This forest, which is close to Denver, has many open-access dispersed camping areas and is convenient for hiking and fishing.
  • Rio Grande National Forest: The San Juan Mountains may be seen from a number of the forest’s free dispersed camping sites, which are located in southern Colorado.
Dispersed Camping Colorado
  • Comanche National Grassland: This grassland, which is in southeast Colorado, has a lot of unrestricted places for free dispersed camping and is convenient for hiking and fishing.
  • Medicine Bow-Routt National Forest: There are several free dispersed camping areas in this forest, which is situated in northern Colorado and southern Wyoming. It also offers breathtaking views of the Medicine Bow Mountains.

Tips for Finding Free Dispersed Camping in Colorado

Colorado has several locations for free dispersed camping, but it’s vital to know where to search. Consult the local land management organization as one of the finest places to look for free dispersed camping locations. Maps and details on locations where dispersed camping is permitted can be obtained from them.

Additionally, conducting internet research is a smart option. Numerous websites and discussion boards in Colorado are devoted to dispersed camping. These resources may be a great source of information about where to discover the greatest camping spots and what to expect when doing so.

Finally, it’s important to be respectful of the environment and other campers. While dispersed camping is free, it’s important to follow the rules and regulations set in place to protect the environment and ensure a safe and enjoyable experience for everyone.

Camping Colorado

Essential Gear for Dispersed Camping in Colorado

To guarantee a safe and pleasurable journey when camping in a dispersed camping area, it’s crucial to pack everything you’ll need. This consists of a tent, sleeping bag, and pad. Additionally, you should pack a camp stove and fuel, as certain regions might not allow campfires.

It’s also crucial to pack a lot of water and have a system in place for filtering water obtained from natural sources. On every camping excursion, you should also include a first aid kit, compass, and map.

Finally, it’s crucial to pack the right clothing and equipment for any type of weather. Because Colorado’s weather may be erratic, it’s crucial to be ready for anything.

Alternatives to Dispersed Camping in Colorado

Dispersed camping is a fantastic way to be close to nature in a wild environment, but it’s not for everyone. In Colorado, there are a lot of options to dispersed camping if you don’t feel comfortable with the lack of conveniences and the possibility of interactions with wildlife.

A conventional campsite is one possibility for lodging. There are several campsites in Colorado, from basic to luxurious. These campgrounds are an excellent choice for individuals who wish to be close to nature without compromising comfort because they include facilities like showers, toilets, and picnic spots.

A cottage or rented home is an additional choice. Numerous cabins and rental homes, from basic to opulent, may be found in Colorado. These places provide a way to enjoy nature while yet having all the conveniences of home.

Camping Colorado Springs

Frequently Asked Questions – FAQs

Where is dispersed camping allowed in Colorado?

As long as certain restrictions and regulations are followed, dispersed camping is permitted on the majority of public lands in Colorado that are maintained by the US Forest Service and BLM, as well as in several state parks and wildlife areas.

Can you camp in Colorado without a permit?

If you are dispersed camping in Colorado, you do not need a permit, but some locations may have particular guidelines that you must go by. These public lands are controlled by the US Forest Service and BLM. It’s crucial to confirm any laws and regulations that may be relevant with the neighborhood ranger district or land management organization. Certain state parks and wildlife refuges could demand reservations for camping.

Is dispersed camping free in Colorado?

On the majority of public lands in Colorado controlled by the US Forest Service and BLM, as well as in select state parks and wildlife areas, dispersed camping is permitted as long as certain laws and regulations are followed.

What month is best to camp in Colorado?

Depending on personal tastes and the type of camping experience you’re looking for, Colorado’s finest camping month varies. Planning a camping trip requires taking the weather and other variables into account.

How to safely camp in Colorado?

In order to camp securely in Colorado, it’s essential to plan for changing weather, be aware of fire restrictions, set up camp in a secure area, store food correctly to keep wildlife away, and adhere to the Leave No Trace philosophy to leave as little of an environmental footprint as possible.

Camping Colorado Springs


There are several free camping options in Colorado, making it one of the greatest states for dispersed camping. Colorado has it all, whether you’re seeking for serene lakeside camping or breathtaking mountain vistas. You may have a secure and pleasurable dispersed camping experience in Colorado by adhering to the rules and guidelines put in place to protect the environment, by being prepared with the required gear, and by taking the essential safety precautions.


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