11 Totally Free Camping Spots in Colorado
Colorado is known for its amazing and diverse terrain. With hundreds of public campgrounds, it’s an outdoor enthusiasts dream!
However, the local government recently implemented a new reservation system for its many state parks. This will undoubtedly make it more challenging to secure last minute reservations and quite possibly raise the rates.
Fear not, camper! We’re sharing the 11 best free camping spots in Colorado. None of these require reservations, and (best of all) they don’t cost a dime!
Let’s dive in.
Sacred White Shell Mountain
GPS: 37.527, -105.5935
Nearest Town or Attraction: Great Sand Dunes National Park
Why You’ll Love It: Sacred White Shell Mountain is a beautiful boondocking location in the San Luis Valley. This spot will give you great access to the Great Sand Dunes National Park, while avoiding the large tourist crowds.
Additionally, the San Luis Valley is a prime location to sight extraterrestrial activity! There’s even a nearby Alien Museum.
Colorado Camping Vibes: 8.4/10 Mountain side camping near a unique National Park.
Rio Blanco Lake State Wildlife Area
GPS: 40.0922, -108.2095
Nearest Town or Attraction: Meeker, Colorado
Why You’ll Love It: This free camping site offers bathrooms, a boat launch and lots of space to spread out. Even though many folk camp to get away from the grind, this site has great cell service if you want to stay connected.
The views aren’t too shabby either! One side has a mountainous backdrop and the other side has a lake view!
Colorado Camping Vibes: 7.4/10 Beautiful overnight camping with amenities.
Jackson Mountain Road
GPS: 37.3474, -106.9343
Nearest Town or Attraction: Pagosa Springs, Colorado
Why You’ll Love It: Pagosa Springs is an awesome town surrounded by the San Juan National Forest. If you love hot springs, you’ll love this area. You can find hot springs in the wild and spa style facilities.
The boondocking area is beautiful as well. Unfortunately, there are only room for a few RVs. If you’re tent camping, finding a spot should be no problem. Keep in mind – if it’s been rainy, the road might be hard to drive.
Colorado Camping Vibes: 8.3/10Chill camping spot with nearby hot springs!
Twin Lakes North
GPS: 39.0981, -106.349
Nearest Town or Attraction: Leadville, Colorado (highest town in America)
Why You’ll Love It: Views for days! This campsite is located 9000+ feet above sea level. You’ll see some of the most amazing scenery ever. You’ll also be pretty close to Leadville. It’s a funky town with a unique claim to fame.
Overall, this is remote camping. You’ll need to be fully prepared supplies and emergency gear.
Colorado Camping Vibes: 9.1/10 High camping in Colorado!
GPS: 37.8846, -107.8467
Nearest Town or Attraction: Telluride, Colorado
Why You’ll Love It: If you’re wanting to camp near Telluride, this is the best spot you’ll find (that’s why it’s featured on our Top Telluride Camping Spots).
Alta Lakes is positioned a whopping 11,273 feet above sea level. The views are like no other. Here’s the catch…the road in is dirt, extremely narrow and steep.
Tent camping is ideal. You could, maybe, get a small trailer up to Alta Lakes.
However, if you want to experience the most beautiful spot in Telluride…Alta Lakes is the place to be.
Colorado Camping Vibes: 9.7/10 Telluride camping in the clouds!
Cherry Creek Road
GPS: 37.3289, -108.1198
Nearest Town or Attraction: Durango, Colorado
Why You’ll Love It: This free campsite is located about 15 miles west of Durango. You’ll find awesome hiking trails nearby and a lot of privacy to set up camp. We love the balance of nature and community at Cherry Creek Road.
Camper, beware…the short road in is steep and bumpy. If you’r in a low clearance car, you might bottom out. Additionally, if it’s rainy season you may need a 4×4 to access.
Colorado Camping Vibes: 8.2/10 Awesome location with plenty of room to spread out.
San Luis State Wildlife Area
GPS: 37.6772, -105.7331
Nearest Town or Attraction: Great Sand Dunes National Park
Why You’ll Love It: There’s a catch with this awesome site. You need a Colorado Wildlife Permit ($43/year). However, the San Luis State Wildlife area offers free water & electricity!
In our book, that’s a pretty good trade off.
Colorado Camping Vibes: 7.1/10 *Free camping with water & electric
Madden Peak Road
GPS: 37.3476, -108.2016
Nearest Town or Attraction: Mancos, Colorado
Why You’ll Love It: Madden Peak Road is located between Mesa Verde National Park and Durango. The road in is steep and rocky, leading to a main camping area that’s more than 8,000 feet above sea level.
This spot is best known for the epic views. Believe it or not, you’ll probably also receive cell signal in this remote site.
Colorado Camping Vibes: 7.9/10 Centrally located with views of the area!
Royal Gorge East Ridge
GPS: 38.4651, -105.2917
Nearest Town or Attraction: Canon City, Colorado
Why You’ll Love It: This campsite puts you within 5 minutes from the gorge…so the location is great! The site provides bathrooms, picnic tables and fire pits. You should be prepared to supply your own water & electricity.
Even though Royal Gorge East can get crowded, the camp vibes are great!
Colorado Camping Vibes: 7.2/10 Location, location, location
GPS: 37.2432, -107.5512
Nearest Town or Attraction: Bayfield, Colorado
Why You’ll Love It: If you’re looking for a peaceful camping spot in southwest Colorado, this is a great option. Ideal for smaller RVs, vans & tents; Sauls Creek gives you plenty of room for privacy & spreading out.
You can choose to camp by the pond or further back along the trees. The site can get a decent amount of traffic, but the large valley allows for many campers.
Colorado Camping Vibes: 8.9/10 Peaceful, easy camping.
Rock Creek Hills Road
GPS: 39.3097, -105.7232
Nearest Town or Attraction: Pike National Forest
Why You’ll Love It: Rock Creek Hills is the prefect free camping site between Denver & Durango. It’s even better if you love to ATV. Will lots of riding trails, you won’t be disappointed with this weekend getaway.
You may have a couple cows as your neighbor, but they’re harmless. There are no onsite camping amenities here, so come prepared!
Colorado Camping Vibes: 6.9/10 ATV + Free Camping!
The Best FREE Camping in the USA
We love camping across this amazing country. And, we really love it when its free. Here’s our list of the 20 Best Free Campsites in the USA.
If you haven’t tried free camping before, also known as boondocking, take a look at our beginners guide to boondocking filled with everything you need to know to get started.