With so many options for free camping near Denver, it deserves a spot on your itinerary. This outdoor-enthusiasts destination city boasts something for everyone to love, but staying in the Mile High City can be very expensive.
Luckily, we’ve got you covered. We located some spots you can camp at without paying a dime, and we think they’re worth the trip.
You’ll want to keep this information handy for your next outing to this beautiful area.
About Denver, Colorado
Denver, Colorado, has long attracted outdoor enthusiasts. The state has nearly 10,000 miles of streams and 2,800 mountain lakes. Speaking of mountains, Colorado has 1,000 peaks that reach over two miles above sea level. This state should be on your bucket list if you love to camp, hike, or fish.
The city of Denver has a population of over 750,000 people, making it the biggest in the state. It’s considered a unique place because it sits in the mountains but has all the amenities of a larger town. You can visit an art museum, catch a Colorado Rockies baseball game, or spend time in the surrounding wilderness.
When Is the Best Time to Visit Denver, Colorado?
You can travel to this beautiful place year-round, but campers may want to avoid visiting in the frigid winters. Skiers and other snowsport enthusiasts, on the other hand, head to Colorado in droves during the colder months.
Most travelers suggest heading to Denver in the spring or fall. You can avoid the crowds of tourists that visit in the summer while still enjoying the beautiful weather. Try stopping by just before Memorial Day or soon after Labor Day to make the most of your time in Colorado.
If you don’t mind the crowds, consider traveling to Denver in July or August. You won’t be disappointed by the sunny skies and occasional afternoon mountain thunderstorms. Whenever you go, we think you’ll find something to enjoy.
Pro Tip: Lace up your hiking boots and head to these 11 Best Trails for Hiking in Colorado.
How Do You Find Free Camping in Denver?
Finding free camping can sometimes be challenging. Luckily, several helpful websites have popped up that we love to use.
Well-known travelers Sam Christiansen and Jessica Mans started a mapping project of places to stay. They created the iOverlander website and even have an iPhone app showing camping options. The duo has crowdsourced information to collect GPS coordinates and reviews of free campsites.
The Campendium website and phone app are also great resources to help you locate free camping around Denver. Similar to iOverlander, the site gathers information and reviews from other campers. Then, you pick the destinations that fit your needs.
5 Incredible Free Campsites Near Denver
In no particular order, we’ve listed some of the best free camping near Denver. If you’ve ever wanted to take a trip to Colorado but found lodging costs prohibitive, fret no more. Check out these five free spots to camp around the Mile High City.
#1 Beaver Reservoir Dispersed Camping
Located at 8,900 feet above sea level in the Indian Hills Wilderness, you’ll find the Beaver Reservoir area. You access the spot by traveling on dirt roads, so it may be inaccessible after a snowfall. Campers must obtain a free permit from the US Forest Service if visiting from June through September.
If you plan to bring an RV, take note that the primitive area doesn’t have any hookups. In addition, some campers reported that you probably won’t find a level site because of the mountainous region. While Beaver Reservoir can be crowded in the summer, it’s usually a very quiet area with stunning views if you visit in the shoulder seasons.
Know Before You Go: If planning to camp in the Indian Hills Wilderness during peak season, call the Boulder County Ranger District at 303-541-2500 to obtain a permit.
#2 Rock Creek Hills Road Dispersed Camping
Rock Creek Hills Road offers 24 sites along the forest road. The only amenity you’ll find are campfire rings, so you’ll want to bring everything you need. We suggest a high-clearance vehicle for traversing the dirt road, but reviewers mentioned that careful drivers can navigate the bumps in almost any car.
If you’re looking for a free forested camping area near Denver, you’ll enjoy the location of this spot. Depending on the time of year, you may enjoy the sounds of babbling brooks and birds. The area has no shortage of critters like chipmunks and mice, so don’t forget to keep your food secure.
#3 Fraser River Diversion Canal Dispersed Camping
Staying here will offer you some seriously stellar views. You’ll be almost 9,500 feet above sea level, giving you a good look at everything below you. The remote location also allows for some pretty unbelievable stargazing. Getting to the spot on the well-maintained dirt road can be managed in almost any rig.
This one might be your best bet if you like a quiet spot. It tends to get fewer visitors than some of the other free spots in the area. You can even mountain bike or hike without having to drive to a trailhead.
Pro Tip: Time to make a splash! Go for a swim in one of these 7 Amazing Lakes in Colorado.
#4 Jones Pass Road Dispersed Camping
If you have a tough time with high elevation, you might want to skip this location. It sits in a valley situated nearly 11,000 feet above sea level. The drive along a dirt road leading to the area can be bumpy, especially after heavy rains. You probably won’t be able to bring a large RV out to the spot.
Count on having no cell reception, making it a great place to get away from it all. You can really spread out and find a quiet space to camp without neighbors. We think the camping will be worth the tricky drive to get here.
#5 Kirby Gulch Dispersed Camping
To get to Kirby Gulch, you’ll drive down a dirt road, but visitors say they usually find the road in pretty good condition. However, it can fill up on the weekends, and you won’t want to bring a big rig too far down the rough drive, so plan accordingly.
This dry camping area has excellent areas to explore. If you bring a water filtration device, you can refill your supply at the nearby creek. We like the fact that you can pretty much pull over anywhere to set up for the night.
Is Free Camping Around Denver Worth It?
You’ll want to check out these free spots close to Denver if you love to camp in low-amenity areas with gorgeous mountain views.
Driving down dirt roads might not be for the faint of heart, especially if you have a big rig. Check the weather and stock up on water before you head out to enjoy these locations. They’re definitely worth the trip!
Discover the Best Free Camping Across the USA
To be honest with you, we hate paying for camping. There are so many free campsites in America (with complete privacy).
You should give it a try!
As a matter of fact, these free campsites are yours. Every time you pay federal taxes, you’re contributing to these lands.
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