White Ranch Park

White Ranch Park Overview

White Ranch Park has everything you need for a great day and relaxing night complete with free camping near Denver. While most parks covered in these posts do not allow overnight camping this is one of the two exceptions to the rule. As far a hiking goes there are amazing trails all over this park, and enough of them to keep you going for quite some time. The scenery on the trails is great and the views of Denver and North Table Mountain are memorable to say the least.

White Ranch Park Free Camping

If you are looking for some good free semi primitive camping there are two walk in tent only campgrounds within this park that are available to those who have obtained a free permit from the Jefferson county parks office during normal business hours. The park does provide firewood, clean pit toilets (within walking distance of the campsites), non potable water to put out fires, and nice pads for tents, there however is no hammock camping allowed. There are some very reasonable rules and regulations to follow that can all be found on their web site Jefferson County Parks

20.9 miles of Trails

White Ranch Park Details

  • Camping allowed in park with free permit
  • Hiking allowed
  • Mountain Biking allowed
  • Centaur Equestrian use allowed
  • Dogs allowed but must be leashed
  • Ample parking at both lots
  • Park open one hour before and one hour after sunset
  • Drinking or drug use is not permitted in the park
  • No weapons allowed
  • Trails are well marked
  • No entrance fees

Emergency contacts:

Jefferson County Sheriff’s office @ (303) 277-0211

Camping Permit availability (303) 271-5925

If the event is life threatening dial 911

Belcher Hill Trail

Wood foot bridge leading into White Ranch Park
Wood foot bridge
Difficulty Rank7 (Hard)
Views Rank7
Distance Rank4.4 Miles
Time Needed0 Minutes

Details:

  • Connects with Mustang, Whippletree, longhorn, Sawmill and Round Up Loop Trails.
  • Steep at times
  • Decent tree cover

Trailhead: S – East parking lot

Trail Highlights:

  • Views of Denver

Review:

Beginning Beltcher Hill from the lower lot will require crossing through several gates to get to the park. This area is surrounded by private property sporting massive houses, at one point you will need to cross over a driveway to regain the trail. Once you pass a valley with a small stream you are back within the park, and the fence slowly begins to gets farther away from the trail. The first section of the trail is steep, but not overly demanding. Once you round the bend and the lifestyles of the rich and the famous retreat from view, the trail begins to get rocky and steep again. Upon reaching the trail junction with Mustang trail, Belcher trail becomes less strenuous. Continuing on from the three way junction with sawmill trail the path becomes quite steep and the views go from good to great.

Whippletree

Difficulty Rank4 (Easy)
Views Rank7
Distance Rank0.6 Miles
Time Needed13 Minutes

Details:

  • Connects with Belcher Hill, and Longhorn Trails.
  • Fairly flat trail
  • No much for tree cover

Trailhead: East Lot | S – Belcher Hill | R – Whippletree

Trail Highlights:

  • Views of Ralston Reservoir

Review:

After a nice little climb of belcher hill from the east parking lot you have the chance to jump onto the Whipple tree trail and take in some nice views of Ralston reservoir and the view of the Front Range as is stretches out towards Boulder. The trail is not difficult to hike and there is little in the way of tree cover to shade you from the sun or block your view.

Longhorn Trail

Difficulty Rank7 (Hard)
Views Rank7
Distance Rank3.1 Miles
Time Needed0 Minutes

Details:

  • Connects with Shorthorn, Belcher hill, Maverick and Rawhide Trails.
  • Sporadic tree cover
  • Steep most of the way

Trailhead: Belcher Hill Lot | S – West side of the Rawhide Trail | R- Longhorn Trail

Trail Highlights:

  • Fantastic views of Ralston reservoir
  • Canyon rocks views are great

Review:

Lots of jagged rocks and plenty of steep terrain make this a technical trail if you are on a mountain bike. The views like most the rest in the park are great. The trail is steep for most of the climb, but not so steep that you will be using three points of contact or struggling to keep your footing. While there are some trees along the trail there is a fair amount of exposure so sunscreen and an ample supply of water will be much appreciated along this hike.

Shorthorn

Difficulty Rank5 (Moderate)
Views Rank5
Distance Rank1.1 Miles
Time Needed26 Minutes

Details:

  • Connects with Longhorn Trail
  • Mild tree cover
  • Not as rocky as Longhorn
  • Not as steep as Longhorn

Trailhead: Belcher hill parking area | S – Rawhide trail | R – Longhorn trail | R – Shorthorn trail

Trail Highlights:

  • Views of North Table Mountain
  • Views of Denver

Review:

The Shorthorn trail lacks the incline and rockiness that the Longhorn trail has, but the views are similar and you still get a good bit of cardio along the way. There is a fair amount of tree cover along this trail as you weave in and out of the trees to meet back up with the Longhorn trail, but the forest is not so thick that you will be missing the view from the trail.

Mustang Trail

Difficulty Rank 7 (Hard)
Views Rank6
Distance Rank2.5 Miles
Time Needed95 Minutes

Details:

  • Connects with Belcher Hill, and Sawmill Trails
  • Steep in places
  • Good tree cover

Trailhead: West parking area | S – Rawhide (western) | L – Belcher Trail | C – (Strait) Mustang Trail

Trail Highlights:

  • Beautiful forest
  • Seasonal stream

Review:

Mustang is a fantastic trail if you are looking to make a nice forested loop in the park’s lower section. Due to its location and connection to other trails it will surely be mixed in if you are combining trails to make a grand loop hike. The views are great as you travel through the valley and wrap around back to belcher hill trail. The trail is steep but not as rocky strewn as some of the trails in the northeastern portion of the park. There is strong tree cover for most of the trail so exposure is not too much of a problem.

Round Up Loop

Difficulty Rank5 (Moderate)
Views Rank5
Distance Rank0.4 Miles
Time Needed7 Minutes

Details:

  • Connects with Belcher Hill Trail
  • Minor elevation change
  • Mostly treed

Trailhead: East parking area | S – Belcher Hill Trail | R – Round-up Trail

Trail Highlights:

  • Mountain Meadow views
  • Strong tree cover

Review:

This short little u trail will give you a chance to jump off belcher hill relax and slow the pace a little. The views are decent from the trail and the tree cover is not too shabby if I do say so myself. The trail is narrow and some tall grasses flank the trail on both sides below the forest canopy, so if  you happen to encounter someone else on this trail someone will need to step off as there is not enough room for two people to pass shoulder to shoulder.

Sawmill Trail

Difficulty Rank 5 (Moderate)
Views Rank7
Distance Rank1.4 Miles
Time Needed30 Minutes

Details:

  • Connects with Belcher Hill Trail
  • Light tree cover

Trailhead: Belcher Hill parking area | S – Sawmill Trail

Trail Highlights:

  • Camping with permit in designated sites along this trail.
  • Beautiful Meadow views
  • Great views of North Table Mountain and Denver

Review:

Sawmill Trails upper portion is a very easy stroll with some great views of Denver. The path starts as a single track running through a sea of grasses dancing across the horizon with the wind. If there are clouds in the sky they tend to make intriguing shapes over the northern sections of the park that are tucked farther into the mountains, and along Ralston Butte. Upon reaching the trees Sawmill curves to the left and becomes a road, a little farther down the trail as you round the corner, where Belcher Hill trail intersects sawmill trail. The trail sweeps to the south west and stays wide to accommodate parks trucks used to deliver firewood, and water to the free campsites. Once you pass the free campgrounds the trail begins to narrow again and has slight more elevation change until it terminates at the junction with Mustang trail.

Maverick Trail

Difficulty Rank5 (Moderate)
Views Rank7
Distance Rank1 Miles
Time Needed20 Minutes

Details:

  • Connects with Longhorn Trail and Belcher Hill Trails.
  • Low to Moderate tree cover

Trailhead: West parking area | S – Picnic access trail | R – Longhorn Trail | R – Maverick Trail

Trail Highlights:

  • Good views
  • variety of lovely scenery

Review:

One mile of sweet hiking connects the eastern sections of park trails to the western section of park trails. The elevation gains/losses are not as significant as some of the other trails in the park, but there is enough there to keep the heart thumping when you are traveling at a decent pace. The trail is not as rock strewn as some of the trails on the eastern portion of the park, but there are still a couple minor obstacles to negotiate. If you are hiking this trail in the winter there are some portions of the trail tucked into the more northern faces that are likely to accumulate snow early and hold onto it longer becoming a little slick.

Rawhide Trail

Difficulty Rank 7 (Difficult)
Views Rank8
Distance Rank5.4 Miles
Time Needed144 Minutes

Details:

  • Connects with Longhorn, Wranglers Run, and Waterhole Trails.
  • Decent tree cover
  • Trail starts off wide and turns to single track

Trailhead: S – Belcher Hill parking area

Trail Highlights:

  • Several minor water crossings
  • Great views of Ralston reservoir
  • Fantastic views of the rock cliffs near Ralston reservoir

Review:

The Rawhide trail begins as an easy stroll with some epic mountain views from the bowl shaped area between the surrounding mountains. This section of the park must make some interesting air flow higher up, because the clouds here form interesting shapes. The trail is wide, easy to follow, and can easily facilitate travelers bidirectionally. By the time you reach the Waterhole trail the path narrows down and the trail becomes more difficult, but the views get a whole lot better. To the northeast of the trail lays the Ralston butte towering over Ralston reservoir, which comes into view on the more eastern portion of the trail. There are a few areas along the eastern half of the trail , after the second junction with waterhole trail, where if you are riding a mountain bike you may need to get off the bike and walk over a few of the obstacles.

Wranglers Run

Difficulty Rank5 (Moderate)
Views Rank5
Distance Rank0.3 Miles
Time Needed6 Minutes

Details:

  • Connects with Rawhide Trail
  • No tree cover
  • Not very steep

Trailhead: S –  Rawhide trail | R or L Wrangler Run depending on direction of travel

Trail Highlights:

  • Small Creek along south of the path

Review:

If you are not looking to venture into the northern reaches of the park the Wrangler run trail is a great option to loop you back around to the parking area again. The trail is short with no tree cover and rests in a valley feed with a little creek. Near the junction with the east side of the Rawhide trail there is a small thicket that is filled with the songs of birds during the warmer seasons.

Waterhole

Difficulty Rank5 (Moderate)
Views Rank5
Distance Rank0.3 Miles
Time Needed12 Minutes

Details:

  • Connects with Rawhide Trail
  • Decent tree cover

Trailhead: S – Rawhide trail | R or L – depending on direction of travel

Trail Highlights:

  • Camping in designated spots with prior free permit
Picnic table at free campsite close to Golden Colorado.
Picnic table at free campsite

Review:

Mostly used as a connecting trail for the campsites (Number 7 is my favorite). The first section of the trail if you are coming from the farther north reaches of the park, leads down into a little meadow that is quickly overtaken by trees. As you enter the trees there will be a fork in the road/trail, that serves as an access road for the parks department. You will want to veer to the right and follow the trail as it hides in the trees just outside the reaches of the meadow. As you round the turn and rise through the forest you will start to come across the camp sites. If you continue the trail you will come to the second junction with the Rawhide trail and the restrooms. There is also a large map of the park near this junction.

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Free Campgrounds on your GPS

Over 1100 Free Campgrounds on your GPS

In this post we will share how to easily import over 1100 great free campgrounds, free campsites, and free dispersed camping area onto your cars GPS. There are several great tools out in the wilderness of the internet that help you plan your next camping trip. There are even a few websites featuring information on free campsites, but they all require internet to access, or leave you manually entering coordinates into your GPS. The files and methods presented in this article will have you easily browsing over 1100 free campsites in the Western United States and Florida from your GPS anytime regardless of internet availability.

Map and Keys used  for navigation
Map and Keys

GPS Device Selection

Many of the GPS devices on the market will allow you to import several different file types. The steps may be different for your device check your manufactures owners guide or forums for assistance. No matter which device you choose extra storage space is a huge plus. If you have not purchased a GPS yet, or are upgrading look for a device that supports micro SD cards. For your reference the file size of our 1100 plus free campsites files is 892 KB. The Garmin Drive 5 was my top choice for several reasons. First I have had excellent user experiences in the past with their products. The ability to import file containing custom points of interest. Extra storage capabilities, easily adjustable routes and a very reasonable price all helped narrow down the options. Garmin’s free tool Base Camp has also been extremely helpful so a compatible device was a must. Note that I am in no way associated with Garmin, and I am not being paid to promote their products.

Car GPS Device used for navigation
GPS Device

Preinstall Checklist

  • Sufficient Storage Space. (892 KB)
  • Computer running Windows 10 (Other operating systems will work, but the steps may be slightly different.)
  • Format Micro SD Card if additional space is needed.
  • Download Free Camping files in the format that works best on your device.
  • Install POI Loader from Garmin to your computer.


Check the storage space on your GPS device

  1. Plug your device into your computer with the provided cable.
  2. Open File Explorer.
  3. Navigate to “This PC” in the left panel on Windows 10.
  4. Select your GPS and view free space available.

Format Micro SD Card for use in Garmin Drive 5 LM

  1. Insert the micro SD card into the larger SD card, or a compatible reader
  2. Open File Explorer.
  3. Select your Micro SD card
  4. Right Click | Format
  5. On the format screen name the volume so it is easy to identify later
  6. Ensure that FAT32 is selected
  7. Change allocation unit size to “Default allocation size”
  8. Leave all other fields at the default setting and click start.
  9. Use windows to safely remove the device when formating is complete
  10. Install the SD card in your device.

Download Free Camping Files

  1. Go to Free Camping Files
  2. Download the file type you will be importing to your device to your computer. (We will be using the files in the Sub 50 GPX Alpha)

Importing .GPX files into a Garmin Drive

  1. Attach your garmin device to your computer.
  2. Open the POI loader tool
  3. Select Garmin Device | Click Next
  4. The POI loader should find your device | Click Next
  5. Select install new custom POI’s on your device. | Click Next
  6. Browse to the location on your computer where you saved the Free Camping Files.
  7. Name the newly Created Custom POI file. (This is not required.) | Click Next
  8. The POI files will install. | Click Finish.

There are several different file types available in the download folder for the POI’s as different devices will support different file types and sizes. You are free to use, alter and share these files for non commercial use. The best program for making changes is Base Camp by Garmin.

Purchase of the guides on this website are a great way to help support the creation of more adventure oriented content. I hope you have a great time enjoying nature.

Thank you!

Caballo Lake State Park

Caballo Lake State Park

Caballo Lake State Park is a beautiful place to Camp in the Southern part of New Mexico. Just North of Las Cruses and South of Truth or Consequences this picturesque lake is a great spot to take in some R&R most of the year. The east side of the lake is flanked by the Caballo Mountains, and to the West just a short distance away is I-25 giving you easy access to the Interstate, without being a noisy burden.

Cabbalo Lake State Park

Caballo Lake State Park

Phone Number: (575) 743-3942

Elevation: 4,447

Lat/Long: 32.907712, -170.311307

Nearby Town: Arrey, NM. @4 miles

Details:

  • 170 developed Sites
  • Beach and Boat Camping
  • Restrooms with showers
  • Flush and Vault toilets

Date of Report

January 2019

Road Conditions:

Excellent

The road leading to the campground is a well maintained asphalt road. Once inside the park all of the roads leading to the different campground drives are asphalt, and the circle drives that lead to the developed campsites are packed gravel all are in excellent condition. If you are camping in the primitive areas, the roads will be grated dirt roads, but likewise are in good condition. While there may be signs of wear after weather, the parks department does an excellent job of maintaining passable roads to the primitive camping area, so you should not have a problem reaching the sites in a normal car.

General Site information

Like any pay campground the accommodations at Caballo Lake State Parks developed campsites are fantastic. All of the roads are wide and make it easy to maneuver even large rigs, all of the sites are well spaced, flat and quite large. The restrooms facilities and shower areas are large, very clean and handicap accessible.

Restroom shelter at Caballo Lake State Park
Restroom shelter

If roughing it is not in your list of desired features, all standard utilities can be had for a reasonable price of course. The campground also has an RV dump station with fresh water spigot for campers using their rigs water and waste systems. Primitive campsites are in abundance, and a good majority of them either overlook the lake or are a short walk away from the shore.

Annual New Mexico State Parks Pass

Normally my content focuses on free camping, fortunately there are some pay programs that offer extraordinary value. The New Mexico State Parks pass is one of those exceptions. The base fee at the time of the writing of this article is $180 for NM. residents and $225 for out of state residents. This fee allows you to camp at New Mexico State Parks sites for 14 days,and use the facilities before you need to move on to a new location, which can either be in another NM. State park, or a nearby free campground.

Cost broken out per day if you used a New Mexico campground every day would be about $1.62 per day. Most people are not going to spend the entire year in these campgrounds, but the value for what you get makes it a very affordable addition to a nomads camping portfolio.

No Desire to Rough it?

If you are looking for electric hookups, and sewer there is a small additional fee per day for each service. The cost is a flat rate at the time of the writing of this article of $4 for each service, you know to make life a little more comfortable.

Rubber Tramp Rendezvous

2019 Rubber Tramp Rendezvous

Each January since 2010 caravans of like minded individuals has gathered together for the annual Rubber Tramp Rendezvous or RTR. While the primary goal of the event is to enjoy the company of others with similar interests. Bob Wells has put forth copious amount of effort promoting nomadic lifestyles, and fostering inclusion. Consequently there is a large variety of people at the RTR. As a result you can expect to see RV’s, Van Dwellers, Tent campers, and everything in between. Making the event open and inviting to all that wish to join. There is more to this gathering than just hanging out with friends in the desert sharing tales of adventure. The event has grown over the years in both size and scope. Below is a list (not all encompassing) of what the Rubber Tramp Rendezvous (RTR) has to offer.

  • You can learn about how to find great free camping.
  • Where to find work while you are living as a nomad.
  • Information on solar power
  • Shop in Quartrzsite Arizona at the tents
  • Hike
  • Mountain bike
  • Attend seminars by members of this nomadic tribe (I highly recommend these as they are generally very informative).
  • Meet Youtube celebrities of the vandwelling movement.
  • Get involved with HOWA (Homes On Wheels Alliance)
  • Share experiences and knowledge with new friends.
  • Build lasting friendships

You can gather more information on upcoming RTR on Bobs Wells website CheapRVLiving.com

Bob Wells The Man, The Legend

Photo of Michael Horn (Onesunchaser) and Bob Wells from CheapRVLiving
Meeting Bob Wells at 2019 Rubber Tramp Rendezvous

Before we carry on I would like to introduce the individual responsible for coordinating this event. I feel the quote below personifies his most notable qualities.

Freedom is what we do with what is done to us.

Jean Paul Sartre

I first came to know of Bob while watching a documentary called Without Bounds. Bob Wells is not the primary subject of the documentary, but he certainly is a charismatic figure within the story. He exhibits a confidence of someone who knows unequivocally, that they have made the best choice given their circumstances.

The overarching concepts of the documentary being, nothing in life is guaranteed. We have little time on this earth, and we all want to be happy, healthy and enjoy some freedoms. Bob Wells and others point out the creative solution they employed to solve the monetary problem a majority of society have in fulfilling these essentials of life. Furthermore the documentary outlines the framework for a new idea of community. A way of life that can be largely free from the drudgery often found in daily life. Bob Wells has since created a large following on YouTube where he freely shows how anyone can have a better life with their available resources. All that is needed is a willingness to embrace creative solutions to common problems. Bobs ceaseless work around bettering the lives of others has lead to the RTR a unique way of engaging and learning from each other.

A Leader amongst his peers

In my opinion Bob is the type of inspirational leader today’s world needs. He is thoughtful of the future, and passionate about making a positive difference in western society. He is laying the foundation for change, while bringing a new awareness to alternative living arrangements. Both of these efforts have the ability to free up precious time and resources for anyone. All the while making positive impacts in the lives of those looking for a better tomorrow. His dedication to supporting others transitioning to a nomadic lifestyle have prompted scores of blogs, vlogs and Youtube channels. His website CheapRVLiving.com together with his Youtube Channel CheapRVLiving are packed full of ideas and information. For these reasons I would recommend booking marking his page and following him on Youtube.

The Rubber Tramp Rendezvous Tribe 

Bob regularly refers to his followers as a tribe, although this tribe consists of individuals from all walks of life, they all tend to share some common bonds. Many adhere to a shared philosophy of minimalism, mutual tolerance, and appreciation for nature. With these common ideas they meet each January in this popular winter destination. Each will have traversed the countryside, making their way through space and time gathering allies and plotting for the future. This event is a melting pot of ideas around mobile independence. The best part is Bob has extended an offer for all to join his tribe, so collectively we can craft the future into something better. The tribe gathers to share new ideas on achieving goals, becoming more self reliant, and overcoming obstacles. Thus we share in an experience which holds all the necessary ingredients for something truly spectacular.

What to expect at an RTR

The warm desert atmosphere in addition to the openness of those in attendance will likely result in you chatting with people from all walks of life. As a result you may find yourself taking tours of various rigs, and sharing stories of travel and adventure. The land around Quartzsite, Arizona is generally rugged desert steeped in natural beauty. The Arroyos carving their way down from mountain peaks create islands and peninsulas throughout the land.

Because of the packed dirt and rock you can usually find a great places to park your rig that is relatively flat and enjoy the fiery sunsets.

Although there is little in the way of shade, the temperatures in winter are very pleasant and will invite you to enjoy your natural surroundings. Lastly Bob has graciously provided portable restrooms for the 2019 RTR and that may be the case for future events. I will certainly look back fondly of my time at the 2019 RTR albeit short and look forward to future rendezvous.

Scouting Report (AZ-01) Dispersed Camping around Quartzsite, Arizona

Quartzsite, Arizona is know for free dispersed camping. If you are looking for a fantastic free spot to pull the rig over and enjoy the winter sun, this location should be at the top of your lists of places to stop. The site consists of a sprawling area just over 6 miles to the north of Quartzsite with excellent cellular service. While there are no amenities at the site, you should be able to find most of the things you want and all of the things you need just a short drive away in the town of Quartzsite.

Plomosa Road Dispersed Camping

Phone :(928) 317-3200

Elevation:500

Lat/Long: 33.748743, -114.215659

Nearby Town: Quartzsite, Arizona

Dispersed campsite Details

  • No fees, but you must get a free permit
  • Water is not available
  • No trash
  • Restrooms are not provided

There is a camp host onsite that you will need to register with as soon as you pull off of highway 95. 14 day dispersed camping is allowed with a permit thoughout the area. There are no facilities of any kind, so you will want to come with, food, water, a plan for your trash, and a plan for your restroom needs. The ground all around the Quartzsite area is very rocky and hard pact so cat hole will be extremely difficult.

Date of Report:

January 2019

Road conditions:

Excellent

View of road Conditions on plomosa road
Condition of Plomosa Road

Highway 95 is a very well maintained road, as is Plomosa Road, which connects the desert campsites to the main highway. The Packed dirt and rock roads traversing the dispersed camping areas are easily passable with a normal passenger car, and should pose not significant navigational difficulty.

General Site information:

There is plenty of room to spread out and enjoy nature at the Plomosa Road 14 day dispersed camping area. While the hard packed and very rocky dirt may at a distance seem to hold little life, closer inspection will reveal many types of cacti thriving in this harsh environment. Travel by foot in the area is not overly strenuous, but there are an abundance of tiny desert flora with sharp barbs which may pose a problem for overly energetic pets. The arroyos that channel rainwater from the surrounding mountains form lots of interesting places to explore. While there is not a large amount of shade among the low desert plants, it is possible to get some relieve from the sun. If you are visiting in the winter, you will find that the climate is pleasantly warm, but at times can be a bit windy.

thoughts on Southern Arizona BLM Camping

Sunset near Quartzsite Arizona from BLM land
Sunset near Quartzsite Arizona

It is very easy to fall in love the the beauty of the Sonoran desert. Mountain peaks rise from the low plant growth thinly covering the area. Gently falling into the arroyos separating the islands and peninsulas, stretching like rocky jagged fingers across the ground. All the While huge Saguaros give shelter to birds singing praise to the winter sun. The hours pass quickly as you trace the erratic path of a lizard across the ground. The warmth of the sun is not done with the desert yet, as the sun recedes beyond distant peaks. Ushered in on a soft breeze a vibrant array of reds and oranges paint the clouds upon the horizon. It is then you know the beauty of the Sonoran desert is neither simple or plain, but vast and vibrant.

Scouting Report – (CO-11) Antero Reservoir

Antero Reservoir Free Campground 

Few places in the Rocky Mountains can compare to Antero Reservoir. Being  one of the larger bodies of water in the area, there is plenty of space to stretch out, relax and take in the peace and quite while you enjoy the lake. Antero Reservoir is blessed with spectacular scenery from the beautiful Rocky Mountains flanking it on all sides. On still days as the clouds and mountains reflect back off the cool waters, its hard to imagine finding a better free campground in Colorado. The best part is Antero Reservoir is home to 38 great free campsites with all the essential amenities.

Antero Reservoir – COL

Antero Reservoir Information

Phone: (303) 893-2444

Elevation: 9,000

Lat/Long: 38.976221, -105.895642

Nearby Town: Fairplay @ 24 miles

Details

  • No fee
  • Potable water is not available
  • Trash cans area available
  • Restrooms are available
  • North shore and boat ramp are for day use only
  • 38 designated campsites are located at the South shore with a boat ramp and floating dock.
  • Operated by Denver Water (Lake is about 1.5 miles long and 2 miles wide.)

Date of report:

09/2018


Road Conditions:

Excellent

The road from 285 to the reservoirs entrance is paved and in good condition. As you enter the reservoir all the dirt roads are well maintained leading visitors to the North and South areas of the lake, both of which have boat ramps. 

General Site Information:

Wetlands area near Antero Reservoir
Wetlands area near Antero Reservoir

Views across the reservoir are amazing in all directions, and on clear days when there is no wind the lake turns into a mirror reflecting the deep beauty of the surrounding mountains. All of the campsites are located in the South Shore campground near the boat ramp. There is a floating dock at the boat ramp as well as a nice fixed dock protected from waves by a large peninsula. In all the campground has 38 free campsites with trash bins available, as well as restrooms. The entire campground is void of any type of shade, aside from some of the shelters closer to the lake. That being said do not expect high summer temperatures at this site due to its elevation of 9,000 feet, however do be mindful that sunburns happen very fast at high elevations.

Before leaving since this is a high elevation campground you will want to check out the current weather conditions in Fairplay, Colorado

Nearby Activities and Attractions:

  • Fairplay
  • Buena Vista
  • Fishing and Boating in Lake Antero

This article features one of the many sites listed in the Colorado Free Campingguidebook sold on Amazon. Please consider purchasing a copy!

Scouting Report – (CO-10) Deep Creek

Excellent free Colorado camping

There are a lot of excellent free Colorado camping locations to explore, and this is among the very best of them. Right off a stunningly beautiful creek surrounded by high cliff walls and dense foliage this site is one you will remember for a very long time. Because it is so close to I-70 it is very easy to get to for both extended trips, or when you are just passing through.

Deep Creek

Deep Creek Information

Phone Number: (970) 876-9000

Elevation: 6,400

Lat/Long:39.67207, -107.08494

Nearby Town: Gypsum, CO. @ 10 miles

Details

  • No fee
  • No potable water
  • No trash
  • Vault toilets are available further up the road. No cat holes are allowed in the area due to the close proximity to the creek.

Date of Report:

08/2018

Road Conditions:

Excellent

Colorado River Rd. (301) is paved up to the turn off for Deep Creek Rd. which is about 1 3/4 miles off of I-70. Deep Creek Rd. is a dirt road that is in excellent shape with a fair amount of washboard so watch your speed as you always should on winding dirt roads.

Road leading to the Deep Creek camping area.
Road leading to the Deep Creek camping area.

General Site Information:

There are 5 tent sites off Deep Creek Rd.  some of the sites allow you to pull down right next to the river, while others will require a very short hike to the extremely alluring campsites at the rivers edge.

When visiting this site bear in mind the following pieces of information. This area is extremely popular and the likely hood of getting a site even during the week at peak camping season can be hit or miss. You may find yourself driving up and down the road or asking others whether they are coming or going. If you are in a fully contained rig that does not take up much space ie. van it may be easier to grab a place to park near the main congregation of sites rather that use a tent at one of the 5 sites near the creek. Another thing to keep in mind is that the vault toilet down the road around the bend as the road begins to climb. You are not allowed to dig cat holes in the area due to the close proximity of the water at all of the campsites. If finding a campsite here does become problematic for you check out the Lyons Creek Site just 3 miles down Colorado River Dr.

Check out the Lyons Gulch link below for more detailed information.

Scouting Report – (CO-09) Lyons Creek

Nearby Activities or Attractions:

  • Towns below are within 50 miles
    • Eagle
    • Avon
    • Vail
    • Glenwood Springs
  • Colorado River

This article features one of the many sites listed in the Colorado Free Camping guidebook sold on Amazon. Please consider purchasing a copy!

Free Colorado Camping | Scouting Report – (CO-9) Lyons Gulch

Free Camping on the Colorado River

The Colorado river beckons to rafters seeking adventure and a spirited trip down the river. Even if you are not the type of person that is looking for the excitement of a white water river rafting adventure, you will love free camping on the Colorado river.

Lyons Gulch Campground

Lyons Gulch Campground Information

Phone Number: (970) 876-9000

Elevation: 6,200

Lat/ Long:39.69905, -107.07292

Nearby Town: Gypsum, CO. @ 11 miles

Details

  • No Fee
  • No Potable water
  • No trash
  • Vault toilets

Date of Report:

08/2018

Road Conditions:

Excellent

Road leading to Lyons Gulch free camping area off of the Colorado River.
Road leading to Lyons Gulch camping area off of the Colorado River.

Colorado River road (301) is paved all the way to the Lyons Gulch site a little over 4 miles from I-70. The road leading to the campsites is in excellent condition and offers up some very beautiful views of the Colorado River.

Side view mirror looking at Colorado river road near Lyons gulch free camping
Side view mirror looking back on Colorado river road

General Site Information:

The site is situated around a bend in the Colorado River with a very large pull off on the side of the road. While there is a sign letting you know that you are at the campground it is easy to pass it from the road, especially in the summer time when the foliage on the trees and bushes is in full swing.

If you do miss the turn fear not as there is a very large shoulder directly after the pull in that is quite hard to miss. The interior of the site consists of a large circular drive with areas to park. Around the circle there is a nice restroom (Cat holes are not allowed at this site and the restroom is only open from May 15 to Nov. 15th) and several trails that lead off into the trees and bushes that line the Colorado river to the many tent sites. While all of the sites are relatively close together, there is ample space to spread out and enjoy the sound of the river as life passes by. In all there is about 5 campsites right off the river, along with a nice boat ramp if you are planning a trip down the river.

Note:If rainy conditions exist this is not an optimal place to be as rising river levels and mud slides could make this a very dangerous location to camp. If you are in need of another place to camp there are also great locations closer to I-70 at the Deep Creek Campsite off Deep Creek Rd. these sites are very popular and also next to a river so depending on the time of year and the amount of rain that is or has been falling neither site may be suitable.

Check out the Deep Creek link below for more detailed information.

Scouting Report – (CO-10) Deep Creek

Nearby Activities or Attractions:

  • Towns below are within 50 miles
    • Eagle
    • Avon
    • Vail
    • Glenwood Springs
  • Colorado River

Scouting Report – (CO-8) Red Dirt Reservoir

Looking across Red Dirt Reservoir near free Colorado Camping
Red Dirt Reservoir

Amazing Free Colorado Camping

Tucked back in the woods far away from prying eyes, there are treasures to be found by those adventurous souls willing to seek them. The area around Kremmling is remote and rugged, a picture of Rocky Mountain beauty waiting for you to find it. Like all dispersed camping area please practice leave no trace camping ethics to keep the area pristine and beautiful for generations to come.

Red Dirt Reservoir:

Red Dirt Reservoir Information

Phone Number: (970) 638-4516

Elevation: 9,100

Lat/Long: 40.1789, -106.57576

Nearby Town: Kremmling, CO. @ 18 miles

Details:

    • No fee
    • No potable water
    • No trash
    • Vault toilets
  • There is no boat ramp and the lake is very small kayak or canoe would be best if you wish to explore the lake by water.

Date of Report:

08/2018

View of Red Dirt Reservoir and a couple of the free campsites near Kremmling Colorado
View of Red Dirt Reservoir

Road Conditions:

Very good

As you leave the paved road way off of Colorado 134 and get onto the dirt road Co. 19 you will cross a cattle grate in the road and follow the dirt county road up a forest service sign. From there follow the forest service road 100 signs that lead you up to a right onto forest service road 101 that leads up to the lake. Its not a bad idea to have a GPS going to lead to in and out of this area as there are several forest service roads that branch off to other areas of the forest. The county roads are very well maintained as are the forest service roads. This campsite is easily accessible by passenger car providing that there are no adverse weather conditions that would hamper travel.

General Site Information:

This reservoir is like a little slice of heaven, tucked away in the woods far from the modern world.  When you enter the dispersed camping area you have options to either camp at the tree line, or select a site closer to the water. Following the road to its terminus leads to a dead end in the road with a turn around area on the side of the mountain, that does have a bit of a slope.

There are ample places to camp around the lake as well as the tree line, and all of the sites  have a spectacular view of the water. At the beginning of the area there is a vault toilet surrounded by several nicely wooded campsites, if you are looking for a little more privacy I would recommend following the road to the dead end turn around. Camping near the lake is another great option, just make sure you are following forest service rules and camping at least 100 feet away. There are 2 options to get near the water.  The first being less step, but could be problematic if the ground gets wet before you want to leave and you only have 2 wheel drive. The second area to get down to the lake will require 4 wheel drive and some decent ground clearance.

Henry David Thoureau on Kindle overlooking Red Dirt Reservoir near Kremmling, Colorado
Henry David Thoreau on Kindle overlooking Red Dirt Reservoir

Red Dirt Reservoir is easily one of my favorite places to get away. Its distance from major towns makes it a bit of a hidden gem primarily visited by locals that are use to the solitude of the back country. While the area will likely be far from empty, there should be ample campsite available for you to enjoy.

Nearby Activities or Attractions:

  • Kremmling
  • Fantastic hiking around the lake
  • Excellent fishing in Red Dirt Reservoir
  • CO 134 is a spectacular drive leading to Toponas I highly recommend this route if you need to get back to I-70 and are not in a hurry.

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Scouting Report – (CO-5) Miners Creek Rd. 1000

Iconic Ski Towns with Free Camping

The skiing at Breckenridge, Keystone, Arapahoe Basin, and Copper Mountain draws vacationers form all around the world. The snow is deep and often the beautiful powder skiers and snowboarders dream of. What most people don’t realize is that the area also hides some great free campsites . Nestled back off of a sometimes steep and rocky 4×4 road is a fantastic place to camp for free in the Colorado high country.

Miner’s Creek Road:

(High Clearance 4X4 Required)

Miner’s Creek Road Information

Miner’s Creek Dispersed Camping Information

Phone Number: (970) 468-5400

Elevation: 9,134 – 9,988

Lat/Long: 39.559522, -106.084556

Nearby Town: Frisco, Co @ 2 miles

Details:

  • No fee
  • No potable water
  • No trash
  • No restrooms
  • Road open from November 23 thru May 20
  • Dispersed Camping allowed after the first 1 3/4  mile

Date of Report:

07/2018

Road Conditions:

High Clearance 4×4 Required

  • The road leading to the area where dispersed camping is allowed is narrow, very steep in places , is rock strewn, and has creek crossings. This road is also only open for summer use.
  • To get to the sites you will need to drive up a shared path way that is primarily used for hiking and biking for about ¼ mile to a junction with Temple Trail, another paved hiking and  biking trail. There is another small parking area here with several signs letting you know that camping is not allowed in the area. The road from here up to the sites is dirt. The road begins and is not too bad with little variation and large enough for a single vehicle to navigate with no issues. After about ½ a mile the road begins to get rougher and you will encounter the first of the 2 creek crossings before entering the area where camping is allowed. The road conditions quickly deteriorate from here with lots of large dips and pools where water collects. At the 1 ¾ mile mark is where the second creek crossing starts. The tree cover over the crossing is low, and after navigating the small creek the trail becomes very steep, rock strewn and difficult to traverse.

General Site Information:

The sites here are primitive and offer no amenities aside from stone fire rings. The clearings where campsites have been made are fairly close to miners creek, which you follow up nearly the entire road leading to the camping sites. Over all the area is very beautiful and peaceful with a majority of the traffic primarily using the trail systems lower down in the valley. While I did not venture to the end of miners creek road 1000 I can tell you this is a great place to enjoy some free Colorado camping if you have the ability to get to the spots. The forest cover is thick and the undergrowth is very green. Be mindful of current weather conditions in the area as weather can change fast and be severe here.

View of a great free campsites at Miners Creek 1000 camping area near Frisco Colorado.
Free Campsite at Miners Creek 1000 near Frisco, Colorado.

Nearby Activities or Attractions:

  • Frisco
  • Keystone
  • Breckenridge
  • Silverthorne
  • Lake Dillon
  • Scores of great hiking trails.

For more information on great free Colorado camping spots consider the purchase of Colorado Free Camping. All product sold assist in the creation of future content geared towards affordable adventure and travel.