If you’re a hardcore camper in Colorado, you’ve probably figured out that dispersed camping is the way to go. You’ve got more options, fewer crowds, and plenty of space. That being said, if you’re getting into dispersed camping for the first time, there are a few things you’ll need to know first.

What is Dispersed Camping?

  • Dispersed camping involves camping in a National Forest or National Grassland outside of designated campgrounds.
  • No services are generally provided, such as trash removal.
  • Popular dispersed camping areas may have toilets nearby and established fire pits, but often times don’t.

Rules and Guidelines for Dispersed Camping

  • Dispersed campers can only stay in a single spot for 14 days in a 30-day period. Generally, campers must move at least three miles from the original campsite before setting up camp again.
  • After two 14-day periods of camping, campers must leave the national forest or grassland. Even with movement, campers can only camp in a specific national forest or grassland for a total of 28 days within a 60-day period, according to the US Forest Service.
  • Campers must travel to campsites on designated roads and trails.
  • Due to limited services, it’s crucial that dispersed campers follow the Leave No Trace guidelines.
  • Campsites should be set up a minimum of 200 feet from a road, trail, or water source.
  • When dispersed camping, be extra cautious of private property.
  • Carry a GPS and know how to use it.
  • Plan ahead for clean water.
  • If you find a fire pit near your dispersed campsite, use that for minimum impact.
  • Follow all fire restrictions and land use restrictions.
  • Pack out everything you pack in.
  • Poop responsibly.

Where Can I Dispersed Camp?

Here’s a map of most of Colorado’s dispersed camping spots. Note: Land-use restrictions and policy changes may impact the accuracy of this map. Please check with the official local source before planning your trip.

Here’s Another Map that is updated by the Official US Department of Agriculture.

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