Dispersed Camping

Free camping (dispersed) is allowed on most national forest lands except in highly developed areas - such as trailheads, campgrounds and picnic sites - and in some of our most visited places. Be sure to check for regulations in advance and look for signs in the area to indicate if camping is allowed.

Some areas allow camping in designated sites only.

Know Before You Go

  • Check the weather and road closures before heading up. 
  • Follow Leave No Trace principles. There are no facilities or trash receptacles. Pack out what you pack in. 
  • Make sure camping is allowed. Many lands within the national forest boundary are private or otherwise owned. Check that you’re on National Forest lands: maps.
  • Don't stay too long. Camping is limited to 14 days within any continuous 30-day period at any location within the same 20-mile radius. See Order
  • Plan on building a campfire? Campfire restrictions can occur any time of year. Check for fire restrictions and if you build a campfire, know how to extinguish it.

Dispersed Camping Areas

  • Boulder Ranger District, west of Boulder
  • Caribou Dispersed Camping Area
  • Gordon Gulch Dispersed Camping Area
  • Lost Lake (#813)
  • West Magnolia
  • Winiger Ridge
  • Canyon Lakes Ranger District, west of Fort Collins
  • CLRD Dispersed camping
  • Clear Creek Ranger District, near Idaho Springs
  • Beartrack Lakes (#43)
  • Bill Moore Lake/Empire Loop
  • Devil's Canyon
  • Fall River Reservoir
  • Kingston Peak
  • Loch Lomond
  • Saxon Mountain
  • Waldorf Road- Argentine Central Railroad
  • Yankee Hill
  • Pawnee National Grassland, NE of Greeley
  • Sulphur Ranger District, near Winter Park & Granby

Recreation Areas

Recreation Activities