Dispersed Camping

Don't want to camp in a developed campground? There are many places on the Pike-San Isabel National Forests & Cimarron and Comanche National Grasslands where you can pitch a tent and practice low impact camping techniques. Dispersed camping is primitive, undevleoped, frontcountry "car camping".

Remember: when dispersed camping, no toilets, trash service, or potable water, are available. Store all food and trash securely, and pack out what you pack in. Practice Leave No Trace.


Please observe the following requirements when dispersed camping:

  • In some areas, dispersed camping and parking is allowed in designated sites only.  Do not create resource damage by driving off-road, beyond designated parking locations, or behind barriers.  Parking should be within 30' of site markers where posted.
  • Developed sites, including trailheads and picnic areas, are closed to overnight camping and allow for day use activities only.
  • Tread lightly, and avoid trampling sensitive vegetation.  Locate your camp at least 100' from any water source.
  • Use catholes to properly dispose of human and pet waste; bury waste in a cathole at least 6-8" deep and 200’ from any water source. Packing out human and pet waste using self-contained waste disposal systems is encouraged.
  • Campfires are allowed at overnight sites as long as fire restrictions aren’t in place. You may gather small amounts of down, dead wood for a campfire. Use existing fire rings; keep your campfire small and always make sure it is completely extinguished before leaving. No campfires outside of designated overnight sites.
  • BEARS and other wildlife When you go to the mountains and forest, you are in bear county. Do not leave ANY food, trash or other animal attractant unattended. Store all food and trash securely and pack out what you pack in. Failing to do so can result in a fine.
  • Also be aware that; where not otherwise restricted, camping or leaving camping equipment at any location more than 14 days within a continuous 30 day period, and/or occupying any campsite within three miles of any prior camping or equipment location for a combined total of more than 28 days within any continuous 60 day period, is prohibited. Also, leaving camping equipment unattended for more than 24 hours is not allowed.
  • In addition; discharging a firearm is prohibited within 150 yards of a residence, building, campsite, developed recreation site, or occupied area; or across or on a National Forest System road or a body of water, or in any manner or place whereby any person or property is exposed to injury or damage as a result of such discharge.

Plan your trip; phone ahead for restrictions and special regulations.  Contact your local Ranger District office for more information.

Dispersed Camping Areas

  • Cimarron National Grassland
  • Santa Fe Companion Trail
  • Santa Fe National Historic Trail
  • Comanche National Grassland
  • Picket Wire Corrals Interpretive Site
  • Arch Rock Trail
  • Clear Creek Canyon
  • South Fork Clear Creek Trailhead
  • Winfield Dispersed Camping Area
  • Leadville Ranger District Colorado Trail Segments
  • Pikes Peak Ranger District
  • Salida Ranger District
  • Baldwin Lake
  • Browns Canyon National Monument
  • Browns Creek Trail #1429
  • Colorado Trail #1776 (North Cottonwood)
  • Fourmile Travel Management Area
  • Hancock Lakes
  • Little Browns Creek Trail
  • Mount Shavano and Mount Tabeguache
  • North Cottonwood Trailhead
  • Pomeroy Lakes
  • San Carlos Ranger District
  • South Colony Basin
  • South Park
  • Buffalo Peaks Wilderness - East side
  • Buffalo Peaks Trailhead
  • Lynch Creek Trailhead
  • North Salt Creek Trailhead
  • Rich Creek Trail
  • Salt Creek Trail
  • French Pass Trail
  • Nate Stultz Trail
  • Platte River Trail
  • Sheep Creek Trail
  • South Platte Ranger District - Recreation
  • Buffalo Creek Recreation Area
  • Cedar Mountain Area
  • Turkey Rocks Trailhead
  • Guanella Pass Scenic Byway
  • Hall Valley Area
  • Kenosha Pass Area
  • Matukat Area
  • Rampart Range Recreation Area

Recreation Areas

Recreation Activities