Dispersed Camping

The White River National Forest offers many dispersed camping opportunities, from backpacking to undeveloped car camping along designated Forest Roads.
• In some areas, dispersed camping is only permitted in designated sites.
• Please review permitted use and follow best practices to minimize impacts.

There are many dispersed camping opportunities on the forest ranging from backpacking to car-camping along designated Forest Roads. Visitors are encouraged to minimize resource impacts by utilizing established sites rather than creating new ones. Dispersed camping sites along Forest Roads are shown on Motor Vehicle Use Maps, which are available free of charge at ranger district offices.

Visitors are permitted to drive vehicles up to 300 feet from designated routes for purposes of dispersed camping as long as no resource damage is incurred in the process. Dispersed camping within 100 feet of lakes, streams, and forest system trails is prohibited unless otherwise designated. Campers may stay for a maximum of 14 days. Some areas may have additional special restrictions.

Reduce Resource Damage

  • Avoid making new impacts. Whenever possible, use an existing campsite rather than creating a new one.
  • Dispose of human waste, including toilet paper, carefully. Use self-contained waste disposal systems whenever possible. When unavailable, deposit solid human waste in catholes dug 6 – 8 inches deep and at least 200 feet from water, camp sites, and roads or trails. Cover and disguise the cathole when finished.
  • Properly manage sanitation. Dispose of waste, gray water, sewage, and sewage treatment chemicals from self-contained toilets at authorized facilities provided for that purpose. 
  • Pack it in, pack it out. Do not leave behind any waste or litter.
  • Leave no trace. Leave established sites in better condition than you found them. Leave new sites in as natural condition as you found them.
  • Don’t move firewood. Moving firewood long distances can help spread harmful pests. Use only locally sourced or dead or downed firewood.
  • Be bear aware. You are in bear country. Leave food, trash, and all items with fragrance (e.g., toothpaste, deodorant) in vehicle, bear-proof canisters, or suspended in bear bags. Do not eat in your tent. Visit Colorado Parks and Wildlife for more information.

Dispersed Camping Areas

Recreation Areas

Recreation Activities