Summer Recreation Opportunities:
Regional Dispersed Camping Program

Explore. More. Breathe. Better.

Dispersed camping is a great way to enjoy the experience of camping away from the noise and bustle of campground camping. However, dispersed camping means there are none of the amenities you will find while campground camping. There are no picnic tables, drinking water, or toilets available. Some areas in national forests and grasslands are closed to dispersed campers and dispersed camping can be in either Designated or Non-Designated areas as determined by the local Ranger District office.

Follow these general guidelines to help ensure that your experience in your national forest or grassland will be a safe and memorable one:

  • Dispersed Camping weblinks: Click to go directly to links
  • Make a realistic plan and stick to it. Always tell someone of your recreation plans.
  • Please respect private landowners and don't trespass on private property
  • Typical Designated Dispersed Camping areas might be car-camping spots or areas where campers have already stayed
  • Typical Non-Designated Dispersed Camping areas might be areas near trails in the backcountry, such as spots with rock campfire rings already created by prior campers
  • Generally, overnight camping is NOT allowed at trailheads, picnic areas, day-use parking areas or any other areas that don't allow overnight parking
  • When using a dispersed camping area, the general rule is to be a minimum of at least 100-200 feet away from any road, trail or water source
  • Overnight dispersed camping length-of-stay regulations vary by Forest. Most Forests limit the number of nights you can legally camp within a designated timeframe. Please check the local regulations of the forest you plan to visit.
  • Carry a compass or a Global Positioning System (GPS) unit and know how to use it
  • Obtain a map of the area you will be camping in and, if possible, obtain trail sheets from the local Ranger District office to help with land navigation. Also, be sure to ask about any seasonal regulations or restrictions that may apply to the area you want to camp in.
  • Travel responsibly on land by staying on designated trails or areas
  • Check the weather forecast for your destination. Plan clothing, equipment and supplies accordingly.
  • All dispersed campers should follow the ideals of Leave No Trace and practice the concept of Pack It In - Pack It Out.

For more detailed guidelines regarding responsible summer recreation on US Forest Service lands, please check out the Tread Lightly! information below:

  • Responsible Camping – Tread Lightly!'s Responsible Recreation Tips brochure:
  • Responsible Recreation – Tread Lightly!'s Responsible Recreation Tips brochure:
  • Sharing Our Trails – Tread Lightly!'s Responsible Recreation Tips brochure: