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Free Camping in Colorado

Does the dream of free camping make you happy? The good news is that it can be a reality. There are so many ways that you can score free and heavily discounted camping that you might be able to extend your traveling budget. If you’re looking for some simple free camping in Colorado, wait until you see all the places that don’t charge a dime! 

free camping colorado

Sometimes being able to travel the road and camp in a few places for free can really be a saving grace on your budget. Why not sprinkle in a few free camping nights and stretch out your travel plans? Colorado is home to some great free camping options that are certain to offer wonderful views and a peaceful stay. 

Where to camp for free in Colorado

Before you give in and pay $40 per night for a campsite, make certain to check out some of these great free camping options. Who knows, you just might be able to travel around and see the beautiful state of Colorado for free.

Camping for free is generally referred to as dispersed camping, which is camping in approved areas other than campgrounds. The best part about dispersed camping, aside from the cost, is the privacy. Campsites are often wider apart than in a campground. And sites are usually right next to the road, so it’s perfect for car camping.

6 free campsites in Colorado

City parks

Depending on the town, you might be able to park overnight or even set up a tent and do some free camping in their city park. Just contact the local city office and see if this is allowed before showing up and trying it out. 

Parking lots

Many big stores like Walmart will actually let you camp for free overnight in their parking lot without any sort of issues. This doesn’t mean that you can spend your whole vacation there, but a night of overnight parking isn’t going to be an issue. You’ll want to be certain to have your own camper with bathroom, etc as there won’t be anywhere to do anything like that once the stores all close down for the night.

The view might not be pretty but if you’re needing just a simple place to stay overnight before moving on down the road, a free parking lot isn’t a bad way to get it done. 

Jones Pass located outside of Denver, CO

Jones Pass crosses the Continental Divide in the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains. It is located in Clear Creek County, near Idaho Springs. If you’re looking for a specific place to go camping in Colorado, Jones Pass is where it’ at. Travel down Forest Road 202 and make certain that you go past the Henderson Mine to start seeing the options for free camping. But be warned, this isn’t for big rigs. The roads are tight, curvy, and rocky and are mainly for smaller cars to make their way through.

A big camper or RV just isn’t going to happen here and it’s not something to even risk trying. 

National Parks

The National Parks in Colorado is going to be your best and most plentiful way to get as much free camping as possible. There are many parks to choose from and if you play your cards right, you might be able to go and see them all and not have to pay anything for your camping! 

When driving around Colorado, look for signs that let you know you’re entering a national forest. Then any county/forest service roads could potentially allow dispersed camping. Regulations vary and are sometimes marked.

FAQ about camping in Colorado

Can you camp anywhere in Colorado National Forest?

If there’s no sign telling you that you can’t camp there, you should be able to camp. Just remember to be respectful in a National Forest and don’t leave a trace of you being there. Always remember the rule to leave the spot better than you found it so that people can continue to camp there for free in the future. 

Don’t block any road entrances etc either when you’re trying to find a place to camp. The more that you can stay out of the way, the better. 

Where can I park my RV for free in Colorado?

If you’ve been traveling for a while and are needing a free place to stay, Colorada has some options that just might be perfect.

RV camping can take place on land that is public and maintained by the US Forest Service as well as the Bureau of Land Management. You might want to research online or call ahead to make certain that nothing has changed. 

There are also several state parks that do allow some free RV camping, too but again, verifying the options before arriving is always a good idea. 

Can you sleep in your car in a national forest?

In most cases, you can sleep in your car in a National Forest, and if you are doing it outside of a designated campground then it is referred to as dispersed camping. Sleeping in your car is just another way of setting up camp, but make sure you park in the right spot.

See how simple it can be to get free camping in Colorado when you really want to? The other easy way is to talk to locals in the area. More than likely they’ll all know of a place that offers some sort of discounted or free option and will be more than happy to share that information with you.

Where is your favorite place to camp for free in Colorado? Let me know in the comments!

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