10 Amazing Dispersed Camping Near Silverton, Colorado

Last Updated on September 19, 2023 by

Some of Colorado’s most magnificent landscapes and best outdoor enjoyment may be found in the rocky San Juan Mountains.

Silverton, a historic mining town on the famous Million Dollar Highway between Ouray and Durango, is well situated for seeing everything this lovely region has to offer.

If you’re visiting during the summer, scattered camping near Silverton is a fantastic (and free) way to experience all of the town’s attractions while also getting a taste of the wildness that makes this area so unique.

Continue reading to view all of the greatest dispersed camping near Silverton Co and to pick your ideal campsite.

The months of May through October are ideal for dispersed camping in the Silverton area. Because the highest elevations (over 10,000 feet) can retain snow well into the summer, visiting such places between June and September is recommended.

The changing autumn colors present wonderful scenery, but be ready for cold nights and mornings.

Permits were not necessary to camp at any of the locations listed in this piece at the time of writing. Permit systems may be created as some places become more popular.

Before going out, perform a quick internet search or call the local field office.

The following sites are all inside the San Juan National Forest.

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However, there are some BLM-owned boondocking spots east of Silverton.

These aren’t on this list because they’re tough to get to, have uneven wash boarded roads and a lot of traffic and dirt.

dispersed camping silverton colorado
Credit: Uncover Colorado

Here are the best dispersed camping near Silverton, Colorado

What are the Best Dispersed Camping Near Silverton CO

1. Ophir Pass Dispersed Area

The Ophir Pass Camping Area is located along Mineral Creek, right off Highway 550.

This little area contains a few flat sites with varying levels of seclusion and size, with only a few suited for bigger RVs.

Ophir Pass has all of the natural beauty and serenity of the backcountry while still being only a short drive from Silverton.

The drive to the camping area is a little bumpy, but most cars should be able to navigate it.

2. Maggie Gulch

Maggie Gulch is a huge open region northeast of Silverton, off County Road 2.

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It is approachable to all vehicles, can handle large rigs, and is adjacent to numerous hiking, biking, and off-highway vehicle trails.

Those seeking peace and quiet should camp somewhere else, as this area can be noisy and crowded with RV campers and off-highway vehicle users.

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Maggie Gulch, on the other hand, is ideal for individuals seeking convenience, a camp community, and a wide range of recreational activities.

Despite the fact that the camping area is next to the Animas River, you must not drink from it owing to contamination from nearby mining operations.

3. Sultan Creek Dispersed Area

The Sultan Creek Scattered Camping Area is another fantastic dispersed camping option right off the Million Dollar Highway, with numerous lovely sites located somewhere along a short dirt road pull-off near Sultan Creek.

Campers should expect to hear some road noise throughout the day and into the night due to its proximity to Highway 550.

Despite this minor annoyance, this is a beautiful, clean, and tranquil area to camp.

It’s also close to Silverton and has a number of excellent hiking destinations.

Most RVs and trailers will fit in the area.

4. Cunningham Gulch/Highland Mary Lakes TH

Cunningham Gulch is an exceptionally gorgeous region with a beautiful creek running through it and steep peaks in every direction.

Follow Co Rd 4 through the Old Hundred Mine into a wonderful valley with some decent, flat campsites to reach the best campgrounds.

2WD cars should be able to get this far, but the route turns steep and rocky as it gets closer to the trailhead.

The region cannot handle larger RVs and trailers due to its size and limited spots.

Cunningham Gulch and its environs are rich in mining history, and the climb to Highland Mary Lakes is a must-do!

5. Golden Horn Camping Area

The Golden Horn Camping Area is another decent alternative for those seeking something close to town.

A little under 5 miles from Silverton, this vast, open space is suited for RVs and tents alike.

Although there isn’t much seclusion, the views are spectacular, and the setting is tranquil along a creek.

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Because the road leading to the Ice Lakes Trailhead was closed just past the campground due to fire damage as of Spring 2021, it’s a good idea to double-check the most recent closures before heading out.

6. Hermosa Creek Special Management Area

This newly-created Special Management Area was developed to safeguard the Hermosa Creek Watershed, and as a result, it comes with certain additional limitations and rules.

However, dispersed camping options abound throughout this stunning stretch of forest.

The defunct Sig Creek Campground is no longer maintained but is still open for free camping, which is an excellent choice.

The route to the campground is a little tricky, but it’s one of the good alternatives if you’re driving a two-wheel-drive vehicle.

There is further dispersed camping along Forest Road 578 and roads 577, 579, 580, 581, and 550, farther up the road from Sig Creek Campground.

The majority of these routes require a high-clearance 4WD vehicle.

7. Little Molas Lake Campground

Those who are prepared to venture a little further out of town and withstand the high altitude will be rewarded handsomely at this unique location.

Little Molas Lake is more akin to a campground than genuine dispersed camping, yet it’s hard to believe it’s free to spend the night in such a stunning location.

The campground is located adjacent to Little Molas Lake and is surrounded by beautiful high alpine scenery.

Nearby, there are excellent hiking opportunities, including access to the Colorado Trail. Because the sites are smaller in size, and small and medium, RVs and trailers are better suited.

8. Kendall Camping Area

This camping site is conveniently located in the town along the famous Million Dollar Highway, making it ideal for anyone looking to explore the Silverton area.

It’s a great spot to pitch your tent or park your RV tucked away in the forest along the banks of Mineral Creek.

Because the sites are close together and there are vault toilets, the area has the feel of a campsite.

Please keep in mind that this is a fairly popular region, so sites may be hard to come by on weekends during the summer and fall.

Because the creek may contain significant lead concentrations or other byproducts from the mining operations upstream, it’s good to bring some drinking water with you.

The sites are spacious enough for most rigs, and the drive-in is bumpy but passable for all vehicles.

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9. County Road 26

There are a few campgrounds along County Road 26, a little dirt offshoot road off of County Road 2.

The location is peaceful and quiet, and you’ll be surrounded by some of the San Juans’ most beautiful peaks.

The Animas River is also nearby, though you should avoid drinking from it due to nearby mining operations contamination.

This is a perfect starting point for hiking Handies Peak, one of Colorado’s most beautiful 14ers.

The road is narrow and rugged at points, and it seems unlikely that heavy trucks or 2WD vehicles will navigate it.

10. Sultan & Anvil Camping Areas

This campground is located just up the road from Kendall Camping Area and is Kendall’s smaller, more basic counterpart.

It’s situated next to Mineral Creek, amid the shadows of gorgeous peaks. From the road, you’ll enter the Anvil Camping Area, but you’ll have to cross the stream to reach the Sultan Camping Area.

For larger rigs, the spaces are a little tight, but smaller RVs and trailers should be alright.

This location, like the Kendall Camping Area, fills up rapidly in peak season, so get there early!

It’s also a good idea to bring some drinking water with you, as the creek may contain high levels of lead or other pollutants from the mining operations nearby.

Campers can utilize the Kendall Camping Area’s restrooms located just down the road.


This article focused on the best dispersed camping near Silverton, Colorado.

We hope we’ve given you all the information you need to plan your scattered camping vacation in Silverton, Colorado, and we’re confident you’ll discover the right spot for your forthcoming excursion! 


What are the best dispersed camping grounds near Silverton, Co?

When it comes to the best dispersed camping grounds near Silverton, here are a few of them:

  1. Ophir Pass Dispersed Area
  2. Maggie Gulch
  3. Sultan Creek Dispersed Area
  4. Cunningham Gulch/Highland Mary Lakes
  5. Golden Horn Camping Area
  6. Hermosa Creek Special Management Area
  7. Kendall Camping Area
  8. County Road 26
  9. Sultan & Anvil Camping Areas 

Is there BLM land in Colorado?

In Colorado, the BLM oversees 8.3 million acres of public land and 27 million acres of federal mineral ownership, with terrain ranging from alpine tundra, colorful canyons, and sagebrush steppe to mountains soaring beyond 14,000 feet. The Western Slope of Colorado is abundant with the majority of our public lands.

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About Ted Mosby

I am Ted Mosby from Cleveland, Ohio. I am a Freelance Architect. I live in New Jersey, USA right now and I take my RV every alternate weekend. I own a Forest River Berkshire XLT Diesel 45A Class A Motorhome. As I am a Freelancer I can work anywhere so most of my work is done inside my camper remotely.