6 Must See Dispersed Camping Near Water in Colorado

Last Updated on September 19, 2023 by

If you are traveling through Colorado and you want to witness the true beauty of nature where you can camp near waters and have the best time of your trips, then you will be amazed by the campsites found here.

In Colorado, excellent camping is available practically everywhere, including some of the top campgrounds in the country.

There is a slew of additional sites that are amazing that campers need to see. Paid development campgrounds and free early development campsites are available where you can find your ideal campsite.

dispersed camping near water colorado

Some are only appropriate for RVs with a tent, while others are good for a caravan as a whole.

Let’s see what Colorado has for you if you wish to find the best dispersed camping near water in Colorado.

What are the Best Dispersed Camping Near Water in Colorado?

1. Flat Tops Trail

Flat Tops Trail is the best spot that you would find near water, where you can have fun activities and water spots.

The best spot in this area is Trappers Lake, the third-biggest normal lake in Colorado.

There are a few campsites down at Trappers Lake, yet no dispersed camp around this area. This beautiful public place interfaces Yampa with Meeker toward the west.

The free dispersed camps are spread everywhere, and there are a lot of camping areas as well.

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Catchers Lake Lodge is a spot that is open from the month of May through September, and campers are allowed to rent out boats, lodges, and horses.

It additionally has a small corner store and café/bar. The major half of the trail is a smooth rock road, and the second is soil. Most two-wheel drive vehicles will be fine. You will find scattered campsites wherever you get rolling on the trail.

Most back roads will yield a couple of campgrounds, with a lot of spots right on the byway.

The main special case is the Trappers Lake region.

2. Vasquez Ridge

Vasquez Ridge is a place where scattered setting up camping spots are the primary draw, with climbing, fishing, and off-road vehicles along with other activities to explore.

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This is a free campsite that is a couple of miles from downtown Winter Park. Enjoy Winter Park’s lovely setting in the Rocky Mountains and Vasquez Ridge.

There aren’t any campsites back at Vasquez Ridge, yet there are some nearby.

There’s one right on Highway 40 preceding town, close to Berthoud Pass. Dispersed setting up camp is accessible back at Vasquez Ridge. It’s wherever once you arrive at the Arapaho N.F.

Close by Saint Louis Creek offers two camps, and they connect with Vasquez by means of forest service roads.

The places close to this location are Byers Creek CG which is next to Saint Louis Creek with 6 campsites and essentials. This campsite is non-reservable.

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Idlewild is another area around here on Hwy 40 south of Winter Park with 23 campsites and essentials. It is also non-reservable, and you will find activities here like Biking, Fishing, Hiking, OHV, and more.

3. Guanella Pass

This beautiful pass is at an elevation of 11,669 feet, twelve miles outside of Georgetown. The perspectives are amazing, particularly during harvest time.

There is a great place to camp and do activities, including fishing at Clear Lake close to Georgetown, and an opportunity to climb a more straightforward 14’er, Mount Bierstadt.

Dispersed camping and three campsites are visible on this public pass.

Scattered camp spots are promptly accessible on the two sides of the pass.

There are three reservable campsites. Scattered camp is not difficult to see as barely out of Georgetown, on the trail.

You will find activities like Biking, Fishing, and Hiking here. To get here, take Guanella Pass Road from downtown Georgetown. From Grant, take Co Rd 62/Guanella Pass Rd.

4. Cottonwood Pass

Cottonwood Pass associates Buena Vista with Almont on the opposite side of the crossing. There is one campsite close to Buena Vista and lies on the west side close to Taylor Park Reservoir.

There are some great spots where you can find water and camp near them easily. The Taylor Park Marina rents out boats and has a snare shop and store. It’s a short drive from Buena Vista and Cottonwood Hot Springs.

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Free camp starts something like ten minutes west of BV. Set up camp for the evening, and have fun in the nearby admittance to town while as yet being in the Rockies. The street is cleared to the top from Buena Vista and afterward transforms into a country road.

Most 2WD vehicles will do fine. The closest places to this point are University Peaks CG which is near BV, having 56 camps and fundamentals. Lakeview Gunnison CG is close to the repository with 65 camps, and essential electric services.

Scattered spots can be tracked down minutes out of Buena Vista on CR 306 (the pass). There are a few rivulet side spots and a lot of setting up camp on the opposite side of the pass as well, particularly around the Taylor Park Res.

You will find activities like Biking, Boating, Fishing, Hiking, Horseback Riding, and OHV.

5. Maroon Bells

The Maroon Bells are a good option if you want dispersed camping in water Colorado. Because of the Bells request, admittance to Maroon Creek Rd is simply open to vehicles two times every day, from 7 am to 9 am and 5 pm to 7 pm in the mid-year.

There are three campsites, all situated in the forest by West Maroon Creek. The stroll in campsites at Silver Bell and Bar is great for tent campers. There are no dispersed camp spots at the Bells, however, camps are found in the Aspen region close to the apparition town of Lenado.

So there’s a lot to do. Eat and shop around, or explore neighborhood towns like Ashcroft and Independence. Between 9 am – 5 pm, the main way in is by transport, which permits the wildlife here.

It’s close to downtown Aspen and presumably the most captured scene in Colorado. You will find activities like Fishing and Hiking on this spot.

To reach here, take Hwy 82 west from downtown to Maroon Creek Rd (close to Aspen Highlands). Follow that 10 minutes to the Welcome Station.

6. Buffalo Pass

Buffalo Pass drives northwest from Steamboat to Highway 14, close to Walden. It’s 11 long and unpleasant miles to the top from Steamboat and 32 miles the whole way to Highway 14.

This notable course was once the primary course for Walden.

Most 2WD vehicles will be fine to camp lower on the Steamboat-side of the pass. Further, up close to the top and the remainder of the pass, high 4×4 vehicles are recommended.

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It’s very near midtown Steamboat Springs and Strawberry Park Hot Springs.

There is definitely not a ton of room for trailers or enormous RVs, so setting up camp on Buffalo Pass is best for tents and little teardrop campers, vans, and housetop tents. Both the Dry Lake Campground and scattered camping areas top off rapidly during the pinnacle summer season, so don’t be late to arrive at these points.

There are possibly 15 dispersed campgrounds or so within thirty minutes of downtown, on the way up from Steamboat. They start at around 20 minutes out from downtown.

There is a heap of extra destinations that further you go, yet the pass is rutted. Fishing and boating are allowed on Summit Lake, which is at the top.

There’s additionally fishing around on the Yampa River. Off-road vehicles are allowed on a large part of the pass. Dispersed setting up camp is accessible not long after the Dry Lake Campground, allowed 1/4 miles past it on the pass.

You will find activities like hand-controlled watercraft, Fishing, Hiking, Horseback Riding, and also OHV.

To get to this place, from midtown Steamboat, take a right on Third St and the following right on Fish Creek Falls Rd. Then follow around the bend and make a left on Amethyst Drive toward Strawberry Park Hot Springs.

After that, follow for a couple of moments to Co Rd 38 (it’s set apart as National Forest access) and go right to the pass.

The initially dispersed camp is likely 15-20 minutes from downtown, starting a smidgen past the Dry Lake CG.


The best dispersed camping near water in Colorado is fun when you know where to find the right spots.

We have shared some valuable places where you can camp for the best experience and enjoy the true colors of Colorado.


Where can I do dispersed camping in Colorado?

You find dispersed camping spots in these places

  • Arapaho National Forest.
  • Pike National Forest.
  • Grand Mesa National Forest.
  • Gunnison National Forest.
  • White River National Forest.
  • Routt National Forest.
  • Roosevelt National Forest.
  • San Isabel National Forest.

Where is the best dispersed camping in Colorado?

The best dispersed camping areas in Colorado are:

  • Guenella Pass (Grant & Georgetown)
  • Divide Road (Grand Junction & Montrose)
  • Red Feather Lakes – Deadman Road (Fort Collins)
  • Caribou Townsite (Nederland)
  • Jones Pass (Empire)
  • Montezuma Road (Keystone)

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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.