Can You Camp on National Forest Land in Colorado?

Colorado’s National Forests offer vast landscapes of mountains, meadows, rivers and streams, providing the perfect backdrop for a camping trip. With over 11 million acres of land to explore, camping in the National Forests of Colorado is a great way to experience the state’s breathtaking beauty.

The US Forest Service manages 4 national forests in Colorado: Arapaho & Roosevelt, Grand Mesa Uncompahgre & Gunnison, Pike & San Isabel, and White River. Each forest offers different types of terrain and activities to choose from.

In addition to camping, you can find hiking trails, fishing spots, scenic drives and more.

Campers in Colorado have several options when it comes to camping on national forest land. Campers can choose from dispersed camping or developed campgrounds.

Dispersed camping is available for free in most national forests and is when you set up camp outside of a designated campground. Developed campgrounds are managed by the US Forest Service and offer amenities such as vault toilets, picnic tables and fire rings.

Rules & Regulations:

When camping on federal land in Colorado there are certain rules and regulations that must be followed such as:

  • Camping is limited to 14 days within a 28-day period.
  • No permanent structures are allowed.
  • Campfires must be put out properly.
  • Camping is prohibited within 100 feet of rivers or streams.
  • No littering on the premises.

How To Find A Campsite:

  • The US Forest Service has maps available both online and at their ranger stations that show designated campsites throughout the various national forests.
  • You can also use websites like which allow you to search for campsites by area.
  • If you’re looking for something more remote or off-the-beaten-path you may want to consider visiting one of the USFS Wilderness Areas which offer even more solitude.


Yes! You can definitely camp on National Forest Land in Colorado!

There are several options available depending on what type of experience you’re looking for. Whether you’re looking for an adventure off-the-beaten path or an easier route with amenities like picnic tables and fire rings, there’s something for everyone when it comes to camping in Colorado’s National Forests!

Photo of author

Chris Powell