Free Camping in Colorado: How to Prepare  (Recipe Included)

Free Camping in Colorado: How to Prepare (Recipe Included)

Camping is an old and well- loved outdoor activity. You can rent a campsite spot or choose to do dispersed camping. Dispersed camping is free camping (in an allowed areas). In Colorado, National Forests hold most of the free camping as well as BLM (Bureau of Land Management) land. Specific details can be found online on the respective websites. 

Supplies and Necessities 

Camping can require just a few necessities or can require a multitude of items, all depending on your comfort level. 

  1. Tent- making sure you have a waterproof tent will ensure a dry and cozy night under the stars. Jax Outdoor Gear has a huge variety of camping gear.

  2. Sleeping Bag- even in the summer, temperatures can drop to freezing so having a cold weather bag will keep you warm in all weather. Ptarmigan Sports in Vail has a variety of durable and lightweight sleeping bags.

  3. Fire starter- this is absolutely imperative, even if you think you can start a fire yourself, there are too many factors that could prevent you. 

  4. First aid kit- you never know what you might encounter in nature 

  5. Water and food- make sure you bring enough food and water (and s’mores!) 

  6. Lights or lanterns- in remote areas there will be no light and a lantern will ensure your safety when walking around at night 

  7. Lots of layers- bring a variety of clothing, like these socks from Christy Sports. to layer because it can reach freezing temperatures, even in summer

Free Camping 

Colorado is full of free campsites from Durango and Cortez up to Evergreen and Vail. Finding free campsites can be as easy as peeking at a map or driving up a well maintained forest road until you find an empty space. An easy way to spot previously used campsites is to look for rings of stones that were once fire pits. There are also apps that can give directions to the nearest dispersed campsite. Outside of national and state parks, you can camp for free in any National Forest and BLM (bureau of land management) land.

Easy Campfire Recipe 

Grill Packet Nachos courtesy of Kate Merker 


3 1/2 c. shredded rotisserie chicken

1 c. red enchilada sauce

1/2 small onion, chopped

1 c. fresh corn kernels (from 2 ears corn)

1 (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed

12 ounces pepper-Jack cheese (about 3 cups), divided

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

8 ounces tortilla chips 

Fresh cilantro and lime wedges, for serving



  1. Set up a grill for indirect cooking and heat to medium. Toss together chicken, enchilada sauce, onion, corn, beans, and 8 ounces cheese in a bowl. Season with salt and pepper.

  2. Tear six 12-inch squares of aluminum foil. Place one-sixth of chips, chicken mixture, and remaining cheese on one end of a piece of foil, leaving a 3-inch border. Fold foil over filling to create a packet and crimp edges to seal. Repeat with remaining foil, chips, chicken mixture, and cheese.

  3. Grill packets over indirect heat until cheese is melted and chicken is warmed through, 6 to 10 minutes. Transfer packets to plates and carefully open. Top with cilantro and serve with lime wedges alongside.

Back to blog

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.