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7 Beautiful and Free Campsites in America's Rockies

2017 | Mri Grout


Wild camping in the Rocky Mountains of America should be on the bucket list of every nature lover. Its clear skies, stunning scenery, and crisp mountain air will make you fall so deeply in love that you'll never want to take your tent down and fall back into the rat race of everyday life. And though we found many breathtakingly beautiful free campsites in America, these seven are the ones that held us completely captivated with frozen awe as we cycled through on our 2017 Rockies Expedition.

Please make sure to take all of your trash with you, bury your poo, and not to use soap near watersources so that these beautiful and free campsites in America's Rockies can stay beautiful and free for years to come.

1. Capital Reef, Utah

Beautiful and free campsite near Capital Reef

Despite being located right off the main road, this beautiful and free campsite near Capital Reef National Park still offers a relaxing, quiet night for the weary traveler - well at least in the off season anyway. One can easily imagine how insanely busy it gets here in the summer due to its jawdropping views, conveniently close location to both the town of Torrey and a stunning national park, and multiple well-maintained dirt tracks.

However, there aren't any facilities at this free campsite near Capital Reef, but water, toilets, and trashcans can all be found at the informatioon centers both in Torry, which is a mere two miles to the west, and the national park, which is about 10 miles to the east.

2. Browns Park Wildlife Refuge, Colorado

free campsite at Browns Park Wildlife Refuge

Hidden away in a gorgeous little section of Colorado is a little pice of heaven called Browns Park Wildlife Refuge. A winding river cuts through mountainous terrain, offering a wetland paradise that's home to 100s of different bird species, as well as a healthy number of wild mule deer and white tailed rabbits. However, our favourite animal to watch here was the many majestic raptors as they soared so freely in the skies above us.

Drop toilets and fire pits are provided at the two free campsites in Browns Park Wildlife Refuge, but only the eastern one has picnic tables. Neither one has tap water though, so if you need to drink from the river make sure it's well treated first.

3. Gateway Canyon, Colorado

free campsite at Gateway Canyon

Gateway, Colorado is a small town with a big view of the Unaweep Seep Pass; however, it's the landscape behind it that really captures the heart with its downright gorgeous cliffs and complete feeling of serenity. Gateway's Canyon offers many beautiful and free campsites as you wind your way up the steep climb, but it's the camp nearest to the small Colorado town that holds the prettiest view in our opinion. Nevertheless a trek up to the top is a must for anyone that loves having their breath stolen by one gorgeous view after another.

There are public toilets and trash bins in Gateway, but no drinking water that we're aware of (we had to ask a random resident for some when we went through). However, she did mention that you could probably fill up at the big hotel or maybe the country store when it's open. If you drink from the river that runs past the free campsites near Gateway, then it's completely at your own risk as there's a sign warning of old uranium mines pumped full of radon gas higher up in the canyon.

4. Ferris Mountains, Wyoming

This beautiful and free campsite in America's Rockies is by far the most remote place on this list. The nearest paved road is over twenty miles away in either direction and the closest town is about fifty. All of the roads are dirt or sand of varying softness and though they seem to have been made just for semi trucks to cart out oil, they aren't very well maintained. So you definitely need to be fully self-supported when wild camping in the Ferris Mountains of Wyoming.

However, if you are fortunate enough to have the means to get down into the canyon, then you'll be fantastically rewarded with amazing scenery, proghorn deer, and a peaceful night like no other.

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