The best camping near Rio Grande National Forest

Discover the most magical spots to pitch your tent or park your rig on your next Rio Grande National Forest adventure.

The best camping near Rio Grande National Forest

Discover the most magical spots to pitch your tent or park your rig on your next Rio Grande National Forest adventure.

Camping near Rio Grande National Forest

84% (25 reviews)

Discover the most magical spots to pitch your tent or park your rig on your next Rio Grande National Forest adventure.

Explore the many ecosystems of south-central Colorado in this massive national forest.  

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Community favorites near Rio Grande National Forest

Top-rated campgrounds reviewed by the Hipcamp community.

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Public campgrounds in the park
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Stay at a public campground in Rio Grande National Forest

Top-rated campgrounds near Rio Grande National Forest

96%
(68)

Paradise Awaits - Creek Side Camp

18 sites · RVs, Tents35 acres · Creede, CO
Learn more about this land:At the head waters of the Rio Grande River, Mineral County is 96% National Forest with 4.5M acres of National Forest lands surrounding us.  You can see the largest wilderness area in the United States from your camp site, at 9,000 ft. we are an out door enthusiasts playground. Wolf Creek ski area 'The Most Snow In Colorado'. Creede Repertory Theater rivals Off Broadway. We offer cabins, RV sites and Campsites at Broken Arrow Ranch. We also offer vacation homes through Broken Arrow Ranch and Land Co. Please call our office or visit our website. brokenarrowcreede.com. RV Sites are NOT booked through hipcamp, they run $45 nightly and can only be reserved through the broken arrow website. We are 32728 hwy 149 Creede. 11 miles towards Lake City on hwy 149. Pull all the through the Cabins and either turn left up the little hill camping anywhere, but keep the fire pit open for everyone. Or drive through the green gate past cabin #7 and camp on the creek. Bathhouse is in the middle of the cabins. (No Bathhouse or water after September 15th.) Fire pit and picnic table is on the hill.  You can have dogs off leash anywhere away from the cabins and RV sites, just be careful as we have horses, we don't want the pup's getting kicked.  Let me know if you need anything.NO BATHHOUSE BETWEEN SEPT 15-JUNE 1 PRICE $30BATHHOUSE AVAILABLE JUNE 1 - SEPTEMBER 14 Price $35Dale, Anne, and Susan.
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$30
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97%
(717)

High Peaks Campground

22 sites · RVs, Tents40 acres · Moffat, CO
Welcome to the San Luis Valley; the highest Alpine Valley in the world! This campground sits close to the foothills of the Sangre de Cristo mountain range. You can also see the San Juan mountain range to the east in the distance. San Juans are part of the NW rim of the Continental Divide. Great Sand Dunes are visible from every site. With unlimited mountain views, beautiful starry night skies, come see the Milky Way, Eclipse, Meteor showers!!! Previously known as High Desert Ranch Campground, this land was originally part of a large ranch in the 1980s. The main ranch is still up and running but this parcel was used for many purposes over the years. In 2021, we were featured in USA Todays Ten Best for star gazing! My property has 360 degree mountains views with the Sangre de Cristo Mountain Range as our back yard. Nearby you can find many different trail systems for all kinds of outdoor enthusiasts. From hiking to jeeping, ATV or dirt biking and equestrians - you can find it all! You will be surrounded by ranch land and state land with Wildlife Refuge just two miles away. Accommodations for those with livestock, just make sure you chat in advance your initial message. Close to BLM, and National Forest as well as 3 hot springs within 20 miles and the Great Sand Dunes. We are still under construction and making changes often so bear with us while we continue to add and change things for the better!
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$38
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96%
(122)

Wilderness Bud and Breakfast

5 sites · Tents12 acres · Pagosa Springs, CO
Located on a historic ranch in the spectacular Blanco Basin valley, nestled up against the Continental Divide and South San Juan Wilderness Area. This B&B offers a campground with tent sites along the pristine headwaters of the Rio Blanco. A group fire pit, community kitchen and food prep area, composting toilet facility and on-demand gas heated shower facilities. Feel free to explore the river and surrounding San Juan National Forest, with plenty of hiking trails to accommodate all fitness levels. A 420 Happy Hour is available for all campers age 21 and up, and breakfast is served for all!!!
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$49
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(108)

Ramble at Great Sand Dunes NP

18 sites · Tents640 acres · Alamosa East, CO
Ramble welcomes you to our private campground - Ramble at Great Sand Dunes National Park! The location is strikingly beautiful and vast: 640 acres of rolling sand dunes nestled up against the Sangre de Cristo Mountains at 7,550 feet. This campground is just a 30 minute drive to the entrance of the Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve, where you can hike dunes up to 750 feet tall. It's also at the base of Colorado's fourth tallest mountain, 14,345-foot Blanca Peak. Ramble is a dog friendly campground so bring your furry friends. There is a pet leash hook for you to link up your dog at each site. The Welcome Center will be the first place you'll stop, which includes an interactive photo opportunity, our park map, and informative and interesting information about the local community and surrounding region. Just a short distance from every campsite is our bathhouse -- thoughtfully designed with private bathrooms, showers, and a pet rinse area. It also includes a QR-code-accessible mini store for easy purchases of firewood, toiletries and Ramble merchandise. Inside the bathrooms you’ll find flushing toilets, toilet paper, seat protectors, fold down changing tables, sinks, hand soap, hooks, mirrors, soft lighting, and locking doors. On the side of the bathhouse are our open air concept shower stalls complete with hot water, benches, towel hooks and complimentary body wash and shampoo. The dump station is located just past the bathhouse and can accommodate disposal of sewage, waste water and includes a spigot for easy clean up. This station is complementary to Ramble guests. All of our campsites are purposefully spread apart to give every group maximum privacy and spaciousness. Please refer to the campground map when making multi-site reservations and expect 100 to 250 feet walking distance between adjacent sites. As far as activities go, there’s plenty to do. Rent a bike or bring your own -- we’ve got our very own three mile gravel path for you to shred that provides direct access points to local bike and Bureau of Land Management trails. There is also a 40 acre, 9-hole disc golf course perfect for all levels onsite. Horseshoe pits, corn hole tables, board games, and other activities are also available. And if that’s not enough, attractions in San Luis Valley, Great Sand Dunes National Park, Medano Creek, Zapata Falls, and Hooper Pool are all just a short drive away. Ramble at Great Sand Dunes falls within the IDA International Dark Sky Park region, so be prepared to enjoy some ridiculously starry nights. If it gets too dark, our entire campground utilizes thoughtfully designed lighting that won’t detract from nature’s light show. So bring the dog, kids, family and friends -- or enjoy the awesomeness solo. Welcome to camping the way you've always wanted it to be.
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$75
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Penitente Canyon Tin Can Camp

5 sites · Lodging200 acres · Center, CO
Nestled in the heart of the San Luis Valley at the entrance to Penitente Canyon and Special Recreation Management Area and 50 minutes to Great Sand Dunes National Park, San Luis Valley Great Outdoors welcomes all guests to come and enjoy their cabins at Tin Can Camp. Tin Can Camp is located within 200 acres of Colorado State Trust Land at roughly 8,000 feet above sea level. The landscape is arid high desert with scattered groves of piñon and juniper trees. The camp serves as a convenient home base for launching adventures across the San Luis Valley to various local Hot Springs, archeological sites, and other small town local attractions. For the more adventurous guests, there is recreation right from Tin Can Camp with The Valleys largest trail system and climbing area less than a mile away and access to the vast expanse of the Rio Grande National Forest. The cabins are "micro homes" outfitted with modern conveniences. Each cabin has solar power, a propane heater, a compact kitchen with a sink, water jugs, and pump, two full size loft beds, a small table with chairs, an incinerator toilet, and a covered porch. Incinerating toilets are self-contained waste management systems that burn human waste instead of flushing it into a sewer or septic system. These toilets use propane gas to incinerate waste at high temperatures, reducing it to a small amount of sterile ash. Incinerating toilets are commonly used in locations where traditional plumbing is impractical, such as remote cabins and environmentally sensitive areas. They are valued for their efficiency, minimal environmental impact, and the elimination of the need for water or chemical treatments. There is odor associated with the incineration process. Guests should know there is no water available on the property. You will need to bring water for all your needs. This includes cooking, washing, drinking, and for putting out fires. Guest should plan 2 gallons of water per person per day. A public well/pumphouse is at the intersection of County Road 38A and Road 40G (37.836363, -106.271551)(inoperable as of 7/11/2024- BLM working to fix it). Tin Can Camp is adjacent to the future Sangre de Cristo Dark Sky Reserve, and the property has spectacular views of the Milky Way Galaxy. Each cabin has a fire ring for guests to relax and enjoy the dark nighttime sky. Wood collecting on the property is not permitted, so guests must bring their own firewood. As mentioned, the property is located at the entrance to Penitente Canyon. Penitente Canyon is a Nationally-renowned climbing destination with more than 400 climbing routes. Penitente Canyon also has 30+ miles of non-motorized trails for mountain biking, hiking, and equestrian activities and guest have direct trail access from camp! Guests can ride mountain bikes directly from the property. There are numerous recreation, sightseeing, historical and cultural, and agricultural tourism opportunities in the nearby Rio Grande National Forest, Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve, and Sangre de Cristo National Heritage Area. Gas, ice, water, and some groceries can be found nearby at the La Garita Trading Post, which has operated since 1913. The La Garita Trading Post is in a historic log cabin and serves the best local-beef burgers in the San Luis Valley.
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$60
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(34)

New Sky Ranch : Eco-building + Art

9 sites · Lodging, RVs, Tents100 acres · Saguache, CO
New Sky’s bones are those of an old settler’s homestead in the San Luis Valley that dates back to the early 1900’s. Nestled up against the Rio Grande National Forest, it is a high mountain desert oasis that holds the original dance hall of the county and a whole lot of history. New Sky Ranch is a wild, wild place. We are not only off grid, but also nestled in a large natural caldera (meaning a volcano that has collapsed on itself) and are right next to national forest. This means that we can experience all 4 seasons in a single day - having extreme winds and rain in one moment, and clear summer skies the next! We invite you to not only be prepared for this, but to lean into the experience as this unique high alpine environment can be one of the most inspiring and epic places on earth. We are currently fixing up what is already on the property for an eco-experiential retreat as well as a space for like minded artists to take refuge and create magic on the land. We currently have our workshop and studio space up and running as well as the first of several livable structures completed - an 100 year old rehabbed miners cabin using Hempcrete and other natural materials, complete with a communal outdoor kitchen. We also have begun hosting our first artist/maker residents who are using the shop space and land to bring their own creations to life. Over time, we have dreams of permaculture farming, eco building workshops, community collaboration, and the ability to host gatherings – however, we are committed to taking it all one step at a time and allowing only what is meant to be to unfold. For now it is simply our home, a maker space for art and experimental eco building, a gathering spot for friends and a quiet Hipcamp spot.
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$39
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(21)

AIYM Camp Riverfront Duplex Cabin!

32 sites · Lodging, Tents185 acres · Capulin, CO
The AIYM Camp serves as a wonderful base camp and Christian Retreat for families wanting to recreate in the Rio Grande National Forest. Cabin rentals and Tent Campsites. You are invited to stay on 185 acres surrounded by beautiful mountains in the Rio Grande National Forest. Escape the crowds and relax in the quiet mountains. Easy Alamosa River access. Close to outdoor adventures; fishing, hiking, biking, atv trail access. Come enjoy a secluded and unforgettable mountain experience! The camp is in a wilderness setting with electricity supplied by a diesel generator that operates from 6:00 am to 10:00 pm. No cell service in the canyon but the camp does have a regular phone for special usage and satellite Wi-Fi for $10. The most unique quality is the beauty and cleanliness of the forest. The quiet peaceful atmosphere of the canyon is hard to believe. This is the perfect place for families to unplug, get outside but still have some of the comforts we all enjoy!
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$40
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97%
(18)

Serendipity Base Camp

6 sites · Lodging, RVs, Tents1 acre · Monte Vista, CO
We have 1.75 acres.  The history of this property is interesting, varied and historical.  During WWII the property was used as a detainment camp for German POW's.  They were transferred here from Trinidad and Walsenburg CO to work with the farmers in the community, working potatoes.  It was a happy, fruitful work situation and some of the farmers/POW's became good friends, even traveling to visit each other after the war.  Parts of the building are still there. Serendipity.  The land has served as an auto junk yard, repair shop, metal scrap yard, thrift store and more.  As we have worked on the property we have found many treasures that are working their way to the surface.   The location of the property we feel is perfect.  You can get everywhere from here.  We are in the city of Monte Vista limits, town is walking distance.  It sits in the middle of what makes the valley thrive.  Farming (Cows & hay) to the East.  There is also a beautiful view of Mt Blanca and the Sange de Christo mountain range.  When the sun sets you understand the beauty of the mountain and understand why is was named Blood of Christ. To the North is Coors - they gather the barley that is grown here in the valley to start the making of the beer.   To the West is Mountain King - a potato storage unit.  There is about 55,000 acres of potatoes grown with a wide variety of all different colors.  With averages of 22 tons of potatoes per acre.  - That's a lot of taters! The sunset over Mountain King is what you see in the pictures.   Serendipity Camp is less than 1/2 mile from Monte Vista.   Gas, groceries, coffee shops, restaurants, thrift & gift stores, and hardware.  We have a volunteer run community movie theater that is open Friday - Sunday and for a short drive you can get to one of the few drive ins still operating.   We do see/have wildlife that visits us regularly.  A timid clan of Marmots (we call them whistle pigs). a fox appears occasionally, as well as many different birds (small birds, falcons, and Sand hill cranes in season)  We have seen racoons in the area and sometimes a small herd of about 5 deer.  Learn more about this land:Welcome to Serendipity!  This is our first year hosting as a campground.  We have been short term hosts for several years and thoroughly enjoy it so we wanted to reach out to the camping community also.  We have 1.75 acres.  The history of this property is interesting, varied and historical.  During WWII the property was used as a detainment camp for German POW's.  They were transferred here from Trinidad and Walsenburg CO to work with the farmers in the community, working potatoes.  It was a happy, fruitful work situation and some of the farmers/POW's became good friends, even traveling to visit each other after the war.  Parts of the building are still there. Serendipity.  The land has served as an auto junk yard, repair shop, metal scrap yard, thrift store and more.  As we have worked on the property we have found many treasures that are working their way to the surface.   The location of the property we feel is perfect.  You can get everywhere from here, it’s a great base camp to do all there is to do in the San Luis Valley. We are in the city of Monte Vista limits, town is walking distance but it’s very private. It sits in the middle of what makes the valley thrive.  Farming (Cows & hay) to the East.  There is also a beautiful view of Mt Blanca and the Sange de Christo mountain range.  When the sun sets you understand the beauty of the mountain and understand why is was named Blood of Christ. To the North is Coors - they gather the barley that is grown here in the valley to start the making of the beer.   To the West is Mountain King - a potato storage unit.  There is about 55,000 acres of potatoes grown with a wide variety of all different colors.  With averages of 22 tons of potatoes per acre.  - That's a lot of taters! The sunset over Mountain King is what you see in the pictures.   Serendipity Camp is less than 1/2 mile from Monte Vista.   Gas, groceries, coffee shops, restaurants, thrift & gift stores, and hardware.  We have a volunteer run community movie theater that is open Friday - Sunday and for a short drive you can get to one of the few drive ins still operating.  We do see/have wildlife that visits us regularly.  A timid clan of Marmots (we call them whistle pigs). a fox appears occasionally, as well as many different birds (small birds, falcons, and Sand hill cranes in season)  We have seen racoons in the area and sometimes a small herd of about 5 deer.  As we tweak Serendipity Glamp Camp, we have campsites for tents, campers, vans & cars, bell tents, a small tent and a small teepee style tent for a more comfy stay, but still camping.  It is a gated park so you can feel safe leaving your camp for the day or evening.  And although there are town lights around, there is not alot of light noise overhead and you can see millions of stars. There is one fire pit for now, but working on others.  Some firewood is provide.  There are picnic tables in the community area and we are moving toward a working community kitchen.  We are still doing improvements and setup but would love to have you stay with us.  We welcome feedback.  There are 2 porta potties and some non-potable water to use.  For now, come and set up camp where you please.  The tents are not ready yet as we need to glamp them up a little.  Will get them listed as soon as they are ready,  We do allow pets, on leash in the campground.  One of the other amenities we are building is an agility dog park that will be available to campers and members from the community.  
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$18
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Chinook Cabins & RV Park

29 sites · Lodging, RVs, Tents6 acres · South Fork, CO
Our RV Park in South Fork CO has space for 18 R.V.’s. Each site has full hookups with the majority being 50amp service and are oversized so that they can handle any big rig! There is a shower house and laundry facility available for our guests (seasonal). There is more than ample parking and each site is easy to access. Our sites are back off the highway for a more relaxing atmosphere and the view is amazing. We have a community fire pit of which we can roast hot dogs, marshmallows for s’mores and tell all the stories you would like. “What goes on at the Fire Pit stays at the Fire Pit.” Come and join us! We have a lot of fun! South Fork Colorado has all the family fun and challenging terrain you could ever look for. 1000’s of miles of trails to hike and bike. Snowmobile/ATV/UTV and Motorcycle riding multi-use Rio Grande National Forest Service trails and roads. We welcome you with plenty of parking area on site for your trailers to park. The Rio Grande River offers world class fly fishing. There are plenty of lakes and creeks to enjoy also. Wolf Creek Ski Area is just up the road from South Fork, Colorado for all your winter fun downhill skiing and snowboarding. Cross Country Skiing and Snowshoeing are fun low cost family activities with plenty of terrain to enjoy. Great Sand Dunes National Park is open all year long and is a day trip from South Fork. Enjoy the Sand Dunes National Park, learn how they were formed, hike a dune and try sand boarding. Zapata Falls is a short hike near the Sand Dunes. South Fork Colorado has several other waterfalls nearby to visit, Treasure Falls and South & North Clear Creek falls. You will want to come back year after year to explore all we have to offer.
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$48
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(4)

Rollin Boles RV Ranch

1 site · RV, Tent36 acres · Moffat, CO
36 Acres all to yourself below the Sangre De Cristo mountain range. Hotsprings right across the street, along with many others near by. Amazing hiking all around you! If you're into offroading, check out Marshall pass rd/Poncha creek Rd. Medano pass is another one of our favorites and is an amazing way to finish out a day in Sand Dunes National Park. Joyful Journey hot springs is 3 mins away and for $15 you can soak all day long and enjoy a hot shower before returning back to camp. An hour to Great Sand Dunes National Park. 3 hours from Durango, 3 hours to Denver, 2 hours from colorado springs. 30 mins from Salida. Mailbox available to get whatever packages you need!
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$25
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Mudita Camel's Yurt

1 site · Lodging35 acres · Capulin, CO
Eons ago camels roamed through the San Luis Valley and today they roam once again.  Come and stay at our yurt enjoying views of the mountains and of the camels and donkeys roaming their home.   Take a farm tour and get the chance to pet the camels and maybe even sneak a camel kiss.  Enjoy a night stay at the yurt viewing the stars or enjoying a nice fire at the fire pit.   Come stay in our yurt and get the chance to meet our little herd of camels and wake up to the views of the gorgeous surroundings!  Travel down a few miles of dirt roads and you will find our little oasis of 35 acres.  The hard-sided yurt sits right next to the field where our camels and donkeys roam.  Set apart from the main house, sitting in Trujillo Canyon, and surrounded by BLM/National Forrest, its the perfect spot for recharging. Located off the beaten path so amazing for star gazing but also close enough to the Sand Dunes for day adventures.  Our property is off the grid and allows you to disconnect for a little while and there is a nice creek to go and sit by.  Each stay also includes a farm tour if you are interested.  The night skies have little light pollution and are perfect for star gazing.  We can't wait for you to come and stay with us!Don't take our word for it, guests love their stays with us! "We struck gold finding this magical place. The yurt was so cozy, comfy, and full of tons of extras that exceeded our expectations. We booked our little trip to visit the dunes, but this farm was by far the best part of our trip. We loved our walks to see all the animals. The camels and donkeys were so friendly!"
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$110
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3.5 Miles From Sand Dunes Springs

3 sites · Lodging, RVs, Tents20 acres · Hooper, CO
PLEASE READ EVERYTHING 😁 Enjoy the sounds of nature when you stay in this unique place. View of the Sangria de Cresto mountain range! Great sand 3.5 miles to sanddunespool near highway 17 and 112! Bathrooms, showers and laundry!! HOT SPRINGS! An upgrade from staying in tent! No amenities. Warm place to stay! Wifi TV with Paramount plus discovery plus and peacock Fridge, microwave and airfryer! Electric Heat! 4 inches of insulation! No Blankets or Sheets! Please bring your own! No water!! Only outdoor spigot! There are full hook up r v spots as well!!!
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$40
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The best camping near Rio Grande National Forest guide

Overview

About

Encompassing nearly 2 million acres, this national forest—named for the river that runs through it—features a mix of dense woodlands, mountains, and even high desert. Places of particular interest include the Silver Thread Scenic Byway, known for its beautiful scenery, and the Wheeler Geologic Area, a rugged hiking area offering views of ancient geologic formations. Popular activities in the forest include hiking, fishing, rafting, off-highway vehicle (OHV) riding, rock climbing, winter sports, and camping. There are 33 campgrounds and around 651 campsites in the forest, most of which have potable water and vault toilets.

Notable campgrounds

Tips for snagging a campsite

  1. The majority of campgrounds in the Rio Grande National Forest are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Arrive late morning when others are packing out for the best selection.
  2. Eight of the campgrounds have reservable campsites. These are released at 8am Mountain Time, six months in advance. If you're trying to book a cabin or popular spot, be ready to book online right when it becomes available.
  3. Choose harder-to-reach campgrounds for the best chances of getting a site. Campgrounds closer to cities fill up faster.
  4. Consider coming mid-week if your schedule permits. Weekends can get busy, particularly in the summertime, but if you can come on a Wednesday or Thursday you’ll have more choices.

When to go

The best time to visit the Rio Grande National Forest depends on your interests, but it’s at its most popular in the warm summer months when kids are out of school. May and September are good alternatives for camping if you want nice weather without the crowds. Fishing season runs from June through October, though plenty of people come for ice fishing in the colder winter months. Other popular winter activities include sledding, skiing, snowmobiling, and snowshoes.

Know before you go

  • Make sure to download offline maps before heading out. Phone and internet service is not always reliable outside of urban areas.
  • Forest fires can be an issue in Colorado from late spring through early autumn. Make sure to check the Rio Grande National Forest website for details on closures or campfire bans before you take off.
  • Dogs are allowed in the forest, but must be kept leashed in campgrounds and must be responsive to voice commands when out on trails.
  • Check for snow-related road closures and avalanche warnings before you head out. Also remember to pack chains with you if there’s any chance you might find yourself in a blizzard.

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