US Forest Service tightens rules on dispersed camping

Man camping by river
(Image credit: Getty)

The US Forest Service is tightening rules on dispersed camping in a particularly popular area, limiting where visitors can set up camp and for how long. Officials have decided to clamp down in the Dillon Ranger District area to prevent damage to natural spaces.

Dispersed camping (also called wilderness camping, primitive camping and boondocking) means pitching your tent and settling down somewhere other than a designated campground. It can be a great way to enjoy a trip without too much planning, and it's cheap too because there's no need to pay for a pitch, and you can pick up all the gear you need for under $300.

It does, however, require campers to take extra care to leave no trace that they were ever there. As Out There Colorado reports, USFS rangers have decided that campers are causing too much disturbance, and have chosen to establish a set of over 60 undeveloped campsites instead.

First come, first served

These backcountry sites (some of which will be big enough for an RV, and some only for a single tent) will have no amenities, and are intended to give the same experience as camping anywhere else in the woodland.

"Designating specific, sustainable sites for dispersed camping will help visitors better understand where they are permitted to camp, help prevent wildfires, and allow us to better protect natural resources," said District Recreation Staff Officer Cory Richardson.

Pitches in the campsites will be available on a first come, first served basis (no reservations), and visitors will be limited to a maximum stay of 14 days.

Cat Ellis

Cat is the editor of Advnture, She’s been a journalist for 15 years, and was fitness and wellbeing editor on TechRadar before joining the Advnture team in 2022. She’s a UK Athletics qualified run leader, and in her spare time enjoys nothing more than lacing up her shoes and hitting the roads and trails (the muddier, the better), usually wearing at least two sports watches.