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Awe Inspiring FREE Mountain Camping At Clear Creek Reservior

When searching in the area just beyond the frozen slopes of Aspen and Leadville, I found a series of listed campsites all located on lands which allow free camping. I am not one to pass up a good free campsite or at least a good look at one, so I made the trip and found as the snow subsided and the grounds became increasingly more green that the weather was shaping up to be very pleasant for tent camping.

As I finally turned onto the unpaved road I cringed in fear of the road condition in my small car but also was optimistic based on what I had seen from other campers. The road a mixture of clay and old gravel turned out to be a little bumpy but nothing major and after passing the lake and wrapping back toward the backside of the water I noticed the small sign for dispersed camping.

I had found the location from a person who is a full time RVer and so I knew the sites would be large enough for a decent sized rig, but I was so surprised how much room really was there!

Wrapping alongside the shoreline of the creek are campsites scattered at various distances.

The campground on a Wednesday had a handful of campers, of which I couldn’t even find them til I really started driving through the far side of the campground and they all seem to have collected along that bank due to large shade trees.

I opted for a site on the right hand of the entry in a large open space near the base of the Colorado Trail hill which goes through camp. There were a number of established looking campsites with river rock fire rings and large portions of the area cleared of scattered rocks or limbs. I had very little work to do to prepare my tent site before just setting up.

The campsite does have a single vault toilet. It is located on the side nearer the tree line in the more open area to the right of the camp. While this was a little far for me compared to my usual wants at a campground which offers any amenities, I was glad to give up a few hundred yards for a much better view alongside the river.

The sites are very basic, you will have to literally bring everything you want with you, no tables or lantern hooks, no electricity, not even trashcans! Sometimes with views like these it is all worth it. If you enjoy a good primitive site or can be sustainable off grid in your camper this is perfect.

The waters here are icy cold from the snow melt and provide a great contrast on a warm day.

They are clear and when the occasional fish does happen to pass you see it easily, though they do say you are more likely to catch fish in the lake itself.

I was elated to see the wildlife in the area throughout the day which included some very cute prairie dogs, a very curious humming bird who was very impressed with my pink shirt and some beautiful songbirds.


  • There is no cell service for AT&T at this campsite, I you are needing to make any important calls you will need to drive about 3 miles away from camp to sustain signal. I advise dropping a pin if you have a friend of family member you check in with before you come to select your site.

  • Remember your firewood if you are wanting to have a fire. There are several sources for your fire starters but none really for your actual campfire.

  • Pack Out Everything!! There is NO trash collection at this site and since it is such a beautiful free site it is important that we remember to keep it clean and able to be used by the next person.


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