San Juans Dispersed Camping

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some 14ers
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San Juans Dispersed Camping

Post by some 14ers »

TLDR; Does anyone have any suggestions they know about for dispersed car camping in the San Juans.
Hey 14ers!

I'm going to be doing a camping trip (dispersed car camping) in the San Juans in the Ouray/Telluride area early/mid September. I haven't thoroughly explored the forest service roads in the area like I have more areas in the front range, and my normal sources (friends, dyrt.com) for dispersed sites haven't really been coming through for this so I'm hoping there are some good ideas some of you all might be willing to share. Ideally looking for roads with spots running off of 550 or 62, but spots people along passes like Cinnamon or Engineer passes, and other options are great too!
FWIW We'll be driving an f150, so I have 4w4 and decent clearance. Won't be able to handle true jeep roads but even then those aren't too common.

Thank you all in advance! (especially since I know some people like to keep the sites they find a secret!)
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Wentzl
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Re: San Juans Dispersed Camping

Post by Wentzl »

I found this place totally by accident some years ago, not sure of current status, but was easy and amazingly nice. It is north on 550 from Molas pass and south from Silverton.

Off of 550 there is an unmarked dirt road that goes to the west just below Grand Turk. If you look at googlemaps, you will zoom in and find a place called Alladin's Lamp Ski Hut. Don't turn there. It is the next dirt track to the north. Easy access. Lot's of "established" sites with campfire rings. Not a true campsite, no facilities at all, but looked well used and I really liked it.

Here is a screen shot from Googlemaps showing where I am talking about. Not sure if this will work, but here is my attempt:

https://www.google.com/maps/@37.7675479 ... a=!3m1!1e3
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wineguy
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Re: San Juans Dispersed Camping

Post by wineguy »

Only times I've camped in that area were on trips to the Wilson Group. If you follow directions on this site to the Rock of Ages trailhead, there are several campsites along the road (not especially convenient to a major highway). My favorite was in a meadow on a hill maybe 50 yards off the main road. Sorry that I can't give more specific directions, but it was probably 1-2 miles short of the trailhead. If you keep looking to the west (right) as you drive towards the trailhead, a clearing should be visible through the trees on a hill that rises above the road.
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Gene913
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Re: San Juans Dispersed Camping

Post by Gene913 »

There are multiple established camp sites along the road to the Kilpacker Basin trailhead, and even a few at the trailhead itself.
"If you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, and you say to this mountain, 'move from here to there,' it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you." Matthew 17:21
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Gene913
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Re: San Juans Dispersed Camping

Post by Gene913 »

Last Dollar Road is a 4WD road that connects Telluride to Ridgway.
From Telluride: Take CO 145 west approximately 5 miles and turn right on Last Dollar Road. You will pass the Telluride airport on your right when the road is still paved.
From Ridgway: Take Highway 62 west until you see a sign for Last Dollar Road. Turn left off of the highway and continue left when you hit a fork in the road (a right turn will take you to the town of Sawpit).
There are a few dispersed campsites just past where LDR leaves CO 145 west and at the other end where LDR leaves Hwy 62 west.
"If you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, and you say to this mountain, 'move from here to there,' it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you." Matthew 17:21
bigredmachine
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Re: San Juans Dispersed Camping

Post by bigredmachine »

It’s been years, and I don’t know if it counts as dispersed, but quite a bit of camping spots on lizard head pass, your only a few hundred yards off the hw, but the area is gorgeous and free. Maybe 15 minutes to Telluride.
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cougar
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Re: San Juans Dispersed Camping

Post by cougar »

bigredmachine wrote: Thu Aug 11, 2022 8:18 pm It’s been years, and I don’t know if it counts as dispersed, but quite a bit of camping spots on lizard head pass, your only a few hundred yards off the hw, but the area is gorgeous and free. Maybe 15 minutes to Telluride.
This is a good area near Telluride. Also north of there closer to Telluride is the road to Alta ghost town and Alta Lakes. Decent spots off that road, it's got trails connecting to the ski resort. There's also some lakeside spots near the pass and highway but those are very popular.

Just north of Ouray I saw an area off 550, close to the highway and across the river. Ended up splitting a site at a campground near YBB instead since it was pretty cheap.

FreeRoam and iOverlander apps are good for finding spots.
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some 14ers
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Re: San Juans Dispersed Camping

Post by some 14ers »

Wentzl wrote: Thu Aug 11, 2022 2:49 pm Off of 550 there is an unmarked dirt road that goes to the west just below Grand Turk. If you look at googlemaps, you will zoom in and find a place called Alladin's Lamp Ski Hut. Don't turn there. It is the next dirt track to the north. Easy access. Lot's of "established" sites with campfire rings. Not a true campsite, no facilities at all, but looked well used and I really liked it.
That's awesome! Thanks for the g-map. Is it the road that goes past the ski hut that I see on the map??
some 14ers
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Re: San Juans Dispersed Camping

Post by some 14ers »

wineguy wrote: Thu Aug 11, 2022 2:57 pm Sorry that I can't give more specific directions, but it was probably 1-2 miles short of the trailhead.
No problem, thank you! And that sounds like my directions for the town I grew up in!
some 14ers
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Re: San Juans Dispersed Camping

Post by some 14ers »

Gene913 wrote: Thu Aug 11, 2022 7:47 pm There are multiple established camp sites along the road to the Kilpacker Basin trailhead, and even a few at the trailhead itself.
Thank you! This is awesome to know!!
some 14ers
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Re: San Juans Dispersed Camping

Post by some 14ers »

cougar wrote: Thu Aug 11, 2022 8:42 pm
FreeRoam and iOverlander apps are good for finding spots.
Awesome, I haven't heard of those apps yet. Checking out now
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two lunches
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Re: San Juans Dispersed Camping

Post by two lunches »

cougar wrote: Thu Aug 11, 2022 8:42 pm FreeRoam and iOverlander apps are good for finding spots.
also a big fan of Campin
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