Outbound Collective logo


Added by Jeremy Wallace

Poke around the lonely hills above Dotsero and check out Colorado's youngest volcanos. Trails cover the surrounding hills, and there are plenty of dispersed camp spots with great views of the mountains.


The Dotsero crater is Colorado's youngest volcano, erupting a mere 4,200 years ago. While the crater may not be as dramatic as Mt. St Helens, Mt. Baker, or other volcanos in the U.S., it's quite an unusual terrain feature to come across in Colorado, and offers some great opportunities for camping, hiking, OHV use, and sightseeing. The crater sits within the Gypsum Hills recreational area, and there are plenty of off-road trails to explore, and a few dispersed camp spots. 


From the Dotsero Exit, travel East on the frontage road (highway 6), and turn left before the highway underpasses the interstate. You'll pass by a concrete plant on your left. 

Continue down the road until you reach a trailer park. The road abruptly curves left, then curves right around the neighborhood. Do not continue straight towards the hills into the gravel pit. 

Once on the road, it winds up into the hills. There are many side roads- make sure to stay on the main road. The road becomes very gravel-y, and could be difficult for large trucks or RVs. Continue up the road for a few minutes, and you will come to the crater on your left. 

Further up the road leads to more camping and a vast network of trails. Make sure you have a map of the area if you choose to continue, as it can be confusing to navigate. 


Dispersed campsites along the road above Dotsero Crater. WARNING: The road is rough! May not be suitable for large trucks or RVs, or small passenger cars. A 4X4 SUV, truck, or jeep is advised. 

Stay limit: April 1st to August 31st: 7 days. September 1st to March 31st: 14 days. 

Please be sure to check up on current fire restrictions before hand by calling the BLM Colorado River Valley Field Office: 970-876-9000. Only use dead or downed wood; never chop lives trees or branches for use. 

Please be sure to dispose of human waste properly; at least 200 feet away from streams, in a 6-8" cat hole. (Restrooms available at the Dotsero Landing site, minutes away).

Read More

Download the Outbound mobile app

Find adventures and camping on the go, share photos, use GPX tracks, and download maps for offline use.

Get the app


Dog Friendly

Camp at Dotsero Crater Reviews

Have you done this adventure? Be the first to leave a review!

Leave No Trace

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!


Camp at Deep Creek Campground

Spouting Rock via Hanging Lakes Trail

Hanging Lake

Explore Hardscrabble Mountain

Camp at Pinball Point

Hike the Grizzly Creek Trail