Outbound Collective logo

Alta Lakes Dispersed Camping

Telluride, Colorado

based on 3 reviews


Added by Andrew Slaton

Pass a nearby ghost town en route to dispersed camping with beautiful views at Alta Lakes. And, it's free!

Note: Camping is permitted around the lake. There are approximately 20 undeveloped campsites. For more information, head to the US Forest Service website.

Camping Facilities
20 campsites that are completely undeveloped
Camping is permitted at only the designated campsites
Portable toilets are available; however, there is no water
Campsites are available on a first-come, first-served basis 

Getting There
From the Mountain Village near Telluride, drive south on CO 145 toward Lizard Head pass. A few miles before you reach the turnoff for Ophir, there's a brown forest service sign for Alta Lakes on your right, and a dirt road immediately after to your left. Turn left and follow the main dirt road for about four miles until you reach an old mining ghost town (Alta Ghost Town). 

To get to the lakes, turn right at the town and follow the signs to Alta Lakes. High-clearance vehicles recommended. But I do it in my Suby Forester all the time... just go slow :) There are campsites all around the three lakes, so take your pick! Your total drive to the lakes is 5 miles each way and you gain 1700 feet elevation. So drink plenty of water, you'll be camping and recreating at just over 11,000 ft at the campground. And keep in mind that there are very limited facilities up there.

Contact Information
Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre and Gunnison National Forests
2250 South Main St
Delta, Colorado 81416
(970) 874-6600

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


Mountain Biking
Dog Friendly
Family Friendly
Food Nearby
Swimming Hole

Alta Lakes Dispersed Camping Reviews

This location is beautiful but I had to hike the last mile becuase someone parked their rental jeeps in the road.

The lake and surrounding area were absolutely beautiful. Even though a high clearance 4x4 is required to reach this area it still gets very crowded with visitors and campers.

Words can't describe how incredible this spot is. Get here early!!! We arrived at 10:45am and got the last spot right on the lake's edge facing the mountains (there were other spots but were further from the lake). It should be noted that the sun hits the east rim of the lake (closest to the mountain face) an hour later than the western side. Couldn't have picked a better spot to camp.

Leave No Trace

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


Explore Alta Ghost Town

Drive Ophir Pass

Mountain Bike Village Trail

Hike to Mystic Falls, CO

Hike to Bear Creek Falls in Telluride

Fat Bike In Telluride