Camp at Alta Lakes
Colorado › Alta Lakes
Added by Andrew Slaton
Pass a nearby ghost town en route to camping with beautiful lake views. And, it's free!
Note: Camping is permitted around the lake. For more information, head to the US Forest Service website.
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 a old mining 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. A vaulted toilet and no water.
- Sleeping bag
- Paddle board
- Fishing pole
- Hiking boots
Please respect the places you find on The Outbound.
Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More
Camping, Chillin, Fishing, Hiking, Mountain Biking, Photography, Running, Stand Up Paddle, Swimming, Yoga
Are we missing something?Suggest an edit
ReviewsLeave a Review
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.
More Adventures Nearby
Hike the Spearhead
Colorado / Glacier Gorge Trailhead
Beginning from the Glacier Gorge trailhead, follow trail signs towards Mills Lake. At Mills, continue onward past Black Lake, and then continue hiking up into the incredible basin above Black Lake.
Hike Mt. Elbert via Black Cloud Trail
Colorado / Black Cloud Trailhead
Directions: Heading south from Leadville from U.S. 24: West on CO 82 for 10.5 miles to a hidden right turn that leads to a trail head. If you make it to the Mt.