Camp at Mt. Elbert Forebay Reservoir

Mt. Elbert Forebay Reservoir

Gorgeous views of Colorado's tallest 14er and the Twin Lakes area. Right next to the trailhead if you decide to hike Mt. Elbert the next morning.

At the base of Mt. Elbert there are three campgrounds. One is a National Forest campground - you have to pay for a spot and it is closed from October-May. The other two are first-come, first-serve free campground areas. As you drive past the south trailhead, right before the reservoir, there is a very large space with multiple campsites.

We were here the first weekend in October and there were only two other campsites set up, but in the summer it can get fairly crowded. Dispersed camping is a blessing when it works, but make sure you have a backup plan in case the campground is full.

While Twin Lakes and the Reservoir are both nearby, there is no water source directly at the campsite. Make sure you bring enough or stop on your way in to get some. Additionally, be aware of the fire ratings while you are there. There is enough cell service at the campsite to search the local fire department's website. If it is a clear night, the space is perfect for night-time star photography!

The roads leading to the campsite are not too bad, but four-wheel drive would be recommended if you are trying to reach the upper trailhead or some of the campsites further away from the road.

Coordinates for the campground: 39.103223, -106.367269

Pack List

  • Tent
  • Camping Supplies
  • Camera
  • Tripod
  • Bear-proof food storage
  • Water
Show More
Activities Camping
Skill Level Beginner
Season Spring, Summer, Autumn
Features
Forest
Scenic
Wildlife

Reviews

Leave a Review

Overall rating: 

One of the best free camping areas in the Arkansas River Valley

Centrally located between Aspen, Leadville, and Buena Vista, this dispersed camping area is the perfect base camp for any adventure. There are a ton of camping spots, mostly 50 feet away from eachother for some seclusion. If you're lucky enough to get one on the southern ridge, you get amazing views over Twin Lakes and the surrounding mountains.

Always great

We've stayed here a few times over the last couple of years and we are always pleasantly surprised by how secluded it is. It's a great place to stay the night if you're attempting Mt. Elbert in the morning!


Please respect the places you find on The Outbound Collective.

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

Nearby Adventures

More Nearby Adventures

Camp at Twin Lakes' White Star Campground

This area is located on the other side of Independence Pass from Aspen, which is only accessible during the summer, or can be reached year-round via Leadville, which is about 20 miles away along High.

311 Saves

Mountain Bike the Colorado Trail near Mount Elbert

This is the way to see fall colors if you're into empty trails and endorphins. Grind up the trail starting from South Elbert Trailhead. You'll turn right onto the Colorado Trail at .

47 Saves

Hike Hope Pass

Hope Pass is accessed from the Willis Gulch trailhead about 25 miles outside of Leadville, Colorado.

83 Saves