You are here

16 Apr 2024
Related Items: 
Aspen Snowmass Vacation Blog

Summer in Aspen Snowmass offers some of the best on-mountain activities of any Colorado resort. A wide variety of outdoor activities and adventures are available in the area, such as hiking, biking, fishing, and camping.

Few things can compete with camping under a star-filled Rocky Mountain sky to truly get a fully immersive outdoor experience worthy of this stunning location. Car camping choices here are endless and include everything from campgrounds with full amenities and RV hookups to sites deep within the mountains where you’ll need to bring everything in and out. Making reservations in established campgrounds (most require them) is critical as these areas are extremely popular, especially on the weekends. There are a few first-come, first-served sites as well if you want to explore.

Below is a list of our favorite campsites in the various areas near and around Aspen Snowmass.

Camping Near the Maroon Bells

The Maroon Bells scenic area is one of the most popular and well-photographed parts of Aspen Snowmass. There are beautiful day hikes and overnight hikes to enjoy, as well as three campgrounds to explore. The West Maroon Trail is a favorite hiking and backpacking trail that passes through aspen groves and evergreen trees, along fields and streams, and through high-altitude passes where higher mountain lakes and mid-summer wildflowers can be seen.

Silver Bar Campground | Located roughly five miles southwest of Aspen, Silver Bar is adjacent to the Maroon Bells welcome station The 4 campgrounds here are tent-only walk-in sites with Maroon Creek running along the eastern edge (perfect for anglers!) Reservations are required.

Silver Bell Campground | Hemmed by aspen groves and subalpine forests on the banks of Maroon Creek, Silver Bell Campground offers hiking, biking, horseback riding, and other recreational opportunities. 

Campsites 2-4 and 8-14 are unavailable for advanced reservation and set aside as first-come, first-served for up to the five-day stay limit. Availability is available at the welcome station on Maroon Creek Road, but the campground is typically full before noon during peak season in the summer and fall. Reservations can be made in advance for some of the sites.

Silver Queen Campground | Silver Queen Campground is just a short walk from Maroon Creek with a spectacular view of Pyramid Peak. This quiet location offers amazing views and plenty of opportunities for hiking and biking. Silver Queen offers five campsites available for advanced reservation

Backcountry Camping | The most heavily used areas of the Maroon Bells Snowmass Wilderness offer limited overnight permits. These are required and can be found at

Camping Near Independence Pass

Open seasonally, this stunning route over the continental divide connects Twin Lakes between Buena Vista and Leadville, with Aspen on the west side. Located along Independence Pass are several campgrounds popular for hiking, biking, fishing, and picnicking. 

Difficult Campground | Perfect for long camping trips due to its 50-day stay limit, this site is heavy with trees and added amenities like water and vaulted restroom facilities. Fishing, hiking, and picnicking are easily found on-site, and campfire talks are available on Saturday nights right on the campgrounds for a fun and unique experience! Reservations are required.

Weller Campground | A much smaller site than Difficult Campground, Weller is located closer to several trailheads and Independence Pass. Weller’s 11 sites are spread over a small loop road that winds through a stunning beautiful aspen grove just off the highway. Sites are available on a first-come, first-served basis, so plan ahead and get there early.

Lincoln Gulch Family CampgroundA total of six campsites are available at these locations, providing direct access to the Collegiate Peaks Wilderness. Guests can enjoy hiking, biking, fishing, four-wheeling, and breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains and valleys. No reservations are required.

Lost Man Campground | Sitting at around 10,500 ft above sea level, Lost Man Campground offers trailhead access to the Hunger Fryingpan Wilderness across the road. Lost Man Campground has 10 first-come, first-served sites.

Portal CampgroundHike among the wilderness or go fishing at nearby Grizzly Creek and Grizzly Reservoir at Portal Campground. This area is popular for mountain biking, dirt biking, hiking, and horseback riding amongst other recreational activities. Portal Campground offers 5 campsites on a first-come, first-served basis.

Camping in Woody Creek, Colorado

At roughly 13 miles from Aspen, Woody Creek is a small mountain village best known for the infamous Woody Creek Tavern. The area also holds a reputation for its excellent dispersed camping spots that cover an area that follows two forest roads–Forest Road 523 and Forest Road 534. Because these are dispersed camping sites, you won’t find amenities here. It’s important to arrive fully self-sufficient at these sites.

Dispersed Camping by Triangle Peak/Forest Service Rd 523 | Follow CO-82 W from Aspen for roughly 6.8 miles to Smith Wy, then head left to Upper River Road for 4.5 miles to Little Woody Creek Rd/Co Rd 18A. Follow through to the national forest boundary which turns into FSR 523. There are plenty of camping spots to the left or right of the immediate fork.

Dispersed Camping by Triangle Peak/Forest Service Road 534 | Follow CO-82 from Aspen for roughly 10.2 miles and make a right just past Woody Creek onto Gerbaz Way. Take an immediate left to Lower River Drive/Co Rd 16 and continue on that road for 2.5 miles to a turnoff for FSR 534. Take this road back to the national forest where there are spots to camp.

Best Times To Camp in Aspen Snowmass

Once you have an idea where you plan to camp, it’s best to look at when so you can make reservations and prepare for the fun time ahead! Late May through late September are the best times to camp in Aspen Snowmass as winters are cold and snowy and best left to those with extensive cold weather campaign experience. Weather during the summer is typically warm and pleasant, though afternoon thunderstorms are frequent occurrences.

Helpful Camping Tips

Because of Aspen's unique features, camping here requires planning. Winter weather conditions, mountainous terrain, high passes, and off-roading forest service roads can pose challenges. Here are a few other things to consider before planning your Aspen Snowmass camping trip:

Campfires | Forest fires are a serious risk in the broader Aspen region due to the richness of vegetation and aspen trees and the dry Colorado climate. Being extra careful when setting up campfires is crucial, particularly if you are camping within a forest.

Because fires represent a real danger to the surrounding area, it is best to check the current information about starting fires and what is prohibited. Information on fire restrictions can be found on the Colorado Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management’s webpage. BLM Colorado is another great resource with an available interactive map that shows information about ongoing fires in the state. 

Wildlife | There is a wealth of wildlife that lives in the Aspen Snowmass area, including coyotes, mountain lions, deer, elk, foxes, moose, and black bears. It’s not uncommon to have a wildlife encounter, so it’s a good idea to take precautions when camping in the Aspen Snowmass area. 

Bears are waking from hibernation as the weather warms up, and curious bears looking for food can sometimes wander into camping areas. While black bears are generally shy and aim to steer clear of humans, there are some precautions you can take to avoid encounters from occurring.

Make sure your food is kept in a bear-proof cooler and bear-proof containers that are high in a tree with ropes or even in your vehicle out of reach of curious bears. Ensure that your fire pit is free of food residue and that your tent is free of food as well. Lastly, practice good wilderness etiquette by leaving your site as clean–or cleaner–than you left it. Pack out everything you bring in!

For more safety tips to help keep you and the local wildlife safe in the event of an encounter, check out this page by the Aspen Chamber.


Are you ready to plan your Aspen summer getaway?  Let us help you!  Start by browsing our vacation rentals and peruse our Summer Activity Guide to begin planning your Aspen adventures.

Explore our vacation rentals in Aspen and Snowmass to find the perfect place to stay for your ski vacation. Guests of Frias Properties receive airport transfers, concierge services, health club access, front desk check-in, housekeeping, and 24/7 maintenance and support with their vacation rental.

Share this Page

Enter your message or notes here to be included in the email.