Warm summer nights go hand-in-hand with fireside s’mores, pitched tents and the rustling of sleeping bags. Now that summer has sprung, it’s time to unpack all of your camping essentials and plan a night under the stars. Whether you’re looking to casually car camp, or pitch a tent for several days while exploring the town, there are plenty of options in the Aspen Snowmass area.

Toward Independence Pass

Head southeast of Aspen on Highway 82

Difficult Campground

Difficult Campground has 47 campsites and is the largest campground closest to Aspen — be warned that reservations are required May 15 through September 27. Here you’ll find easy access to hiking and fishing, wildflowers in the early summer and golden Aspen trees in the fall.

Elevation tops out at 8,180 feet, one of the lower camping spots for those looking to keep the altitude sickness at bay, and is only four miles southeast of Aspen.
Where to Camp Near Aspen Snowmass - Lifestyle campfire teen
Where to Camp Near Aspen Snowmass - Lifestyle campfire teen

Lincoln Creek/ Grizzly Reservoir Campground

Keep heading up Independence Pass (about 11 miles southeast of Aspen) and you’ll hit Lincoln Creek road. High-clearance vehicles are recommended on this bumpy dirt stretch. Most of the campsites are along the road, but if you continue on you’ll eventually hit Grizzly Reservoir, where there are additional campsites. For those wanting to explore the area, consider hiking to Grizzly Lake — a 7.1 mile hike with a moderate incline and less traffic than some of the other hikes in the area. Camping is first-come, first-serve from May 22 through September 27.
Lost Man camping area
Lost Man camping area

Lost Man Campground

Even further up the Pass (14.5 miles southeast on Highway 82) you’ll hit the Lost Man Campground at the head of the Lost Man Trailhead. At 14,500 feet, make sure you bring enough water and also enough layers — those incremental feet truly make a difference in temperature. If time allows, the two lakes separated by a ridge at the top of Lost Man Trail make a stunning photo opportunity. Camping is first-come, first-serve from May 22 through September 27.

Toward the Maroon Bells

Head southwest of Aspen up Maroon Creek Road

Maroon Bells
Maroon Bells

Silver Bar, Silver Bell & Silver Queen Campgrounds

Who wouldn’t want to camp near this one-of-a-kind location? There are three campgrounds near the Maroon Bells (up Maroon Creek Road) for a total of 12 campsites: Silver Bar, Silver Bell and Silver Queen Campgrounds. Regardless of the campsite you choose, you’ll be rewarded with easy access to hiking, road biking and endless photo opps of the Maroon Bells. Reservations are required at all campgrounds and camping season runs from May 22 through September 27.

Castle Creek Road

Take Castle Creek Road at the roundabout just outside of Aspen

Castle Creek
Castle Creek

Pearl Pass

We’ll preface this by saying that high clearance and 4WD on your vehicle is absolutely required, but if you have a car that can handle it, the views up Pearl Pass road are stunning. Take Castle Creek road for 14 miles until you hit the end of the pavement. From there hang a right, and you’ll start to see campsites about 1.3 miles up the road. All five campsite are first-come, first-serve, but if you score one —and manage to make it up the road— you’ll be treated to true camping serenity, with minimal neighbors around you.

Rather Glamp Than Camp?

Free Spirit Adventures

Are you hoping to have someone handle the logisitics of your outdoor adventure? More interested in glamping than camping? Our professional outfitters will take care of it all with our Free Spirit Adventures. Learn more about our private camping adventure at Elk Camp.

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About the Author

Celine Wright IAS
Celine Wright IAS

Celine Wright

Celine is a Colorado native whose writing has been published in the Los Angeles Times and Colorado Springs Gazette, among other titles. During the day she can be found marketing brands in the outdoor industry at Carbondale-based Backbone Media and after hours (dependent on season) she can be found biking, skiing, and hiking in the Aspen area.

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