Dispersed Camping at Steamboat Springs

This shot was taken on the drive along the way from Leadville to Steamboat Springs.

This shot was taken on the drive along the way from Leadville to Steamboat Springs. It’s a gorgeous drive! 

After Randy and his group left Leadville for Salida, Colorado, I knew we had a record-setting heat wave coming so I liked the idea of staying up at high elevation. I decided to start working my way north so my next stop was Steamboat Springs, Colorado. I had camped there last year for about a month on top of Rabbit Ears Pass so I was glad to know where I had a very high elevation camp (10,000 feet) with great Verizon 4G signal right in camp –that’s a hard combination to find. With all that going for it, away I went!

Looking down at my camp on the way up the nob.

Looking down at my camp on the way up the nob. All these photos were taken in July 2016.

Last year when I was there I searched for good cell signal and found it when I took Forest Road 199 back to Dumont Lake campground and then headed up FR 311 which is the first left past the campground. I then turned right on  FR 291 which is rough enough to discourage the average Joe from taking but I was satisfied I could handle it. I went back as far as I was comfortable and set up camp.

Climbing up the nob behind my camp.

Climbing up the nob behind my camp.

I loved that camp but it turned out that road got very little vehicle traffic but it was the main hiking trail up to the Rabbit Ears formations themselves. I put up with the foot traffic but was determined to find a better campsite the next time I came back. Read my post about that camp here: http://www.cheaprvliving.com/boondocking-2/camping-at-steamboat-springs-colorado/

I was so happy with that camp last year, I decided to go back to the same general area. But rather than turn off FR 311, I would just keep going straight up the mountain, I was sure I’d find a good camping spot somewhere up there and I was right. The road wasn’t bad but it wasn’t good either, any 2wd truck or SUV could make it but it was rocky and you had to go slow to crawl over the rocks–no big deal.

Steambot-map-sat-003

Finally I came to a gorgeous campsite that was on a slight ridge with a beautiful view down on the other side look like Rabbit Ears, but it was still very pretty. The short driveway into it has some big rocks and holes that I wasn’t happy about crawling over–I had visions of breaking an oil pan on them! Fortunately, people had been going around that spot and created a subtle new driveway into the campsite. That made it easy so I just popped right up on it and was home for the next little while!

Our camp at sunrise.

Our camp at sunrise.

One of the things you need to be concerned about when looking for a camp is how far away is the nearest good shopping. Steamboat Springs is a very pleasant little town as far as I am concerned and it was only 10 miles away. It had both a Safeway and City Market grocery store (owned by Kroegers) so that was nearly ideal as far as I was concerned. A Walmart would have been better, but you can’t get everything!

steam-rabbit

I was just about even with the Rabbit Ears, that’s them on the horizon at the far left. From this side angle they don’t look anything like rabbit ears, but they do from the front.

Another thing I look for in a campsite is how good and safe is the road and how much traffic is there on it? Specifically, is the walking good on it for Cody and I? In this case both were very good! We got very little traffic and because the road was so rocky, traffic was driving along very slowly.  The one thing I didn’t like was that most of it was uphill, which is harder for me to walk on… but, it’s also better for me to climb hills since it’s aerobic–so I accepted it as a blessing in disguise.

Cody and I waked up th mountain every evening and there was still snow along the road the higher you went, even in July!

Cody and I walked up the mountain every evening and there was still snow along the road the higher you went, even in July!

One thing that stood out to me was the big nob that loomed over our camp, so as soon as I got there I determined I had to climb it to see the view. So that first day I did just that and really enjoyed it!! It had a terrific view looking down at the van and the mountains all around on the horizon. It was well worth the huffing and puffing on my older legs and lungs!

I'm so lucky to have friends join me wherever I go! Bob

I’m so lucky to have friends join me wherever I go! Bob

I stayed about a week and had one friend join me and then it was time for me to move on and visit another friend–more about that later. I loved this camp and highly recommend it to you to beat the heat! It gets little traffic and has a great 4G signal! The further you go up the mountain you’ll see more campsites if the lower ones are taken. Enjoy!


I’m making Videos on my good friends James YouTube Channel. See them here:

https://www.youtube.com/cheaprvliving

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Bob
About

I've been a full-time VanDweller for 12 years and I love it. I hope to never live in a house again!

Posted in Blog, Boondocking, Camping Locations, Colorado
31 comments on “Dispersed Camping at Steamboat Springs
  1. Lucy says:

    YAHOOOOO, there you are !!!!!!

    My regards, Lucy.

  2. Lucy says:

    W O W, nice place, no wonder you have forgotten about us, your followers( just kidding ) .

    Lucy.

  3. Calvin Rittenhouse says:

    Beautiful pictures. I especially like sunrises, but plenty of people never see them.

    You must have reasonably healthy “old legs and lungs” to climb that grade at that altitude. Nice going!

  4. Very nice place. Thanks for the tips on good campsites! It helps for future visits to Colorado.

  5. Bob- You say in this blog looking for a good 4G signal. Are you still using the same setup: Weboost antenna on a painter’s pole and the phone stand you described in one of your blogs several months ago (if i remember correctly), or have you upgraded ?

  6. Eric says:

    I never been there to see the mountains but,I’ll put on my wish list. Thank for showing the pictures!

  7. Vall & Mo says:

    Howdy Bob,

    This looks like a great campsite! Can you please tell whether the road would be passable by a truck pulling a 5th Wheel, or is it’s for smaller vehicles like vans and truck campers only?

    Cheers,

    Vall & Mo.

    • Bob Bob says:

      I don’t think a 5th Wheel could handle it. Mainly because as far as I went there was no where for you to camp or turn around. Bob

  8. Cae says:

    Sounds like there wasn’t much of a crowd factor?

  9. Judith Dennis says:

    These are beautiful thanks for the share and blog. I enjoy your writings and photos. I am not doing what you are doing but it helps me to believe I am. Something I wish I was doing.

  10. gary e green says:

    bob, too cool, just got a road trek 1999 ,it on my fb page ! see you soon ! safe travels !

  11. Derek says:

    Hi Bob, I’ve been watching your youtube blogs for a year or so, great entertainment. Although, I do watch with a hint of jealousy. Coming from the other side of the pond, we in the UK do not have the same freedoms as you guys. There is no BLM land here. Everything is owned by someone. And just “parking” up is frowned upon. I understand that on mainland Europe, things are less restrictive. Hay, we’ll find out, once I get my van organised.
    I have recently found this blog site, it is going to take me some time to wade though it all. But I will try, given time.

    I intend to start my van build next spring. British regulations make it a little more difficult than in the US. A 6ft bed, two burner stove, Sitting eating arrangement for all seat-belted passengers being only a few. Oh! I nearly forgot the most important item. A wardrobe to house your party frock. Can’t have that getting creased.

    I know it’s unlikely we will ever meet. But I would like to thank you again for the entertainment on winter evenings, and to wish you a safe and happy life.
    I am aware that envy is not an emotion to be proud of. But, those views. Something special my friend.

    Derek

  12. Calvin Rittenhouse says:

    So the notice at the top says 21 comments, but I only see 6 when I click on it. However, on my Android tablet earlier, I saw all the comments. I am using Windows 10 on a cheap 2-in-1 that’s basically a Windows tablet.

  13. Jacque says:

    Hi Bob!! My family just began living full-time in our 31 foot class c motorhome this last March. We are in New Mexico staying in an RV park but are headed to California next month for workamping jobs that will last through December. We are considering heading to the RTR after that. We look forward to meeting you and learning from you! We have planned this for well over a year now and are really excited about RTR!!! Just a couple quick questions. Where do we obtain the permits to camp? Do you move your camp after 14 days? We plan to stay a couple months too.

    Save us a spot!!

  14. Jeff Stahl says:

    Hey Bob, my girlfriend Janan and I ventured out of Golden today, have been following your blog now for about a month and decided to check out what “dispersed” camping is all about. We venutured up past Dumont Lake Campground and found peace and serenity just a few miles from Hwy.40. The views of Rabbit Ears and the tranquility of camping here are reminders of what’s really important in life. Btw, our two dogs, Max and Genevieve are in dog heaven.

    • Bob Bob says:

      Jeff, I love that area so much, I’m glad you found it! One of the things I did was determine to give my dogs their best possible life–little did I know that would also give me my best possible life. I guess I ain’t nothing but an old hound dog!! Bob

  15. Jim says:

    Steamboat Springs does have a Walmart, in the same parking lot as the City market

  16. Dave says:

    Hi Bob,

    do you have any concerns about encountering bears when you are out and about camping in the mountains ?

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