Free Camping Near Great Sand Dunes National Park
Going by various names, Sacred White Shell Mountain offers free, boondocking on BLM land with great views of the San Luis Valley. You will often see this referred to as, “Lake Como Road”, because it leads up to Lake Como, perched up on Mt. Blanca. It’s officially named, “Mt Blanca Road” according to BLM signage, or BLM Road 5410 on BLM maps. Either way, it’s a popular place for hikers and off-road enthusiasts seeking to conquer one of Colorado’s many “fourteeners”. It’s also a popular place for boondocking among RVers.
Bureau of Land Management
San Luis Valley Field Office
San Luis Valley Field Office:
GPS: 37.5366, -105.5792
Reservations: first-come, first-served
Camping Fee: none
Permits Required: none
Maximum Stay: 14 days
BLM Sacred White Shell Mountain, Camping
The name, “Sacred White Shell Mountain” is a misnomer. The official name of the mountain is “Mt. Blanca”, or more affectionately known as, “Blanca Peak”, one of the many “fourteeners” that mountain climbers have on their to do list. The road leading up to the peak offers several places where RVers can camp. The higher up in elevation you go, the better the views of the San Luis Valley, and the better Verizon 4G signal you can get.
But, this area can get crowded during the weekends. You will tend to see a lot of car campers and van dwellers, most of whom come here for the challenge of hiking up Blanca Peak. But you will also see a good number of RV campers who come here for the free boondocking, and the close the proximity to Great Sand Dunes National Park.
The campsites along Mt. Blanca Rd appear to be divided into four sections. The first is located right at the intersection where Mt. Blanca Rd branches from State Route 150. It looks to be big enough for four large RVs. The second section lies a 1/4 mile up the road, and is a flat area large enough for another four large RVs. The third section is also another 1/4 mile beyond that, and is a flat area for another four large RVs. From here, the road ascends elevation. About 1/4 up, are a series of clearings where cars and RVs have made camp.
This last section, where the road ascends elevation offers the most breathtaking views. The first two campsites in this last section are easy enough to get any size RV up. I was able to pull a 28 foot trailer with a 2WD truck up to the second of these two sites.
Expect gorgeous sunsets up here, but also expect moderate to heavy winds too.
Pros and Cons
Pros: Super-easy access, right off SR-150, with hard packed dirt road. plenty of room during the week, but gets busy on weekends. Good Verizon 4G signal but only in the higher elevation campsites. Completely free, beautiful views. Close to Great Sand Dunes National Park.
Cons: High elevation here, between 7,500 to 8,500 feet, which may present issues for those with oxygen problems. The warmer months will produce lots of tiny gnats. Some trash lying around. About 20 miles into Alamosa for supplies.
None. The town of Alamosa is about 20 miles to the west, and offers all modern amenities.
Cellphone Signal Strength
Verizon 4G comes in good if you camp higher up along Mt Blanca Road. The first three camping sections of the road offer poor signal.
RV Dump Station
There is no dump station here, nor any potable water. The closest dump station is inside Great Sand Dunes National Park, which also offers potable water.
Lots of tiny gnats fly around here. They are small enough to crawl through window screens. However, they only seem to come out when they see you walking outside. As long as you stay inside, they don’t seem to come out. No mice or rats encountered. Coyotes can be heard howling at night. Cattle do wander around here.
On the weekends, when this place is the most busiest, it still remains quiet and peaceful.
Safe or Sketchy?
We camped here for a week and a half, and encountered no problems. There are a lot of younger adults that car camp, or van camp, and they do hike up and down Mt Blanca Road, but they have always been respectful. We were able to leave our trailer unattended going into Alamosa or Great Sand Dunes National Park, without a problem.
There’s no reservations, there’s not even first-come, first-serve. It’s all dispersed camping, you’re on your own.
Any Permits Needed?
No permits needed.
How Crowded Is It?
On weekends, all the better campsites get taken up pretty early. Your best bet is to arrive here during Monday to Thursday, and get here by 11:00 AM. After that, sites start filling up. It’s not secluded camping here, but mostly out in the open.