Dispersed camping near Great Sand Dunes National Park is available depending on how far away you want to camp, and what kind of vehicle you have. There’s something for everyone, and the good news is that there is plenty of space available.
Dispersed Camping Near Great Sand Dunes National Park
The following campsites were selected based on our own experiences camping there, or based on the popularity of other boondockers…
Lake Como Road (GPS: 37.52189, -105.60170) – 16.3 miles to Great Sand Dunes Visitor Center – This is probably the most popular choice for free, dispersed camping near Great Sand Dunes. This road goes by several names; Lake Como Road appears to be the most popular name. The Bureau of Land Management calls it “Mount Blanca Road” or officially enumerated as BLM Road 5410. This area is also known as “Great White Shell” in reference to Blanca Peak, one of many “fourteeners” found throughout Colorado. There are several places to camp along this road. Most of the camping is found on the flat within the first mile of the highway. After that, you begin ascending up the peak. There’s actually a few campsites that are still easily reachable by most vehicles and RVs along this elevation. But after that, you will need high clearance 4WD to get any further.
Medano Pass Primitive Road Campsites (GPS: 37.80269, -105.49696) – 5.9 miles to Great Sand Dunes Visitor Center – These are a series of 21 campsites located inside the National Park boundaries, northeast of the sand dunes. These sites are located along Medano Creek Road and require high clearance 4WD vehicles (not AWD) to get there. There are many soft, sandy areas along the way, and you will get stuck if you attempt without 4WD. However, these sites are free, and are the only free, dispersed camping found inside the Park itself.
- Read more reviews of Medano Pass Primitive Road Campsites on FreeRoam
- Map of all campsites along Medano Creek Road
Zapata Falls Campground (GPS: 37.61976, -105.56030) – 12.4 miles to Great Sand Dunes Visitor Center – This is a developed campground managed by the Bureau of Land Management. While it’s not a dispersed camping area, it is however a popular and cheap alternative. At $11.00 per night, you get a great view of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains and the San Luis Valley. The sites are small, however. Most sites are suitable for small to medium sized RVs. There are only a couple of pull-through sites. No hookups of any kind here. Reservations are now required here as of April 2022, see Recreation.gov.
- Read reviews of Zapata Falls Campground on FreeRoam
- Read more details about Zapata Falls Campground on BLM’s website.
San Luis Lakes State Wildlife Area (GPS: 37.67725, -105.73331) – 15.7 miles to Great Sand Dunes Visitor Center – Operated by Colorado Parks & Wildlife, this is a wildlife area that has a campground. The campground is free, with electrical hookups, water hookups, and dump station. No reservations are taken, it’s first-come, first-served. While camping is free here, each person 16 years or older in your party is required to purchase either fishing license or hunting license. After that, your stay is free.
- Read reviews of San Luis Lakes SWA on FreeRoam
- Visit the official state website for San Luis Lakes SWA
- Map of San Luis Lakes SWA
Smith Reservoir State Wildlife Area (GPS: 37.38830, -105.53219) – 29.6 miles to Great Sand Dunes Visitor Center – Also operated by Colorado Parks & Wildlife, this is another wildlife area. It does not have a developed campground, however it does have an area for dispersed camping on the reservoir’s south bank. It’s free to camp here, however each person 16 years or older in your party must purchase either a fishing license or hunting license.
- Read reviews of Smith Reservoir SWA on FreeRoam
- Visit the official state website for Smith Reservoir SWA
- Map of Smith Reservoir SWA
Zapata Falls is now by reservation at recreation.gov, no more FF as of April 2022April 22, 2022 at 11:38 am