Fall Camping in Colorado

Where to go camping and what to think about before you head out for your weekend adventure.


It is now August in the High Country and that means the hottest part of the year is behind us and Autumn is right around the corner. “Mud season” in the mountains, while a bit chillier than the summer months, provides a great opportunity to experience camping without the crowds of summertime. The fall is also a drier time, which makes for excellent stargazing opportunities on the 23 million acres of public land in Colorado.

Low nightly temperatures for September in high alpine forest such as Breckenridge (9,600 feet in elevation) average about 31 degrees whereas lower mountainous valleys such as the San Isabel National Forest near Buena Vista (7,965 feet in elevation) average 38 degrees. Want milder temperatures at night? Drive into the plains to the John Martin Reservoir at 3,870 feet in elevation where the average low for September is around 51 degrees. While the nights can be chilly the Kremmling area is a fantastic place to camp with dispersed camping on BLM lands as well as some formal campgrounds with fire pits and vault toilets. The fishing on the Upper Colorado can be great. While you’re up there check out our guided fishing trips. If you’d rather go on your own but don’t have all the gear you need to float to the best spots remember you can rent gear from Colorado River Rentals in Kremmling as well. Regardless of where you end up pitching a tent, you will need to make necessary preparations to ensure the most comfortable and safest camping experience possible.

It can and will snow in the mountains in the fall, so make sure you have a tent that is rated for four seasons and can handle being snowed on. With that being said, when picking a location to camp make sure you are keeping your eyes on the forecast because backcountry roads can become impassable during winter weather events. For inside the tent, having an appropriate sleeping bag is necessary for your own health and safety. Hypothermia can be a real concern. It is recommended that you at least use a 20 degree sleeping bag to stay warm throughout the night. Also, ditch your cotton clothing and elect to wear materials that wick away moisture.

How to store your food and cooking preparations is another important part of camping any time of year. From bears to chipmunks you don’t want to feed the wildlife or tempt them to wander into camp at night. Cooking should always be done away from your campsite and food should be stored in appropriate bear-proof containers or storage lockers. If neither of those two options are available, you can suspend food from tree limbs or vertical rock faces high off of the ground. Fall is mating season for moose, and it is important to keep distance during encounters, especially if a female moose is with her calves. Also, if you plan on bringing Fido along for the trip make sure you have him/her on a leash at all times because a barking dog can disturb a moose.

Other things to make sure you bring along are a headlamp/flashlight, tinder or a starter log for a fire, matches or a lighter, a camp stove with enough fuel, cooking/eating utensils for dinner/breakfast, a sleeping pad, pillows, and of course your favorite outdoor toys to enjoy yourself with. There are endless camping opportunities is Colorado, from primitive/dispersed to “glamping,” so get outside and find the base camp for your next outdoor adventure.