Summer is almost here in Colorado, and the Rocky Mountains are teeming with life and splendor. 

For those of us who call this incredible region our home, our feet are itching to get out and hike, bike, and connect with nature. But in the age of COVID-19, it can be difficult to navigate getting outside while staying mindful of public health and safety regulations. 

Now more than ever, it’s important to take steps to keep yourself and your camp space and equipment clean and sanitary — for the safety of yourself and other campers.

As a former Navy medic, our Director of Overland Operations, Steve, has put together a robust guide on how you can stay safe, sanitary, and clean while camping in Colorado during coronavirus this summer.

The Health Benefits of Outdoor Adventures

With warmer weather comes the powerful call of nature, as the stir-craziness you’ve probably been feeling during COVID-19 can create an almost zombie-like search for sun and fresh air. 

Exercising and outdoor recreation are two of the best ways to stay healthy and decrease your daily stress. And spending time outside soaking up the sunshine contributes to a more positive sense of wellbeing

For many Coloradans and guests who visit the region, getting our sweat on in the great outdoors is what we live for! 

Can You Camp in Colorado During Coronavirus?

Most hiking and biking trails, open spaces, and campgrounds around Colorado are officially open. Federal and state agencies, including the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and Colorado Parks & Wildlife (CPW), have temporarily closed all office and bathroom facilities. 

In recent statements, these agencies recognized the needs and rights of people to enjoy their public spaces, while still doing so responsibly. It’s important to recognize that many state-wide counties and local communities have issued their own guidelines about what activities are permitted, encouraged, or off-limits to both locals and visitors. 

These guidelines are being enforced in different ways at each location. Do your research before heading out to the high country to understand the rules and regulations wherever you’re going.

It’s up to you to use your best judgement when deciding how, when, and where to spend time outside. It’s a time to adopt new mindsets and make choices that promote health and safety for yourself and others:

  • Explore a local park or campsite you’ve never been to

  • Explore trails and campsites closer to home

  • Wake up earlier to avoid crowds

  • Choose less-trafficked times for trail runs or outdoor yoga sessions

  • Try to reduce crowding at trailheads and public areas

  • Always have a backup plan and another location in mind if it’s too crowded

  • Adapt and overcome!


#ResponsibleRecreation Tips

Before COVID-19, many outdoor enthusiasts were already taking precautions to stay sanitary, safe and responsible before heading into the wilderness. 

Packing a first aid kit, bringing enough food and water, telling a friend where you’ll be and for how long, and other precautions are always smart when going into the mountains for any activity.

During COVID-10, there are a few extra tips and tricks campers should take to stay safe and responsible out in the wild:

  • If you don’t feel well, just stay at home! The mountains aren’t going anywhere soon.

  • Reserve your campsite in advance — this is required by state parks and most private campgrounds

  • If you plan on finding dispersed camping, choose an established site (look for fire rings, usually just off the dirt road) and keep your group below 10 campers

  • Have an alternative location in mind to visit if the parking lot or trailhead is closed or overcrowded

  • Practice physical distancing in the parking lot, around the park and campsite, and along the trail

  • Bring along that mask, especially if you anticipate stopping for any food or services along the way. This helps protect local communities!

  • Pack in (and out) your own hand sanitizer and trash bags, as most state and local parks have closed their bathroom and garbage facilities until further notice

  • Make a plan to take care of your bathroom needs responsibly — stay clean by bringing a shovel, wag bag, a bottle, a portable toilet, etc. Do your business at least 200 feet away from roads, water sources, and campsites

  • Be extra mindful in regard to fire bans and other county and local regulations. Causing an emergency such as a forest fire leads to a greater chance of transmitting coronavirus, and stresses out our EMS responders

  • Bring your own supplies from home rather than crowding local towns and facilities that may still be trying to reduce contact with out-of-towners

  • Always check state, county, and local guidance before heading out

  • Heed the regulations of the park or trailhead

 Wherever you go, anticipate fewer bathroom facilities being open. There may also be rangers and law enforcement personnel directing traffic flow and monitoring the parking area. 

Stay alert, have a plan, and most importantly, be safe and have a blast!

Where Can I Camp in Colorado During Coronavirus?

With 4 National Parks and 41 State Parks in our state, there are plenty of camping sites in Colorado to visit that are well maintained and designed for visitors and vehicles. 

While we wait for all Colorado camping at National Parks to open back up (phased reopening began in early June), you can find useful information and book your campsite in a Colorado State Park here.

Beyond the parks, did you know that Colorado is home to 22 million acres of public land including national forests, preserves, and wilderness areas? 

You’ll usually encounter fewer people and more space to move on public land, which makes them perhaps the best campgrounds in Colorado during coronavirus — although there are fewer established bathroom and garbage facilities at these sites.

Much of this land can be accessed via state- and county-maintained dirt roads leading to an awesome array of dispersed camping sites in Colorado. Check out public land and Bureau of Land Management maps for ideas on where to go, and how to get there.

The forest service also provides an excellent resource to learn more about dispersed camping here, here, here, and here!

There are some fire bans and other restrictions currently in place that are meant to reduce the likelihood of forest fires and added stress to EMS responders during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Check out what the BLM has to say about their COVID-19 response here. Always bring a map, check local regulations, and be extremely mindful of your personal safety when dispersed camping.

Try a New Outdoor Activity

Let’s be honest: with a great challenge can come great change. For those of us craving the outdoors, the pandemic provides an opportunity to try something different.

Maybe this could be your time to discover a new activity or hobby. For instance, if you’re a hunter or fisher but don’t feel like going too far from home right now, learning how to bird watch could enhance your overall experience in and connection to nature.

And exploring an area closer to home might bring you some unexpected surprises. Maybe there’s a camping area not too far from you that you’ve never been to, or a secret mountain biking trail that your friend always raves about. You may be surprised what flora and fauna exist close to home. 

Below, we’ve included a few outdoor activities that might inspire you to have a fresh, fun way to recreate safely while learning new skills:

  • Backyard archery

  • Gardening

  • Darts

  • Cornhole / Bean bag toss

  • Astronomy

  • Slacklining and balance games

  • Backyard Camping

  • Gardening and Landscaping

  • Kite Flying

  • Land Navigation and Geocaching

  • Landscape painting and drawing

  • Dog training

  • Pickleball, badminton, and other volley games

  • Biking, skateboarding, and scootering

  • For kids of all ages, hula hooping and jump roping provide great exercise

  • Plant identification in your neighborhood

  • Grilling food and outdoor cooking

And the list goes on! There are many resources around that may spark your interest. 

Have you discovered a new outdoor hobby during the pandemic? Let us know what new activities you’ve picked up recently in the comments section below!

Stay Up to Date on What’s Open

It can be challenging to find up-to-date information on which parks and areas are open or closed. Below are a few websites and apps that can be used to find the latest news: 

Our Stance at Overland Discovery

At Overland Discovery, we believe adventure is for everyone. We connect campers with the great outdoors through renting awesome adventure vehicles and by offering you educational resources, just like this blog!

We understand that in these unusual times, it’s important to find a balance between staying safe and getting outside to soak up the many benefits of the great outdoors. Quality time in nature works wonders for the heart and soul. 

With campgrounds opening up and more guidance coming from officials, we’re excited to see what kind of summertime adventures await!

Feel free to reach out and see how we can help you get out and on the open road towards exploration with one of our campervan or overland rentals. Stay up-to-date on our latest adventure content, promotions, and more by subscribing to our newsletter below.


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