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Free Van Camping in Buena Vista

Free Van Camping in Buena Vista

Buena Vista is quickly becoming a popular destination in Colorado for summer activities and outdoor recreation. Whether you’re visiting the Buena Vista area to go whitewater rafting, climbing, or mountain biking, chances are you’re looking for a great campsite.

Gone are the days of setting up tents in the dark. The #VanLife movement has taken the work out of camping. The hardest part of camping with a van is finding the perfect campsite. These are some of our favorite spots for free van camping in Buena Vista.

The Buena Vista area is known for great camping, hiking, biking and of course—whitewater rafting on the world famous Arkansas River! Performance Tours Rafting has been bringing guests rafting on the Arkansas River since 1986 and has some of the most experienced rafting guides in the industry. Performance Tours offers half day and full day rafting tours in Browns Canyon National Monument (class III), Bear Creek Family Float (Class I-II) and the Numbers (Class IV+) in Buena Vista, as well as trips on the Royal Gorge (class IV+) and Bighorn Sheep Canyon (III) out of the Canon City office.

Performance Tours Rafting’s Buena Vista office has a large parking lot with room for full sized RVs. We promise that your camper van will feel right at home at Performance Tours Rafting!


Fourmile Recreation Area (CR 375)


A group of people around a camp fire

Fourmile Recreation Area is a true Buena Vista gem. In addition to paid campsites at Railroad Bridge campground along the Arkansas river, there are many free dispersed campsites scattered throughout nearby. This is a popular area, so if you’re planning on a weekend adventure we recommend finding a site as early as possible.

Fourmile is a destination for climbers, kayakers, whitewater enthusiasts, off-roading, and mountain biking. It’s close to town, and most campsites have beautiful views of the Collegiate Peaks and surrounding wilderness. Plus, the Arkansas River is just a quick drive away.

Directions: From Main Street, turn onto N Colorado Ave (CR 371). Follow 371 for about 2 miles, crossing the Arkansas River. Turn right on CR 375 to enter Fourmile Travel Management Area. Continue driving until you find an available campsite.

Midland Hill (CR 304)

The dispersed camping on CR 304 has some truly amazing views of Mount Princeton. It also scores high on the accessibility scale, as the turn-off is at the Collegiate Peaks Overlook, right off Hwy 285.

This area also has great mountain biking trails, accessed from a parking/ camping area on CR 204.

Directions: From Johnson Village, head east on Hwy 285. The turn off from CR 304 is just past the KOA campground, about 1.5 miles from Johnson Village. Turn right at the Collegiate Peaks Overlook and continue on CR 304 until you find an existing and unoccupied campsite.

Browns Creek Dispersed Camping

Van Camping in Buena

Excellent hiking, mountain biking, ample shade, and even a trailhead bathroom make Browns Creek a popular area for van campers. The road in is highly trafficked and in decent condition, making it an easy drive for most.

Though there are many existing dispersed campsites, Browns Creek is another popular weekend destination. We recommend arriving as early as possible to stake your claim.

Directions: From Johnson Village, take a left at the stoplight onto US 285 South. Continue for 9 miles and turn right onto CR 270. Continue straight when CR 270 turns into CR 272. Turn left to stay on CR 272. Stop when you see your new campsite.