The Royal Gorge Field Office offers a range of camping opportunities such as developed campgrounds along Shelf Road or the Arkansas River, backpacking in a Wilderness Study Area, or dispersed camping with your RV at one your favorite recreation sites. 

Shelf Road - Banks and Sand Gulch Campgrounds  

These campgrounds are located along Shelf Road, which is part of the Gold Belt Byway tour and at the internationally recognized Shelf Road Rock Climbing area.Trails accessing the rock climbing area connect direclty with the campgrounds.  There are also opportunities for hiking, biking, horseback riding, and motorized recreation in this area.

Camping at the Banks Campground

These sites offer mostly tent sites with limited trailer options and provide picnic tables, fire rings, tent pads, vault toilets and a group site. The road accessing the Banks campground is steep -- using 4WD is recommended for vehicles towing a trailer.


Arkansas Headwaters Recreation Area Campgrounds

Through the Arkansas Headwaters Recreation Area (AHRA) the BLM and Colorado Parks and Wildlife manage six developed campgrounds along the Arkansas River including Railroad Bridge, Ruby Mountain, Hecla Junction, Rincon, Vallie Bridge, and Five Points. Click here for more information regarding these sites and camping within the AHRA.  

Dispersed Camping

Whenever you are camping outside designated camp sites, please practice minimum impact camping by following these guidelines:

Camp at previously used sites where possible.   Research has shown that the most rapid negative changes to soil and vegetation occur during the first few times a campsite is used. 

Camp at least 200 feet away from lakes and streams to minimize impacts to riparian areas and prevent contamination. 

Firepans or stoves are recommended when camping on BLM lands.   A fire pan is a metal tray used to contain a campfire and prevent the fire from blackening the soil (oil pans work great!).  Before breaking camp, it is a simple matter to transfer cold ashes into a plastic bag or other container for disposal at home.  If you use a fire pan carefully, it is possible to leave a campsite with no scars or evidence of your use.  The use of firepans may be banned during high fire danger periods.

Avoid building new fire rings.  Unnecessary fire rings scar the natural beauty of sites and reduce the amount of space available for sleeping and cooking areas.  There are usually plenty of existing rock fire rings in popular recreation spots.

Use only dead and down wood for campfires.  Bringing your own firewood is the best policy to practice.  Both dead and live trees add to the scenic qualities of campsites. 

Do not put cans, bottles, aluminum foil, or other non-burnable trash into a fire ring.  These items do not burn, and their presence may lead subsequent users of the site to build a new fire ring.

Burn campfire logs to ashes, then douse with water.  Do not smother a campfire with soil, as this will make it difficult for the next visitor to use the same fire ring.  If you must leave a campsite before the fire burns all of the wood, douse the fire with water before you are ready to leave camp, then stir it with a stick, then douse it again to make sure it is completely out.

Dispose of human waste properly. The use of portable toilets is highly recommended. If no portable toilet is available, solid body waste and urine should be buried in a hole six to twelve inches deep. The disposal site should be located away from streams, campsites, and other use areas. Toilet paper should be placed in a small plastic bag and put into your camp trash bag.

Pack out your trash (and a little extra).  For years, public land managers have promoted the "pack-it-out" concept in an effort to foster self-cleanup ethic among public land users. This program has generally been successful.  Most people no longer leave or bury trash at campsites.

General Tips and Rules: The RGFO’s policy is that undeveloped BLM lands are available for camping and general recreation, with the following provisions:

  • Camping at any one site is limited to 14 days within any 30-day period
  • After 14 days you must move at least 30 air miles away from the previously occupied site
  • You  may not leave any personal property or refuse after leaving the campsite
  • You may not leave personal property unattended for more than 48 hours
  • You must pack out what you pack in
  • Avoid camping within 200 feet of any water source
  • Follow all local fire orders
  • Do not leave campfires unattended