BLM Camping

Emerald Mountain

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is responsible for 1 in every 10 acres of land in the U.S.

Emerald Mountain is a superb network of trails and outdoor spaces great for numerous outdoor activities. Located in northern Colorado, this site is situated near Steamboat Springs. In the winter months, this area offers great winter sports opportunities. Outdoor activities in the summer months include hiking, mountain biking, and boating. Emerald Mountain is public land managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). The BLM is a federal organization that aids in the preservation and maintenance of public lands throughout the country. Public lands are great options for visitors looking to camp or enjoy nature affordably. Almost all Bureau of Land Management campgrounds can be used by visitors for free camping. To see camping options for an upcoming trip, search for “BLM camping near me.”

Nestled within beautiful mountain ranges and breathtaking scenery, Emerald Mountain is a great spot for those looking to spend time outdoors. Not only is Emerald Mountain near great parks and outdoor areas, but this site is also less than 20 minutes from Rocky Mountain National Park. This park is known for its gorgeous scenery and majestic mountain peaks.

What to See and Do

What to See and Do

Hiking and BikingHiking and Biking

Emerald Mountain Trail

This trail is an out-and-back trail that can be used for hiking or biking. Emerald Mountain Trail provides a great opportunity for bird-watching.

Length: 1.6 miles

Intensity: Moderate

Blackmere Trail

Blackmere Trail is a great route for both hiking and mountain biking. Keep in mind that this route can be quite popular in the summer months.

Length: 3.8 miles

Intensity: Difficult

Morning Gloria

This mountain biking trail is quite fun for bikers of most skill levels. With its beautiful terrain and forest landscapes, this trail takes bikers through pines and ferns.

Length: 4 miles

Intensity: Moderate

Fishing & Boating

For water lovers, Emerald Mountain is a great spot for both fishing and boating. Wind River and the surrounding waters of the area are great spots for fly-fishing. This area is full of beautiful brown trout, cutthroat trout, and more. For those looking to spend time boating, Estes Lake is a short drive from Emerald Mountain. Lake Estes Marina is a fantastic spot to stop and put in your equipment to enjoy a day on the water.

Wildlife ViewingWildlife Viewing

Emerald Mountain, being in the center of mountain ranges, offers great opportunities for wildlife viewing. This area is heavily populated by elk. The site closes from December through June to make way and protect the wintering and calving elk in this area. Outside of the closures, visitors can spend time at this site viewing elk, moose, and mountain lions. This area is populated with many other species of animals, making it a great place to stop for a picture. Be sure to respect wildlife in their natural habitat when wildlife viewing.


This day-use site is a fantastic area for picnicking during your visit. As BLM-managed land, public areas at Emerald Mountain can be used for picnicking. Alongside several picnic tables scattered throughout the trails, public spaces can be occupied for picnics. Visitors should set up picnic blankets away from main trails in order to avoid crowding trail paths.

Winter SportsWinter Sports

While Emerald Mountain is closed for the winter months, Howelsen Hill Ski Area is located right next to this site. Howelsen Hill Ski Area is a great spot for backcountry skiing during the winter months. When visiting in these months, most visitors take advantage of the numerous ski trails offered at this adjacent site.


Bureau of Land Management Camping

RV Camping Caravan Icon

BLM RV Camping is possible at Glacier Basin Campground. This campground has several RV sites, each without hookups. Campsites here have picnic tables and fire rings. For those looking for RV parks with more amenities, Elk Meadow Lodge & RV Park is a great spot with full hookups, laundry services, and a swimming pool.

Free Camping Campground Icon

While Emerald Mountain is a day-use site only, there are great free camping options nearby. Glacier Basin Campground is a nearby spot located in Estes Park, Colorado. Camping here is by reservation only. Other nearby BLM-managed lands can be camped on for free. Bureau of Land Management free camping is available on BLM land as long as it is not marked off as “closed to camping.” If choosing to camp on public land, be sure to clean up any used areas.

RV Rentals Near Emerald Mountain Plan your next adventure

Planning Your Trip

Credit: Vanna Mae, @vannamaeart

Planning your Emerald Mountain BLM trip

When planning your trip to Emerald Mountain, plan to pack long pants for any hiking you might have planned. While the summer months may bring some heat, there are many ticks and other bugs on the trails throughout the mountain. Visitors will also want to bring insect repellent for their travel.

Additionally, be sure to plan the time of year you are traveling around the opening dates of this site. If you plan to visit the area between December and June, keep in mind that Emerald Mountain will not be open. While nearby resorts and trails will be open at this time, travel to Emerald Mountain is only possible from July through November. Before you head out on your trip, check out our blog for all you need to know about BLM camping.

Leave No Trace Leaf

For a visit to Emerald Mountain, it is important for travelers to remember BLM’s Leave No Trace principles. These seven guidelines apply to time spent on any BLM-managed land. Leave No Trace guidelines aid visitors in the correct steps and rules to follow to help preserve public lands. These principles include respecting wildlife, containing campfires, and taking out anything you may bring to the site.

Leave No Trace

Emerald Mountain Location

Emerald Mountain is best accessed from Estes Park, Colorado. From Estes Park, take US-36 West for approximately 10 miles. Continue onto Longhouse Way. Take a left on Mountainside Drive. Emerald Mountain will be ahead after approximately 1.5 miles. 

Ready to visit Emerald Mountain? An RV rental is a great way to experience your destination. Not only will you be close to all the action, but at the end of a long day exploring, you’ll have your RV to return to for the night where you’ll enjoy a full kitchen, bathroom, and nice soft bed. Not sure about renting an RV? Here’s a step-by-step guide to renting an RV with RVshare.