BLM Camping

Lake Fork of The Gunnison River

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

Lake Fork of the Gunnison River is a prime fishing area near Gunnison, Colorado that's well-known for its trout-rich waters. About 14 miles of the Gunnison River is managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), a government agency that oversees and preserves the natural environments of public lands. Aside from fishing, the areas around Lake Fork offer plenty of opportunities to explore the wild terrain via hiking, mountain biking, rock climbing, and OHV trail riding excursions. Visitors will also find several Bureau of Land Management camping areas near Lake City.

Colorado is also home to Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park, Rocky Mountain National Park, and Great Sand Dunes National Park — three stunning natural areas that have their own unique geological features.

What to See and Do

What to See and Do

Hiking and BikingHiking and Biking

Alpine Gulch Trail

The Alpine Gulch Trail is a challenging out-and-back trek that rewards hikers with incredible views of the San Juan Mountains and several waterfalls. Expect to encounter patches of rocky areas with steep grades and muddy conditions on some sections of the path. The trail is also perfect for viewing wildlife such as elk and deer, and your dog can join you on the trail.

Length: 9.3 miles

Intensity: Difficult

Fishing & Boating

Lake Fork of the Gunnison River gives anglers a chance to fish some of the most abundant Gold Medal waters in Colorado. Catches that are common during peak season include brown and rainbow trout while fall offers waders and shoreline casters opportunities to hook kokanee salmon. The nearest launch for motorized boating is located at Lake Fork Marina at the west end of the Blue Mesa Reservoir 45 miles north of Lake City. Along with a boat launch, the marina features a store, a tackle shop, gas and boat rentals.


God's Crag is a popular area near Lake City that's known for its sport climbing routes. Of the 26 routes, there is only one traditional climb, Barnacle Bill, which is a challenging ascent that follows a broken crack to a gnarly overhang. More routes worth checking out include Jedi Mind Tricks, Sterling Coach, and Black Velvet.

Wildlife ViewingWildlife Viewing

Lake Fork of the Gunnison is a haven for a variety of mammal species, including mule deer, Rocky Mountain elk, and bighorn sheep. Moose also populate the area, though they are scarcer due to their small numbers, which is around 3,000 statewide. Smaller animals, such as pika, snowshoe hares, mountain cottontails, and marmots, are frequently seen scurrying through the underbrush on the banks of the river. If you look to the skies, you'll likely spot ospreys and kestrels soaring above along with stellar jays. The lynx is another common inhabitant. However, sightings are rare. Black bears have been seen as well.


Picnicking is permitted at the Lake Fork of the Gunnison, though trash should be removed, and the area should be left as you found it. Organized picnic areas are available at the Beaver Creek Picnic Area at the Blue Mesa Reservoir if you plan to fish or boat near that location.

OHV Riding

Good trails for OHV riding are available at the Henson Creek and Cinnamon Pass staging areas. From these locations, you can explore over 30 miles of mountainous terrain with breathtaking views of the surrounding areas. If you want to check out some historical sights, the Cinnamon Pass trail provides access to Carson Ghost Town from Wager Gulch, which features the ruins of an old gold mine along the way.


Bureau of Land Management Camping

RV Camping Caravan Icon

Those who would rather stay at developed campgrounds near Lake Fork of the Gunnison instead of partaking in the more primitive BLM RV camping scene have several options just a few minutes away. River Fork RV Park and Campground offers full hookups with 30-/50-amp service. There also is Wi-Fi, a laundromat, and showers. You could also stay at Elkhorn RV Resort, which provides full hookups, 20-/30-/50-amp electricity, Wi-Fi, and picnic tables. Henson Creek RV Park has an on-site game room, a bathhouse, and a laundry room. All the RV sites come with 50-amp electricity, sewer, water, and Wi-Fi.

Free Camping Campground Icon

Bureau of Land Management free camping is available at Bent Creek Campground. The road leading to the campsite can be rough, and a high-clearance vehicle is recommended. Each of the 6 to 15 campsites can accommodate RVs up to 15 feet long, and there are restrooms along the road that lead to the dispersed camping area, which is undeveloped. Two more Bureau of Land Management campgrounds that welcome RVs near Lake Fork of the Gunnison are The Gate Campground and Cebolla Creek. Cebolla Creek features five RV sites with picnic tables and fire rings. Vault toilets are on-site as well. At The Gate Campground, there are eight campsites with room for small RVs along with picnic tables and two vault toilets.

RV Rentals Near Lake Fork of The Gunnison River Plan your next adventure

Planning Your Trip

Credit: Vanna Mae, @vannamaeart

Planning your Lake Fork of The Gunnison River BLM trip

As you plan your BLM trip to Lake Fork, know that free BLM campgrounds may be limited in certain areas. You can locate more free campgrounds by searching for "BLM camping near me," though there are several BLM campgrounds near the Lake City and Gunnison areas that charge nominal fees for overnight use. When loading your rig, make sure to pack your RV with all the climbing, hiking, and fishing gear you'll need. Stock up on extra water bottles and snacks for extended foot trips into wilderness areas, and include essentials such as bug repellent, sunscreen, flashlights, and bear spray in your backpack. Before you head out on your trip, check out our blog for all you need to know about BLM camping.

Leave No Trace Leaf

When enjoying this wild area, be sure to keep your campsite clean and free from trash. Bears are not commonly seen but may be in the area. Be respectful of the wildlife, and do not feed the bears. Use the bear-proof food storage boxes provided at some BLM campgrounds to help reduce the chances of attracting them to your campsite. Since BLM campgrounds may have limited space, be mindful of other campers during your stay, and leave all natural environments as you found them.

Leave No Trace

Lake Fork of The Gunnison River Location

From Gunnison, take Highway 149 southwest until it joins with the Lake Fork, which can be publicly accessed from this road and at the inlet at the Blue Mesa Reservoir.

Ready to visit Lake Fork of the Gunnison River? 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.