BLM Camping

New Castle Recreation Management Area

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

The New Castle Recreation Management Area is an example of the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) role in the United States. The BLM is tasked with protecting isolated pristine areas for the enjoyment of present and future generations. BLM regulations require visitors to the New Castle Recreation Management Area to observe and enforce “leave no trace” rules minimizing human impact on fragile environments. 

The New Castle Recreation Management Area lies north of the Colorado River, stretching from the Rifle Gap in the Grand Hogback in the west to Glenwood Springs in the east. The area includes lands from Carbondale at its southern end to the Flat Tops Wilderness Area in the north, with the town of New Castle in the center. Campers near New Castle find themselves within reach of Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park, Rocky Mountain National Park, and Great Sand Dunes National Park. Situated just 75 miles northeast of Grand Junction, the New Castle Recreation Management Area draws hikers and bike riders from April 16 through November 30, with the wintery part of the year reserved to protect wildlife habitats.

What to See and Do

What to See and Do

Hiking and BikingHiking and Biking

Brush Creek Trail

Brush Creek Trail is an easy commute on asphalt for mountain bikers from Highway 82 near New Castle to Snowmass Village. The trail winds southward alongside Brush Creek on a wide pathway that allows traffic from either direction. It travels up and down hills to get to Snowmass Village.

Length: 5.5 miles

Intensity: Easy

Rio Grande Trail

The Rio Grande Trail follows an old railroad cut from Glenwood Springs to Carbondale. Mountains crowd the horizon, and the hillsides are covered with wildflowers. The trail switches periodically from concrete to asphalt to gravel and back again as it wanders through the mountainous terrain. Picnic tables and vault toilets are scattered along the route, but there is no potable water.

Length: 42 miles

Intensity: Moderate


The best rock-climbing adventure near New Castle is found at the New Castle Boulders. There are several tall rocks to climb with challenging ascents. The Lightning Foot Jones Boulder and the West Face Boulder prove difficult for the best climbers and offer incredible views of the area at the summit.

Wildlife ViewingWildlife Viewing

An array of wildlife exists in the New Castle Recreation Management Area. Small creatures such as ground squirrels and rabbits find homes underground while bald eagles, golden eagles, and falcons patrol the skies. Larger animals like black bears, cougars, mule deer, elk, coyotes, and an occasional moose wander the land.


Many bike trails in New Castle Recreation Management Area have waystations with picnic tables and vault toilets. However, potable water is never present on these paths. Most trailheads feature a picnic table located where the views are best. Otherwise, bikers depend on the parks in communities for picnic areas where families and friends can enjoy a quick meal.


The night sky in the New Castle Recreation Management Area is impressive. There is little light pollution, with the nearest large urban area being 75 miles away. Familiar star constellations grow new patterns in this area as stars that never appear in cities spring forth.


Bureau of Land Management Camping

RV Camping Caravan Icon

The two types of Bureau of Land Management campgrounds in the New Castle Recreation Management Area are developed and undeveloped. Developed BLM RV camping sites provide limited amenities while preserving the pristine nature of the area. An excellent example of developed Bureau of Land Management camping opportunities in the New Castle Recreation Management Area is the Gypsum Campground. The campground offers only six primitive RV camping sites with picnic tables on dirt pads. For $10 per night, the Bureau of Land Management provides a few extras, such as vault toilets, picnic tables at trailheads, and an excellent access point to the Eagle River. 

Free Camping Campground Icon

Several Bureau of Land Management free camping sites are dispersed throughout the New Castle Recreational Management Area, providing primitive BLM RV camping sites well-marked alongside dirt or gravel roads in isolated areas. Examples of these free sites are Lower Prince Creek Campground and Upper Prince Creek Campground located near Carbondale along Prince Creek within view of Crested Butte. Between them, these campgrounds offer 11 primitive RV campsites with gravel pads on a first-come, first-served basis. RV campers may only use the gravel pad sites for 14 days.

RV Rentals Near New Castle Recreation Management Area Plan your next adventure

Planning Your Trip

Credit: Vanna Mae, @vannamaeart

Planning your New Castle Recreation Management Area BLM trip

Use the phrase “BLM camping near me” when searching the Internet for suitable RV campsites in the New Castle Recreation Management Area, itemizing New Castle as the central point to begin the search. Hundreds of camps are available in the area and are maintained by various organizations, including the BLM and the National Forest Service.

Camping in a primitive campsite like those supported by the BLM is a unique experience that many prefer. Most of these campgrounds are isolated, so make sure to check out your travel trailer before embarking on your journey, including hitches, brakes, electrical hookups, and internal systems. Pack extra canned goods and fill your water containers. Keep extra clothing handy when visiting New Castle Recreation Management Area; the high elevation can bring swift temperature changes. Before heading out on a trip, check out our blog for all you need to know about BLM camping.

Leave No Trace Leaf

The BLM “leave no trace” regulation is meant to preserve vulnerable environments from unnecessary human impact. Each RV camper can follow this regulation by observing a few simple practices. Most important is to obey any signs that indicate the environment is extremely fragile. Do not enter these areas; leave them to the wildlife. It is their home, not yours. Next, make sure to stay on solid surfaces whenever possible — do not create new trails. Keep campfires contained in a high-lipped skillet and pack out the ashes. Double-check the area before leaving and remove any trash, whether it is yours or it was left behind by someone else.

Leave No Trace

New Castle Recreation Management Area Location

To reach the New Castle Recreation Management Area from Grand Junction, CO, follow Interstate 70 East (I-70 W) for 73.5 miles. Veer right to get onto the ramp that leads toward New Castle. Turn left at the first stop to get onto Castle Valley Boulevard. New Castle and the center of the New Castle Recreation Management Area is 1.4 miles ahead.

Ready to visit New Castle Recreation Management Area? 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.