Demand for camping spots intense |

Demand for camping spots intense

Naomi Havlen
Widespread Panic fans from such places as Denver, Dallas, Boulder and Los Angeles found overflow camping at Difficult Campgrounds day-use area. (Mark Fox/The Aspen Times)

Campgrounds surrounding Aspen and Snowmass Village are typically full Labor Day weekend, but this year a crowd of Widespread Panic fans are making the wilderness a little more wild.

Thursday and Friday night concerts have brought a legion of loyal fans to the Roaring Fork Valley this weekend, looking for cheap places to sleep. At the Aspen district office of the National Forest Service, Matt Sandate said every call received on Friday had to do with camping.”We’re full,” he said. “An overflow spot at Difficult Campground [up Highway 82 just outside Aspen] is saving some people, so we’re telling them to go to site No. 37, the host site, and ask about availability.”

Some “dispersed” camping spots, such as along Lincoln Creek Road up Highway 82 or at the end of Castle Creek Road are still available, he said, but campers might need high-clearance vehicles to reach them.Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office deputy Joe Bauer said deputies are doing regular patrols of camping areas in the county. Thursday night was calm, he said, with only one noise complaint from Difficult Campground. Deputies tell campers who set up tents in illegal spots along the road to move along, but Bauer said with the concerts and MotherLode Volleyball tournament, the town is full this weekend.

“We haven’t had many problems with camping – just some reports of people sleeping in cars,” said Art Smythe, Snowmass Village police chief.Naomi Havlen’s e-mail address is

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