For a cheap Aspen stay, pitch a tent |

For a cheap Aspen stay, pitch a tent

Campsites like this one at Difficult Campground have opened for the season. Aspen Times photo/Mark Fox.

Four campgrounds in the vicinity of Aspen are now open for the season, but camping spots on Independence Pass will remain gated until the snow is gone and the sites are sufficiently dry.Weller Campground on the pass was scheduled to open for the Memorial Day weekend, in conjunction with the opening of the pass itself, but it did not. It was still too wet, according to Kathy O’Neal. She and her husband, Wayne, are the area managers for the White River National Forest for Thousand Trails, the private concessionaire that runs campgrounds for the U.S. Forest Service.Also still closed is Lost Man Campground on the Aspen side of the pass, and the Lincoln Gulch and Lincoln Portal campgrounds, both located off Lincoln Creek Road on the pass.”We just have to wait until they’re dry enough for campers to get in,” O’Neal said.Opening last weekend were Difficult Campground, just east of Aspen along the Roaring Fork River, and the Silver Bar, Silver Bell and Silver Queen campgrounds, all located along Maroon Creek Road, southwest of Aspen. The “Silver” campgrounds are operated by the U.S. Forest Service, not Thousand Trails.The tent and RV set will also find plenty of available camping in the Fryingpan Valley, east of Basalt. At Ruedi Reservoir, the Little Mattie, Little Maud, Mollie B and Marina campgrounds are all open. On the upper Fryingpan, above the reservoir, the Dearhamer, Elk Wallow and Chapman campgrounds are also open.The Avalanche, Redstone and Bogan Flats campgrounds, off Highway 133, south of Carbondale, are open, as well. To reach Bogan Flats, turn off 133 toward Marble.The holiday weekend proved a slow opening, according to O’Neal. Perhaps the Mollie B filled up, she said.

“It was a little slow. It just wasn’t as busy as it was last year,” O’Neal said. “I don’t know if it was gas prices or the weather or what.”Nonetheless, area campsites are frequently in demand during the summer, particularly on weekends. Reservations are required for some campgrounds, others sites fill up on a first-come, first-served basis. Log on at to make reservations and for details about campgrounds with reservable sites.Janet Urquhart’s e-mail address is janet@aspentimes.comCampground lowdownLost Man – 10 sites, $14 per night, no reservations.Weller – 11 sites, $14 per night, no reservations.Lincoln Portal – Seven sites, $7 per night, no reservations.

Lincoln Gulch – Seven sites, $14 per night, no reservations.Difficult – 47 sites, $16 per night, about half of the sites are reservable; one group site, $75 per night.Silver Bell – 14 sites, $15 per night (plus $5 vehicle entry fee to Maroon Creek Valley), Four sites reservable.Silver Bar – Four sites, $15 per night (plus $5 vehicle entry fee to Maroon Creek Valley), reservable.Silver Queen – Six sites, $15 per night (plus $5 vehicle entry fee to Maroon Creek Valley), five reservable.Ruedi Marina – Seven sites (no tents), $14 per night, no reservations.Little Maud – 22 sites, $16 per night, no reservations.Mollie B – 27 sites, $16 per night, reservations required.

Little Mattie – 20 sites, $14 per night, no reservations.Dearhamer – 12 sites, $15 per night, no reservations.Elk Wallow – Seven sites, $7 per night, no reservations.Chapman – 84 sites, $15 per night, some reservable; group site, $85 per night.Avalanche – 13 sites, $14 per night, no reservations.Redstone No. 1 – 20 sites, $26 per night, full hookups available, reservations required.Redstone No. 2 – 19 sites, $19 per night, full hookups available, reservations required.Bogan Flats – 37 sites, $15 per night, some reservable; group site, $85 per night.

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