At 14,000 feet of elevation, Colorado's Mount Belford is a beloved destination for hikers, backpackers, rock climbers and campers. Backcountry campers reach Mount Belford by accessing the San Isabel National Forest and then traveling on a somewhat bumpy dirt road. You will not need a four-wheel-drive vehicle to access the foot of Mount Belford in the summer. It is important to learn about staying safe during various weather conditions, available campsites along the road and also seasonal fire safety.
Rapidly Changing Weather Conditions
Remember that Colorado is notorious for having rapidly changing weather conditions, and when camping at Mount Belford, it pays to remember that sunshine can quickly give way to freezing rain or even snow. When camping in the summer, bring along a tarp to set up beneath your tent and a rain cover for its top as well. There is a good chance that mornings are wet, even though the moisture will burn off by about 10 a.m. You may encounter severe thunderstorms in the summer afternoons; secure your supplies and bring along a rain poncho to weather the storms.
Setting Up Your Campsite
Pick out a good camping spot along county road 390. Since there is no official campground, you may need to capitalize on the campsite modifications made by campers who came before you. Drive along the road slowly and keep your eyes open for a shaded area with a telltale fire pit. Choose a tree that is outside of your camping spot to hang up your trash and food. Remember that camping at Mount Belford is synonymous with camping in bear country, and keeping food or trash close to your tent may place you in danger of a bear attack. Dig a latrine downwind from the camp to allow for the ecologically safe disposal of human waste.
Follow National Park Rules When Camping at Mount Belford
Visit the website for the San Isabel National Forest or check the announcement board at the park entrance for any fire restrictions. Although you are generally permitted to build camp fires within a well-designed fire ring, there are times when this permission is revoked. Depending on the fire danger level, you may have to rely on alternate means of heating your food and staying warm at night. Additionally, remember that it is forbidden to cut fire wood from a living tree or shrub; you must either pack in the wood you intend to burn or rely on the dead wood you find on the ground. Moreover, if you bring a dog, it must remain leashed on a six-foot leash at all times.
Article Written By Sylvia Cochran
Based in the Los Angeles area, Sylvia Cochran is a seasoned freelance writer focusing on home and garden, travel and parenting articles. Her work has appeared in "Families Online Magazine" and assorted print and Internet publications.