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Low Impact Camping
"Leave only footprints. Take only memories" is the popular code for low impact camping that has developed over the decades here in the Rocky Mountain West. The Colorado Rough Riders promote this style of camping and back country travel.

Rough Rider Guidelines for Camping:


  • No fires (except maybe in emergency)
  • Run a cold camp or bring a camp stove
  • Never collect firewood or tinder, expecially by cutting trees or bushes


  • Pack out all garbage, leave nothing behind
  • Pick up garbage if you find it in the back country


  • Camp only on durable surfaces
  • Camp away from roads
  • Camp away from water features
  • Use natural colored tents and blend in as possible
  • Do not alter the ground surface or other features
  • Be quiet and remain unobtrusive to others and animals
  • Stay off private property unless invited to camp
  • Camp only where it's legal & follow local rules


  • Use outhouses and other bathroom facilities if at all possible
  • Pack out waste
  • Practice low impact procedures


  • Never dump anything including soapy water into lakes and streams
  • Clean dishes and bikes away from lakes and streams
  • Stay out of swamp areas


  • Give wild animals plenty of room, stay away
  • Don't feed wildlife


Web Resources

Backcountry Ethics
BLM Leave No Trace
7 Keys to Low-I Camping
Leave No Grace Center