cloudhiking - maps and adventure guides

Site Links


Contact Us









Friends' Links

Appalachia & Beyond

Family Wilds


Marking My Territory

Outcast Hikers


250 Campfires 2010-07-05

fire in a fire ring

Campfires are an integral part of the camping tradition. The fire is essential for warmth, drying, cooking, and stories. No one I know enjoys a fire better than my wife, Amy. If (regulations and time) allows, she will spend hours each evening just playing with a fire. She throws in a twig at a time and watches dutifully as each piece burns thoroughly to ashes. However, she will only build a fire if the area regulations allow. That is right, not all areas allow fires.

In the week we have been in Colorado we have found different rules in almost every National Forest or Park we have visited. Some areas allow fires, some allow fires with restrictions, and yet some others forbid fires. Some areas allow collecting fire wood, other areas only allow collecting dead and downed wood, while others forbid collecting wood or started wood. At times it is confusing, but it is the hikers and campers duty to know the rules.

Despite the varying regulations, all areas have had one thing in common, fire rings - whether allowed or not. Last summer at Snowmass Lake there were fires built only a few feet from the "no campfires" sign. This year we have not seen anything quite as blatant, but still there are rings in areas that have been clearly posted "no campfires". Perhaps the fire fings are old, older than the rule. In the low humidity of the mountains, maybe the ring of rocks stays fresher longer, but I honestly believe the rings are built by campers who feel the rules do not apply to them.

If Amy, the self-proclaimed "campfire queen" can restrain from building a fire, I am sure everyone else can too. Know the rules and obey them. If you need to build a fire, then research which areas allow fires and visit the areas with rules that match your needs. Just do not expect every area to have open fire rules.

Happy fiery trails.


Name (required):

Comment (required):

Please Introduce Secure Code: