The night I slept in my car in Telluride

Warning: some of the colors in the photos of this post are out of control.

After waking up 4:30am for a long day driving from Boulder to Telluride and exploring the area along the San Juan Skyway, I was beeeeat. Taking in beautiful sight after beautiful sight really takes it out of you, ya know??? But where would I sleep? Hotels in Telluride are expensive, and I was interested in spending as close to nothing as possible.


A few days before my trip, I looked online for the campground options in Telluride and found a few that I thought would work for me… the only thing was that I don’t have a tent. The next best (free) thing? My car!!! Luckily, I come in at just under 5’1″, fitting perfectly in my back seat with the ability to sleep easily & comfortably. So when I made this trip to Telluride, I crossed my fingers that the first-come-first-serve, no-fee campground I had my eye on would have spots open for me to park my car and have a nice slumber for the night.



Thaaaankfully, after a few hours of hiking around nearby & stalking the perfect life of ^^^this amazingly cool paddleboarding girl and her chill dog^^^, I headed over to the campsite near Trout Lake and discovered that all of my finger-crossing had paid off. There were plenty of spots open when I arrived (which I initially assumed had to do with the fact that the summer was coming to a close), but by the time night came, I’m pretty sure the campground was close to full. So I settled into my humble abode for the night.

This night ended up being one of the best nights of my life, hands down, no contest. I turned my phone off upon arriving to save its battery — plus I was out in the middle of nowhere, there really wasn’t much I could do with it & its lack of service — and was truly ~disconnected~ for the evening. I had my book and my notebook and my trusty eyeballs to keep me entertained.

The other campers (I mean… the actual campers, the people not just hanging out by their car…) started settling into their campsites, and I listened to their fire-starting and their music-playing. The sun started to set and the sky lit up in the most vibrant, electric pink, and when the sky grew dark, I remember looking up and being absolutely sure that I’d never seen so many stars in my life.

One of my favorite parts of the whole experience was waking up in the middle of the night, remembering I was alone, sleeping in my sleeping bag in a forest in Telluride, Colorado… then looking out the car window and realizing it was the night before the “supermoon” would make it’s grand appearance. The moon was the biggest and brightest and whitest moon I ever did see. 
IMG_6056The next morning, I woke up around 7am after a full, well-rested night of snoozing, and slowly got ready to find some breakfast and get in a few hours of hiking in before heading back to Boulder. The photos above are what I was fortunate enough to wake up to in my car. (WHAT.)

Aaand then I walked around Trout Lake before my hike and snapped a few more photos:

IMG_6168 IMG_6107

IMG_6161 After my hike, I was on the road again! This time with a considerably larger surprise pit stop and the images of Telluride floating around in my head. I’d love to spend a longer time in Telluride — whether in a car, a tent, a cabin, a hotel, anything! — and hope someday I’ll have the chance to go back with friends or family. Yo family and friends — who’s in???

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  • Reply andy1076

    The landscape and scenery is so beautiful.. I imagine the air must of been so fresh too 🙂

    October 21, 2015 at 1:27 pm
    • Reply Kristen

      The freshest air I’ve ever breathed!

      October 21, 2015 at 4:43 pm
  • Reply Hannah Myer

    Girlfriend, you know I’m in. But seriously – WHAT A COOL EXPERIENCE. I love that you were just like, “Peace out, world,” and did yo thang. Intentional solitude has lovely benefits – pretty sure that’s why Nate loves fishing so much.

    October 22, 2015 at 3:12 pm
    • Reply Kristen

      The weekend alone was just what I needed at the time. But I’d love to go back with you!!!

      October 23, 2015 at 12:15 pm
  • Reply Alice J. Hopf

    Good story, Kristen. Lucky that no one knew you were alone and am glad you were safe, Love Mom-Mom

    October 23, 2015 at 6:02 pm
    • Reply Kristen

      Thanks, Mom-Mom! I felt very safe the entire time. It was a great weekend!

      October 23, 2015 at 6:16 pm
  • Reply Margie

    More beautiful pictures of Colorado. Glad you got to see Telluride before the snow arrived!

    November 12, 2015 at 11:24 am
    • Reply Kristen

      Me too!!! Telluride in the fall must be one of the prettiest natural spectacles in the world.

      November 12, 2015 at 11:33 am
  • Reply CPA Adventures

    I love your pictures, especially with all the fall colors. I just nominated you for the Liebster Award!

    November 13, 2015 at 8:12 pm
  • Reply Notes on leaving & delayed withdrawal | skyward eyes

    […] 8 hours to the opposite corner of the state just to take in the changing colors of the aspens. I slept alone in my car next to a peaceful little lake in Telluride and watched the super moon make it’s way across a […]

    December 22, 2015 at 7:27 am
  • Reply skyward eyes - postcard from crested butte, colorado

    […] breaks and stuff. It was the last full weekend of September, which is the exact weekend I visited Telluride last year for the first time, but the contrast in the two weekends could not have been more […]

    February 5, 2017 at 1:59 pm
  • Reply andy

    where exactly is this camping spot? planning to do same overnight-sleep-in-car thing as well 🙂

    September 2, 2017 at 5:01 pm
    • Reply

      it was a first-come-first-serve campground by priest lake!

      September 4, 2017 at 7:03 pm

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