Camping Holiday

What to know about primitive camping

Labor Day weekend is almost upon us — the last holiday weekend of the summer — so Vermonters may be hoping to get out for one final camping trip before the season ends.

The state has a number of state parks where people have paid in advance to reserve a spot at designated campsites. Those slots are typically gone — or close to it — before the season begins. 

For people who have not planned ahead, or are on a budget, there is always the option of primitive camping. This type of camping is free and available in state forests and in some undeveloped state parks, according to Vermont’s Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation.

A forest canopy at Curtis Pond in Calais is seen on Tuesday, June 24, 2014.

What is primitive camping?

Primitive camping is also known as “no trace” camping, according to the department. People camp in a forest with no developed facilities, including no public drinking water or toilets, and later leave the site with little or no evidence of human visitation.

“Lands designated for primitive camping are usually in areas with difficult access,” according to a guide to primitive camping from the department. “Primitive camping is a remote camping experience in a forested setting, not a wilderness experience.”