Luckily for those wanting a taste of the camping scene in the San Juan Mountains, much of the land in and around the range is made up of designated national forest, which includes a handful of awesome campgrounds throughout the region. Wildlife Viewing: The dense and isolated forests of the San Juan National Forest provide a healthy habitat for wildlife to appear around the Lemon Reservoir. Here’s a quick roundup of some of the region’s best. Contact Information Local Phone: 1-970-884-2512 4J+1+1 (an RV park, not a formula for some type of two-wheel Jeep) is directly inside this incredibly quaint, walkable town, while Ouray RV Park & Cabins is less than a mile north of town, most of which distance can be walked on a hiking trail. Those looking for an easy nature walk will enjoy short, easy trails such as the .9-mile Baby Bathtubs Trail, peppered with colorful wildflowers, or the one-mile Piedra Falls Trail, which features a beautiful waterfall. The San Juan National Forest is located in southwestern Colorado and is comprised of 1,877,675 acres. for the San Juan National Forest . Luckily for any white knucklers out there, the route is full of national forest and private RV parks to pull over, get some rest, and give it a shot come morning. Dispersed camping is allowed in Bureau of Land Management areas and national forests. Where Is The San Juan National Forest? It tends to attract more of a retiree crowd than families and young people but serves as a decent layover on your way north if you had too much fun in Durango to go any further. For recreational camping, there is a limit of a total of 28 days on the San Juan National Forest in a continuous 60 day period. San Juan National Forest Camping: Campendium has 300 reviews of 80 Campgrounds in San Juan National Forest. The San Juan National Forest is located in the southwest corner of Colorado. In the southwest corner of Colorado, where breathtaking wilderness meets plentiful recreation opportunities, you’ll find the San Juan National Forest.Covering 1.8 million acres, roughly eight times larger than Rocky Mountain National Park, the San Juan National Forest is a great location if you’re planning to go backpacking, camping, or just for a day hike. Outdoor Project may earn commission on products purchased through our links, which supports the work we do for our readers. The San Juan National Forest abound with natural and cultural treasures. 501), go north on Rt. Hours: 24/7. Sometimes camping is allowed in Wildlife Management areas and state forests. While there are RV parks directly in town, Red Mountain Motel & RV Park being the most centrally located, the real beauty of this area lives in the forested mountain camping west of town. It’s about more than standing on the mountain top. Find a Free Campsite. Camping or hiking, you’ll have the adventure of a lifetime in the San Juan’s. Campsite Selection From Durango, head west to discover the cliff dwellings of Mesa Verde National Park or east to the visually different but equally gorgeous US 160 to explore the forests and mountains lining more delightful small towns like Pagosa Springs and Alamosa, Colorado, then go all the way to Great Sand Dunes National Park. Meanwhile, heading north from Durango on US 550, Alpen Rose RV Park is the first place available after leaving town. South San Juan Wilderness (mostly in Rio Grande NF) Weminuche Wilderness (partly in Rio Grande NF) The San Juan National Forest is a U.S. National Forest covering over 1,878,846 acres (2,935.7 sq mi, or 7,603.42 km²) in western Colorado. 603 and go 5.7 miles to campground on left. It’s about building relationships with the outdoors and each other. San Juan National Forest State Colorado Country United States Phone Number 970-247-4874 Directions View on Google Maps Official Website View Website Coordinates 37.338° N, 107.917° W Unknown price Tent / RV / Trailer - Group: 1 Site Thanks to a vast wilderness that enjoys federal designation, most of the public land in the national forests around the San Juan Mountains is available for dispersed camping, and there are numerous campsites that are ideal for staging an outdoor retreat. The trailhead is across from the campground entrance. It’s difficult to say which of these is the absolute best RV park in Durango. 500). Fork Trail, the area between the junction with the Beaver Creek Trail and the next crossing of the West Fork of the San Juan is closed to campfires and camping is permitted only in existing sites at least 100 feet from water. Here’s a … Season: Year round. Turn right onto Rt. Durango is a quintessential Colorado destination; it has multiple breweries, tons of mountain biking, rafting and climbing, ample natural food stores and a Main Street lined with local jewelry and clothing shops, plus restaurants boasting nearly all the culinary wonders this world has to offer. Teddy Roosevelt created the San Juan National Forest in 1905, sources say, because it’s downright stunning. Teddy Roosevelt created the San Juan National Forest in 1905, sources say, because it’s downright stunning. Then again, if you’re really into being in downtown Durango and don’t care about the quality of your actual site, there’s a patch of gravel with a few spots — reservations required and you have to call during normal business hours — an easy walk from town at the La Plata County Fairgrounds. Trailhead is adjacent to the Big Al Trail. Technically, Ouray is north of the San Juan National Forest, but it’s still a quintessential part of this drive, and some might say the most impressive of the entire stretch. Related Information; What is a SOPA? San Juan National Forest: Camping at Junction Creek - See 566 traveler reviews, 195 candid photos, and great deals for Durango, CO, at Tripadvisor. Fishing may be good in the West M… All rights reserved. Sign up to receive our weekly newsletter packed with the best adventure guides, travel ideas, news, and articles. Note that cell service in all of Ouray is in and out, but more so at Amphitheater Campground than the other two parks. Location Address: Bayfield, Colorado 81122 GPS: 37.4776, -107.5466 View on Map Local Directions: In Bayfield, CO, at the Vallecito Lake sign on US Rt. Haviland Lake, San Juan National Forest in Durango is rated 8.7 of 10 at Campground Reviews. leave Colorado and travel the country in a VW Bus. Beyond Ouray, Ridgway, Colorado is worth a stop in and of itself, and serves as the fork in the road where one can continue on to luxurious Telluride to the west or destinations like Black Canyon of the Gunnison and Crested Butte further north. It’s a short drive to town and otherwise, one of the more beautiful private parks you’ll find in the area. Whether you just need to know where to camp nearby or you want to plan a free camping road trip, we've got you covered.You can simply use your smart phone's GPS to find camping near you or even use our trip planner to plan your route from coast to coast.. Our community provides the best free camping information available. Silverton is a blast, but you won’t be the only one crowding the streets of a town that’s all about the steam train and mining vibes which once served as the area’s livelihood…and still does. Explore camper reviews and photos of the campgrounds in San Juan National Forest. We’ve often written about the San Juan Mountains because of rugged alpine beauty, friendly mountain community, well-developed access, and the multitude of outdoor options available there. Have updates, photos, alerts, or just want to leave a comment? Let’s take a trip north from Durango on the Million Dollar Highway, officially known as US 550 if you’re looking at a map. San Juan National Forest encompasses about 1.8 million acres in the southwestern corner of Colorado. Home / Blog / All the Best Camping in the San Juan Mountains of Colorado. San Juan National Forest has a number of spectacular trails for all skill levels that wind through the wilderness. These campgrounds and the towns they surround are only a sliver of what the San Juan region of Southwestern Colorado offers, though. It’s most noted for its staggering San Juan Mountains, some of the steepest in the state. A little west of town there’s an RV park by the name of Lightner Creek Campground with a real summer camp vibe, and I mean that in the best way possible, where families flock to play in the river and swim in the pool. About the Author: Nathan convinced the love of his life to leave Colorado and travel the country in a VW Bus. There are forty-seven developed campgrounds of which thirty-one meet the selection criteria. Be prepared for cold nights, especially in spring and fall, but the brave will find watching the sunrise from a high mountain pass fitting compensation. Haviland Lake, San Juan National Forest in Durango, Colorado: 12 reviews, 0 photos, & 2 tips from fellow RVers. If you’re more interested in the breweries and nightlife of Durango, you can’t beat United Campground of Durango (the city has a small local cab service, too, if you don’t make the last trolley.) Dozens of campgrounds in the San Juan Mountains are available in the national forests, weather permitting. West of town, a KOA offers up the typical Kampground of America experience while being the only RV park with truly reliable cell service, and not ten minutes from Durango proper. Turn right onto Rt. 501), go north on Rt. How to read the SOPA (legend) The National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA) Abbreviations and Definitions Forest Service NEPA : Current SOPA Report (NOTE: The SOPA report opens in a separate browser window.) We promise not to annoy you, but if you wish, you may unsubscribe at any time. If you’re dead set on having hookups, or just like the amenities private RV parks offer, Durango has a nice variety to choose from. It’s about nourishment and learning. Trails merge for the first 1/2 mile, dropping steeply into the canyon, then split, with West Mancos heading upriver, and Transfer heading downriver. The area features the San Juan Skyway, a Bureau of Land Management 4WD scenic byway, Alpine Loop Backcountry Byway and a National Forest scenic byway.The forest encompasses three wilderness areas: Weminuche Wilderness, South San Juan Wilderness, and Lizard … In the area, campers often spot mule deer, bear, fox and more. If you’re anywhere in the western United States right now, it’s hard to escape this year’s record-breaking wildfire season and... It’s no secret America’s natural spaces are becoming increasingly popular. Phone: 970-385-6500. Detailed descriptions of campgrounds in the San Juan National Forest. We believe good things come from people spending time outside. 501 13.2 miles to Vallecito Area Campgrounds sign (Forest Rt. Those are only a smattering of the available free camping options in the larger Durango area, and we have yet to find one that truly disappoints. History and nature blend together in the San Juan National Forest to give visitors a special forest experience. - National Park, National Forest, State Park, All the Best Camping in the San Juan Mountains of Colorado. Several of Colorado’s famous “14’ers” can be found in the Weminuche and Lizard Head Wilderness Areas. In the wilderness areas, zero-impact camping is allowed without a permit away from trails. Terrain ranges from high-desert mesas to alpine peaks, with thousands of miles of back roads and hundreds of miles of trails to explore. 501 for 18.5 miles to Vallecito campground sign (County Rt. The Best Winter Adventures in North America. Fortunately, not everything worth doing needs to weigh a ton. © 2020 Outdoor Project. The San Juan National Forest, alone or when combined with the Rio Grand National Forest (to the northeast) and the Uncompahgre (to the northwest), cover a lot of the San Juan … 603). In both cases: don’t expect cell service, expect nothing from the WiFi, and you just might be pleasantly surprised. West Mancos/Transfer Trails. The views are spectacular in this region of the state, so all the recreation is first rate. Recreational camping is limited to 14 consecutive days in the same location. Location Address: Bayfield, Colorado 81122 GPS: 37.4089, -107.536 View on Map Local Directions: In Bayfield, CO, at Vallecito Lake sign on US Rt. After the 14 days, campers must move at least 3 air miles away. In Colorado, state parks saw nearly a million additional visitors... © 2020 Campendium Inc. All rights reserved. Monte Bello Open Space Preserve, California. Camping near San Juan National Forest is easy with Hipcamp, where private landowners offer one-of-a-kind camping experiences. Interpretive signs point out flora and fauna in the area and there are benches when you need to rest. Just a bit further, and higher up the mountain, Ampitheatre Campground — part of Uncompahgre National Forest, but still a paid campground at $13 per night — gives you that more rugged experience, including picnic tables and vault toilets. It is a surfaced, barrier-free trail leading 1/2-mile to a deck overhanging West Mancos Canyon. Five distinct life zones range from elevations near 5,000 feet to above 14,000 feet. United Campground of Durango is as close to town as you can get, and it’s the last stop for the trolley that serves as the primary transportation around the downtown area. Regardless of which direction you head, if you’re starting in Durango, it’s all good times for miles to come. Camping near San Juan national forest. 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