Cayton Campground is located along the San Juan Skyway (Colorado Highway 145) and the Dolores River. Visitors enjoy the area for its great fishing, hiking and scenic driving opportunities.
The Dolores River is a popular fishing destination that can often be crowded on summer weekends. Anglers will find rainbow, brown and cutthroat trout.
The area boasts some excellent trails. The Colorado Trail follows the ridge across Bolam Pass. The Lizard Head and Cross Mountain Trails near Lizard Head Pass lead to alpine basins surrounded by 14,000-foot peaks.
The Barlow Creek Road continues past the campground and crosses Bolam Pass with spectacular views. Road conditions near the pass often limit travel to four-wheel drive vehicles. The route eventually connects with the Hermosa Park Road, behind Durango Mountain Resort, and leads to U.S. Highway 550.
The campground offers 27 single-family campsites, many of which are situated along the river. Eighteen sites offer electric hookups. Each site is equipped with a picnic table and campfire ring. Vault toilets, drinking water and a dump station are provided.
The campground is situated near the banks of the Dolores River, in a grassy meadow surrounded by fir and aspen trees. At an elevation of 9,400 feet, campers should expect cool evenings.
The Priest Gulch Trailhead, 11 miles southwest of Rico, leads to the alpine country west of the campground. The Bear Creek Trail, 14 miles south of Rico, heads southeast into the La Plata Mountains. Other nearby trails include the Calico National Recreation Trail and the Rico-Silverton Trail.
Highway 145, which runs between the campground and Telluride, offers some of the most majestic scenery along the San Juan Skyway, including views of the "14ers," which are peaks over 14,000 feet.
ADA Access: N
When staying in Colorado, there are just way to many amazing campgrounds, so finding the perfect fit has so many faces for every individual camper. To be honest, I could camp my way though Colorado and never become bored. Cayton Campground is one of those little gems in the mountains that personifies all that you think of when you envision on of those signature Colorado Campgrounds.
Nestled in a small valley of the mountains and surrounded by trees, passing a small stream it is rustic and beautiful. A little bit of modern with a rich history of Colorado past, this campground is named for a former ranger which worked and did big things in this area. What sets this camp apart from others is just that, the camp has numerous signs telling of the past making it a little treat for those hiking around camp to discover.
I found this camp when in the Telluride area late in the year. It was posted that it has seasonal closures and I could easily see why when traveling into the campground. Though the campground roads were wide, clear and even, some of the drive out through the mountains looked like as snowfall would come along it could get a little hairy on some of the turns and climbs.
The campground was very impressive for a mountain camp, spaces all had amazing views of the mountains around you, they were large and spacious making for a lot of room to really spread out your camp and enjoy and the toilets, despite being vault toilets, were in great shape. There also happened to be potable water which was a big bonus.
I spent time here hiking around in the wide open space, enjoying the river which runs through camp (many spaces running just up to its shore) and enjoying the sounds of my neighbor at camp who was a musician playing his guitar, which seemed to be a soundtrack to the mountains.
My site was one of the non-electric sites, though about half the campground does have electricity running to the sites, these were primarily occupied by small RVs. The site had typical amenities with a fire ring and grill and picnic table. It was peaceful and pleasant.
Sites here are $30 for electric connection or $24 for non-electric.
I plan to return to do more hiking in the area now that I am more familiar with just what happens to be around the area. While I was there for hiking near Telluride, just south are also some amazing places to check out. This area is known for the 14ers.
Camped here over Labor Day weekend 2017, during the film festival. It is a bit of a drive into town, but the campground is very scenic and the sites are well-spaced. Overall a great experience. The camp host wasn’t ever around to sell us firewood, but we were able to buy some at a grocery store in Telluride. Definitely recommend.