the dyrt
San Juan National Forest, COLORADO
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Most Recent San Juan National Forest Camping Reviews
Only few campsites but private

Does a have fire pits does have cows come thru watch your step

Alpine Dream

We were able to get our popup to these sites but not necessarily recommended to even attempt to bring a trailer (ours is lifted with heavy duty tires) worth the risk because, Wow!! Perfect lake views, snow capped mountain tops, and wildflowers for days. We were sadly not allowed fires but this year we are getting tons of moisture in CO so we will head back up to Alta by summer, hopeful for fires again. Port a John's are rarely serviced, so if that's a deal breaker for you….and Please Leave No Trace!! This area is so beautiful, let's keep it that way.

Breathtaking in fall

Got to visit this beauty in fall and went up 8,000 feet elevation. So beautiful and remote.

What a view

Nothing like a beautiful view, crisp clean air and low population.


I stayed here because It was closest to downtown Durango and I was bushed and ready for sleep. After staying 14 days in the backwoods, it was nice to get shower in an actual building…. but I must admit, after paying nothing to park and stay in the woods for 14 days, it hurt my feelings to pay $75 for one night here.

On the down side, it is an Upscale RV park that if your not in a prevost bus, you are out of place. The whole time I was putting up, I was getting funny looks for my popup a frame trailer. Either way, they were nice people in the office/restaurant and have a nice rv park. Little too much $$ for my pocket book.

Big Campground With A Little Bit Of History

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.

Free, Picturesque, and a bit muddy

This is BLM Land outside of Mesa Verde National Park. Has quite a few different sites that are all free and have fairly easy access to. The one downside (for us) was that it had just rained and the sites and road are clay which we ended up sinking into and getting stuck in. Luckily a few other campers nearby got up to watch the show and see us dig to get out (eventually they all helped push us out). There's a little road noise from the highway but it didn't bother us.

Each site has a little rock ringed fire pit and a flat area for a tent that we saw.

So if you want a free spot for up to 14 nights and want to check out Mesa Verde (highly recommend it), this is a pretty nice little spot.

Pretty Great

Let me start this by saying that I am incredibly skeptical of chain campgrounds (for some reason especially KOA's). The KOA Holiday in Durango is great. I was there only a few days before closing for the season and it has snowed in much of the surrounding area so the campground wasn't too crowded. The campground is a little ways outside of historic Durango and less than an hour from Mesa Verde. The tent site I stayed in was near the showers/bathroom and laundry and in the middle of the ground but didn't feel like I was lacking privacy. The cost is basically the same as staying in Mesa Verde's campground and there's paid laundry as well as really great showers in very clean bathrooms. The staff are incredibly friendly. They have gardens on site and, because it was the very end of the season, they were giving away fresh produce for free!

Not Bad

The only campground in Mesa Verde National Park, this is the most expensive National Park campground I have stayed in. Morefield is also the only National Park campground I've visited that had wifi, free showers, and paid laundry. There were very few other campers in the tent loops mid-October. The bathrooms are kind of mostly clean. There is also water and trash throughout the campground. Most of the attractions in Mesa Verde are a little less than an hour's drive away. I wish I could have stayed longer if only to go on more of the tours of historic sites.

Not Bad

The only campground in Mesa Verde National Park, this is the most expensive National Park campground I have stayed in. Morefield is also the only National Park campground I've visited that had wifi, free showers, and paid laundry. There were very few other campers in the tent loops mid-October. The bathrooms are mostly kind of clean. There is also water and trash throughout the campground. Most of the attractions in Mesa Verde are a little less than an hour's drive away. I wish I could have stayed longer if only to go on more of the tours of historic sites.

First to Review
Not Bad

The only campground in Mesa Verde National Park, this is the most expensive National Park campground I have stayed in. Morefield is also the only National Park campground I've visited that had wifi, free showers, and paid laundry. There were very few other campers in the tent loops mid-October. The bathrooms are mostly kinda clean. There is also water and trash throughout the campground. Most of the attractions in Mesa Verde are a little less than an hour's drive away. I wish I could have stayed longer if only to go on more of the tours of historic sites.

Great KOA

The bathrooms are very nice and have two shower houses located on the campground. The breakfast is awesome and it's fun to relax in the pool they have on site. The cabins are very nice as well as the tent sites. All of the staff are great and very helpful when asking about what to do in Durango. We did the drive to Silverton that is absolutely beautiful and checked out Mesa Verde.

Fun place to stay


The campground was relatively small so nothing was too far away. Laundry facilities were nice. Lots of showers that were private stalls. Lots of activities to do. The staff was very friendly and professional. Very clean- they even scrub the heck out of the bbq grills even when they have to stand in the heat of the day doing it. Delicious pizza.


It was close to a highway- BUT it was pretty well set back so it didn't feel unsafe by any means, but there was a lot of traffic noise. Sites are packed pretty tightly and many of the tent sites are not private in the least. We got lucky and got one set back with the cabins. The pool is pretty small, but it was clean and the kids had a great time.

Alpine Loop

Located right off the Alpine Loop. Each site has a grill,fire ring,and table. Some have beautiful views of the lake. Vault toilets were clean and water and soap at faucet at outside of toilet. Camp host was friendly. Road was a little rough to get to. No issue running my generator, sites are spaced well apart. We were in site one which had a great view.

Busy campground on the Colorado Trail

Nice little campground on the Million Dollar Highway heading between Durango and Silverton, with the Colorado Trail passing right through the campground. There is a main loop spread out over a few close ridges, and a secondary small loop that ends in at the day use parking and vault toilet. It seemed that the “group” sites were closest to the vault toilets next to the day use parking, witch could present an issue as it was very busy. The “group” sites were very crowded, which could have been just too many people in a small area, or the area could have been just too small.  Sites further away from the toilets were more spacious, but no site was huge. All sites seemed to have good hammocking trees. It seemed the best sites were the ones closest to the entrance: the parking pads were up next to the road and the tent pads and fire rings were set back from the road down a steepish grade. This was a great spot to camp as a home base for hiking the Colorado Trail. There are great trails heading out of the campground in both directions. The usual picnic tables, fire pits, and bear lockers could be found at all sites we looked at.

Dispersed camping next to the creek

Dispersed camping along the South Mineral Creek. This is dry camping with a vault toilet- no hook ups. This is popular with RV’ers and OHV’ers as it is free. The limit is the usual fourteen days. Some “sites” have fire pits, and there are a few picnic tables scattered about. There are a few sites right on the water. Further back in at some larger sites that could accommodate small rvs. The plus is the free camping right on the “river”. The minus is that the road to the forest service campground and the Ice Lake trailhead is very close, very busy, and very dusty.

Perfect location in Ouray

Above the town of Ouray with great views of the the town below and access to an awesome trail that circumnavigates the town, hitting the best sites along the six or so miles. The trail takes you to the Bathtubs, the Ice Climbing area, several waterfalls, some cool footbridges, and past the Recreation Center (where you can get showers). The campground itself was very tight with several small loops that hang on the side of the mountain. We were there about two weeks after the fourth of July and all of the vault toilets needed to be serviced. The host was aware of the problem and said he had called it in, then shrugged. In town the visitor’s center had some great information about the town and had several preprinted hiking maps for popular trails with difficulty levels noted. In town was a nice full service outdoor shop as well as several micro breweries.

South Mineral Campground

Down an access road about 4 miles is South Mineral Campground. On the way there you will pass several single dispersed campsites next to the river or in the reeds by the beaver ponds, as well as a few semi developed dispersed campgrounds. South Mineral is set back between the base of Ice Mountain and the river, with a really nice and fast rushing waterfall/cascade. There are essentially two loops, with around 25 sites that are nicely sized and spaced with great hammocking trees. The campground is fairly level with handicap access to several sites. There is no electric or water hook ups, but there is water available. There is a day use parking area for those who want to fish, as well as a parking area across from the entrance of the campground for hikers and backpackers heading up to Ice Lake or Clear Lake and beyond or just peak bagging. The vault toilets were clean-ish, but in the need of servicing (it was not long after the July 4th weekend). If you are in need of a shower, head into Silverton and go to the Red Mountain Lodge RV park office. You can get a key to the shower for $5. The showers are clean and not too busy in the middle of the day.

Views for days

It was really nice there. Kinda pricey. The people who were watching the campsite took really good care of the toilets that were close by. Camping quarters were kinda close to each other and the reservoir was really rocky so best to take some water shoes if you want to go swimming.

Forest Service campground about ten miles south of Lake City Colorado

Campground is Forest Service operated by a concessionaire. All have a picnic table. Pit toilets and some water spigots. Good AT&T cell signal.

Gorgeous high altitude Dispersed Camping

There are 16 sites, rock fire pits, need a high clearance vehicle to reach the sites. Small trailers can reach half of the sites as long as you have someone directing you! Beautiful views. Telluride ski mountain is just behind this campground and for a long hike you could hike down to mountain village about 5 miles away. We were there for 2 nights and there were always sites available. This is a free campground! Portapots available.

Rugged Life. Unbeatable Views

This is a dispersed site—pack in/pack out (especially garbage; the nearest dumpster is in the town of Telluride). There is no running water, one outhouse, no service, no electrical outlets or RV pumps. Bears (and moose) are extremely active in this area, so it is especially important to store food in bear canisters and tie up properly. This site is not for the faint of heart! That said, the campers at this site have been some of the most genuine and good-natured humans I have ever met. The views are spectacular, and it’s not far from some fantastic hikes!


Went night fishing at the dock. Slept at the camp grounds, everyone was friendly, and it was quiet, restroom facilities were very clean. Loved it, would definitely camp here again.

Beautiful, convenient, accommodating

This campground rocks. Helpful staff, amazing views of the mountains, and 5 minute walk to the Telluride shops, restaurants and galleries. Bathrooms and showers are super nice and have hot water. A river/creek flows right next to the campground too which is lovely!

Close to Durango but feels remote

Campground features shady sites that will accommodate big rigs. If you are tent camping you might feel surrounded, but most spaces are so far apart, we never heard a peep from our neighbors. Overall the campground was well run with super clean bathrooms in each loop. 15 minute drive to town makes this a great home base to explore Durango and the Animas Valley.

Quiet, spacious and great views!

The Views is located just outside Dolores, CO with immediate access to McPhee Reservoir, Dolores River and miles of mountain bike trails. You are close enough to Durango and Cortez to get any and all necessities, but far enough away to enjoy miles of unobstructed views to the west and NO city lights to block the amazing stargazing opportunities.

The facilities are super clean, well laid out and easily accessible. The RV sites are level, spacious and very easy to park the RV.

The crew @ The Views are super friendly and Matt is a local expert on the mountain bike trails.

We loved our stay at The Views this summer and would not hesitate to stop in for more time on our next trip.

Private. Near a stream.

There are only a few spots on this road, but they're located near a filterable stream. I saw bears, but they didn't bother me. Spaces work great for a tent/car or a van. No cell service. Great location close to Ouray.

Great place to camp for a week or two

Well kept, very clean, cafe on site, great food

Perfect getaway from Denver city-limits

We were shocked to find such a beautiful and quiet campground so close to the Denver city-limits. The sites were pretty close together and didn’t offer much shade, and it was a perfect place to camp and kill a few days. The huge reservoir was amazing place to appreciate the views, as we were there during the solar eclipse. We were able to get ample beach time and I was able to do a decent amount of fishing in my inflatable kayak.

Sheer High-Alpine Car Camping Perfection

There's not likely to be a more beautiful place than the high alpine of the San Juan Mountains. Alta Lakes boasts a series of small lakes stocked with fish annually - making for great fly fishing, naturally. Dispersed camping means pack it in, pack it out but since you can park at your site, this is never difficult. Get there early to enjoy the pick of the pack then get on the water with SUPs, kayaks, and beyond. Stunning views of the Milky Way, always!