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Are you looking for the best San Juan National Forest camping spots? Well, search no further. The San Juan National Forest is one of the most stunning regions in the world, giving Southwest Colorado its coveted reputation. Mountaintops bleed deep shades of red and yellow, giving the San Juans their unique beauty. The best way to enjoy the San Juan National Forest and Southwest Colorado is to spend a few days exploring and camping. These are the eight best San Juan National Forest camping spots for every kind of adventurer.

The Best San Juan National Forest Camping Spots


1. Molas Lake

Image from The Dyrt camper Kelly M.

The Molas Lake campground is just off the Million Dollar Highway, on the picturesque shores of Molas Lake. The campground has reservable sites for tents and RVs with electric and water hookups, flush toilets, showers, and a store. Campsites offer spectacular views of the lake and surrounding mountain peaks. You can rent a kayak or SUP board, fish the stocked lake, or hike/ski nearby trails. You’re only six miles from nearby Silverton, where you can stock up on supplies or enjoy first-rate dining. Molas Lake is a photographer’s dream, with scenic vistas that strike awe and appreciation.

“Very clean campground with excellent scenery all around. There is easy access to major hiking trails right within the campground. You will be able to see tall mountains, a crisp lake and green meadows all from your campsite. The campsites are located in the woods so there is some privacy. The nearest town is Silverton, and everything is marked up on price there, so bring a good amount of supplies before you arrive. Showers cost extra money.”Tyler M.





Campground Details:

  • Price: $25-68
  • Number of sites: 58
  • RV sites: Yes
  • Fires allowed: Yes
  • Pets allowed: Yes

2. Haviland Lake Campground

Image from The Dyrt camper Katie H.

The Haviland Lake Campground is 30 minutes north of Durango, on the shores of Haviland Lake. The campground has reservable lakeside sites for tents and RVs up to 45 feet, with spectacular views of the Hermosa Cliffs. Enjoy amenities like fire rings, electric hookups, vault toilets, and potable water. There’s a dock where you can float the lake or fish for trout. Take advantage of the campground’s trails, including the Forebay Lake Trail and the Rico-to-Rockwood Wagon Road. Haviland Lake is the perfect place for a weekend getaway of relaxing recreation and beautiful scenery.

“You could hear water flowing to the lake from most campsites. The lake was great for kayaking and we saw a lot of people fishing. Great hiking trail that follows along a stream. Camp hosts were great and the bathrooms were very clean! Will definitely be back!”H. Z.

Campground Details:

  • Price: $24-75
  • Number of sites: 43
  • RV sites: Yes
  • Fires allowed: Yes
  • Pets allowed: Yes

3. Durango North/Riverside KOA

Image from The Dyrt camper Steve D.

The Durango Riverside Resort (formerly Durango North/Riverside KOA) is 20 minutes north of Durango, along the Animas River. This resort-style campground has reservable sites for tents and RVs, with a ton of amenities. Enjoy full hookups, Wi-Fi and cable, laundry, a pool and game room, and dining opportunities. Let your inner adventurer out by rafting the river, taking a Jeep tour, or zip-lining through the forest. The Durango Riverside Resort is the perfect outdoor playground for campers who want a little pampering with their nature.

“This campground is amazing! As stated before, this is no longer a KOA campground, but it’s one of the best I’ve ever stayed at. Outside of Durango, away from the road, all you hear is the river running by. The sites are all large and the grounds are immaculate. We stayed 5 nights and were very sad to leave. Each site has a picnic table and fire ring. Depending on your site, most have large mature trees around you. Facilities are clean and well kept. Highly recommend staying here.”Todd G.

Campground Details:

  • Price: $42-99
  • Number of sites: 108
  • RV sites: Yes
  • Fires allowed: Yes
  • Pets allowed: Yes

4. Vallecito Campground

The Vallecito Campground is north of the Vallecito Reservoir, on the shores of Vallecito Creek. The campground has reservable sites for tents and RVs, with fire rings, electric hookups, vault toilets, and potable water. You can access the vast Weminuche Wilderness from the campground via the Vallecito Trail and Lake Eileen Trail. The Vallecito Reservoir has excellent trout fishing, and the river is perfect for rafting. The Vallecito Campground is a popular destination, so make your reservations early.

“We spent a total of 8 days at this campground with 2 dogs and 3 kids. It was amazing falling asleep to the sound of the river at night and waking up to the call of singing birds. We enjoyed all the area had to offer. I recommend bringing decent bug repellent as the mosquitos can get heavy at dawn and dusk.”Kimberly P.

Campground Details:

  • Price: $24-32
  • Number of sites: 80
  • RV sites: Yes
  • Fires allowed: Yes
  • Pets allowed: Yes

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5. Junction Creek Campground

Image from The Dyrt camper Kristin A.

The Junction Creek Campground is just outside of Durango, above the shores of Junction Creek. The campground has reservable sites for tents and RVs up to 60 feet, with fire rings, electric hookups, and vault toilets. You can access the Colorado Trail from the campground or make the short trek up to Animas Overlook. If you like trout, you’re in luck; there are great fishing spots on Junction Creek, near the campground. Junction Creek is a great place to pack up the family and head out for a few days of relaxation and fun.

“One of the most beautiful campsites ever! Our site was huge and very private. We had a great free space behind us in the forest for some fun exploring and a clearing for stargazing. Camp hosts were very helpful with questions and kept the bathrooms very clean. The last mile or so up the road near the campground is gravel. Definitely passable but may be a bit more challenging for a very large RV. Wish we could have stayed longer!”Stacy

Campground Details:

  • Price: $24-35
  • Number of sites: 44
  • RV sites: Yes
  • Fires allowed: Yes
  • Pets allowed: Yes

6. Hermosa Park Road

Image from The Dyrt camper Kendrick

The Hermosa Park Road dispersed camping area is halfway between Durango and Silverton, along Hermosa Creek. This primitive camping spot has free dispersed tent camping. Since it’s dispersed camping, there are no amenities or toilets; be sure to bring water and other supplies. It’s a great place for campers who want to explore the Hermosa Creek Watershed Special Management Area. You can enjoy the rugged wilderness using OHV roads or hike the scenic trails. Hermosa Park Road is a great place to rest between off-roading adventures, fishing, hunting, or nature explorations.

“There are a lot of dispersed camping spots all along Hermosa Park Rd north of Durango. Some are even an hour drive (4WD) from town. These spots are far from one another so you feel like you have the mountain to yourself! I wouldn’t recommend it if you plan to visit waterfalls and other attractions in Durango since it is such a drive. Definitely stay more than a couple nights!”Jeana P.

Campground Details:

  • Price: $0
  • RV sites: No
  • Fires allowed: Yes
  • Pets allowed: Yes

7. The Views RV Park & Campground

The Views RV Park & Campground is outside of Dolores, between the McPhee and Narraguinnep Reservoirs. The campground has reservable sites for tents and RVs. Amenities include full hookups, Wi-Fi, showers, laundry, and equipment rentals. Take in the incredible scenery and colorful sunsets as you look down upon four different states at once. There’s plenty to do in the four corners region. When you’ve exhausted those activities, check out Canyons of the Ancients just around the corner. The Views is the premier camping destination for extraordinary scenery and fun outdoor activities.

“This place is worth every star. It’s quiet. Campsites are well maintained. Trees everywhere for shade and privacy. The views looking out over the valley could be a hundred miles into the horizon. The Milky Way is so clear it looks like a cloud. There are new, immaculate bathrooms and showers I’m not afraid to use because they’re spotless. Laundry room is a bonus. My favorite part is a perfect single track trail that circumnavigates what seems like 20 acres of untouched land. There are a lot of little details everywhere that show that someone thinks this is a really special place – and it is.”Greg

Campground Details:

  • Price: $35-55
  • Number of sites: 49
  • RV sites: Yes
  • Fires allowed: Yes
  • Pets allowed: Yes

8. Lizard Head Pass

Image from The Dyrt camper Annie C.

The Lizard Head Pass campground is a free dispersed camping area between Rico and Telluride on Lizard Head Pass. This primitive camping area has sites for tents and RVs but no amenities. The views from the campground are jaw-dropping. You’re sitting at 10,000 vertical feet, surrounded by colorful mountain peaks, rugged mesas, and sweeping vistas. The camping area is set amongst fields of aspen and wildflowers. There are hiking and biking trails in every direction, and Telluride Ski Resort is a half-hour away. Lizard Head Pass is the place to go for wildlife, raw beauty, and a quiet weekend away from the city.

“Lodging isn’t always easy to find in the Telluride area but this is an absolutely amazing free camp spot 11 miles out of town. If you want a no-frills but off the grid this place is an amazing option. Beautiful views at 10k+ feet. Fires are allowed in the fire rings as long as you stay at a previously disturbed spot you are good. There are toilets across the road at the trailhead. The night views are stellar. I’ll probably stop here again if I’m in this area and thankful it is available and free. Had a great night here.”Thomas S.

Campground Details:

  • Price: $0
  • RV sites: Yes
  • Fires allowed: Yes
  • Pets allowed: Yes

Southwest Colorado is overflowing with natural beauty, wildlife, and history. These beautiful San Juan National Forest camping spots will strike awe in your heart.

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