Best Camping In Durango Colorado

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Best Camping In Durango Colorado

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The rocky city of Durango, Colorado is located in the southwestern part of the state. While you may think that you should go to this destination during the summer months, you should understand that any time of the year is a good time to visit. As you hike from one scenic spot to another while in Durango, you’ll appreciate views of the San Juan National Forest, the La Plata Mountains, and towering areas of aspen and pines. One of the best ways to experience nature in Durango is to camp at one of the many free campgrounds.

If you’re ready to save money on your next micro-adventure, here are my favorite free camping spots and spots in and around Durango, Colorado:

To camp on Mount Barnes, you’ll need to pass through Las Animas Lookout. The journey is not easy because it is a dirt road full of potholes, garbage pits. However, once you arrive and find your campsite, you can easily find many hiking trails in the area. The Mount Animas Trail is five and a half miles long and connects you to Mount Dala Park if you choose to go further. We started this hike in the parking lot and once you reach the main road, keep turning right until you see a beautiful view of the Animas River Valley.

When you’re ready to head back, you should get ready to see the views of the La Plata Mountains from the campsite. Wildfield BLM Boondocking

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Wildfields BLM Boondocking is very close to downtown Durango, perfect if you need to buy supplies and beer. This free campsite is very quiet, especially if no one is camping nearby. There are many great hiking trails in Horse Gulch, and the Telegraph Trail is perfect if you want to hike longer. If you’re looking for a shorter option, there are several lower loops, each about three miles long.

When you start driving Missionary Ridge Road, you don’t even start looking for scattered campsites until you hit the 3.6 mile marker. You can then camp anywhere for the remainder of the trip except between markers 6.8 and 9. The Mission Ridge Trail is nine miles long and can be difficult if you’re not an experienced hiker. You may want to detour to the Haflin Creek Trail, which is about six and a half miles long. At altitude, you climb three thousand feet, starting at a small creek. This is a great place to view the river valley from the cliffs, so I recommend spending some time there.

Once you know where private property ends and forest access begins, camping on Madden Peak Road becomes easy. When you start on Madden Road, follow FSR 316 about a mile down the highway. There are great campsites within a few miles, or you can do an FSR 568 and stay at one of five campsites within a few hundred yards. The perfect hike in the area is the four-and-a-half-mile Madden Peak Trail. You can combine a hike to the top with a hike to Parro Peak and Gibbs Peak, but make sure you start all day early and don’t linger on the trails.

Cherry Creek Road is in the San Juan National Forest, but since it’s not a road, there are always lots of cars in the background. The Cherry Creek Natural Area Trail is approximately five and a half miles long and is a great hike for all skill levels. If you want a slightly longer hike, you can combine it with the Hidden Mesa Trail, which is another six and a half miles. The trail has a steep incline, which means you’ll have a hard time climbing it at some points during the hike.

Best Rv Parks In Durango Co

This is another free campsite spread across the San Juan National Forest, and there are usually eight campsites available for campers. There are a few more, but not as smooth as the first eight. This campground has signs posted to let you know where you can and cannot camp and the rules you must follow while you are there. The Sault Creek Trail is a good place to start in this part of the San Juan National Forest. The trails are about five miles long, but be careful as there are often cyclists and horses on the trails.

My favorite free camping spot around Durango is La Plata Canyon. Nestled between two mountains in the La Plata Mountains, La Plata Canyon is an idyllic place to rest your head at night.

Located west of Durango, off Highway 160 and County Road 124, La Plata Canyon is a 45-minute (door-to-door) drive from the city center. The road is paved until you enter the canyon – past the Mayday “town”. From there, expect solid, well-maintained forest roads – a smooth ride for most sedans.

However, during the Durango rains, the streets tend to be a bit crowded! Get ready for mud and bumps!

State Parks In Southwest Colorado With Rv Camping Nearby

Arriving at La Plata Canyon, PA on May Day, they passed a campground called Snowslide Campground. From there, look for pulls to the left and right of the road whenever you deviate from another designated campsite.

Although the signs are hard to see on the road, the three free campsites scattered across La Plata Canyon are:

Enjoy the views around the La Plata Mountains on your left and right as you sit between the aspen trees and the La Plata River.

While there aren’t many free campsites scattered around Durango, Colorado, there are plenty of places to rest your head without breaking your backpack. With great hiking from most of the campgrounds on our list, using some of the campgrounds on our list can be a great way to spend your time and micro-adventures in and around Durango. So get out there and camp!

The Best Camping In Durango, Co

Nick is the owner and regular content writer for Southwest Micro Adventures. When not writing, he can be found rock climbing, backpacking, rock climbing.

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