Durango offers numerous dispersed camping options for nature lovers. With its proximity to the San Juan National Forest, the La Plata Mountains, and the Weminuche Wilderness, visitors can find secluded spots to pitch their tent or park their RV. The dispersed camping areas around Durango offer many amenities, from primitive sites with no facilities to more developed sites with fire rings and picnic tables. Durango offers something whether you're looking for a remote camping experience or a convenient spot close to town.
If you’re planning a dispersed camping trip in Durango, you're in luck! Here are seven excellent dispersed camping spots that offer breathtaking scenery, peaceful solitude, and proximity to the region's outdoor attractions.
#1 La Plata Canyon
La Plata Canyon, located 20 miles west of Durango, Colorado, is a popular destination for dispersed camping. The canyon has several choice spots for an overnight stay in the backcountry, and visitors can enjoy activities such as hiking and fishing in the surrounding San Juan National Forest. Kennebec Pass is a particularly popular spot, offering breathtaking views.
However, dispersed camping is limited to National Forest Service land and is not allowed on the private property that dot the canyon.
#2 Aspen Loop Area North of Mancos
The 39-mile Aspen Loop OHV Trail, located near Durango, Colorado, is primarily used for off-road driving. Still, several campsites along the route are ideal for dispersed camping. Visitors can enjoy beautiful views of the surrounding La Plata Mountains and forests and opportunities for gravel biking and wildlife viewing in the area. It’s a magical place that lends itself to an extended camping trip amongst some of Colorado’s best 13ers.
#3 Little Molas Lake
Tucked neatly between the Coal Bank and Molas Passes, Little Molas Lake, located about 30 miles north of Durango, Colorado, is a high-altitude destination for dispersed camping in the San Juan National Forest. The area offers primitive camping sites outside of the established campground in the San Juan National Forest. This area has unparalleled access to the 486-mile Colorado Trail, and the lake is a popular fishing spot.
#4 Off of Missionary Ridge Road (FSR 253/682)
Missionary Ridge Road (FSR 683), located near Durango, Colorado, has some of the best shaded dispersed camping spots. After 3.6 miles on the road, the area opens up with several prime locations to pitch your tent. Visitors can enjoy beautiful views of the surrounding mountain ranges and world-class hiking and mountain biking opportunities.
#5 Old Lime Creek Road
The 5.8-mile Old Lime Creek Road, located about 15 miles northeast of Durango, Colorado, and in a thick pine forest, provides some of the region’s most intimate dispersed camping spots. As you drive down the road, you’ll come across a peaceful alpine meadow with plenty of prime tent-pitching locations scattered throughout. The road to this camping area can be narrow and bumpy, so it is recommended that visitors use caution while driving.
#6 Saul’s Creek Area
With cattle roaming and mountains looming, the Saul's Creek area, located about 25 miles southeast of Durango, Colorado, offers a unique dispersed camping experience. The area offers primitive camping sites with no facilities, but campers can enjoy beautiful views of the surrounding mountains and easy access to nearby hiking, fishing, and wildlife viewing opportunities. The Saul's Creek area is known for its high-altitude grasslands, making it an excellent place for visitors to observe wildlife in their natural habitat.
#7 Madden Peak Road (FSR 316)
Madden Peak Road, located about 30 miles west of Durango, Colorado, is the perfect spot for campers looking to gaze at the stars at the foot of the imposing Madden Peak (11,654 feet). There is a bevy of primitive camping sites with no facilities along the road, and campers can enjoy beautiful views of the surrounding mountains and access to nearby hiking, fishing, and wildlife viewing opportunities.
Durango, Colorado, offers a true escape from the ordinary. From the serenity of secluded campsites to the breathtaking vistas that greet you at every turn, it's a haven for outdoor enthusiasts seeking adventure. Whether hiking through pristine trails, fishing in crystal-clear streams, or simply basking in the tranquility of nature, the Durango area delivers an unforgettable experience. With its rich biodiversity and untamed landscapes, this hidden gem beckons you to disconnect from the chaos of daily life and reconnect with the raw beauty of the wilderness.
So pack your gear, embrace the unknown, and embark on your next journey!