Are you planning to visit Durango, CO? Do you enjoy going camping or is camping on your to-do list? Does the smell of warm Ponderosa pine bark uplift your spirit? Do you find the sounds of forest soothing? If you’ve answered YES to all four questions, or even just one, there is this great campground in Colorado I want to tell you about – JUNCTION CREEK CAMPGROUND. We were actually so incredibly impressed that we’ve all unanimously voted this the nicest campground we’ve ever stayed at.
Junction Creek Campground is a true gem in the breathtaking Ponderosa pine forest in Colorado’s SW corner, San Juan National Forest. Located about 6 miles from the historic town of Durango, you’ll be close enough to the town’s amenities but it will feel like you’re actually in the middle of nowhere and far away from civilization.
If you’ve never heard of Durango, it’s basically an outdoor mecca with plentiful hiking and biking opportunities and a whole lot of other things to do. This area is also a great base for day trips to Mesa Verde National Park, Silverton, Telluride, Chimney Rock National Monument, or Aztec Ruins National Monument.
The campground itself is situated at an elevation of 7,300 feet, about a quarter-mile above Junction Creek which you’ll be able to hear at night if you’re camping on the creek side. The setting is lush and serene in a forest of Gambel oak and Ponderosa pine with grassy meadows extending around the loops. It really doesn’t get much better than that…
First, I want to clarify that we haven’t seen ALL sites on ALL loops. However, the ones we have seen were all spacious, private, and shaded.
If you’re not a fan of crowds and tight quarters while camping, Junction Creek campground won’t disappoint. Even though the campground was completely full when we stayed there, it really didn’t feel like it. The grounds were quiet, and the campground felt far from crowded since the campsites are so generously spread out. We basically had a whole chunk of forest to ourselves for the few following days. How amazing is that?!
It was obvious right away that the campground was very well maintained, and the campground hosts were very friendly and welcoming.
Junction Creek campground offers a group site, and single and double family campsites, many with electric hookups. All single and double sites have tent pads, campfire rings, and tables.
There are NO showers or flush toilets here. Vault toilets and water spigots with drinking water are conveniently located around each loop.
The vault toilets, however, are not your ordinary vault toilets. Not only are they large enough to fit all of your small kids (and more) at one time…
…This campground wins the CLEANEST and BEST SMELLING PIT TOILETS AWARD EVER!!!
Really. It’s true.
They were spotless.
They actually smelled great.
If you don’t believe me, go see for yourself.
I’ve never seen cleaner campground restrooms of any kind. Ever.
Go for it. This area offers a wide array of outdoor activities, and everyone is bound to find something that makes them happy.
Of course it’s perfectly fine if all you want to do is relax! This is a perfect spot for kicking back and listening to the wind blowing in the trees. Enjoy!
Kids will be busy.
If you have kids, the surrounding forest will be a great opportunity for endless adventure, fun, and discovery. You know what that means, right? You might actually have a whole few minutes all to yourself! And that, my friends, is as close to a session at an oceanside spa as it can get.
Hiking (and biking) opportunities…
One of the great things about camping here is that if you’re eager to take your family on a hike, no driving is required. Have your breakfast, pack some drinks, a snack, and a suitcase worth of Band-Aids if you have kids, and just descend through the forest. You’re all set.
Meet JUNCTION CREEK TRAIL
Junction Creek campground is conveniently located right near the beginning of Junction Creek Trail which is the southern starting point of the Colorado Trail. The Colorado Trail – if you’re not familiar with it – actually extends for some 486 miles and winds its way all the way to Denver (in case you’re adventurous enough). We met a guy there that had just completed the whole trail. Pretty impressive, if you ask me.
Junction Creek Trail is very popular for both hiking and biking, and the steep descent back through the forest made my husband drool and wish he had brought his bike. It is undoubtedly epic and clearly very popular, so be prepared to give way to bikes charging down on the switchbacks and narrow hillside.
There is access to the creek either around the beginning of the trail or about 1.5 miles out once you reach a wooden footbridge.
A rather easy hillside hike until that point with little shade and views of cliff faces and steep lush wooded hills…
…it starts to climb rapidly once you cross the bridge and enter the forest as the trail switchbacks up.
KNOW BEFORE YOU GO
✎ There is over a mile of gravel road that leads to Junction Creek campground. There is some washboard, too. It is annoying. But if you can get past that, you’ll be rewarded with pristine surroundings once you arrive.
✎ This is bear country, so practicing safe food storage is a must. Ask hosts about recent bear sightings.
✎ Due to its proximity to Durango and plentiful outdoor opportunities in the area, this campground tends to be busy. Be sure to make reservations if you can.
✎ Come prepared! At this altitude, even summer nights can be chilly, and some crazy weather at any time of the year is a real possibility.
If you decide to give Junction Creek Campground a try, have a ton of fun! 🙂