Are you a camping enthusiast or is camping on your to-do list? Are you planning to visit Durango, a quaint historic town nestled in the southwest corner of Colorado? Does the smell of warm ponderosa pine bark uplift your spirit?
If you’ve answered yes, yes and heck yeah, there is this fabulous campground you need to know about – Junction Creek Campground!
Junction Creek Campground is located about 6 miles north of Durango which is just the perfect amount of distance for this area if you ask me. You’re close enough to the town’s amenities but just far out to feel like you’re in the middle of nowhere.
The campground itself is situated in San Juan National Forest at an elevation of 7,300 feet, about a quarter-mile above the 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.
Junction Creek Campground – OVERVIEW
If you’re not a fan of crowds and tight quarters while camping, you’re gonna love Junction Creek Campground.
All sites on the loops we’ve checked out were incredibly spacious. If it were elsewhere, I’m sure the area would have been subdivided into even more direct cash flow. But not here. The amount of allotted space was overwhelmingly refreshing.
The sites seemed to have just the right amount of sun and shade which was also nice. The grounds felt quiet even though the campground was full when we stayed here, the entire campground was well maintained, and the campground hosts were very friendly.
Junction Creek Campground – AMENITIES
All sites here have the usual things like tents pads, campfire rings and tables, and some sites have electric hookups.
It’s pretty basic camping; there are NO showers or flushing toilets here. You’ll find water spigots with drinking water and vault toilets conveniently located around each loop though.
Now get this: the vault toilets? They’re not your ordinary vault toilets. Not only are they large enough to fit your entire family…
…They are officially the CLEANEST and BEST-SMELLING VAULT TOILETS you’ll ever find.
They were spotless.
They actually smelled great!
If you don’t believe me, go see for yourself.
Junction Creek Campground – ACTIVITIES
Go for it! Durango has it all – everyone is bound to find something here that makes them happy.
If you care to venture out, this area is also a great base for day trips to Mesa Verde National Park, the towns of Silverton and Telluride, Chimney Rock National Monument, or Aztec Ruins National Monument.
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 small kids, the surrounding forest will bring endless adventure.
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 ocean-side spa as it can get.
And if you don’t have small kids but your neighbors here do (crickets!), no worries, you probably won’t even hear them…
Hiking and mountain biking:
Durango is an outdoor mecca that turns many heads, but it’s especially known as a hikers’ and mountain bikers’ paradise.
One of the handy things about camping here at Junction Creek Campground is that if you want to go hiking, no driving is required. Have your breakfast, pack some drinks and a snack (and a suitcase worth of Band-Aids if you have kids), and just descend through the forest. Voila!
Just down the hill from the campground, you’ll find the Junction Creek Trail which is the southern starting point of the famous Colorado Trail. The Colorado Trail extends for some 486 miles and winds its way all the way to Denver, Colorado. We actually met a hiker at the trailhead that had just completed this whole segment. Pretty impressive, right?
Junction Creek Trail is popular for both hiking and mountain biking, and it gets a decent amount of traffic of both. Be prepared to give way to bikes charging down on the switchbacks and narrow hillside. If you have kids, you’ll want to keep them close.
The ride up would have been a doozy, but the gnarly descent back through the forest made my husband drool and wish he had brought his mountain bike on this trip. Oh boy… One wrong move along the narrow hillside and you’re plummeting hundreds of feet down to the creek bed. Yikes!
Overall, it’s an easy hillside hike with little shade and views of cliff faces and steep lush wooded hills…
…until you cross the creek and enter the forest and the trail starts to switchback up steeply and consistently.
Cool place, it really is!
Before you visit Junction Creek Campground:
Just a heads-up: there is over a mile of gravel road that leads to Junction Creek Campground. There is some washboard here, too. A little annoying, but worth the drive.
This is bear country, so practicing safe food storage is a must.
Because of its location, this campground tends to be busy. Be sure to make a reservation 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.