Are you planning to visit Durango, a quaint historic town located in the southwest corner of Colorado? 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 sounds of the forest soothing?
If you’ve answered YES to all four questions – or even just one – there is this great campground I can’t wait to tell you about – JUNCTION CREEK CAMPGROUND.
We were actually so incredibly impressed with this campground that we’ve all unanimously voted it the nicest campground we’ve ever stayed at!
Junction Creek Campground – LOCATION
Located only about 6 miles from Durango, you’ll be close enough to the town’s amenities but it will feel like you’re in the middle of nowhere and staying far away from any civilization.
Not only is Durango an outdoor mecca, 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.
The campground is situated in San Juan National Forest 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.
Junction Creek Campground – OVERVIEW
If you’re not a fan of crowds and tight quarters while camping, Junction Creek Campground won’t disappoint!
All sites on the loops we’ve seen were incredibly spacious (and had just enough shade). We basically had a whole chunk of forest just to ourselves here. Coming from the Midwest, it doesn’t really get much better than that! The grounds felt quiet even though the campground was full when we stayed here. The campground was well maintained, and the campground hosts were very friendly.
Junction Creek Campground – AMENITIES
All sites have the usual things like tents pads, campfire rings and tables, and some sites have electric hookups.
Beware, there are NO showers or flushing 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 your whole family…
…This campground wins the CLEANEST and BEST-SMELLING PIT TOILETS AWARD EVER!!!
They were spotless.
They actually smelled great!
If you don’t believe me, go see for yourself.
Junction Creek Campground – ACTIVITIES
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 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, you probably won’t even hear them…
Hiking (and biking) opportunities…
One of the great things about camping here 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. You’re all set. Just down the hill from the campground, you’ll find JUNCTION CREEK TRAIL which is the southern starting point of the Colorado Trail.
COLORADO TRAIL extends for some 486 miles and winds its way all the way to Denver. We actually did meet a guy at the trailhead that had just completed the whole stretch of the trail. Pretty impressive, right?
JUNCTION CREEK TRAIL
Junction Creek Trail is 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 but also 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.
It’s a rather easy hillside hike with little shade and views of cliff faces and steep lush wooded hills…
…until you cross the bridge and enter the forest and the trail starts to switchback up steeply.
Junction Creek Campground – KNOW BEFORE YOU GO
✎ There is over a mile of gravel road that leads to Junction Creek Campground. There is some washboard here, too. A little annoying, yes, 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 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.