Playing on a spur of the San Juan River in West Fork Campground

A simply lovely forest campground in the Forest valley just north of Pagosa Springs in South Central Colorado.

Link to campground here: West Fork Campground, San Juan Forest
Link to map location here: West Fork Campground, San Juan Forest

  1. Site Quality = 4/5
    Nice sites for a forest campground. All are primitive (no hookups) spacious, decently flat compact dirt with picnic table and fire-pit surrounded by deep pine forest. Great site separation and privacy with nice “sitting area” and good access. Most sites have good to medium shade. Several sites have river access only 20 feet or so away (sites #16,#18) and many are large enough for bigger rigs (esp. #2, 17, 21, 26)
  2.  Facilities = 2/5
    Typical primitive forest facilities. There are several pit toilets, all kept very nicely clean. Water spigots on-site but no dump station.
  3. Location = 5/5
    Just a lovely location. You are deep in a forest valley with lots of seclusion, yet only steps away from the San Juan River and stunning mountain views. Lots of nearby hiking plus all the shopping and eating you’d like ~14 miles away in Pagosa Springs.
  4. Pet Friendliness = 5/5
    Another great doggie spot. You’re right next to the San Juan River which has lots of opportunities for hiking and splashing around (there’s a “hidden” trail directly behind the pit toilet next to site #18 which continues down to a cute water area (to the right) or back, across the road and up the hill on the other side (to the left)).

Overall Rating = 4
BONUS ALERT =
 Camp deep in the forest next to river and mountain views!

Summary: This was simply a lovely find. If you’re looking for a primitive, secluded and quiet forest campground with access to river and just steps away from nature, hiking and stunning mountain views then this is your spot. There are several other forest service campgrounds in this area (e.g. East Fork, Lower Piedra, Ute etc.), but West Fork seems to have the best access and largest sites. Located beautifully in the rugged valley just ~14 miles north of Pagosa Springs, the campground has nice, spacious sites (several large enough for bigger rigs) with great separation and picnic table/fire-pit. A few sites have river access very close by (esp. #16, 18). The only ding I could think of is it does take a bit to get here. It’s ~1.5 miles on a firm (and decently wide), but very dusty road from Hwy 160. Within the campground the road has good access with a few turns, but nothing that concerned us. Overall an outstanding spot to hang around in nature and explore Pagosa Springs, Wolf Creek Pass and the surrounding attractions. We would most certainly come again.

 Extra Info:  Very spotty cellphone reception here, but we were able to get a good internet connection with our external amp/antenna on Verizon. Sites cost $16/night (no hookups). 28 sites of which 15 are reservable. NO dump station.

One of the larger pull-throughs (site #21 shown)

One of the non-reservation back-in sites (#2 shown)

View of typical "sitting area" with picnic table and fire-pit

View down campground loop (we're in site #18 with site #16 behind)

Another view down campground loop (RV shown in site #24)

Another view down campground loop (red car is in site #12 with #14 behind it)

View of one of pit toilets

View of our very spacious "siting area" in site #18. Shade in AM with sun in afternoon and the river accessible just steps away.

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11 Responses to NFS Campground Review – West Fork, San Juan Forest, Pagosa Springs, CO

  1. Laurie says:

    Woo-hoo! Looks delightful (esp. standing in the river). Thanks for the very complete report.

  2. Was this CG “Big Rig Friendly”? Do you rate that information? I’ve started a conquest to alert the Ranger Station if their CG’s need a little trimming, because I feel they don’t consider the size of these big rigs. Check this out at IRV2: http://www.irv2.com/forums/f38/us-forest-service-cgs-95954.html

    • libertatemamo says:

      Yes, I’d consider it big rig friendly. Given our size (40-feet by rating, or 41.6 feet if you measure us) I pretty much consider any campground we can get into as big-rig friendly :)
      I DID see your discussion on IRV2 and was going to comment. I think it makes alot of sense. The site we were in (#18) was fine for our size but did have low-hanging branches at the front which were soft enough to sweep past the roof, but still too low for my liking. A quick trimming would do the job. Overall however this particular campground had good access so I felt they were doing a decent job maintaining it. Nina

  3. Mary says:

    Love your ratings but perhaps I’m not doing something right…..Is there a way to just bring up a “one-liner” of the park’s name & city so I can click on just that one campground to read the review? Then I don’t have to look through the whole page of all the reviews to get to the one I want? (Even though I’m retired – it cuts into my play time!) :) Thanks for all your work!

    • libertatemamo says:

      Sure! There are a couple of ways to do it.
      1/ I’ve tagged all my reviews by park and city name, so if I’ve been there and camped there you can just put the name or city in the “search” box and it should bring it up
      2/ I’ve mapped all our stops in our “journey” page. You can click on the map and if there’s a spot that looks interesting or close to where you’re going you can click on the review directly from there.
      Hope that helps!
      Nina

      • Mary says:

        I knew you’d have the answer for me! The Journey map is great. Thanks so much!

        Love your ratings but perhaps I’m not doing something right…..Is there a way to just bring up a “one-liner” of the park’s name & city so I can click on just that one campground to read the review? Then I don’t have to look through the whole page of all the reviews to get to the one I want? (Even though I’m retired – it cuts into my play time!) :) Thanks for all your work!

  4. Danny says:

    Camped in site 18 for 6 days and really enjoyed it. The river really is only steps away and was gorgeous. The site was big with plenty of space. The surrounding area had plenty of things for two young boys to do including a lake just a mile down the road. I would highly recommend this campground!

    • libertatemamo says:

      So happy you enjoyed it as much as we did. We consider this spot a definite “hidden gem”! Thanks for commenting back on your stay.
      Nina

  5. Steven rich says:

    Is the water source here spigots or pumps.

    Thanks

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