Southwestern Colorado can be a great place to get away and discover new hidden gems. Perhaps this is an area of Colorado you’ve yet to explore; there is so much to do and see in other parts of the state! However, Southwest Colorado is home to a national park, historic sites, 14ers, and more. Check out our Southwestern Colorado Trips tips below.

Durango is a great place to start a trip to Southwestern Colorado. There are several national forest service campgrounds between Durango and Cortez, but there is one hidden gem much closer to town that we love. The Junction Creek campground is literally at the end of the famed Colorado Trail. This campground also takes reservations, which means you don’t have to stress about finding a site. Junction Creek (opens the first week of May) sits in the middle of a huge pine forest and you can often see deer and the occasional bear here. Hike the Colorado Trail up to Gudy’s Rest and beyond on your first day and enjoy the woods and views of Durango below.

While in town, make sure to check out the Telegraph trail system. It’s great for hiking, trail running, and mountain biking.

Phils World Bike Photo
Phil’s World Biking

As you head west from Durango along Highway 160, plan to spend at least one night at Mesa Verde National Park. The park has a massive campground and a great general store too. The campground usually opens in mid-May. You can take a scenic drive with stops along the way, or enjoy hikes to many of the ancient dwellings of the Ancient Pueblo people. Make sure to tour the museum too!

Mesa Verde Museum
Mesa Verde Museum

Finally, further west is Cortez, with its own awesome bike trails at Phil’s World. This is a private land bike system and donations are appreciated. You can stay at the nearby Cortez KOA or the Dolores River Campground. It has wifi and full hookups for RV sites. You’ll also want to check out Canyons of the Ancients, a National Monument that, “…contains the highest known archaeological site density in the United States, with rich, well-preserved evidence of native cultures.”

Planning your southwestern Colorado Trips can be a breeze! Just use our tips here, follow current COVID restrictions, and enjoy!