• Activities:

    Chillin, Camping, Fishing, Photography, Mountain Biking, Running, Kayaking, Swimming, Backpacking, Hiking

  • Skill Level:

    Beginner

  • Season:

    Year Round

  • Trail Type:

    Out-and-Back

  • RT Distance:

    1 Miles

  • Elevation Gain:

    40 Feet

Bathrooms
Beach
Dog Friendly
Easy Parking
Family Friendly
Food Nearby
Forest
Groups
Handicap Accessible
Lake
Picnic Area
Romantic
Scenic
Wildflowers
Wildlife

This primitive campground offers amazing views year-round and sits between Silverton and Durango in the San Juan Mountains. With access to the Colorado Trail and views from Molas Pass, it's truly hard to beat.

Little Molas Lake Campground is about 1 mile off of US Highway 550 on Molas Pass just North of and on the other side of the highway from the Molas Overlook. Pro-tip: there is also another campground nearby called Molas Lake Park & Campground, so it's important to distinguish which you are headed to beforehand.

The Little Molas Lake area is very high in elevation, with Coalbank and Molas passes reaching above 10,000 feet. Facilities are set in alpine and subalpine settings so you can expect and plan for unpredictable weather - snow and hail are common during summer thunderstorms. I suggest checking the weather and preparing for the worst just in case!

The unpaved road leading to this free and primitive campground is passable by 2WD passenger cars. Little Molas Lake features 10 campsites: 4 are double, 3 have hitching rails for stock animals, and 5 will accommodate RVs. Campers are limited to a 14 day stay as it is in most Forest Service campgrounds.

The campsites all have fire grates, but no tables. There are several spots where people have attempted to make dispersed campsites, but these are not recognized by the Forest Service and are detrimental to the land, so please refrain from using these sites if the campground is full - which may be the case during the busy season or on weekends. There is no drinking water or trash service offered so it's important to be prepared and to pack out what you pack in. Leave No Trace ethics are especially important in riparian environments as many damaging effects cannot be easily reversed here. It's also important to keep your food secure at night and when it is unattended as it can attract wildlife in the area.

There are toilets in the campground and at the trailhead for the Colorado Trail, but they are only available seasonally so I suggest being prepared! The trailhead for the Colorado Trail is located just past the campground, and has parking for both cars and horse trailers. The CT offers a wide variety of use from hiking, backpacking, snowshoeing, mountain biking, etc. Parking for fishing and day use is offered near the lake.

Pack List

  • Map
  • The Ten Essentials
  • Campsite essentials
  • Camera
  • Toilet paper
  • Mountain bike
  • Kayak/canoe
  • Fishing gear
  • Firewood/matches
  • Food and water
  • Bear canister
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Please respect the places you find on The Outbound.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More

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Reviews

Overall rating: 

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When I camped here it was one day before the first big snow storm hit and it was absolutely breathtaking, even with the cold and the wind. The leaves all had turned and everywhere you looked was an explosion of color. If you're looking for a nice campground, this is it, especially in the fall.

almost 2 years ago
almost 2 years ago

Brittany Weber

Ranger. Hiker. Biker. Dirtbag Climber. Cyclist. Musician. Rebel. All-around Wild Woman. Basking in moonlight and howling often. Nothing can stop me now.

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