PAGOSA SPRINGS, Colorado — Having owned and operated Sportsman’s Campground & Mountain Cabins for the past 19 years, Jon Reed is accustomed to seeing a few visitors in summer, but not that many because he is in a remote part of Colorado.
“It’s a little more remote down here,” Reed said of his pine-covered campground, which is in a rural area with cattle ranches about 20 miles north of Pagosa Springs. “It’s not as developed as other areas of Colorado. There’s no tours. It’s just camping. It’s a place for solitude,” he said.
But this year could wind up being the busiest Reed has ever experienced as growing numbers of people search for more remote places to camp as they try to escape the COVID-19 pandemic.
“There’s a lot of people camping here this year,” said Reed, whose campground offers 32 full hookup sites and seven cabins.
CAMPERS & RVERS
While Reed typically draws people from the Denver area who want to escape the busier resorts in the Front Range as well as visitors from New Mexico and Texas, COVID-19-related business closures and restrictions have prompted more people than ever before to make the trip to his campground, which is located in a remote area about 90 minutes east of Durango.
“When they shut things down in New Mexico, everybody congregated in areas that were still open, so people were coming up here,” Reed said.
Visitors have also been coming from Texas in greater numbers, too. “Most people from Texas come up from Santa Fe or up over Wolf Creek Pass” from Alamosa, he said.
CARE FOR COLORADANS INITIATIVE
Colorado encourages everyone to enjoy the Great Outdoors safely through its Care for Coloradans initiative. Physical distancing, facial coverings when unable to distance, and being aware of local guidance are parts of that initiative.
Reed, for his part, takes pride in offering his guests a place to escape from the crowds. His park serves as a convenient base camp for plenty of outdoor recreation activities.
Hikers can take their pick of trails from easy hikes to scenic Piedra Falls or a strenuous climb up 12,640-foot Pagosa Peak.
Guests can also fly fish for trout on nearby rivers and streams or go fishing five miles away at Williams Reservoir, which is stocked with Rainbow and hybrid-Cutthroat Trout.
Kayaks, innertubes and stand up paddle boards are available for rent through Pagosa Outside Adventures.
Guided horseback rides are also locally available through Crazy Horse Outfitters & Guides, which offers 2-hour, 4-hour and all day rides.
Mountain bikers can test their skills on the Treasure Mountain Trail at Wolf Creek Pass or the Turkey Springs Trail System, which has 25 miles of trails.
ATV enthusiasts can also ride their vehicles on Forest Service roads nearby.
OUTDOORS & COVID-19
Sportsman’s Campground & Mountain Cabins is a great place to enjoy the Great Outdoors. Enjoy the area’s outdoor adventures, soak up the natural vitamin-D at Williams Reservoir, or simply decompress at your campsite.
Mary Arlington, executive director of the Colorado Campground and Lodging Owners Association, appreciates the lack of crowds. “We want everyone to enjoy the fresh air and let your eyes be astonished by the gorgeous nature found in abundance around Sportsman’s Campground & Mountain Cabins,” Arlington said. “Grab some natural vitamin-D at Williams Creek Reservoir and decompress at your campsite.”
The Colorado Tourism Office website adds, “Our communities love sharing their wealth of natural beauty and outdoor experiences with you. All we ask is that you have an amazing time while showing our lands and people plenty of love, kindness and respect. We promise to pay it back tenfold.”
PLAN YOUR CAMPING TRIP
This publication is supported by funding from the Colorado Tourism Office, a state agency. Turn to Colorado.com for a comprehensive list of festivals, events, historic areas, itineraries, and community insight.