Welcome to Molas Lake Park & Campground
- General Info
- Our Policies
2017 Reservations are open and we now offer SITE SPECIFIC RESERVATIONS!
Rated the "Most Scenic Campground in Colorado" - by AAA
"If you should, in your imagination, put together in one small
group, perhaps 12 miles square, all the heights and depths, the rugged
precipices and polished faces of rock, and all the sharp pinnacles and
deeply indented crests, and twenty times the inaccessible summits that
both of us have ever seen, you would not have a picture equal to this."
- W.H. Holmes, describing the San Juan Mountains in 1876.
Molas Lake Campground was featured in the October 15, 2011 "Colorado Getaways". View the clip embedded below or click on this link: Molas Lake Campground "Colorado Getaways" Feature
Molas Lake Campground was granted to the Town of Silverton in 1925 from the U.S. Bureau of Land Management. The 137-acre campground sits along the Million Dollar Highway (US 550) in the central San Juan Mountains; the most spectacular peaks in the Colorado Rockies. The Campground is adjacent to the largest wilderness area in the state of Colorado, the Weminuche Wilderness.
Molas Lake Campground provides visitors with unforgettable scenery, a stocked 25-acre lake, National Forest access via the Colorado Trail, and dark, starry skies free from light-pollution. The campground and day-use amenities were completely renovated in 2008. There are more than 50 campsites serving tent-campers, small RV's and pop-ups, and a few sites over 1,500 square feet to serve even the largest RV's. The park has one water pump, several clean and new vault-style restrooms, and showers. The Campground no longer has a dump station, but there are dump stations available within the Town of Silverton, 10 minutes away, for a small fee. There is no internet connectivity and limited cell service within the campground.
Swimming is not permitted in Molas Lake.
Molas Lake Park & Campground is located between mile markers 65 & 66 on U.S. Highway 550, approximately 5 miles south of Silverton in San Juan County, Colorado.
View Larger Map | Molas Lake Park is on the U.S. Geological Survey 1:24,000 Snowden Peak Quadrangle.
Head out of town north on highway 550. After approximately 42
miles, you'll reach Molas Pass. Continue for approximately one more
mile and find the entrance to the park on the right, immediately off of
highway 550. Driving time from Durango is approximately one hour.
Head out of town south on highway 550, towards Durango. After
approximately 5 miles, you'll see the entrance to Molas Park on the
left side of the road. If you reach the top of Molas Pass, you've gone
too far. Driving time from Silverton is approximately 10 minutes.
Head out of town south on highway 550, towards Ouray. Continue
through Ouray on highway 550. Continue over Red Mountain Pass to
Silverton. Go past Silverton and continue and additional 5 miles,
you'll see the entrance to Molas Park on the left side of the road. If
you reach the top of Molas Pass, you've gone too far. Total distance
from Montrose is about 65 miles with a driving time of about 1.5 hours.
Approximate Driving Times & Distances
Durango: 44.5 miles (about 54 minutes)
Telluride: 29.7 miles (about 1 hour 12 minutes)
Grand Junction: 127 miles (about 2 hours 39 minutes)
Colorado Springs: 300 miles (about 5 hours 48 minutes)
Denver: 362 miles (6 hours 15 minutes)
Flagstaff, Arizona: 355 miles (about 6 hours 49 minutes)
Santa Fe, New Mexico: 257 miles (about 4 hours and 58 minutes)
Farmington, New Mexico: 92.1 miles (about 1 hour 55 minutes)
Salt Lake City, Utah: 408 miles (about 7 hours 18 minutes)
El Paso, Texas: 523 miles (about 8 hours 36 minutes)
Twin Falls, Idaho: 629 miles (about 10 hours, 22 minutes)
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma: 802 miles (about 12 hours 40 minutes)
- Durango - La Plata County Airport (about 1 hour 20 minutes drive)
- Telluride Regional Airport (about 1 hour 30 minutes drive away)
- Montrose Regional Airport (about 2 hours drive)
General & Day-Use Policies:
Pets are welcome. All dogs must be on-leash at all times when in the park and never left unattended. Owners are responsible for picking up after their pets to ensure a clean campground, campsite and surrounding trails. This policy is strictly enforced.
Day-Use Areas: Our four day-use areas are available free of charge, on a first-come first-serve basis. Each area has a BBQ grill and picnic table. Day-use hours are “Dawn-to-Dusk”.
No swimming is allowed in Molas Lake.
Fishing: Colorado Fishing Licenses can be purchased at Outdoor World in Silverton (1234 Greene St), which is about a 15 minute drive from the park. Alternatively, you can purchase a Colorado fishing license from the Colorado Parks and Wildlife or other outdoor store. Check the CPW Web Site for current license fees. You'll need to supply your own fishing equipment. Rainbow and brown trout are the most common species in the lake. Cleaning of fish is only allowed at the fish cleaning station and all unwanted fish byproduct must be bagged and discarded in the dumpster. Limit of fish is 4 per person.
Camping & Reservation Policies:
The campground is open from June 1 to September 30 each year, weather permitting.
No swimming is allowed in Molas Lake.
Pets are welcome. All dogs must be on-leash at all times when in the park and never left unattended. Owners are responsible for picking up their pets to ensure a clean campground, campsite and surrounding trails. This policy is strictly enforced.
Check-In begins at 1:00 PM. Check-Out: 11:00 AM. Any arrival after our store/office closes at 7:00 PM, a map with your name on it will be placed on the office door with directions to your campsite. Please call us if you cannot make it before 7:00 PM at (970) 387-4022. All campsites must be vacated by 11:00 AM on check-out day.
Minimum Check In Age is 18 Years Old. Guests aged 17 Years Old and under at the time of check in are considered children. At least one adult (person at least 18 years old) must be in your party and present at check-in.
Maximum number of guests per campsite is 8 (if you have more, reserve more than one site).
Maximum number of tents per campsite is 2 (if you have more, reserve more than one site).
Maximum number of vehicles per campsite is 2 (if you have more, reserve more than one site). RVs, pop-up trailers, or any other wheeled trailer are counted as one vehicle. Any questions please e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (970) 387-4022.
For groups of 15 or more, please Email Us or call 970-946-6570 for group site information.
All reservations and drive-in campers MUST STOP at the OFFICE before entering the campground and check-in with the Camp Host.
New for 2017 season - your reservation is by Camp Site #. If your stay is longer than a certain site is available, we encourage you to make multiple reservations and switch sites.
The Campground has limited cell service, no internet connectivity, no electricity and no RV hook-ups, or dump station.
Firewood is available for sale from the Camp Host. Due to ecological concerns and the appearance of invasive species, campers are strictly prohibited from bringing firewood from out-of-state.
Hot water shower facilities are available for $5.00 per token. Showers are open from 7:00 AM - 10:00 PM.
Generators must be reasonably quiet and are ONLY ALLOWED in the Standard RV (Rock Cliff Area) Sites and Lake-View Ultra RV and Lake-View Small RV Sites from 8am to 8pm. Generators are not allowed in the general campground at any time.
Our online reservation system allows campers to reserve a campsite in their chosen site TYPE (category). Specific sites will be assigned by the Camp Host upon your arrival. Please Email Us your special requests, and we will make every effort to accommodate you.
Reservations are highly recommended, but not required. If you arrive without a reservation, the campground management will make every effort to place you at a site, subject to availability and existing reservations. Note, we normally sell out from mid-June to late August - book early. Our online reservation system opens on January 1st, with most summer reservations being booked prior to the campground opening.
During the July 4th and Labor Day Holiday periods, prices are increased by 50%. If you have not made a reservation, please save yourself a trip: Molas Lake Campground is guaranteed to be at capacity during these times. Click HERE (Lodging>Camping/RV) for more information about camping during July 4th. Click HERE (Lodging) to contact other lodging and camping options during July 4th and Labor Day holiday periods within the Town of Silverton.
Credit Card charges will appear as Molas Lake Campground on your statement.
To cancel or change your reservation, please either Email Us or call the campground at 970-946-6570 and specify that you booked your reservation online.
Cancellations made within four days of your arrival will incur a charge equal to 50% of your total reservation fee, plus tax. No refunds will be given for cancellations made within 3 days of your arrival.
Frequently Asked Questions & Answers:
Have a question or comment about Molas Lake Park & Campground? Email Us
Q. How big is Molas Lake Campground?
A. 137 wooded acres, including 25-acre Molas Lake. Our 58 campsites are completely surrounded by national forest and other public lands including a wilderness area.
Q. Is there a fee to use the Day Use Picnic Areas?
A. No. Our four (4) day-use areas are available first-come first-serve, free of charge. Each area has a BBQ grill and picnic table(s).
Q. Can I swim in Molas Lake?
A. No. Swimming is not permitted in Molas Lake.
Q. Can I bring my dog or cat to the campground?
A. Pets are welcome. All dogs must be on-leash at all times when in the park and never left unattended. Owners are responsible for picking up after their pets to ensure a clean campground, campsite and surrounding trails. This policy is strictly enforced.
Q. What do I need to fish at Molas Lake?
A. You need to purchase a Colorado fishing license. Colorado Fishing Licenses can be purchased at Outdoor World in Silverton (1234 Greene St), which is about a 15 minute drive from the park. Alternatively, you can purchase a Colorado fishing license from the Colorado Parks and Wildlife, other outdoor store or Wal-Mart. Check the CPW Web Site for current license fees. If you forget your fishing gear, we rent fishing poles and sell basic fishing supplies at the campground store. Rainbow and brown trout are the most common species in the lake. Cleaning of fish is only allowed at the fish cleaning station and all unwanted fish byproduct must be bagged and discarded in the dumpster. Limit of fish is 4 per person.
Q. Are there electrical outlets in the campground bathrooms? How about water?
A. There is no electric service anywhere in the campground. The bathrooms are clean vault-style toilets without electricity and without running water. A central water pump provides clean water for guests.
Q. Does the campground have a dumping station?
A. No -- Molas Lake Campground no longer has a dump station. Dump stations are available within the Town of Silverton, just 10 minutes away. The fee is typically around $10.
Q. Is there a camp store? What supplies can we buy at the campground?
A. Yes. Last year the store reopened under new campground management. The store has basic fishing supplies, camping and picnic needs, drinks, food, toiletries, local trail maps and books, and other sundries. Some Colorado Trail hikers have used the store to resupply for their last few days on the trail. The store and campground office is open from 7:00 AM - 7:00 PM.
Q. I am hiking to Colorado Trail and need to send a resupply package. Can I send one to the campground?
A. Yes. The best way to send your package it by UPS (United Parcel Service) to the following address: Molas Lake Campground, 65560 US Hwy 550 N, Silverton CO 81433
Send your package well in advance of your arrival date to ensure it is there when you need it. We recommend at least two weeks, most send boxes a month in advance. Don't be stuck without your resupply! If you would like to send it by mail, please email or call us. Note that we do not receive mail at our address and is shipped to Town Hall and sent to the campground every couple of days. We recommend sending USPS packages at least 3-4 weeks in advance. We are very remote and USPS is slower than UPS.
***Please place your name on the box with your estimated arrival date. It is also helpful to mark your package with something that easily identifies your box from others. We are unable to send back any boxes that are not collected by September 29th. If you are unable to make your pick-up, please call us and we will happily donate the contents to our hiker box for other fellow CT hikers to swap out items as they near the end of their trek.
Packages can be picked up during campground office/stores hours, 7:00 AM - 7:00 PM.
Q. Do you sell firewood?
A. Yes, firewood is available for purchase from the Camp Hosts during store hours. Due to ecological concerns and the appearance of invasive species, campers are strictly prohibited from bringing firewood from out-of-state. NO CUTTING OF TREES IN THE CAMPGROUND IS PERMITTED. VIOLATORS WILL BE PROSECUTED BY THE FULL EXTENT OF THE LAW AND WILL BE IVITED TO LEAVE WITHOUT REFUND.
Q. We are a large group. Can you accommodate us?
A. For groups of 15 or more, please email your details to us, or call 970-946-6570. We recommend groups reserve in the Small RV/Tent Sites as not all waterfront sites are close enough together to accommodate a group gathering.
Q. We may arrive after later in the evening for check-in, what do we need to do?
A. If you arrive while our office is open ,we can greet you personally and check you in. Our office is open until 7:00 PM. If you are going to arrive after 7:00 PM please call us at 970-946-6570 to let us know. For all late arrivals we will place a map on the door with your name on it with directions to your campsite. You will need to return to the office in the morning to register your vehicle(s) and get orientated to the campground and area.
Q. We haven't camped at Molas Lake before, what is the best campsite for us?
A. All sites have different characteristics, topography, views, and sizes. Each individual camper or group will like something different, so it is difficult to ask and answer "what is the best campsite for us." We recommend reading the descriptions of the individual campsites on our Camping page for an understanding of what fits best and the general location/views. Important to note, we are a developed campground and campers do not have an unlimited amount of space. Some campsites work better for RVs, some for small tents, others for a cabin/wall tent. Most sites accommodate two normal size, 3-4 person tents; our sites do not generally fit two very large tents. Sites are developed for 6-8 people maximum with respective size tents.
Q. Are there showers at Molas Lake Campground?
A. Yes. Hot water shower facilities are available for $5.00 per token. Most campers will buy one token. The campground bathrooms do not have any running water.
Q. What is the cancellation policy?
A. Cancellations made within four days of your arrival will incur a charge equal to 50% of your total reservation fee, plus tax. No refunds will be given for cancellations made within 3 days of your arrival or early departure.
Q. Are there hiking and mountain biking trails close?
A. Yes. There are amazing hikes for all abilities directly from the campground. Many other hiking trails are a short drive from the campground. You can mountain bike directly from the campground on the Colorado Trail towards Durango, note this trail is strenuous due the elevation gain. World class mountain bike trails are close by in the Durango and Cortez area.
Q. Can I bring and ride my ATV in the campground and surrounding trails?
A. No. ATVs cannot be ridden in the campground and surrounding trails. Molas Lake Campground is surrounded by BLM lands and wilderness areas. ATVs must be placed on a trailer from the campground and driven to the allowed areas within the Town of Silverton and other many surrounding OHV staging areas.
Q. I camp at Molas Lake often, but can never reserve the site I want, why?
A. Reservations for the season open on January 1st, People book and request campsites on the 1st to be sure they have the site they want. Starting in 2017, campers can make reservation for their sites by Campsite #. We recommend reserving as soon as you plan on coming out to visit. Although our waterfront campsites are highly desirable, we have many other great sites that may be more spacious in the Small RV/Tent Site area.
Q. Do bears visit Molas Lake Campground?
A. Although there have not been any bear-human contact incidents in recent memory, black bears have been known to visit the campground from time to time. Because of the remoteness of the campground and the bears' limited interactions with humans, the bears in the area tend to have a natural fear of people. However, you should play it safe and avoid storing food in your tent.
Q. What animals live in the area?
A. A wide variety of species live in the San Juan Mountains, including mule deer, elk, bighorn sheep, mountain goats, wolves, coyotes, black bears, bobcat, and lynx. Although you will probably see some of these species on your trip, such as deer, elk, coyotes, and sheep are frequently seen, while bear- and big cat-sightings are more rare.
"Most Scenic Campground in Colorado" -- Molas Lake Campground