Transfer Campground: San Juan Mountains
Location: 11 miles northeast of Mancos CO.
Location and Directions. Transfer Recreation Area, which includes a campground and picnic area, is 11 miles northeast of Mancos. Take Colorado Highway 184 north for 1/4 mile and turn east on the West Mancos Road (Forest Rd. 561). Go about 7 miles (most is unpaved with a gravel surface). Watch for the campground turnoff on the right.
Overview and Attractions
Big Al Trail. The trailhead is across from the campground entrance. It is a surfaced, barrier-free trail leading 1/2-mile to a deck overhanging West Mancos Canyon. Interpretive signs point out flora and fauna in the area and there are benches when you need to rest.
West Mancos/Transfer Trails. Trailhead is adjacent to the Big Al Trail. Trails merge for the first 1/2 mile, dropping steeply into the canyon, then split, with West Mancos heading upriver, and Transfer heading downriver. Fishing may be good in the West Mancos River. West Mancos Trail follows the canyon to eventually end at the Sharkstooth Trailhead at the base of Hesperus Peak.
Rim Trail. The trail begins at the West Mancos Overlook, on the right side of the road before the campground entrance. The trail heads south along the rim of the canyon until it joins up with the Box Canyon Trail.
Aspen Loop Trail. This trail is designed for ATVs and motorbikes and can be accessed about 1/2 mile past the campground on Forest Rd. 565. This 39-mile system of easy-to-moderate trails is a 3-5 hour loop for most off-road vehicles. Motorized vehicles must stay on trails identified for their use.
Box Canyon Trail. A mile south on the West Mancos Road, drops down to the river about 1/2 mile from the road. However, a major water development for Mesa Verde National Park is underway where the trail meets the river.
Chicken Creek/Morrison Trails: accessed near the campground corral on Forest Road 561. Trails merge for about 1/2 mile , then Chicken Creek heads to Mancos State Park and Jackson Reservoir, while Morrison Trail heads across Haycamp Mesa through Lost Canyon to merge with Bear Creek Trail, which has a trailhead on the Dolores River.
Gold Run Trail: Eight miles north of the campground on Forest Road 561, drops steeply into Bear Creek Basin to join with the Bear Creek Trail.
Sharkstooth Trail: The trailhead is near the foot of Hesperus Mountain near Twin Lakes, just off Forest Road 565. Motorized vehicles are not allowed at the upper end of the 4.3-mile trail. The trail heads up above timberline and can be used to climb Centennial Peak, or access La Plata Canyon or Windy Gap.
Aspen Guard Station. This is an historic ranger's cabin on West Mancos Road (Forest Rd. 561) that houses the San Juan National Forest Artist-in-Residence Program.
Jersey Jim Lookout Tower: An historic fire lookout tower available for limited seasonal reservation through the nonprofit Jersey Jim Foundation at (970) 533-7060.
Transfer Campground Facilities
Transfer Campground has 12 campsites in a mostly level aspen grove. All sites and restrooms are barrier-free. All sites accommodate RVs. The group picnic area has 5 double picnic tables, a large group area, a serving table, and cooking grills. Livestock is not allowed in the main campground. For stock users, there are 5 sites adjacent to a corral, available outside the main campground on the opposite side of Forest Road 561.
Dolores Ranger District
Transfer Campground Area Map
Google Map & Directions