Lower Lagunitas

View of a lake from one of the campsites.
A popular campground in a spruce forest for fishing in the nearby lakes. When we were there, one person told us he hit his limit in just an hour or so. Many of the campers around us were eating meals of fresh fish.

Campground data:

Controlling agency: Carson National Forest; Tres Piedras Ranger District
Official URL:USFS CG website
Region: North-central; Sangre de Cristo Mountains.
CG elevation: 10400ft; 3170m
Campsite count: 9. There is room for more people to camp than just the sites with tables.
Visual density: 8.00. Actual visual density depends on if people are doing dispersed camping.
Fee: $0.00.
Season: June 01 to September 30. Actual season depends on weather.
Dogs: Yes.
Horses: Yes.
Handicapped accessible: Yes.
General tent notes: Plenty of good tent locations
RV parking surface: dirt
RV pull-through spaces? No.
General RV notes: Several large fifth-wheel trailers made it to the campground, but they were all near the entrance. The "roads" in the campground have tight bends and are rough.
General notes: This campground was 3/4 full during the week and overfull on the weekend. It was full by Friday noon, and people were squeezing between campsites (as designated by tables) by the evening.
Campground facilities: vault toilet(s) (Someone had taken a crowbar to the door so it could not latch closed.).
Campground attractions: hiking, wildflowers, fishing, lake, stream.

When we visited it:

Date: 2016-07-29
Cleanliness: 8. Only a few pieces of litter, but there was some broken glass, and litter in the fire ring.
General notes: The toilet was reasonably clean, but ran out of toilet paper quickly. Additionally, someone had used a crowbar on the door, so it would not latch closed for privacy.


Waypoint Type Description
LowerLagunitasCampgroundLower Lagunitas campground


Paper maps:
Map name Cartographer Year Scale Topo map? Online access Notes
Carson National Forest US Forest Service 2002 1:126720 N from Amazon (purchase) Canjilon-El Rito and Tres Piedras ranger districts portion
Chama BLM 2001 1:100000 Y from Amazon (purchase)
Guide to Indian Country of Arizona Colorado New Mexico Utah Automobile Club of Southern California 1998 1:0 N from Amazon (purchase) Good overview road map for northwest NM. No scale is given on the map. The corner coordinates are approximate.
Wildernesses of New Mexico US Forest Service 1981 1:1000000 N No online copies. Base map with national forests, wilderness areas and highways.

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Getting to the campground:

The good news is that (at least when we visited), the route was well signed.

From US 285 north of Tres Piedras, turn on forest road 87 right before San Antonio mountain (a large, extinct volcano). Stay on 87 for about 25 miles. Turn right on the road when the sign indicates Lower Lagunitas.

No sign anywhere indicates that you have arrived at the campground. You just see a vault toilet and you are there.

Note that the road up to the campground can be rough requiring high clearance. However, when we were there, a passenger car made it.

Diana Northup standing at what was probably the entrance sign.

About the campground:

Picnic table with a lake in the background
The primary draw of these campsites is the lake access, as you can see in the background of this photo of one of the campsites.

Also in this photo, you can see where the Upper Lagunitas campground is. It is along the ridge on the other side of the lake.

Another reason for coming to this campground is the amazing diversity of wildflowers, such as this narrow goldenrod (Solidago simplex).
Narrow goldenrod (Solidago simplex)

Plants we saw around the campground:

Reader comments about this campground:

On Sun Aug 19 20:10:01 2018 Mountain wench from FLAGSTAFF said:
The bathroom door had been opened with a crowbar to remove the body of STEPHEN OLSHANSKY AKA THE OTTER. Here is a link to his story. https://www.outsideonline.com/2336896/snowbound

Bless his soul.

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