Upper Lagunitas

The view of the lake and Lower Lagunitas campground from a campsite in Upper
Lagunitas campground.
A primitive campground with an amazing view of lakes and mountains. This campground gets far less use than Lower Lagunitas, even though a short trail connects the two.

Campground data:

Controlling agency: Carson National Forest; Tres Piedras Ranger District
Official URL:USFS CG web page
Region: North-central; Sangre de Cristo Mountains.
CG elevation: 10400ft; 3170m
Campsite count: 3. Count could be higher due to people doing dispersed camping.
Visual density: 0.50. 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. On leash
Horses: Unknown.
Handicapped accessible: No.
General tent notes: Lots of good tent locations.
RV parking surface: dirt
RV pull-through spaces? No.
General RV notes: I would not take an RV of any size up to this campground.
General notes: The road is very slick when it rains. We needed 4WD to climb the hill in the campground.
Campground facilities: vault toilet(s) (Actually, a porta-potty, and it was pretty smelly 2016-07-29.).
Campground attractions: hiking (The Continental Divide Trail passes through the campground.), wilderness access (Cruces Basin Wilderness is nearby.), wildflowers, fishing, 4wd (4wd can be needed if it rained recently.), lake, stream.

When we visited it:

Date: 2016-07-29
Cleanliness: 9. Only a couple of small pieces of litter in the whole campground.
General notes: This campground was more-or-less empty while Lower Lagunitas campground was overly full.


Waypoint Type Description
UpperLagunitasCampgroundUpper 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 Upper Lagunitas.

Note that the road up to the campground can be rough requiring high clearance. When it is wet, the road gets very slippery and 4WD can be required.

Diana Northup standing at what was probably the entrance sign.

About the campground:

Diana Northup sitting at a table in the Upper Lagunitas campground.
You select this campground because you like solitude and great views. Here is Diana enjoying the view from one of the campsites. Through the trees, you can see to the Sangre de Cristo mountains as well as several of the closer mountains.
Here is another of the campsites. Note that several are along the ridge giving views of the lakes and the Lower Lagunitas campground.
Another campsite
Lake and campground with a mountain off in the distance
And, here is the view down to one of the lakes and the Lower Lagunitas campground. Our truck is visible in this photo, if you know where to look.

Plants we saw around the campground:

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