Penitente Canyon Campground

The Penitente Canyon Campground location is in Monte Vista, Colorado
81144. This page provides detailed contact information for this campground location including the campground phone number, office hours, reservation information and driving directions.

If you have any questions about the Penitente Canyon Campground facility, or if you need to reserve a campsite, then call the campground listed below.

Blm San Luis Valley Field Office
1313 U.S. Hwy 160 E.
Monte Vista

Phone number


Campground information Monte Vista, Colorado


The canyonlands of Penitente Canyon offer a blend of peaceful surroundings and diverse recreation opportunities less than 10 miles from a major highway. Although the BLM manages the 4,552-acre Penitente Canyon primarily for rock climbers, the area also offers opportunities for heritage tourists, mountain bikers, hikers and equestrians.


Penitente Canyon Recreation Area is a destination known for its world-class sport rock-climbing routes and its extensive singletrack trail system, mainly used by mountain bikers and hikers. The area is rich in both natural and cultural history, making it ideal for heritage tourists interested in the Old Spanish Trail and early American frontiersmen, as well as wildlife watchers and photographers. 

• Standard Nonelectric

• Rv Nonelectric

• Group Tent Only Area Nonelectric

• Overnight


• Road signs from highway to Recreation Area.

• Improved gravel roads in Recreation Area (no pavement).

• Public drinking water system (available May-Oct).

• 5 vault (or pit-type) toilets.

• Trash bins throughout campground and day-use areas.

• 15 Individual sites (3 Tent Only and 12 RV/Tent), 2 Group Tent sites, 1 CG Host site, 1 Group Picnic Shelter site.

• Standard campground amenities-table, tent pads, fire ring, food storage locker, parking.

• Interpretive, informational, and directional signs.

• Trailhead and overflow parking areas.

• Foot, horse, and mountain bike trails.

• All facilities open year-round.

• Cell phone service is spotty in canyons.

Natural Features


The rocks in Penitente Canyon are remnants of up to 18 volcanic eruptions that took place in the San Juan Volcanic Field between 20 and 30 million years ago. The largest of these eruptions spewed 1,000 cubic miles of ash 27.8 million years ago, creating a huge underground chamber. Rocks overlying the chamber collapsed to create the La Garita Caldera.


Ancestors of the Utes, Jicarilla Apaches and Puebloans have all left evidence of time spent hunting and camping here, along with explorers and trappers. The valley’s first settlers were Hispanic farmers and sheepherders who migrated from northern New Mexico. 

Native Americans left scattered pictographs (painted rock art) throughout these Canyonlands (the largest concentration in the San Luis Valley). Please leave all rock art as you find it. Do not touch, walk on, climb on, or disturb it in any way.

Nearby Attractions

• USFS-Rio Grande National Forest and Natural Arch.

• BLM-Elephant Rocks Recreation Area.

• La Garita Trading Post-food, gas, and small store.

• Town of Del Norte

Campgrounds Nearby

• USFS-Rio Grande National Forest – Poso CG, Storm King CG

Frequently Asked Questions About Blm San Luis Valley Field Office Monte Vista, CO

How do I make a reservation with Penitente Canyon Campground?

To make reservations at Penitente Canyon Campground, you can call the office at 719-852-7074.

• Individual Sites = $11/night

• Group Tent Sites = $20/night

• 14 day max stay

Where is Penitente Canyon Campground located?

The Penitente Canyon Campground is located at Blm San Luis Valley Field Office 1313 U.S. Hwy 160 E. in Monte Vista,
. This is the location you will need to go to for camping and information.

Does Penitente Canyon Campground have tent or RV camping?

Penitente Canyon Campground offers both tent and RV camping, but to confirm you will need to call the office at 719-852-7074 to make sure things haven’t changed.

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