San Juan Mountains, United States

Dunton River Camp

Rates from (ex tax)$1,575.00

Price information

If you haven’t entered any dates, the rate shown is provided directly by the hotel and represents the cheapest double room (including tax) available in the next 60 days.

Prices have been converted from the hotel’s local currency (USD1,620.68), via openexchangerates.org, using today’s exchange rate.

Style

Gold-rush glamping

Setting

Western wilderness

Set in a valley at the foot of the San Juan Mountains, Dunton River Camp offers luxury lodging amid a landscape that’s remained unchanged since Colorado’s gold rush era. Ranged along the banks of a river or tucked between aspen trees, the eight luxury tents look like they belong to a team of prospectors who’ve struck gold, kitting them out with stoves, king-size beds, marble sinks and six-foot bath tubs. Elsewhere in the meadow, there’s also a spa tent, riverside sauna and the farmhouse, a cosy, cabin-like building that’s stood on this former ranch since the 1800s. After a day exploring the trails or casting for wily cutthroat trout, you’ll likely find yourself on a sofa by the fire, swapping stories over Californian wine and fine bourbons.

Smith Extra

Get this when you book through us:

A private dinner for two and a bottle of wine from Sutcliffe Vineyards. SilverSmiths will also get $200 gift shop credit. GoldSmiths will get all of the above and a tour of the winery, including lunch and transfers.

Facilities

Photos Dunton River Camp facilities

Need to know

Rooms

Eight tents.

Check–Out

11am, but flexible, subject to availability. Earliest check-in, 3pm.

Rates

Double rooms from $1575.00, excluding tax at 2.9 per cent. Please note the hotel charges an additional service charge of 7.5% per room per night on check-out.

Price information

If you haven’t entered any dates, the rate shown is provided directly by the hotel and represents the cheapest double room (including tax) available in the next 60 days.

Prices have been converted from the hotel’s local currency (USD1,575.00), via openexchangerates.org, using today’s exchange rate.

More details

Rates include an à la carte breakfast, lunch and dinner each day; all alcoholic drinks (except those on the reserve list); guided daytime activities; and use of the sauna and mountain bikes. There’s also a larder, which guests can raid whenever they like.

Also

A few miles down the road you’ll find the camp’s sister property, Dunton Hot Springs. Unless it's been booked out by a private party, camp guests can normally enjoy the thermal springs for free.

Hotel closed

The camp is closed from 15 October to 25 May each year.

At the hotel

Large grounds including forest, meadows and a private stretch of river; spa and yoga tent; sauna; laundry; free WiFi. In rooms: stove, Dyson fan and Aesop bath products.

Our favourite rooms

The Mountain and River Tents are equal in size and luxury, so it really comes down to whether you want to wake up beneath the trees or fall asleep to the sound of the river.

Spa

The spa tent, on the edge of the Cresto meadow, looks up at the forested flanks of the Wilson Range. The treatments on offer include hot stone massage and full body scrubs, and make use of locally-made oils. An oversized hot tub is just outside, placed to make the most of the mountain views.

Packing tips

You’re in the mountains, so forgo the latest fashions for hi-tech hiking gear and a sturdy sun hat. And bring that waterproof – there’s many a fine day in a Colorado summer, but the weather can change on a dime.

Also

All of the public areas are wheelchair accessible, but there are no specially adapted tents.

Children

All ages are welcome, but the wild surroundings mean the camp is best suited to over-5s. Extra beds ($215 a night) and cots (free, for children two and under) can be added to all tents.

Best for

Adventurous over-5s, who’ll enjoy the wild landscape and activities on offer.

Recommended rooms

There are no family-specific tents, but cots (free; suitable for children two and under) and extra beds ($215 a night) can be added to all of them.

Activities

Kids can try their hand at fly-fishing, mountain biking, hiking and horse-riding. The staff also arrange archery and bean bag throwing contests, and roasting marshmallows on the campfire always scores highly with little Smiths.

Meals

There’s no set menu, so the chefs are happy to tailor-make meals to suit picky eaters. Everyone eats together, so children aren’t confined to certain dinner times either.

Babysitting

The camp doesn’t offer babysitting, but guests have arranged for a nanny to come from Telluride in the past.

Food and Drink

Photos Dunton River Camp food and drink

Top Table

You’ll usually sit together inside the farmhouse or outside by the river, but a private table can be requested.

Dress Code

Campfire clothing. With a setting like this, you're more likely find your eyes roving over the silhouette of a mountain than your campmate’s coat.

Hotel restaurant

Meals are a social affair, taken together inside the restored farmhouse or down by the river if it’s warm. The food has a hearty, home-cooked character, using ingredients drawn from the local area, including the camp’s own farm and vineyard. Like all the staff, the chefs are true outdoorsmen: in late summer, they’ll roam the surrounding slopes seeking out plump mushrooms for their pot, proof that they’ll quite literally go that extra mile to put Colorado’s best on your plate. For breakfast, there’s a buffet spread including local berries, granola, yoghurt and muffins; bacon, eggs and waffles are made to order. If you’re out on the trail for lunch, you needn’t fear missing out, as you’ll have a picnic prepared for you. Sitting alongside the food is a wine list that includes first growths from Bordeaux and classics from California, including the pick of Colorado’s own crop.

Hotel bar

With its timber floors, soft armchairs and roaring fire, the bar exudes the welcoming character of a mountain cabin. Guests tend to congregate here after dinner with a fine bourbon, single malt whisky or a classic cocktail. If you’re feeling creative, the staff will gladly leave you to rustle up something of your own making.

Last orders

Breakfast is served from 8.30am to 10am; lunch from 1pm to 2.30pm; dinner from 7.30pm to 10pm.

Location

Photos Dunton River Camp location
Address
Dunton River Camp
50014 Co Rd 38
Dolores
81323
United States

Planes

An hour’s drive from the camp, Cortez Airport can be reached from Denver and Phoenix Sky-Harbour. Durango Airport is another hour away, but it’s bigger and busier, offering more regular flights from Denver, Dallas-Fort Worth and Phoenix.

Automobiles

Considering the camp’s remote location, a set of wheels is a must if you want to do some exploring. The drive from Denver is a scenic one, but it does take around seven hours – an easier option is to fly to Durango, then hire at the airport. There’s free valet parking at the camp, too.

Other

Helicopter transfers can be arranged.

Worth getting out of bed for

Surrounded by 500 acres of meadows, evergreen forest and craggy mountains, Dunton River Camp is set in a wild and varied landscape. To ensure you get your fill of its sights, scents and pure mountain air, there’s a guided activity each day, such as fly-fishing on the camp’s private nine-mile stretch of river, horse riding, mountain biking or hiking. The staff tailor every trip to the ability and desires of the group; on a hike, you could ramble along low-lying trails for a few hours, or test yourself, breaking through the treeline onto the alpine slopes, where burning limbs are rewarded with panoramic views. On Fridays, guests usually do a canyon hike then visit Sutcliffe Winery for a tour and tasting session, but you could always make the 90-minute drive yourself if you’d rather skip the strenuous part. An hour’s drive from the camp is Mesa Verde National Park, which is filled with the remnants of ancient Pueblo settlements. Visitors come from far and wide to see the cliff-side dwellings, particularly the ‘cliff palace’, a stone village built beneath a huge shelf of overhanging rock.

Local restaurants

The main attraction of Dunton is its off-grid nature. There are plenty of roaming cattle around, but not so many burger joints, so you’ll likely be having all your meals at the camp.

Reviews

Photos Dunton River Camp reviews

Anonymous review

Every hotel featured is visited personally by members of our team, given the Smith seal of approval, and then anonymously reviewed. As soon as our reviewers have returned from this tented camp in and unpacked their bottles from nearby Sutcliffe Winery, a full account of their break will be with you. In the meantime, to whet your wanderlust, here's a quick peek inside Dunton River Camp in Colorado…

If you ever wanted to live the life of an American pioneer (but without the hardship or risk to life and limb), then Dunton River Camp might just be your golden ticket. Ringed by hills and thick forest, the camp sits on a fork of the Dolores River, which feeds a meadow once given over to the Cresto Ranch, founded in the late 1800s. The farm still exists today, but the camp itself is now cow-free, populated by eight luxury tents instead – half of them near the riverbank, the rest in the shade of mighty fir and aspen trees. Inside, they’re decked with king-size beds, comfy lounge furniture and foot-warming animal hides – a nod to the camp’s ranching past. What those Cresto cowboys certainly didn’t have was a bathroom with a slate-tiled floor, full-size bath tub and twin marble-topped sinks. The original farmhouse has now been transformed into an inviting lodge, and a spa and riverside sauna added too, but features like run-down outhouses and a rusted, overgrown tractor still sit on the land, making the whole place feel a little like a film set. This is indeed the Wild West, but it’s been softened with luxury lodgings and a dash of glamour.

The Guestbook

Whenever you book a stay at a Smith Hotel with us, we’ll invite you to review it when you get back. Read what other Smith members had to say in Dunton River Camp’s Guestbook below.
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