Hello! Log in or Register   |  Help  |  Donate  |  Buy Shirts New!  See all banner ads | Advertise on TheSamba.com  
TheSamba.com
 
Spring road trip camping suggestions
Forum Index -> Vanagon Share: Facebook Twitter
Reply to topic
Print View
Quick sort: Show newest posts on top | Show oldest posts on top View previous topic :: View next topic  
Author Message
molybdanum
Samba Member


Joined: December 27, 2010
Posts: 57
Location: Berkeley, CA
molybdanum is offline 

PostPosted: Thu Jan 13, 2011 4:22 pm    Post subject: Spring road trip camping suggestions Reply with quote

Hi Folks,

My wife and I are taking the kids on a trip from California to Wisconsin, and I was hoping the well traveled among you would suggest favorite westy camping sites along our route. The link below is our current rough draft.

View road trip map.

Thanks

Dan
_________________
85 Vanagon Westfalia EJ22
00 Passat GLS Wagon
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Classifieds Feedback
joetiger Premium Member
Samba Member


Joined: January 27, 2005
Posts: 4213
Location: denver
joetiger is offline 

PostPosted: Thu Jan 13, 2011 4:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That's quite a trip! There's plenty to see in Colorado obviously; traveling I-70 through the Rockies in the springtime you might encounter a massive snowstorm or two...

Your route has you going 1-76 out of Denver. Lake Mcconaughy, outside of Ogallala, Nebraska (where 1-76 and I-80 meet) is a pretty cool place to camp. It's a gigantic lake with sand shores and will probably be pretty empty, save some fishermen, at that time of year. There are cabins as well as campsites available.

Good luck and take lots of pics!
_________________
Joe T.

'86 NAHT Vanagon GL Syncro/ supercharged ABA 2.0
'85 928S
'19 Golf R
'02 Beetle GLS

"get metaphysical with it. if it's simply a means to get to and from places, it will let you down. if it becomes your zen, it can't fail you." -dabaron

"Still, it's good to be afield."--VWagabond
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website Instagram Gallery Classifieds Feedback
Ahwahnee
Samba Member


Joined: June 05, 2010
Posts: 9062
Location: Mt Lemmon, AZ
Ahwahnee is online now 

PostPosted: Thu Jan 13, 2011 5:06 pm    Post subject: Re: Spring road trip camping suggestions Reply with quote

Looks like you're going thru Moab which means a chance to camp & visit Arches Natl Park. If you have a strict schedule you can reserve a spot there, otherwise you'll need to be in the 7am lottery/ticket line to get into the CG. I do the latter spending the night before at one of the Federal CGs along the Colorado River north of town (I like Hal Canyon) and driving into the park before dawn to get in line for a site.

It matters because if you're spending more than one day at Arches (and I hope you can) it is so much better to stay in Devils Garden CG and be close to all the good stuff.

Perhaps you used cities (e.g. Denver) as waypoints to rough out a route rather than necessarily wanting to be in those places. If so...

I like to spend time at Rocky Mountain Natl Park whenever I'm near the Front Range. An alternate route to what you show would be to exit I-70 at Walcott and scoot over Gore Pass and into RMNP via Kremmling & Granby (old US40). Several USFS CGs in the Gore Range.

If you're just a little more adventuresome, the road from State Bridge to Kremmling is a fine drive.

Either way that leaves you with a drive over the Continental Divide and down via Trail Ridge Road. I no longer camp on the west side of the park as the Pine Bark Beetle and the Park Service have teamed up to destroy what used to be the Timber Creek area (now Timberless Creek).

Heading east from Rocky you can take US34 thru the Big Thompson Canyon and pick up I-80 out in cattle country. Nothing personal against the fine folks in Denver but big city driving doesn't thrill me (or maybe it thrills me too much).

We sometimes get lunch at Ole's in Paxton, Nebraska. It's, well, guess you have to see it to say just what it is.

There's a interesting remnant of what touring sites were like in the 50s in Minden, Nebraska -- Pioneer Village. You don't say how old the kids are but I think the place is interesting in a simple way that more modern tourists destinations can't duplicate.

Disclaimer: You say 'Spring' in the subject line which is a fairly wide range weather-wise. The Rockies can have considerable snow until late May which would make some of what I mention impractical.

So much to see and do -- have a great trip.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Gallery Classifieds Feedback
vanagonjr
Samba Member


Joined: October 07, 2010
Posts: 2890
Location: Dartmouth, Mass.
vanagonjr is offline 

PostPosted: Thu Jan 13, 2011 6:25 pm    Post subject: Re: Spring road trip camping suggestions Reply with quote

Ahwahnee wrote:
L
It matters because if you're spending more than one day at Arches (and I hope you can) it is so much better to stay in Devils Garden CG and be close to all the good stuff..


X2 on above. Also nearby, Dead Horse Point (Utah State Park) is also a good place to stay - Devils CG 1st for sure, but in case you need a back-up. The one way hike to the point and back along to road to the visitor center is pretty darn nice.

I'd hit Colorado National Monument. You're not going through Yellowstone I see - otherwise, I'd say go through Cooke City, through Red Lodge and back to your route. But that might not be best in Spring as early June, they were closing the Bear tooth Highway (towards Red Lodge, from the south) due to snow storm coming!

Happy trails!
John
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Gallery Classifieds Feedback
ShootingFish
Samba Member


Joined: July 25, 2010
Posts: 330
Location: Portland, OR
ShootingFish is offline 

PostPosted: Thu Jan 13, 2011 6:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I am a fan of Elephant Hill Campground down in Canyonlands...

The Driggs portion, PM me and I will hook you up with some secret spots.

SF
_________________
SF

Props aren't just for boats....

'88 2WD ALH-TDI Westy Red Vanagon
'90 Syncro 16 Doka Yellow Vanagon
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Classifieds Feedback
IdahoDoug
Samba Member


Joined: June 12, 2010
Posts: 10048
Location: N. Idaho
IdahoDoug is offline 

PostPosted: Thu Jan 13, 2011 7:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

What month are you traveling?? Some places are inaccessible much of the year and you may not get good info.

DougM
_________________
1987 2WD Wolfsburg Vanagon Weekender "Mango", two fully locked 80 Series LandCruisers. 2016 Subaru Outback boxer. 1990 Audi 90 Quattro 20V with rear locking differential. 1988 Mitsubishi Van w/ dual spinny seats, mid engine and solid axle.1990 burgundy parts Vanagon. 1984 Porsche 944, 1992 Lexus LS400, 1988 Toyota Supra 5 speed targa project in pieces, 2002 BMW 325iX
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Gallery Classifieds Feedback
msewalson
Samba Member


Joined: September 14, 2009
Posts: 543
Location: Grand Junction, Colorado
msewalson is offline 

PostPosted: Thu Jan 13, 2011 8:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Good suggestions so far.

I would suggest taking hwy 128 out of Moab, it runs along the Colorado river and has awesome views of Castle Valley and Fisher Towers. Also camping along this road, head up Onion Creek near Fisher Towers and camp in one of the primitive camp sites. Also check out the San Rafael Swell and Goblin Valley State Park in Utah.

Anywhere in Colorado is good, just avoid the chaos in Denver.

I would really consider cutting through South Dakota and spending some time in the Black Hills. Especially if you are into ascending vertical terrain. Areas to hit in the Hills are numerous and you could spend your whole trip exploring this beautiful area.

Being from Iowa I would recommend taking I29 north to Sioux Falls and cutting across southern Minnesota. Southwestern Minnesota has some nice areas like Blue Mounds State Park and Pipe Stone State Park. There is also Palisade State Park in southeastern South Dakota.

I hope this was helpful.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Gallery Classifieds Feedback
dhaavers
Samba Member


Joined: March 19, 2010
Posts: 6989
Location: NE MN (http://g.co/maps/zt72q)
dhaavers is offline 

PostPosted: Thu Jan 13, 2011 9:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

x2 for Black Hills (So Dak), also Pipestone National Monument in MN - magical, spiritual places you'll never see anywhere else.

Also consider staying OFF I-80 & I-35 (Nebraska, Iowa, MN) instead head for the sand hills through north central nebraska & any number of free or low cost city campgrounds along the Neb/So. Dak border...only the rutting mule deer & freight trains to bother you... (!)

Likewise, Iowa/MN "bluff country" along Mississippi river is also very beautiful. Many nice parks, wildlife areas w/CG's & recreation areas to boot...

Your route towards Fargo takes you near the headwaters of the Mississippi at Lake Itasca State Park in MN...take time to wade across on the stepping stones ...

So much to see, so much to do...
_________________
86 White Westy Weekender
"The WonderVan"

<EDITED TO PROTECT INNOCENT PIXELS>
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Gallery Classifieds Feedback
davevickery
Samba Member


Joined: July 16, 2005
Posts: 2887
Location: Fort Collins, CO
davevickery is offline 

PostPosted: Thu Jan 13, 2011 9:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Which month does matter, could be lots of snow left in high places. I might detour south in California maybe along the coast, and then cut across to southern Utah staying in the nicer weather. Do you prefer campgrounds, or more back country places. I wouldn't be much help with the organized camping places, except to say, you could connect the dots from one national park to the next and it would be a pretty awesome trip.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Gallery Classifieds Feedback
Sir Sam
Samba Member


Joined: July 19, 2009
Posts: 1667
Location: Fort Collins Colorado!
Sir Sam is offline 

PostPosted: Thu Jan 13, 2011 11:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Arches is neat, but don't forget canyonlands and the needles district, island in the sky is just amazing at night for star gazing. Rocky Mnt national park would be a good stop, as well as the grand canyon, bryce, zion, etc.

Why traveling so far east? I'm guessing your trying to get that far over to visit family?
_________________
'91 Carat Westy

87' Syncro + '87 Westy conversion coming soon
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website AIM Address Gallery Classifieds Feedback
molybdanum
Samba Member


Joined: December 27, 2010
Posts: 57
Location: Berkeley, CA
molybdanum is offline 

PostPosted: Fri Jan 14, 2011 3:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for all the replies. I think I need to ammend my request. The main goal of the trip is to visit family in Colby, WI, and the other stops are people to see (except Moab, I want to mountain bike there). Our current plan is to travel the first few weeks of May. What I'm looking for more specificaly are places to stop along the way, and suggestions of scenic routes. If people think weather is going to be too much of an obstacle, then we might push the trip back a month.

Thanks again

Dan
_________________
85 Vanagon Westfalia EJ22
00 Passat GLS Wagon
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Classifieds Feedback
Jteerlink
Samba Member


Joined: February 18, 2007
Posts: 167

Jteerlink is offline 

PostPosted: Fri Jan 14, 2011 3:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I would amend your route around Wyoming to include the short Yellowstone loop, as such: http://maps.google.com/maps?f=d&source=s_d&...05&z=5

Would be a shame to go that far and not camp in the Madison campground, fantastic fly fishing and evening elk herd activity. Google Madison Firehole Canyon
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Gallery Classifieds Feedback
davevickery
Samba Member


Joined: July 16, 2005
Posts: 2887
Location: Fort Collins, CO
davevickery is offline 

PostPosted: Fri Jan 14, 2011 4:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The first few weeks of May is perfect for Moab and Utah. A month later and it is too hot in Moab. The slickrock campground/trail in Moab is a good first night campspot, easy to find and get acqainted with Moab. All the parks in Utah are incredible. I like Zion Narrows, I think you have to take a park bus around now, no cars anymore.

I would take the northern route on the way back and hit Yellowstone when more of the high country snow is gone. Driving the figure 8 loop in Yellowstone and stopping at sites is probably a couple days. Up at the north entrance is the boiling river hot springs right off the side of the road. Pretty cool to check out, but you won't have the place to yourself. I did a paddle trip into the large lake next to Yellowstone lake (forgot the name). Camped at reserved sites around the lake, and paddled over to the geyser basin one day at the end of that lake. Very cool, no signs, few people (we did it labor day weekend when everything is shutting down). Hot springs soaking there too. Can be a little dangerous if you're not careful or get bad weather. Not sure when that opens, probably June. Jackson (Hole), WY is a cool town to pass through too.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Gallery Classifieds Feedback
ZimZam
Samba Member


Joined: July 21, 2005
Posts: 562
Location: Talkeetna, AK
ZimZam is offline 

PostPosted: Fri Jan 14, 2011 9:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I see on your return you're going through ND. Teddy Roosevelt NP in Medora is beautiful in the Spring. I watched a bison give birth about 100m from my site. Bison and wild horses are everywhere. Outside the town of Columbus, MT there is free camping (donations accepted) right along the Yellowstone River.
_________________
'85 Cabriolet (Margo)
'87 Westy (Heidi)
'75 Porsche 911S Targa

"Nobody trusts anyone, or why did they put tilt on a pinball machine.
- Steve McQueen
"It's just metal, when rusted and dented , anything you will do will be better. Stop being afraid. What they (VW) did many year ago is not better then what you will do now." -Ben
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Gallery Classifieds Feedback
ranchero
Samba Member


Joined: October 11, 2006
Posts: 353
Location: Salida, CO
ranchero is offline 

PostPosted: Sat Jan 15, 2011 7:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I would recommend avoiding the interstate in Nevada on part of your trip. US50 is a spectacular drive. You can catch that east of Reno and all the way into Utah. You'll drive through basin and range country and can go to Great Basin NP. Eureka and Ely are interesting places too.

I second 128 coming out of Moab as well. Beautiful.

You should ride in Fruita. Perfect if you just want to ride 2-4 hours as you pass through or there is great free camping at 18 road/Bookcliffs just north of Fruita. Bookcliffs has good range of rides for kids to grownup huckers.

From Fruita/Grand Junction, I would recommend getting off of the interstate and back on to US50 and then to 285 into Denver. While I-70 through there is somewhat pretty, it is hard to enjoy as half the traffic is doing 80, the trucks are going 40, the road is curvy and you can't really soak in the sights. If you take US50, you have a relatively traffic-free two lane road, can camp at Blue Mesa Reservoir, visit Gunny, Crested Butte, Salida, BV - all great towns with plenty of camping nearby. Even if you don't want to stop, going on 50 vs I70 to Denver won't cost you more than an extra hour or so. Lower elevation bike trails should be open in Salida, Hartman Rocks in Gunny, and perhaps the ones in the valley floor in Crested Butte as long as we don't get a big late spring dump.

On your way back, drop down into the Paradise Valley and Yellowstone at Livingston. Chico Hot Springs at the north end of the park

Lava Hot Springs just south of Pocatello is a great family place to stay/camp and soak.
_________________
'90 Westy Syncro EJ25 (money pit #1)
'96 FZJ80 (cheap by comparison^^)
'13 Golf R. Daily driver.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Gallery Classifieds Feedback
Ahwahnee
Samba Member


Joined: June 05, 2010
Posts: 9062
Location: Mt Lemmon, AZ
Ahwahnee is online now 

PostPosted: Sat Jan 15, 2011 9:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

ranchero wrote:
...While I-70 through there is somewhat pretty, it is hard to enjoy as half the traffic is doing 80, the trucks are going 40, the road is curvy and you can't really soak in the sights...


OTOH... I normally do all I can to avoid the interstates in the West (the 2-lane roads are so grand) but for me the exception is the stretch of I-70 through Glenwood Canyon (east of Glenwood Springs).

If you are an enthusiastic driver (even in a Vanagon) this is an incredible ride on what is (IMO) the finest bit of interstate highway in the US. If you are an engineer you may find it just as remarkable.

However you go, driving in Colorado is always a trest.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Gallery Classifieds Feedback
funagon
Samba Member


Joined: March 09, 2006
Posts: 1305
Location: SLC, UT
funagon is offline 

PostPosted: Sat Jan 15, 2011 12:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

ranchero wrote:


I second 128 coming out of Moab as well. Beautiful.



I'll third that recommendation. On my first visit to Moab I drove in that way and never forgot it. I've traveled quite a bit in my van and that valley stays vivid in my memory as a most beautiful place. A real highlight. You can also camp there, and go rafting down the river.

I was in Moab during the worst of the summer heat (over 100 degrees every day) so I camped at higher elevation at dead horse point state park. It's isolated, no biking, and not much to "do" there. But at higher elevation it was much cooler at night and I could sleep comfortably.
_________________
1990 GL 7-passenger
2.2 liter WBX
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Gallery Classifieds Feedback
Ahwahnee
Samba Member


Joined: June 05, 2010
Posts: 9062
Location: Mt Lemmon, AZ
Ahwahnee is online now 

PostPosted: Sat Jan 15, 2011 1:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

funagon wrote:
ranchero wrote:
I second 128 coming out of Moab as well. Beautiful.


I'll third that recommendation...


Me 4th. Are some of you old enough to have crossed the Colorado on the Dewey Bridge? An incredibly narrow wood & cable suspension bridge that appeared better suited to foot traffic than vehicles. It was an adventure driving it in a Westy as the bridge would swing a bit as you drove.

Until around the late-70s it was the only way to get from Moab to I-70 on 128. Eventually they built a modern bridge and then a few years ago some moron set fire to the old bridge and all that is left is the hardware.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Gallery Classifieds Feedback
Display posts from previous:   
Reply to topic    Forum Index -> Vanagon All times are Mountain Standard Time/Pacific Daylight Savings Time
Page 1 of 1

 
Jump to:  
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum

About | Help! | Advertise | Donate | Premium Membership | Privacy/Terms of Use | Contact Us | Site Map
Copyright © 1996-2020, Everett Barnes. All Rights Reserved.
Not affiliated with or sponsored by Volkswagen of America | Forum powered by phpBB