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Rocky Mountain High...Camping ideas
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wontfalia
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 22, 2012 1:02 pm    Post subject: Rocky Mountain High...Camping ideas Reply with quote

Hey yall! Need your help. So my wife Bianca and I plus our 2 sweet kids (ages 3 and 6) + My buddies family (kids are 6 and 9) are taking a 16 day trip in our 2wd westys to Colorado. June 30 - July 15 It's all we've been talking about besides KY basketball of course. We plan to hit Denver, Boulder, Fort Collins, Steamboat then SOUTH towards the San Juans. I've tried to talk them into heading into WY but they ignore me? We would love to hear of any sweet campsites/killer rec spots along that route. Maybe you know a good route from one place to another? We are interested in mtn biking, hiking, fishing swimming and chillen in no particular order. just whatever the spot brings. We'll mix it up. I guess if there is swimming, showers aren't necessary. Electric isn't either. however, campgrounds with facilities aren't out of the question. We do enjoy bathing. We plan to hook up with a hot spring and maybe a music festival? Thanks in advance for your comments and posts as each will be considered.

Peace and Chicken Grease
Wontfalia
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 22, 2012 1:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you haven't been there before you should consider the area around Grand Junction CO for mtb biking (Fruita, Rabbit Valley, close to Moab too).

IMO, and no offense to my WY neighbors, but your friends may be right to ignore WY. I've heard Kurt Gowdy State Park (sp?) is a good stop for mtb riding, the area around Kaycee has some interesting history with the Outlaw Trail, and the landscape south of Pathfinder Reservoir is pretty cool but otherwise it's REALLY REALLY desolate, flat, unshaded, and WIIIINDY until you get west into the Flaming Gorge, Lander, Jackson area. And that may be too much out of your way.

Oh, and the rattlesnakes... All the f-ing rattlesnakes.
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 22, 2012 1:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Ft. Collins, Boulder, and mountain folks will probably jump in with some great camping and activity ideas, also the "vanagons in the wilderness" thread has some great spots if you search through that.

Speaking as a Denver resident, I think our fair city is probably good for a day trip (unless you have specific plans and need to stick around,) then concentrate on the mountains. It'll probably be hot and crowded down here during that time of year and you're going to want to get to higher altitude.

I might just have to grab my own wife and two sweet kids and my 2WD Westy and meet y'all somewhere up there along the way Smile
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wooden nickel
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 22, 2012 1:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Last September I came up from Big Bend through Mesa Verde, Black Canyon of the Gunnison and Garden of the Gods at Colorado Springs. They were all beautiful, but Garden of the Gods seems really suited to a family bicycling around the park.
I could spend two weeks just in the bottom half of Utah if you get over there. It's all beautiful.
I live up in Winchester, KY and have had my 85 Westy from Maine to Florida and New Mexico to Glacier National Park and I enjoy the West more than anywhere else.
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 22, 2012 2:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Its all about Ouray, CO, Million dollar highway!

Head out way of Oregon, Crater Lake!
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pb24ss
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 22, 2012 2:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

get a topographical map and hit up the BLM land or national forest campgrounds. Camping spots can be hard to come by, but the BLM land is all free range chicken camping. Areas I love are ...

Fort Collins - Anywhere near Pouder Canyon
Ridgeway / Ouray / Telluride
Durango area
Black Canyon of the Gunnison

I've found a lot of camping ideas from my CO Photographing the SOuthwest book (Photographing the Southwest: Volume 3--Colorado/New Mexico).

Enjoy your trip!
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 22, 2012 6:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Going from Boulder to Steamboat, the drive over Trail Ridge Rd is not to be missed. Camping in RMNP will be busy but there is a reservation system for Moraine Park and Glacier Basin. In park camping is pricier but a splurge for a night or two puts you in the heart of it. There is a USFS CG just east of the park (Olive Ridge) that is nice and less dough.

Hiking is obviously very limited with the little ones but the Bear Lake area & Alberta Falls have some short walks w/ spectaculor scenery. Wild Basin (if you're at nearby Olive Ridge) also has a fine trail for an easy kids' walk to Columbine Falls.

I've given up camping on the western side of the park since they leveled Timber Creek CG. All trees are gone as they felt they had to destroy the campground to save it. Depresses me to even think about it.

Leaving Rocky I like to take in the drive from Kremmling to State Bridge for a fine mountain road. They have finally paved it removing some of the 'excitement' but a grand cruise nonetheless.

Almost all the National Forests allow 'camping at large' aka 'dispersed camping' (other than when you're very close to a National Park. The at large approach means no facilities but also no $$$. Most of the USFS CGs are pretty reasonable anyway.

I love WY but the best bits are much farther north and maybe that's another trip in your future.

PS: Go Hoosiers!
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wontfalia
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 22, 2012 8:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks everybody so much for the ideas so far! We'll pick up a CO gazetteer and highlight every place you guys have mentioned. And begin making a defined route and stuff. It's true having small kids in tow will limit a lot of what we can do but we'll try to take turns some watching kids so the adults can play a little harder. And yes Ouray is beautiful. Looking forward to seeing that area. I stealthed alone there some in 97. Easier times for camping.

Is shade hard to come by in the places I've mentioned? We've heard the beetle took alot of trees out.

JoeTiger - If you wanna hook up somewhere we'd be up for that. So far we have no plans for Denver. I'm sure you know of some nice places.

Ahwahnee - I'll take your post to heart but will ignore your last bit Laughing
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tschroeder0
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 22, 2012 8:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

a great place near Boulder is the Brainard lake area, great hiking views etc, only 30-40 minutes from Boulder and very close to the cool town of Nederland.
Personally I would stay away from Rocky Mountain Na. Park./Estes park it's a tourist trap with bad/expensive food and It will be packed with people.
With that in mind you should also make reservations for campgrounds if you know where you're headed, you will be hitting it right at the height of the season and you can get shut out easily at that time.

Down south, the whole way from denver to the Durango/solverton/Telluride area is one of the most beautiful drives in CO with lots to do and see along the way; the great sand Dunes biking,hiking white water rafting etc...

I am in Boulder, if you need a place to wash clothes/take a shower, work on the van, etc... just pm me.
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 22, 2012 8:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Do you need campground comforts or do you like to get out in the boonies?

We love the Snowy Range area in Wyoming. Plenty to National Forest property to camp on. Hey, your tax dollars paid for this. You might as well use it. Anyway, west of the town of Centennial, on Hwy 130 is a ton of great spots that go over the Continental Divide. The landscape is awesome and there is a hot spring in the town of Saratoga. It's far from fancy but it's free and pretty cool...er hot.

The Fort Collins area has great camping as well, Anywhere along the Poudre Canyon is great. Again, forest service property is the ticket. While you're in Fort Collins, check out some of the great micro breweries we have. You'll stagger away from a New Belgium tasting tour. Don't forget to to go by and say hi to Mike and Greg at Rocky Mountain Westy.

You have to at least drive through Rocky Mountain National Park. You might want to do this on your way to Ouray, Co. Ouray is my new favorite place on the planet. Really cool!

If you're down in that neck of the woods, you might want to check out Mesa Verde. If you get a kick out of knowing who was here first, this is a must see.

Most importantly, don't forget to go home. Laughing Just kidding, but seriously, go home.... I'm kidding!

I just scratched the surface, so PM me if you want more info. I hope you have an awesome trip.

Rick
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 22, 2012 8:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Between Steamboat and the San Juans, put a day or 2 aside to stop in Glenwood Springs and enjoy Gold medal water fishing on the Roaring Fork River http://www.coloradofishing.net/gm_frypan.htm, Worlds Largest Hot Springs Pool http://www.hotspringspool.com/, Great white water rafting on the Colorado and Roaring Fork River and zip line park http://www.rockgardens.com/, and don't forget to hike to Hanging Lake http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hanging_Lake. Then off to Fruita for some mountain biking. Don't forget to send a pm letting me know you will be in town Very Happy Wow, I should work for the Chamber of Commerce Confused
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wontfalia
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 20, 2012 9:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Our crew will be heading out from Louisville KY early June 30. We've been planning our trip and trying to figure out how to pack and what to pack. I think we've got it pretty much covered. I added a yakima box to throw the bulky stuff in. Things like swimming and riding gear. Hope the box doesn't tax the van too bad. Trying to pack as light as possible though. Got tons of good music on the IPOD and USB plus a box full of E KY Moonshine for those brisk nights. We'll be staying with old friends in Steamboat, Montrose, and Salida.
Keep a lookout for our crew! 2 vans 8 peeps. And we'll keep a lookout for you! Here is our itinerary:
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Here is our rig:
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wildenbeast
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 20, 2012 2:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Here's my recommendations...

Go to Wyoming! In particular, Curt Gowdy State Park. http://www.imba.com/epics/curt-gowdy-state-park

Camp in the National Forest just outside of Nederland (17 miles outside of Boulder). There is an easy access point where W. Magnolia Rd. intersects with the Peak to Peak Hwy. Good free camping and lots of trails.

Camp in the National Forest just outside of Frisco, CO. The Peaks Trail is right here and is super fun. Good first ride at higher altitude. Here's a photo of when we camped there two years ago;
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I would also ride the section of the CO Trail in this area that follows Tiger Road; http://www.mtbguru.com/trip/show_static/10985-co-trail

Steamboat; Dry Lake Campground is great. Another good option is Summit Lake. Both are very close to some amazing trails.

Salida; I am assuming you are going here to do the Monarch Crest Trail? Camping here has endless possibilities...

I know plenty of people in Boulder that are originally from KY. I could definitely put you in contact with them if interested. They could show you some great trails.

Bill
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Rocky Mountain Westy
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 20, 2012 3:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I say turn it into a hot spring tour. Here are some to research.

Strawberry Park
Cottonwood Hot Springs
Orvis Hot Spings
Trimble hot springs
Rainbow Hot Springs
Pagaosa springs has a place right in town, don't remember the name.

Most of these places are reasonable price and have camping available.
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wontfalia
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 25, 2012 5:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Locals input needed. Only 4 more days until our vacation starts. We're getting a little concerned about the Colorado wildfires. I'm worried about road closures and our genaral safety. We'll already be wingin it. At least my wife is only worried about where she's gonna find a small hairdryer that will fit in the van.
Should we head to Colorado as planned? Please advise Confused

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 25, 2012 5:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

No help on where to camp but my daughter has a hair dryer
and flat iron (opposite of curling iron) that uses Butane. The
hair dryer also uses a couple AA batteries. She got them
for camp a few years back but have now been put into
out camping gear. The flat iron thing also works great as
an impromptu clothes iron. I can't find where we purchased
them but they work pretty good when no power can be found.
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fairweather
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 25, 2012 6:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

So far on the western slope the fire activity has been minor compared to FTC and Manitou Springs etc. It is very hot for us though, supposed to hit 90 today at 8k feet. I would recommend camping at 9k feet or above to escape the heat though it is still getting down into the 50s at night so you're still going to need a good sleeping bag.

If you want to ride mtb I would avoid the front range and just get into the mtns. Breckenridge, Crested Butte, Aspen all have stellar trails and easy camping up high. Other places do as well I just haven't ridden there, the key with this heat is to get high!

I wrote a mini narrative for GWTWTLW:
http://www.thesamba.com/vw/forum/viewtopic.php?t=512772&highlight=aspen
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 27, 2012 5:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Lotiss campground onthe west side of cottonwood pass is nice, when in Crested butte go through town, past Gothic and keep going up until you are almost at the top of the dirt road, watch on your left for a great camp site, one of many along that route.

It has been brutal here in the Boulder area, a fire today in town and very hot. I would stay out of FC period.

If you pm me I can get you directions to a great spot very close to Rocky mtn park but without all the people.
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wontfalia
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 30, 2012 1:36 pm    Post subject: Rocky Mountain Camping Ideas (UPDATED WITH PICS) Reply with quote

We're settled back in KY! We had an awesome 16 day trip to CO! Over 3500 hard miles and not a single issue with my Van. The Risons' van had 2 flats and that is it. A huge success! We did so much more than these photos even show. We have hundreds of great photos and I need to figure how to post other than the Sambas server. In fact there isn't even one of me in here. They were removed for no VW content. I shoulda got a VW tatoo or something. No biggy


After 24 hours of brutal KA, MO and Boulder CO heat we finally made it to around 9K feet. This is my buddy Ian feelin the goodness 30 seconds after finding our 1st campsite outside Allenspark CO
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These next few are also that campsite. It was pretty good. Kids loved it.
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Everybody was glad to be on Colorado soil
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Spread out and making ourselves at home. We loved it here so much we stayed 2 nights. We spent 2 nights at the same campsite several times and it turns out, the next campsite was always better than the first and we wished we had found the new one a day earlier. CO was beautiful. We explored this place for a few days.
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Next stop Steamboat Springs Condo for 2 nights (Thanks Ben!)
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Next stop was here while making our way to a friends place outside Montrose
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Avalanche campground was very nice. It was outside Glenwood Springs. It had a great stream and hiking trail. Good biking too. This is the road going back out. Again lots good pictures were removed. I'll have to figure out how to post them all somewhere. You guys would enjoy them.
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This percolator was way too big and pretty much annoyed me every morning that I used it. It took forever to have coffee ready in my van. Mainly because the cold mountain water we used and the elevation. Meanwhile those other bastards were drinking coffee 20 minutes after getting up. And they have a weekender!!!
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This area reminded me of KY a little. Some coal mining going on
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This was the first place we had to pay for camping. We would have had to pay at Avalanche but they had some sites closed and waived the fee for the trouble.There was a reservoir here and it looked pretty refreshing after a day of driving. Turns out my 6 yr old cut her foot pretty badly swimming and ended up getting 2 stitches in Ridgeway. She was tough and kept a great attitude. Only set her back from swimming for a few days.
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We finally made it to our buddies place outside Montrose. They have a nice spread and we stayed there 2 days to let Annas foot heal some.
The Risons took off the 2nd say for the Ridgway Campground
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Jeff took my family on a side trip the 2nd day to Telluride for some drinks and a gondola ride. Later we met his wife Lynn in Ridgeway for some more beers. From there Jeff and his wife Lynn took our kids home and Bianca and I went soaking in the Ouray hotsprings. Thanks guys!!!
This is Ian, Jeff and my wife Bianca
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Leaving Jeffs place. Next stop Salida
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Arrived in Salida where the temperature was outstanding
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We camped at this guys crib for 2 more nights. We saw 5 or 6 vans in Salida. One of which I saw up on a rack. Salida was a nice town as well. We have so many good pictures of hanging out that I wish I could show you.
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So we left Salida and headed to Mt. Princeton for a night. This place had to be the nicest place I have ever been. The kids loved it and I loved it for em!
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My 3 year old boy rode his bike at least 50 miles while in CO
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The Risons on the left. Lora, Ian, Quin and Ella. The Hawkins on the right. Bianca, Me (Jason) Anna and Ashton.
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Good photo poolside of Lora and Ian
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So Mt Princeton was really cool. We were able to use the facilities before and after check in. We used every nickels worth.
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We left Mt Princton late in the afternoon for a campsite outside Buena Vista.
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stopped to buy beer and while inside Ians van gets backed into. Broke the cap off and made a decent dent.
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Decent camping outside Buena Vista.
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We drank alot of good beers. I spent as much on beer as on gas. Beer was my gas most of the time. It helped me thru each day.
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The kids were great and had a very nice time.
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A little Kentucky van dancing going on here
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Next and final camping spot was the Crags campground. This place was pretty nice. I wish we had one more day so we could have hiked up to Pikes Peak. We chilled here as our Colorado Vacation was coming to an end. Can't wait till next year.
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We had a really cool trip. Thanks to Colorado, the vans and all the nice people that hooked us up. I'll let you know once I figure out how to post all the photos if you care to see them. They are pretty funny. We can't wait to return next year!
See ya,
Wontfalia
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 30, 2012 2:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great trip report! Look me up next year when you're in Salida!
Steve
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