RV.Net Open Roads Forum: Some advise on Colorado National Forest and/or Parks, please

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Open Roads Forum  >  RV Parks, Campgrounds and Attractions

 > Some advise on Colorado National Forest and/or Parks, please

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OldPhart711

TEXAS in Winter, New Mexico & Colorado in Summer..

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Posted: 02/27/11 10:54am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

We leave Texas to beat the 'Texas Heat' in early May for the summer months, and have spent the last 4 summers in Jumbo Campgrounds in Grand Mesa National Forest in Colorado, and it has been fantastic.
But, we want to find another National Forest, or National Park in Colorado to go to, where we can catch Rainbow Trout like we did in Grand Mesa.
We prefer a National Forest or Nat. Park in Colorado rather than a private RV park because of the less cost, allowing us to stay longer.
Any help would be Much appreciated.
Thanks,
OldPhart711
mccord11@windstream.net

Two Hands

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Posted: 02/27/11 12:41pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Colorado is one of our favorite destinations. Last fall we used the Colorado State Parks web site, www.parks.state.co.us, to plan our trip. It was an excellent source of information about all of their state parks. We also included Rocky Mountain National Park as part of that trip.


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DesertHawk

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Posted: 02/27/11 12:46pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Here's an old post with some Colorado stuff in it. Clicky.

In August 2007, we did a small family gathering above Colorado Springs. We enjoyed our trip to Colorado Springs and Manitou Springs area. We camped at South Meadows Campground of the Pike's Nat'l Forest just outside of Woodland Park a few miles. It was a very nice site, the Camp Hosts keep the place spotless. Drawbacks were the pit toilets but they were new and kept clean and no dump site exect down the road off a dirt road with a fee of $10. The $15 camping fee was nice. There are two other campgrounds in the area as well, also several private RV parks. We enjoyed Manitou Springs, Garden of the Gods, the Cheyenne Mt. Zoo and visiting with our son and his family. They also went to Cripple Creek and did the cog train ride to Pike's Peak and a day fishing. There was a Lake for fishing not far from the campground, but there is another campground one could walk to the lake from as well as another on off the road near it as well.

One closest to the lake is Colorado. From Woodland Park, CO, take State Rt. 67 north 3.5 miles to campground sign. Turn right into campground. The elevation is 7,800 ft.The campground meanders through a very large stand of mature Ponderosa pines, winding and looping along the rolling hillsides. Look for the Black Tufted squirrels. The understory is grass, some sites are close together and privacy is limited. The campground is across the road from the Centennial Trail, next to State Rt. 67 and convenient to Woodland Park, CO.

Painted Rocks is the other one. From Woodland Park, CO, take State Rt. 67 north 3.9 miles to campground sign (County Rt. 78). Turn left at sign onto Rt. 78 (dirt) and go 0.4 miles to another campground sign. Turn left into campground. The campground is composed of two loops at the edge of a meadow. The loop on the right of entrance is nicely shaded with mature Ponderosa pines. The loop on the left is closer to the "painted rocks" (actually weathered piles of red rock) with more open sites. All the camping sites are widely separated affording lots of privacy even though the understory is grass.

There are loads of campgrounds in the area: Pike Nat'l Forest

The Lake.

The Summer of '96, we drove through the Creede Area from the north along the headwaters of the Rio Grande, very nice area...would like to go back. We overnighted at a campground just off the highway and next to the Rio. Rio Grande Nat'l Forest Campgrounds

This may have been the one we camped at: Silver Thread?

Fishing

As I mention in the older post above, Twin Lakes Campgrounds near the Leadville Area was a nice place. There are other camping sites in the area as well: San Isabel National Forest .

You might want to try the Chama Area. We have spent more time at Heron Lake State Park near Chama, NM going back several years in the summers. We did have a canoe and enjoyed canoeing on it. Chama is a neat place with a very nice steam train ride up into Colorado. The Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad. Chama would be about 95 miles from Taos. It is a very neat drive between Taos & Chama. They fish the Chama River as well as the creek leading from Heron Lake to El Vado Lake. Heron Lake State Park
Heron Lake is an anglers delight, stocked with Rainbow Trout and Kokanee Salmon.

It is hard to find a less expensive place to camp than New Mexico State Parks. Unlike Texas and Colorado state parks, no entry fees on top of the camping fees. Free showers and nice restrooms as well and for $4 more you can have electric, too. After 22.5 days the $225 out of state Camping Annual Permit (valid 12 months from month of purchase) would be paid for with free camping all the other time. But one would have to move after about 14 days: "Campers may reside in a park for a maximum of 14 calendar days during any 20-calendar day period unless the director otherwise decreases or waives this limit. Campers shall completely remove camping equipment and gear from the park for six calendar days during the 20-calendar day period."

Not sure about the fishing, they had a lake up there not far from the campground, Trujillo Meadows Campground. Take SR 17 out of Chama towards Antonito, CO at about 4.6 miles from the state line take a forest road on the left. There should be a forest service campground and perhaps disperse camping as well if my memory is correct. There is a small lake in there as well. Very pretty country, much higher area than Heron Lake. This would be about 12 or 13 miles from the Depot in Chama. This will be in the Cumbres Pass area 10,022'. It will be cooler at night as well as in the day.

Cimarron Canyon State Park is three miles east of Eagle Nest along US 64 has fishing as well. Clicky

More San Juans Mts Area Stuff-----NM & CO.

* This post was last edited 02/27/11 03:50pm by DesertHawk *   View edit history


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JFG

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Posted: 02/27/11 01:52pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

The West Side of the Rocky Mountain National Park... Headwaters of Colorado River


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Posted: 02/27/11 06:08pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I have a summer home in South Fork, Co. The population of South Fork quadruples each summer and most of them are Texans fleeing the heat.
The Rio Grande River, a gold medal trout stream, flows right through South Fork. Sections of the river are fly fishing only. We have 4 fly shops in South Fork, that sell gear , give lessons and guide. We are surrounded by the Rio Grande National Forest, which has about 30 FS Campgrounds, most of them small/rustic. In and around South Fork, are about 10 commercial campgrounds. Creede is right up the road/river from South Fork, with additional facilities, tours, and campgrounds. On the other side (west) of Wolf Creek Pass is Pagosa Springs and the San Juan National Forest & San Juan River.


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Posted: 02/27/11 08:58pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

You are indeed a hearty bunch, spending four summers among the mosquitoes of the Grand Mesa. A week up there every few years is enough for us, and we're two hours away!

Might I suggest a couple of NFS CG's near Buena Vista/Salida. Cottonwood Lake CG above BV is about 1/4 mile from Cottonwood Lake, where I've had decent success and seen some nice sized rainbows landed (>16"). Heading south from BV, you'll get to the turnoff that heads up Cascade Creek toward St. Elmo, Tincup Pass, and Hancock Pass. Along that road are a variety of NFS CG's, some quite convenient to stocked lakes. The trip up to the ghost town of St. Elmo is a great excursion, and further up the road is a trail to the now collapsed east portal of the Alpine Tunnel, the highest railroad tunnel in the US. You can reach the other end of the tunnel by heading over Cottonwood Pass and approaching through Tincup. Further south near Salida, there's the O'Haver Lake CG. Good fishing with easy access from any site in the CG.

Further north, up by Leadville, there are a variety of NFS CG's around Turquoise Lake, although I've always found fishing to be hit or miss there. These CG's offer more ameneties like flush toilets. There's an interesting mining museum in Leadville, and a trip up above Turquoise Lake towards Hagerman Pass will take you by a trailhead for a small part of the old Colorado Midland Railroad grade. A hike along this trail in mid summer takes you through some great fields of wildflowers. Don't be discouraged by the first few hundred yards though an old cut. It's almost always wet along that section, but once past there, the trail is dry and easy (it's an old railroad grade after all).

A lot of people head over Cottonwood Pass to camp in Taylor Park. It is a scenic area and fishing can be good, but this area really gets crowded nowadays. Some good shore fishing in the arms of the reservoir, and fishing can be good for stockers at Mirror Lake above Tincup.

Someone mentioned the Rio Grande NF. Indeed, there are several good fishing locales in some of the lakes west of CO 149 south of Spring Creek Pass. This is definitely an out-of-the-way destination. Fishing west of here, either around Silverton or Telluride is often unproductive because mining wastes have contaminated the water.

Personally, I think the Arkansas River valley around Leadville, Buena Vista, and Salida will offer you some rewarding fishing with a lot of other activities to enjoy as well. I'll probably get grief from other fishermen for giving away these secrets, but I've haven't given away the best places. [emoticon]


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OldPhart711

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Posted: 02/28/11 12:30pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Guys, you don't know how much I appreciate all of the advise and information on place to go this summer.
I seriously believe we'll make 'em all and decide which we like best.
Our 9 year old Chocolate Lab 'Camper' needs her other knee replaced this time, later this week, but as soon as that is done, and she recoups a bit we are heading out to our cabin in Ruidoso, NM, to wait for it to 'thaw out' a bit in Colorado, then up there till about August.
This has been a long unusually cold winter here in the 'Texas Hill Country'.
Thanks Again,
McCord (OldPhart711)

roam1

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Posted: 02/28/11 05:10pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

There is a nice private CG called Chalk Creek CG on Chalk Creek close to where it goes into the Arkansas. You could spend a lifetime on day trip fishing adventures! Full hook-ups and nice folks who pot luck once a week.

little more rustic (electric only) but excellent views and fishing would be over cottonwood pass from there and in Taylor Park. There is a NF CG that overlooks the reservoir and views are the shizzle! can't remember name.......

another favorite but private CG is Antlers Rio in Creed, private fishing on the Rio Grand and a gourmet resturaunt!!! also excellent hosts!

there is a SP in ????.....near Ouray....below a res, something like poc o chu puc.......awsome fishing next to your camp site and full hook ups.......my memory is fading.....

Bionic Man

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Posted: 02/28/11 09:50pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Ridgway is the SP near Ouray.

I'm pretty sure that CO State Parks limit stays to 14 days.


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