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 > Colorado State Park Advice

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LibertyMan

Alabama

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Posted: 05/17/19 06:53pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Busskipper, 4runnerguy, and Thom02099 thank you all very much for your time and input. I have a lot to look at. This will greatly help me make informed decisions when planning. If any of you guys head towards the southeast for future trips let me know if I can be of assistance. We have pretty much wore the southeast out over the years and we are exited about making several future trips to Colorado and other western states in the future. Again, thanks.


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fanrgs

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Posted: 05/17/19 07:39pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

When we camp at Ridgway SP, we have always stayed at Elk Ridge. Just electric, not FHU, but the nicest spaces at the park. It is our favorite state park because it is within easy driving distance of Ouray, Silverton, and Telluride.

I have not stayed in Estes Park since 1957 and don't intend to any time soon--too "touristy", too crowded, and way too many traffic jams for such a tiny town. When we go to RMNP, we stay at the USFS Stillwater campground just south of Grand Lake. Electric hookups, water, and a dump for a reasonable daily rate, with a 15-minute drive to RMNP West Entrance. Park the trailer there and drive the Ram over Trail Ridge Road to the east side of the park. But DO NOT leave the park! That way you don't have to sit in a traffic jam trying to get back to Grand Lake from the East Entrance in Estes Park.

Note: We have the same truck-trailer models that you do and love both of them!


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Busskipper

Arnold,Md/Superior, CO

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Posted: 05/17/19 08:57pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

4runnerguy wrote:

Lots to talk about here. First, the two SP's you mention to visit RMNP give you access to the two different sides of the park. Stagecoach is a long two hour drive just to the Grand Lake area. Golden Gate is 1 1/4 hours to downtown Estes but plan on another 15 to 30 minutes to actually get into the park. So you're looking at three to four hours of commute time every day just to get to the park.

The two different sides of the park are quite different. The hiking on the Estes Park (east) side is more accessible and you reach lakes in much shorter distances. But being on the Denver side of the park, these trails and roads are much more crowded. Estes Park itself is a zoo during the summer months. Getting through town can take quite some time. But there are more tourist shops there if that's your (or your wife's) interest.

On the east side, we prefer Moraine Park CG within the park. No hookups, but there are flush toilets (which makes the DW happy). Also a dump station on the way out of the CG. There are great views of Longs Peak from the sites above the road to Cub and Fern Lakes (campground map). Overall we prefer Moraine Park CG to Glacier Basin as most of the trees that used to be in Glacier Basin were removed due to pine beetle or other such organism. (Maybe they've done similar thinning at Moraine Park in the last year or so since we've been through there.)

On the west side, Timber Creek CG is the only option in the park. But further south, check out Stillwater NFS CG if you need water and electric hookups (dump station there too). Again, very few trees left in this CG.

The town of Grand Lake is much calmer than Estes Park and is right on the lake. Kind of reminds me of what Estes Park was like when I first went there in the 60's. But there's less "easy" hiking on the west side of the park.

As for Ridgway SP, it is nicely located near some amazing mountains around Silverton, Ouray, Telluride. But as it is located in a rather arid area, it doesn't have the same mountain feel. Plus view of the San Juans is pretty limited for most of the campsites at Pa-Co-Chu-Puk since the CG is below the dam.

One thing to consider is that it is further to Ridgway than to RMNP.

As Busskipper already noted, another area you might want to consider is the Upper Arkansas River Valley from Leadville down to Salida. Chaffee County's slogan is "Now This Is Colorado" and that's appropriate. I don't know the age of your kids, but there's river rafting for all experience levels, fishing, biking, hiking, ghost towns (don't miss St. Elmo), plus some really interesting towns. Salida has great restaurants, river tubing right through town, free music in the park along the river and an interesting art scene. (How can any kid or kid-at-heart adult not love a place like the Bungled Jungle? Leadville is a real honest to goodness mining town with some great old architecture. As you travel US 24 between Leadville and Salida there are a string of 14,000' mountains on the west side of the highway for the entire distance. Our nieces grew up in the mountains west of Vail and they still love visiting this area.

One more thing to be aware of. Even in a normal snow year, during the first week in June many trails may still be blocked by snow at the higher elevations. Even as I write this at 2:00 p.m., it's snowing on Vail and Monarch Passes!


^^^^^ More Good Info - 4runnerguy really does Know Colorado - You have some great Info^^^^^


Busskipper
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Busskipper

Arnold,Md/Superior, CO

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Posted: 05/17/19 09:01pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

fanrgs wrote:

When we camp at Ridgway SP, we have always stayed at Elk Ridge. Just electric, not FHU, but the nicest spaces at the park. It is our favorite state park because it is within easy driving distance of Ouray, Silverton, and Telluride.

I have not stayed in Estes Park since 1957 and don't intend to any time soon--too "touristy", too crowded, and way too many traffic jams for such a tiny town. When we go to RMNP, we stay at the USFS Stillwater campground just south of Grand Lake. Electric hookups, water, and a dump for a reasonable daily rate, with a 15-minute drive to RMNP West Entrance. Park the trailer there and drive the Ram over Trail Ridge Road to the east side of the park. But DO NOT leave the park! That way you don't have to sit in a traffic jam trying to get back to Grand Lake from the East Entrance in Estes Park.

Note: We have the same truck-trailer models that you do and love both of them!


^^^^^^More Great info - Fanrgs Also Knows Colorado - IMHO these three are your life line to Colorado - No Bad info from any of them [emoticon] ^^^^^

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