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Open Roads Forum  >  RV Parks, Campgrounds and Attractions

 > What must we do in Colorado?

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chompchomp

Port Orange, Florida

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Posted: 04/10/21 10:52am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

The mountains are calling and we must go. Last summer, our trip to Yosemite and Oregon was beautifully interrupted by the birth of our first grandson. We're definitely leaving Florida and heading West this summer with our focus on Colorado.

We have done Durango, Black Canyon of the Gunnison, Mesa Verde, Littleton, Red Rocks, Ouray, Ridgway into Telluride, Silverton, Grand Lake, and Vail and loved all of it.

This summer, I can see us revisiting Ouray and Last Dollar Road into Telluride just to share that with my son-in-law. We're also both fishing fanatics, so that will be a priority. We live an hour from Disney and five minutes from the World's Most Famous Beach, so we don't like crowds. That said, though I know Estes Park will probably be crowded in July (we stayed on the West side for that reason last time out), we really want to add the East side of RMNP and Crested Butte and any other scenic byways you might recommend. A friend just posted pictures of Loveland Pass, which looks appealing as well.

I'd love any input from you experts (4Runnerguy Ken I hope you're listening)out there not only on destinations, but scenic routes to connect them as well. We'll have our Jeep and my daughter's 4x4 truck, kayaks, bikes and hiking boots. Thanks so much for any advice you can share with us.


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Lwiddis

Near DVNP, California

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Posted: 04/10/21 10:56am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

“Crowded” in Estes Park in July is an understatement IMO. Try to make reservations.


Winnebago 2101DS TT & 2020 Chevy Silverado 1500 LTZ Z71, 300 watt solar-Lossigy 200 AMP Lithium battery. TALL flag pole. Prefer boondocking, USFS, COE, BLM, NPS, TVA, state camps. Bicyclist 14 yr. Army -11B40 then 11A - (MOS 1542 & 1560) IOBC & IOAC grad


12th Man Fan

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Posted: 04/10/21 12:35pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Royal Gorge, Great sand dunes, Mesa Verde.

* This post was edited 04/10/21 12:51pm by 12th Man Fan *


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goducks10

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Posted: 04/10/21 01:58pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Can you actually book enough spots?

Rug

GREED COUNTY, Boerne Texas

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Posted: 04/10/21 02:23pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

What about a drive up Pikes Peak.
We did this a couple years ago.
It is paved all the way to the top.


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chompchomp

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Posted: 04/10/21 02:53pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Goducks, we only need two sites a night. My daughter and her husband pull a camper behind their truck. We drag a Wrangler behind our MH.

rexlion

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Posted: 04/10/21 03:49pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

If you're getting CO fishing licenses, have you thought about boondocking at one or more of the state wildlife areas? Free camping and maybe a short stroll to the water.

If you get around Pagosa Springs, head up the road toward Wolf Creek Pass and stop at Treasure Falls. Then a couple hundred yards north of that, the overlook gives a fabulous view of the valley below. Back south a bit, you can drive past the East Fork NF CG and follow the dirt road with your Jeep to Silver Falls, it's a pretty drive and a nice waterfall. Oh, and near the top of Wolf Creek Pass there's a road to the west that takes you up to the top and another great view all around. You could probably get hookup campsites in Pagosa and lounge in the hot spring waters while there.


Mike G.
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Thunder Mountain

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Posted: 04/10/21 05:47pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

You are probably too late for Estes Park in July. You will also have to make reservations for entering RMNP. Don't waste your time.


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4runnerguy

Glenwood Springs, CO

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Posted: 04/10/21 10:45pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

A couple of ideas but I'll break it into two posts so it doesn't get too long.

1. Aspen/Marble/Glenwood Springs.

A trip to Maroon Bells is worth the time. You've probably seen it on a calendar at some point. Access is by shuttle bus. Or do like we do and ride your bikes up there (that's free to do and that's a price we like to hear). Almost all the traffic is the shuttle buses and they know to watch for bikes. We park at the (free) Tiehack Lift parking, take the foot/bicycle bridge across the gorge and ride up from there. In July the flowers along the road are many, so we use the excuse we are taking flower pictures when we stop for a rest!

There's also a paved bike trail all the way from Glenwood Springs to Aspen. It's on an old railroad grade so it's not too steep. We'll park at Old Snowmass and ride into Aspen from there. Aspen is so much easier to explore on bike rather than trying to drive the busy roads. Lots of interesting historic houses and buildings.

The drive up CO 133 along the Crystal River to Marble is one of the most scenic in the state. On the way up from Carbondale, keep an eye out for the Redstone Campground sign and turn left there, following that road all the way through Redstone. It will join back up with the highway on the other side of town. Don't miss Hayes Creek Falls on your right. Turn left at the sign for Marble and follow that into town. Yes, there's big chunks of Marble all around town. The road onward from there is 4x4, although I've eased our RAV4 through there in the past. (No problem for your jeep, but if your daughter's 4x4 PU is full sized, it will be a challenge. If it has dual rears, forget it.) You'll go by the Crystal Mill (another calendar shot) just before the "town". Beyond Crystal, you can try you hand at Lead King Basin (gorgeous flowers, but again a real 4x4 road) or head up Schofield Pass if you're really daring. That road takes you all the way to Crested Butte.

In the Aspen/Glenwood Springs area there is lots of fishing, whether high mountain lakes or the Gold Medal waters on the Roaring Fork or Frying Pan Rivers.

Kayak the Colorado River through Glenwood Canyon or ride your bike on the bike trail there. So much easier to see things when not flying by on the interstate (although last year's fire did a number on some areas).

Hikes? Try American Lake or Cathedral Lake up Castle Creek above Aspen. There are also a variety of trails off Independence Pass (no trailers or RV's on that road). Lost Man or Independence Lake trailheads get busy on weekends for a reason.


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4runnerguy

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Posted: 04/10/21 11:10pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

2. Upper Arkansas River Valley Leadville/Buena Vista/Salida

This is an area we go to every year.

Leadville is an old mining town with lots of mining ruins all around the town. The ~14 mile paved Mineral Belt Trail encircles the town and has plaques along the way describing what you are looking at, often with historic pictures for comparison. It's at 10,000' so you'll notice the elevation, but it's paved and not by a road. We combine it with doing some loops on the Timberline Mountain Bike Trails on the south side of Leadville with access off the Mineral Belt Trail. Generally easy trails through the woods with lots of short loops. Good views and we've even seen a moose in there.

West of Leadville is Turquoise Lake. Fish there or head out in your kayaks. Above the lake is the Hagerman Pass road, which is an old railroad grade that eventually climbed to go through the mountains on a now closed tunnel. Interesting trip though.

South of Leadville you'll pass the turnoff to Highway 82 and Independence Pass mentioned above.

Near Buena Vista, check out mountain biking on the Midland Trail. An old railroad grade although definitely single track where the trestles have been removed. We ride up from the end of town (the first mile is the hardest) then up the Midland Trail to Bacon Bits, take it to Sausage Link and return to the Midland that way. Then it's off to find breakfast after hearing those names!

Out of Nathrop, take the road up Chalk Creek to St. Elmo, a well preserved ghost town. We'll park there and ride our bikes up to Hancock along the old railroad grade (dirt). From there, we'll take the trail out about 3 miles to the east portal of the Alpine Tunnel (collapsed). If you don't mountain bike, drive up to the trail head and hike out to the tunnel. Several side roads to explore with 4x4 off this road. At Romley, turn left and go up past some old mining ruins.

Lots of great mountain biking around Salida (S Mountain and Methodist Mountain). Adventurous? Shuttle to the top of Monarch Pass and take the Monarch Crest trail down to the Rainbow trail and then fly down the highway back to Poncha Springs. You'll be above timberline for quite a while with great views. But at 35 miles, bring lots of food and water and prepare for 4-5 hours in the saddle. World famous ride.

Each of these towns has it's own personality. Leadville is old mining town at high elevation. Salida is now a really interesting place. Lots of great restaurants and art galleries featuring local artists. Concerts in the park by the river.

Speaking of rivers, the Arkansas River has an amazing assortment of sections of varying difficulty. One could spend a number of days kayaking there. Heading down through the Royal Gorge is challenging but very scenic.

There are just so many places to fish, whether it's in some of the lakes and reservoirs, to high mountain streams. The area around Leadville itself isn't so good because of the mine tailings that have resulted in some pretty sterile creeks and streams.

Hiking? How about climbing Mt. Elbert, highest in Colorado. Not at all technical, but obviously takes a while. Spend a week in Colorado getting used to the altitude before attempting. We like the route out of Halfmoon Creek SW of Leadville. Avoid weekends to avoid crowds (hard to find trailhead parking). A number of other 14,000' peaks along the range are also technically easy if you start to like the view from the top.

Either one of these suggestions can easily use up a week or two or three of vacation. LMK if you want more info on either one.

I don't know what your camping preferences are, but reservations have filled up fast in the last week or two. Skiing is about over and people are now focused on camping season.

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