Well I finally made up my mind and decided to go ahead and make a trip up to Colorado this August (from texas). I think I will spend about a week mostly camping out in the woods and stuff... no hotels! Should be fun, hopefully taking my girlfriend along, we shall see.
So.. Here is what I have come up with so far... Tell me what you think, do y'all know of some good spots that would be nice for some camping in pretty spots (preferably not too close to a lot of people.. that is why I am going, to get away!)
First day head up and stop at palo duro canyon in the panhandle of texas. The next day wake up early and head up to estes park. Spend a night there, hang out for a while then head down to the frisco area. (does anyone know of good camping around there?) Then after that I really don't know, but i guess keep working south towards the pagosa springs area. Then after that its back home, only I will be going down new mexico to white sands then back home.
What do y'all think? any suggestions are appreciated.. thanks a milion...
If you travel west from Fort Collins about 65 miles on Co. highway 14, then go north about 6 miles on Laramie Road, you will come to "Tunnel Campground". This is a U.S. Forest Service camp, with a host, and costs around $10 per night to camp. I can assure you it is a fantastic place! My dad was a host there about 5 years ago, had moose, deer, elk, and an occasional black bear in the camp. Other than the bears, this was a daily occurrence. This camp is on the Laramie River, which at this point is just a small stream, with well water available. It is close to some great fishing at Chambers Lake, which also has a camp, but is a bit more crowded. Some great hiking in the area as well. Chambers gets crowed on weekends.
North of there a few miles is Brown's Park campground too. This camp has no water, but is more remote than Tunnel or Chambers. If you're interested, use the WilderNet site for further info and directions. The drive from Ft. Collins up the Cache Le Poudre River canyon is awesome too.
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I used to live in Frisco, there is some camping to be had in Summit County but not for me, too much of a resort area. There are four ski areas in Summit County and there is a lot of private property. Are you looking for fully developed Forest Service campgrounds or do you want to get out into more undeveloped areas. If you do not need picnic tables or other facilities you can camp in some pretty remote areas. Depending on your route to Pagosa Springs, you might try Kite Lake to the west of Alma, about twenty miles south of Frisco. Kite Lake is above 10,000 feet and very beautiful, old mines and other relics, if you are in good shape there are some 14,000+ feet mountains right there to hike, it is possible to get three or four in a day. After Kite Lake there is a road that goes over Mosquito Pass to Leadville, if you look really hard you can see the back of you head from up there. I donít know how far west you are planning on going, the San Juan Mountains have some of the best mountain pass 4-wheeling to be had, Lake City or the Silverton area is the best place to base out of for that. Lake City has more Texas than Colorado plates on the vehicles in the summer, it might seem that you are in North Texas but donít be fooled, itís Colorado! I go through Lake City to go to Pagosa Springs, actually I usually do not make it all the way down there, I stop at a trail head and hike about three miles into Rainbow Hot springs, this is not an improved hot spring and is in a wilderness area, very nice. Some things to consider; It can get cold up high, even in August, bring some warm cloths. There are already fire bans in some places in the state, they can effect your travel plans, check ahead of time, Mosquito Pass was closed two years ago in August due to fire ban. Follow fire ban rules, there can be hefty fines involved. Coming from a low elevation to a higher one requires some acclimation, your body will be producing more red blood cells to carry additional oxygen, drink lots of fluids like water and juice. Sorry for the long post, I could go on but I need to get ready for some camping myself! Have a great time!
RockyMtn- I am looking preferably more undeveloped areas, but not so much that I can't get my truck there. I am going to slap on a camper shell before leaving so will be trying to sleep in there as much as I can so i don't have to deal with the tent too much.. irritates me I am going to bring a tent along however, as I have read on some of these sites about some good camping spots that you will have to hike too.
I read in a colorado guide book that you can camp anywhere in a national forest, as long as it is not longer than 2 weeks... is this true? I know there are a lot of dirt roads that run through the national forests (at least down by Pagosa Springs) so could i camp anywhere along these roads? How does this work? A permit needed?
Thank you all for your help and suggestions - y'all are very helpful - I appreciate it.
The Information that you have in regards to camping on the Nat. Forest Land is correct. They just expect you to clean-up your area REAL good. My wife and I just treat the outdoors with respect and leave it cleaner than we found it. No permit is needed unless you are in a State run campground. There is a plethora of these kinda spots in the area we have been talking about, San Juan Nat. Forest area. You can get a map from JAX Sporting Goods in Fort Collins or just about any sporting goods that has a good selection of maps. The one I have is an inexpensive Topo that shows all kinds of trails, easy to 4x4 only. The altitudes run from 6k to over 12k with some of the best scenery in Colorado.
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If you are bringing that F350 that is in your gallery you will be able to travel 99% of the Forest Service roads out there, with the exception of some of the more extreme jeep trails (too narrow). Some Forest Service Campgrounds are Fee based others are not. As stated and confirmed by Bob you do not have to camp in a campground and can stay for 14 days, so long as it is not marked that you cannot. Now the roads leading to more undeveloped areas will typically have plaques that will list restrictions and show what markers to look for to interpret these restrictions. The markers are fiberglass stakes about three feet tall and three inches wide and will have stickers on them. If camping is not allowed the marker will have a camp symbol with a no symbol over it (a slash and circle). These are used to indicate if you can travel a road or trail also and have an arrow and stickers showing what kind of vehicles are permitted. There is a huge amount of public land in the Rocky Mountains, a lot of it is still accessible by vehicles so finding a great place to camp is not difficult. My order of preference for camping is undeveloped, developed without fee and lastly a fee based campground. For more information on National Forests in Colorado check http://www.fs.fed.us/recreation/map/...shtml#Colorado. I would also recommend getting a Colorado Atlas & Gazetteer by DeLorme before you come up these have great detail with topos for the entire state, I keep one behind the seat in my truck. If you like fishing there is plenty of that, if you like rock hunting there are a variety to look for, you might consider getting a gold pan and trying your hand.
One more plug for the Pagosa Springs area... Great place to base from. Wolf Creek Pass, Hot springs, more 4x4 trails than you can shake a transfer case at... Great camping and even better fishing. Love to have you join us!
I know this is probobly to late but there is a small lake north of pagosa that not to many people camp at and the fishing is great.I spent a week there and the camp ground was only about 25% full on the weekends. Check out williams creek its awsome.
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Well, nope it's not too late... I leave on August the 7th. Here is my planned trip so far:
First day drive from San Antonio to Palo Duro Canyon (near Amarillo). Camp the night there, supposed to be really pretty. The next spend some time around camp, then leave mid-morning for denver. Stay a night in a hotel in denver. Early the next morning drive up to Rocky Mountain National Park. Spend the day driving/ hiking around. (Here is a question for those that have been, can you camp in places besides in their designated campgrounds?) The next morning leave there and slowly make my way down thru the Summit county area and end up around buena vista. I just read an article about a great dirt road that goes near the Alpin Tunnel and St. Elmo. Supposed to be a good ghost town and nice sights to see. I havn't looked, but am hoping that is in a national forest so I can camp somewhere along the trail. The next day leave there and head to the Great Sand dunes. Spend some time around the dunes, then head off a 4x4 trail for some camping that night. The next morning get up (slowly probably) and begin heading back for texas *sigh*. That night I will drive as far as I can, then sleep the night in a cheapy motel. Then home.
Thanks for reading this if you made it all the way thru. What do y'all think? Any suggestions or modifications you think I should make to my trip let me know. I am pretty restricted to the number of nights I am there, although I wish I could make the trip a lot longer Maybe next time anyways. Thanks guys, and boy am I getting excited!
My family and I camped on the Tincup pass road from July 6th through the 10th. We were between Tincup and St. Elmo on the Tincup side of the pass near Mirror Lake. The camp was off the road far enough so that the small amount of traffic was not a nuisance and was next to a stream and beaver ponds, just beautiful. We were at about 10,500 feet so the temperatures were mild, about 35 at night and 70ís during the day. No trouble with mosquitoes and just a few sprinkles of rain.
One of the trips we made while we were up there was a loop that took us over Tincup, Hancock and Cumberland Pass. The leg from camp to St. Elmo took us over Tincup Pass, which is 12,154 feet in elevation. This road is a bit rough and steep in parts.
The next leg of our loop was from St. Elmo to the Cumberland Pass road outside of Pitkin, this took us through the old town of Hancock and over Hancock Pass, 12,125 feet. It was definitely rougher and steeper than Tincup Pass. This was the most interesting leg of the trip, lots of old mining relics, buildings and cabins. From Hancock you can hike up to the Alpine Tunnel. From the top of Hancock Pass you can see Tomichi Pass, I wanted to take a side trip to the top. Dad was game but already being out for six hours and a crusty look from my wife, the ďdecisionĒ was made to save it for another trip.
The final leg was over Cumberland Pass back to Tincup, this topped out at 12,015. This pass was like a highway compared to Tincup and Hancock, you could take a passenger car over it with no problem. It also had a lot of private property so there was less camping to be had over this section than the others although there is more camping to be had down toward the towns of Pikin and Ohio.
There was great camping along this whole route. You can definitely find some good camping up around Hancock, if you decide to do the pass drop the camper, I donít think you can go slow enough to keep from shaking it to pieces.
Donít know about in Rocky Mountain National Park itself, the last I was up there was about 25 years ago. Outside of Rocky Mountain National Park you should be able to find something. Sand Dunes is a great time.
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