2017 Colorado - looking for ideas, WM, etc.

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kitphantom

Super Active Member
Platinum Supporting Member
Dec 26, 2009
13,757
Albuquerque, NM
The Colorado Rally last week was fun, even with only three sites occupied. sleach had to drop out, so bearman512, NM_Alien, and we were the only ones camped. Firehawk068 stopped by for a while on Saturday.

If there is to be a 2017 Rally, planning will need to be done. Given the difficulty getting campsite reservations anywhere close to time this year, I suggest trying to find a place that isn't quite as close to Denver or as popular. It should have reservations and FCFS sites. My first thought is a return to North Fork in the Flat Tops. (Friends were in that area in late June/early July, and found it was not as busy as come of the other places they were.)
Most of the USFS campgrounds begin to take reservations 6 months in advance. I don't remember the timing for state parks. We did scope out Camp Hale during this trip, it's still in the Leadville area, but didn't seem quite a busy as White Star (no lake?). We've camped at White Star for probably 20 years, the Rally was there 3 years ago, and this year it was just a lot busier than ever before. Actually, every place we've camped this year (AZ and CO) has been extra busy - and lots of pups, small TTs and tents; others have reported similar experiences this year. I don't know if the trend will continue.

While I don't mind being Wagonmaster, maybe someone else would like to take it over - new ideas might elicit more participation. The irony was that all of us who were camped there are from NM. [If I WM again next year, I will most likely be solo, since DH and I have plans to go to Wyoming for the Eclipse in August, so vacation time is mostly spoken for already.]

I don't know how the dates of the first Rally were decided, but a couple of years ago, the group decided to move it a week earlier in July. That was an attempt to get it in before the worst of monsoon season hit (didn't work last year, this year was very dry), but late enough to have things melted out and dried up.

Input, ideas ???
 

Firehawk068

Active Member
Mar 22, 2016
302
I may not be of much help with ideas, as so far in Colorado I have only stayed at Turquoise Lake (Silver Dollar Campground) and Durango (Junction Creek Campground) Both of which were fairly shaded, and I thought they were nice campsites.

I would be willing to scope-out campgrounds if needed.
I am usually out touring on my FJ during the summer, and could check out some places and take pictures too.

If you are a hiker or Mt-biker, the Colorado Trail starts (or ends) right at the entrance to Junction Creek Campground.
There's lots to see and do around Durango, and the San Juan Mts. to the North.
 

kitphantom

Super Active Member
Platinum Supporting Member
Dec 26, 2009
13,757
Albuquerque, NM
Just for grins, here are the other sites considered for this year:

Flat Tops, North Fork CG, site of the 2012 Rally.
http://www.recreation.gov/camping/north-fork-campground/r/campgroundDetails.do?contractCode=NRSO&parkId=70707
This campground was little used, one night the only folks in the campground were from the Rally. The water at the campground taps was safe, but so metallic tasting, no matter what we did (including putting it through our PUR filter) that we ended up driving to town for bottle water - and we almost never do that. Fishing and hiking, 4 WDing, no high mountains close by, pretty remote
GJ: 2-3/4 hours, CS: 6 hrs, DA: 4-1/2 hrs, D: 6 hrs, ABQ: 10 hrs

St. Charles or La Vista CG, Lake Isabel. Info is for St. Charles:

http://www.recreation.gov/camping/st-charles-campground--lake-isabel/r/campgroundDetails.do?contractCode=NRSO&parkId=70320
According to the reservation site, there is hiking, fishing and mountain biking nearby, DH & I haven't been to this area ourselves, so can't comment from experience.
GJ; 5-1/2 hrs, CS : 1-3/4 hrs, DA: 3 hrs, D: 5-1/2 hrs, A: 5-1/4 hrs
[Given what we've seen this year, going someplace this close to cities, with lakes, might be a little iffy.]

Vallecito: near Durango, hiking (trail into the Weminuche Wilderness from camp), fishing, lake (Vallecito Reservoir) nearby; other campgrounds in the area. Lots of places to explore for those inclined to drive.
http://www.recreation.gov/camping/vallecito-campground/r/campgroundDetails.do?contractCode=NRSO&parkId=79060
Close enough to Durango to make reservations and ride the Durango and Silverton RR. There are a few sites with power, though they aren't the prettiest in the campground (DH & I decided they put the power where it was easiest to do so)
GJ: 3-3/4 hours, CS: 5-1/2 hrs, DA: 6 hrs, D: 1/2 hrs, ABQ: 4 hrs
[This area has the advantage of several campgrounds in the area, but this one is not on the lake itself.]

Ridgway State Park:
$26/night + daily entry fee for SP ($7/day, for those who do not have an annual pass). Those camped elsewhere will also have to pay entrance fees to visit the Rally.
http://cpw.state.co.us/placestogo/parks/Ridgway/Pages/Camping.aspx
http://www.reserveamerica.com/facilityDetails.do?contractCode=CO&parkId=50039#overviewsection

The state park has a couple of campgrounds, which are large. We have only camped in the Elk Ridge portion of the Dutch Charlie section. Power at most sites, no other hook-ups (I now see a price for full-hook up sites, but have not seen them.)
Ouray and Telluride are in the general area, 4 WDing, fishing, hiking, hot springs are in the region. The state park has a marina, showers, and laundry.
GJ: 1-3/4 hrs, CS: 5 hrs, DA: 5-3/4 hrs, D: 2 hrs, ABQ: 5-3/4 hrs

The 2015 Rally was at Thirty Mile, but it did seem to be a bit more difficult to get reservations anytime but very early. Due to the West Fork Complex Fire, the campground 4 miles away is still closed, so that reduces the sites available.
 

kitphantom

Super Active Member
Platinum Supporting Member
Dec 26, 2009
13,757
Albuquerque, NM
@Firehawk068
If you see a campground that looks interesting while you're out and about, let me know and I"ll try to research it.
 

NM_Alien

New Mexico: Not really new and not really Mexico..
May 28, 2015
79
Albuquerque, NM
When I stayed at the campground at Bandelier in April, I met some folks from Colorado that were camping there. I asked them why they drove all the way to NM when there is plenty of good camping in CO. They said it's because there's too many people in Denver and everything within 3 hours drive from Denver is always too crowded. So they like to come to NM to escape the crowds.

I recall when we drove up a dirt road between Twin Lakes and Independence pass, I could not believe how many people were camped way back off the beaten path. If I had driven a road like that in NM or SW CO, I would not have expected to see very many people. There were so many people in every possible campsite several miles down that rough dirt road I couldn't believe it.

My vote for a future rally location would be northern NM or SW CO. Maybe if we did a NM rally we'd get folks from CO to come down or AZ and TX to come over.
 

kitphantom

Super Active Member
Platinum Supporting Member
Dec 26, 2009
13,757
Albuquerque, NM
I'm giving this a bump. After discussions at this year's Rally and on the Portal, I'm going to suggest Vallecito, near Durango, for the usual week (July 10-16). Lots of hiking and fishing, places to 4 WD in the region. Durango & Silverton RR, Mesa Verde, etc.
I do have notes on a good number of the sites in the campground, from our last visit, 2 years ago. There are some electric sites, though they don't seem to be the prettiest. (Our theory is that they put the power line along the easiest to access path.)

http://www.recreation.gov/camping/vallecito-campground/r/campgroundDetails.do?contractCode=NRSO&parkId=79060

Grand Junction: 3-3/4 hours, Colorado Springs: 5-1/2 hrs, Denver Area: 6 hrs, Durango: 1/2 hr, ABQ: 4 hrs
[This area has the advantage of several campgrounds in the area, but this one is not on the lake itself.]
 
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