Smitty77_7

May/June South half of Colorado tips

36 posts in this topic

We'll be spending two-three months in Colorado in 2017. We have two weeks at Cheyenne Mountain State Park (Colorado Springs area) and ten days in Cherry Creek State Park just South of Denver. This gets us thru the month of May.

 

We have previously spent many months North of I70, Estes Park, Rocky Mountain National Park, Etc.

 

So we're looking for tips on places to visit for 6-7 weeks to the South of I70. So far, the DW has picked out Durango as an area to visit. But after that, looking for input on:

 

-National Parks and or Forests

-State Parks

-Private Parks

 

We're in a 40' RV, and do not mind mixing up between say National Park/Forrest Boon Docking, or electric only. And we're open to independent RV parks too. We usually do not get too far off paved paths, but good graded dirt roads of a few miles to access a location, would be just fine.

 

(And yes, I will continue using searches with key world Colorado, as I find that is a great way to get a few years of history on an area...)

 

TIA for any tips:)! And best to all,

Smitty

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Silverton (north of Durango) and the Million Dollar Highway are recommended...but with your toad. I don't recommend doing that road in a 40ft Class A, or with any big trailer. Durango to Silverton via the narrow-gauge is pretty awesome but I believe you have to book tickets well in advance.

 

Ouray, Ridgeway and the hot springs are awesome. Telluride and the surrounding mountains is one of my favorite places in SW Colorado.

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Silverton (north of Durango) and the Million Dollar Highway are recommended...but with your toad. I don't recommend doing that road in a 40ft Class A, or with any big trailer. Durango to Silverton via the narrow-gauge is pretty awesome but I believe you have to book tickets well in advance.

 

Ouray, Ridgeway and the hot springs are awesome. Telluride and the surrounding mountains is one of my favorite places in SW Colorado.

If you don't take the house over the Million Dollar Highway, how do you get to Ridgeway when coming from the south?

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If you don't take the house over the Million Dollar Highway, how do you get to Ridgeway when coming from the south?

 

I would go via Cortez and up 145 personally. Each to their own, and everyone's risk assessment is different but I just wouldn't do it whereas others would...and have.

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We have these on the list, as they all seem very cool (Well, especially right now:)! Perhaps a bit warmer in June...).

 

Keep them coming please!

 

Best to all,

Smitty

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Mesa Verde is worth a few days; Canyons of the Ancients is out in the middle of nowhere, but a really cool place and well worth the drive; Anasazi Heritage Center Museum is really cool, you could spend a whole day here. All of these are close to Cortez, CO. We stayed at Sundance RV this summer, nice park right in town.

 

Don't bother with San Luis State Park! Same cost as Cherry Creek, electric only, no amenities and a seriously ugly place with really bad access roads and no staff on duty. We spent one night of our three night reservation and hit the road. We had a reserved specific site and when we got there (after dark in the rain!) the site had a tent on it with a newly issued permit for that date on the post! Fortunately hardly anyone there so we just took another site.

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Definitely Pagosa Springs. There are very clean concrete small pool of varying temperatures. Bring a small cooler for drinks and snacks or you can purchase there. We spend a whole morning soaking when in the area. It's sure to relax you. The pools overlook the river and you can watch kayakers come down the rapids.

 

We've driven the Million Dollar Hwy (550) many times in both directions. We love it but it's not for everyone. The alternative 145 is also a very nice drive.

 

Mesa Verde Nat'l Park has a campground and about 10 hookup sites which need reserving. They're popular. Take a ranger-led tour into the ruins.

 

You can't go wrong with any area of SW Colorado. It's one of our favorite places and we've spent all summer there often. Silverton is a premier Jeeping area. To be there the July 4 weekend is a real treat - fun parade and awesome fireworks. Rent a Jeep if you don't have one.

 

Hwy 50 from Montrose to the east is a nice drive. Drive up to Crested Butte in your toad. No camping right in Crested Butte but many national forest campgrounds in all directions.

 

Sourth Fork, Creede and Lake City are are very small towns but fun to explore. Hwy 24 to Buena Vista/Leadville is nice.

 

You need a lot more time!!! Enjoy.

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Mesa Verde is worth a few days; Canyons of the Ancients is out in the middle of nowhere, but a really cool place and well worth the drive; Anasazi Heritage Center Museum is really cool, you could spend a whole day here. All of these are close to Cortez, CO. We stayed at Sundance RV this summer, nice park right in town.

 

Don't bother with San Luis State Park! Same cost as Cherry Creek, electric only, no amenities and a seriously ugly place with really bad access roads and no staff on duty. We spent one night of our three night reservation and hit the road. We had a reserved specific site and when we got there (after dark in the rain!) the site had a tent on it with a newly issued permit for that date on the post! Fortunately hardly anyone there so we just took another site.

 

At Sundance RV Park, you can look out the door and see Mesa Verde. I always laugh at the sign that says 10 miles to Mesa Verde. That's to where you get off of Hwy 160. After that, it's ~30 miles to get any where in the park on very curvy roads.

 

Canyon Lands of the Ancients is right on County RD G. I like to hike/mountain bike Sand Canyon. When you go into Utah on County RD G, the headquarters for the Canyon Lands of the Ancients is nearby.

 

Cortez is centrally located for day trips to Telluride, Durango and Silverton/Ouray.

 

The Anasazi Heritage Center is just outside of Dolores. If you go there, The Dolores Food Market has very good meat. And a lot of stuff you wont find at Wally World.

 

We stayed at Sundance for several summers while full timing. There is a huge city park across the street. Very good for a walk.

 

Newt

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In my post above I noted Canyons of the Ancients. I actually meant Hovenweep. The road to Canyon of the Ancients was terrible washboard, too much of a beating for either the truck or the smart!

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There is more than one road in/around the Canyon Lands of the Ancients, some paved, some gravel some, get a jeep.

 

Newt

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I would go via Cortez and up 145 personally. Each Onto their own, and everyone's risk assessment is different but I just wouldn't do it whereas others would...and have.

On my google earth it looks like 145 doesn't connect to million dollar drive?

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On my google earth it looks like 145 doesn't connect to million dollar drive?

You'd take 145 north to 62 at Placerville to Ridgway at 550 (Million Dollar Hwy) then south on 550 through Ouray, Silverton to Durango. It's a beautiful drive.

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There is more than one road in/around the Canyon Lands of the Ancients, some paved, some gravel some, get a jeep.

 

Newt

 

 

Have a Wrangler now! But when we were there in July only the Volvo and the smart were with us.

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Alamosa, Antonito. Jump on the narrow gauge train down to Chama. Fantastic trip. Great scenery. Don't forget the Great Sand Dune NP.

Then over to La Veta there is a very nice small park, (Elk Valley RV park). From La Veta there are some brilliant drives up into and around Spanish Peaks.

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In 2009 we toured Colorado for about 3 months in our 40' diesel pusher and kept a blog of the trip.

 

There is the section of the blog from Grand Junction to Denver from August 18 to October 1st.

 

This is the first entry where we go from Grand Junction to Silverton.

 

When you reach the bottom of the blog entry, click on "newer post" to continue.

 

Or you can go to the last blog entry of our Colorado trip and work your way through older posts until you get to Grand Junction.

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Blue Spruce RV Resort north of Bayfield, CO is a beautiful park. They will rent for one week at a time only.

The parks in and close to Durango are rather expensive. We stay at Sundance in Cortez each year on our loop thru southern CO to Chama, NM.

Parking in Alamosa is limited.

Magote, CO has 3 rv parks. Chama, NM has 3 rv parks.

 

ShortyO

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My $0.02, if coming from the Springs stop by Alamosa and see the Sand Dunes (really quite spectacular). Spend some time in Durango, you will be glad you did. A great town with so many activities within a couple hours drive. Mesa Verde should not be missed when in the area. Silverton is good for a day stop depending on what you like. Ouray has an RV park right in town with a walking bridge directly to the hot springs (one of the nicest we have been to). From Ouray I would go to Telluride and then backtrack a bit to Crested Butte. There is no camping in town but there are options close by. Crested Butte is my 'heaven on earth' place. Late Spring/early summer in the mountains...hard to beat it! Have fun.

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We did the "Million Dollar Highway" in a 36' gas rig pulling a toad and had no problems. Didn't even know it was called that until some friends told us afterwards! We wouldn't have missed it for anything.

Pagosa Springs is really nice. Grand Junction is a gem, please visit the National Monument there and the Auto Museum, if you're an ELK you can camp at the lodge right on Main Street.

http://banbrv.blogspot.com/2015/09/durango.html

Durango and Silverton are tourist central and Durango can be a tough place for parking in high season. We stumbled on the Bayfield RV Park in Bayfield about 20 miles from Durango and it is absolutely THE best commercial park we've been in. Good Sam discounts are available there too, say Hi to Al the Alpaca for us!

BnB

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Gunnison is a nice friendly town.There are 4 Rv parks close to town.12 miles west of Gunnison there is also camping Elk Creek CG is a nice National Forest service campground that have sites with 50 amps & water and good views of Blue Mesa Res.The fishing can be good for Kokanee salmon and trout.Several good guides can put you on the salmon.

Gunnison is also a short drive to Lake City,Crested Butte,Taylor Park Res,Black Canyon NP and Montrose.

Enjoy your trip to Colorado it's a beautiful state we love our summers in Gunnison this will be our 4th summer can't wait to get back,really enjoy fishing Blue Mesa.

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Thanks again for all of the suggestions:)!

 

We have the first month pretty well planned out (Cheyenne Mountain State Park (A repeat visit, as it is great!), then a shift to Cherry Creek State park, just South of the Denver area. These two parks cover us for the month, and gets us thru Memorial Day weekend. (We will have to change sites midway thru at Cherry Creek, but that is OK!). The only bad thing that happened, is the DW checked the concerts at Red Rocks while we're going to be ash Cherry Creek - and now she has a combination Birthday/Anniversary gift in one - as she bought tickets to see Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers! (I do get to go, but geez - at those prices, I could have bought every Album in both CD and LP they ever released - and had enough left over for a few good bottles of wine too:)!) But, Happy Wife = Happy Life!)

 

We're still looking over the suggestions, and mapping out our next 6-8 weeks down in the Southwest area of Colorado. As mentioned, sure lots to do and see. So we'll be hitting a few areas heavy, and then quickly scout out others in day drives with the toad, for return trips.

 

Really appreciate the info sharing, best to all,

Smitty

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We host a forest service campground on Vallecito lake 15mi N. of Bayfield. There are 4 campgrounds on the E side of the lake. No hookups but cheaper than parks.

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