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Old 11-21-2019, 03:34 PM   #1
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Colorado with family this summer

I don’t want to steal someone else’s thread.
I am taking the family to Colorado this summer.
I am debating on RMNP. Although we will be taking the camper, we do plan on backpack camping a few days in the mountains.
I worry RMNP will be crazy busy. Not sure we need RMNP for the mountain experience. Or, are their must see things there?
If not RMNP, any suggestions for sightseeing, camping, backpacking, must see things. From a previous visit I made solo many many years ago, I initially was thinking of stops like Garden of the gods, some cliff dwellings, maybe Pikes Peak. Even taking a day to drive Gold Camp Rd. I think that’s what it is called. IDK. I am open to anything.

We’ve been to Yellowstone a few times, Glacier, Tetons, spent several days in the Beartooth, etc... We don’t mind doing touristy stuff, but like getting off the beaten path too, especially places like Yellowstone. It’s amazing how quickly you can have an area all to yourself with a short hike.
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Old 11-21-2019, 03:55 PM   #2
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Rocky Mountain, is indeed, extremely busy. However, if backpacking they only allow a certain number to each campsite & you need reservations so off the highway, it won't be crowded. You could also stay on the west side of the park to avoid the touristy Estes Park area.

Lots to to around the Durango/Ouray/Silverton/Gunnison areas for a change in scenery.

How about the Sawtooth area of Idaho around Stanley? Gorgeous hikes.
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Old 11-21-2019, 04:11 PM   #3
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Thanks for the info.

Idaho is definitely in the plans for a future trip. Maybe 2021.

Colorado 2020 has been in the plans for 2 years. Although, for entirely different reasons and plans that fell through.
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Old 11-21-2019, 04:35 PM   #4
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Ditto on camping on the west side. Estes Park is totally touristified and traffic is heavy.


Colorado is solid with mountains from RMNP to Durango. There are lots of places to camp in there. More if you can do no hook up camping. Get a copy of https://www.amazon.com/Guide-Colorad...=books&sr=1-14


Colorado Trails which has a guide for a lot of backcountry roads from passenger car drivable to hard core 4WD trails. You can find some great drives that will get you right in with the mountains.
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Old 11-21-2019, 10:01 PM   #5
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There's lots more in Colorado to see away from the front range. Lots of great camping in the Buena Vista/Leadville area. Endless hiking possibilities, numerous 14ers, relatively short drive to the glitz of Aspen or Vail - and all way less crowded than the front range areas.
Other nice areas include Lake City, Ouray & Telluride.
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Old 11-22-2019, 06:30 AM   #6
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For the Colorado Springs area (Pikes Peak, Garden of the Gods, AF Academy, Manitou Springs, etc.) check out Cheyenne Mountain State Park. Great views, good facilities. Stayed there in early October and was very pleased. Reservations suggested, it did get full, even that late in the season.
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Old 11-22-2019, 07:19 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 8ptspike View Post
..........
I am taking the family to Colorado this summer.

Great choice - Colorado is Filled with not only Beautiful places But Beautiful Wild Places if you know where to Look/Go.

I am debating on RMNP.

Summer and RMNP is BUSY?CROWDED - but a lot of Colorado is Crowded especially on the Weekends, so, maybe you could give us a time line for the Days in Colorado?

Although we will be taking the camper, we do plan on backpack camping a few days in the mountains.

Great Idea - I'll suggest maybe - the Collegiates outside Buena Vista or the San Juan's with Ouray/Silverton/Telluride/Lake City

I worry RMNP will be crazy busy.

Correct! But IMHO you would enjoy at least a drive through to see what it is everyone Loves about RMNP - But unless you are there early and use your time wisely you will be surrounded by many New Friends seeing the Park for the First time.

Not sure we need RMNP for the mountain experience.

Correct again! - BUT - might just make that Drive, I mean you drove all this way might just see it.

Or, are their must see things there?

Oh Yes - more than you can do in a Lifetime.

If not RMNP, any suggestions for sightseeing, camping, backpacking, must see things.

As I've mentioned RMNP is still Amazing and will be worth the Drive - shoot just the drive on RT 34 and RT 36 are Beautiful the drive over Trail Ridge is Special - Grand Lake is a really neat little town............on and on.

From a previous visit I made solo many many years ago, I initially was thinking of stops like Garden of the gods, some cliff dwellings, maybe Pikes Peak. Even taking a day to drive Gold Camp Rd. I think that’s what it is called. IDK. I am open to anything.

You have listed the "Touristy things" and You have talked about the Real Colorado and the Rockies that many of us Love - think you should avoid "Touristy" and go fo Beautiful.

We’ve been to Yellowstone a few times, Glacier, Tetons, spent several days in the Beartooth, etc...

We don’t mind doing touristy stuff, but like getting off the beaten path too, especially places like Yellowstone.

The problem with the touristy stuff are the Crowds - if you want to just find the Wild and Beautiful Colorado you might enjoy this road trip. Post #9 http://www.irv2.com/forums/f42/weste...lp-368172.html

It’s amazing how quickly you can have an area all to yourself with a short hike.

100 yards can separate you from the masses if you take the right Path
A few post that might help - with many links that will get you to those special places.

http://www.irv2.com/forums/f38/color...ip-450022.html

http://www.irv2.com/forums/f38/what-...-343619-2.html

https://2fanrgs.blogspot.com/2017/07...anon-city.html

http://www.irv2.com/forums/f278/trav...ce-459418.html

http://www.irv2.com/forums/f38/3-wee...ly-372873.html

Think you might be on overload with all this - like I said you can spend Years and never see but a Little - so much to See and Never enough TIME!

Best of Luck hope this helps,
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Old 11-22-2019, 08:49 AM   #8
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Hello 8,
I recently moved out of Colorado after being a resident there for 6 years so let me offer a few suggestions.
1 - Yes -- the RMNP is totally nuts during the summer months -- however the most satisfying thing to do there is simply load the family into the car and drive through the park on Trailridge Road , stop at the top where there is a great gift shop and of course take awesome photos. Trailridge Road runs the entire width of the park , the views are stunning and the most worthwhile thing to do there. Hopefully you will see herds of Elk , mountain sheep and of course Marmot -- a wild kingdom for sure.
2 -- Hike Wild Basin Trail in the RMNP -- you will see waterfall after waterfall as you go up ( real waterfalls !! ) and it is simply the grandest hike in the entire park. Go early as parking is a huge problem......:(
3 - The town of Estes Park near the entrance to RMNP is totally a tourist trap filled with the usual tourist junk stores so didn't waste time there other than visiting the Stanley Hotel where the movie "The Shining" was filmed.
4 - Visit the ski resort towns -- by far my favorite is Breckenridge. Summers in Breckenridge are very worthwhile , great hiking, bicycle riding , higher quality tourist town than the rest. Ride the Gondola to the top of the mountain --- its free and the kids will like that plus once you get to the top the hotel has a huge outdoor activity area for visitors complete with a luge that the kids will love , a small manmade snow hill for kids to experience snow skiing and snow boarding ( yup -- snow skiing wearing shorts and T shirts!!).
5 - If you have the time and don't mind driving 4 hours west of Denver I highly recommend visiting the " Western Slope" of Colorado near Palisades and Grand Junction where you will visit countless fruit orchards and wineries. Did you know Colorado grows over 27 varieties of PEACHES ????? Right after you drive out of Denver on I70 ( very busy and the ONLY highway going west through the mountains) you should plan on stopping at the first town called Idaho Springs and take the kids white water rafting -- an absolute blast to do in the summer. During the summer the rapids and river calm down so its not as terrifying as it is in the Spring during the snow melt !!!!
6 - You must go to Colorado Springs ( 1 hour south of Denver on I-25) and visit Pikes Peak. Drive your car to the top and stand there at 14, 200 feet and see 3 states !!. Go inside the gift shop , get a bite to eat and a cup of coffee because you will be chilly. I've ridden my motorcycle to the top and it is the most scenic drive you will ever take. Unfortunately the old Cog Railroad no longer operates -- that is greatly missed by even the residents.
7 - While in Colorado Springs do visit the Garden of the Gods -- simply walk through the park and see some of the most amazing rock formations in the world.
8 - As a former resident of Denver I throughly enjoyed taking visitors to the most unique restaurant in all of America - visit the Buckhorn Exchange Restaurant. What makes this restaurant so unique is that ALL of the food is wild animal meat -- elk , moose, buffalo . My favorite appetizer was their Rattlesnake Dip , simply delicious. Additionally , every square inch of wall from the ceiling to the floor is covered with guns and stuffed animals - its too hard to describe but when you enter your first thought is " WOW".After dinner go upstairs to the 2nd floor of the restaurant and have a drink at the bar --on the wall is "Colorado Liquor License #1" first bar in the state to be issued a liquor license. This is the bar that Buffalo Bill Cody would stop by and have a whiskey on the way home after spending the day shooting bad guys as sheriff - Stop at the Buffalo Bill Cody museum along I70 on the way to Idaho Springs and Breckenridge.

I could go on and on about Colorado -- simply the most awesome state I have ever lived in and I miss it very much. Summer in Colorado is amazing . The natives have a saying about Colorado " You come for the winter but stay for the summer" . I hope you have a great trip and if you have any other questions please don't hesitate to reach out to me.
Regards,
Steve
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Old 11-22-2019, 01:20 PM   #9
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Thank you, thank you for the input.
I’m planning an August trip. Duration? Who knows. Around 2 weeks. I will do the drive out and back non-stop. We’ve done that many times to our western destinations. We all love the west, contemplating just moving there.

Any thoughts on Gunnison area? Powderhorn area?

Looked at Telluride last night.

The folks here are awesome
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Old 11-22-2019, 01:25 PM   #10
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If you want a mostly overlooked scenic area, near there try southern WY including the Medicine Bow National Forest between Laramie and Saratoga, also the National Forest area south of Riverside WY. There is a back country mostly dirt forest service road with camping pullouts going south just west of riverside that goes all the way through to Steamboat Lake State park in CO where I have always wanted to RV camp. I drove it in a rental minivan a couple of years ago, it was slow going due to washboard surface, but very nice area and away from everything.
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Old 11-22-2019, 08:57 PM   #11
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For those who are not aware - Pikes Peak has construction on the summit as a new summit house is being built. It may not be possible to drive to the summit. You may have to take a shuttle. The new summit house is scheduled to be finished in 2021. Also the cog railway is being rebuilt and should be open again in 2021.
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Old 11-27-2019, 11:41 AM   #12
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We spent July on 2019 and August of 2019 visiting Colorado. Loved it, but did not visit the Denver area. We entered CO via Moab and quickly dropped south. Then went east to Colorado Springs. After a 1 week short trip in Kansas we re-entered CO via Pueblo. From there we went West on 160 to Cortez.


We found: (in no particular order) Grand Junction a little expensive, Pueblo VERY hot, the Durango train ride fantastic, Cortez pretty cool, Box Canyon Park in Ouray a hidden gem, the Monarch Crest tram ride very enjoyable, the Valley Sunset RV Ranch in Delta had the rudest managers, North Pole Colorado Santa’s Workshop (outside Pikes Peak) was fun, the gondola ride in Telluride was interesting, and all the art murals in the town of Delta are worth seeing!! Just to name a few places.

July 2019
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Old 11-27-2019, 12:00 PM   #13
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We go to Colorado virtually every year. We've been in Spring, Summer and Fall (Winter too but not with the RV). We've done RMNP and Estes Park, but as you worry it was not very enjoyable due to the summer crowds and traffic.

Two or three times we've been to Grand Lake, CO. Which is kind of half-way between RMNP and Winter Park. As a base of operations it gave us day trips to Estes Park and access to mountains, hiking and all manor of things Colorado excels in.

Other great spots to consider that are not on all the tourist maps are Creede, CO and Durango/Cortez. We've gone back to Durango once or twice a year for 10 years now and are still not tired of that area.

Colorado is always a good idea.
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Old 11-27-2019, 02:39 PM   #14
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Silverton is a 4x4 high destination. If you don't have one you can rent on or take a Jeep tour. You won't regret it.
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