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Old 01-21-2015, 07:03 PM   #1
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Thinking about Colorado...Any personal experiences to guide me?

Usually I'm perfectly happy resting in the Appalachian mountains, my local national forest, or headed to specific events usually with my telescope.

But for some reason I simply can't get Colorado out of my mind. I've not done any planning or research beyond how many miles here to there (1500 each way) because the way it's stuck in my mind if I start planning too much I'll do the damn the torpedoes bit and just do it.

But, at the risk of said torpedoes, I'd like a bit of personal experience.

I live in Georgia, so I'll be on the east side of the Rockies. Looking at Google there are the cities of Denver,Fort Collins, Loveland, Colorado Springs and Pueblo popping up, and I'm sure there's many more along the way.

Here's what I'm thinking, I don't have a desire to see Denver, per se. I want to be at the foot of the Rockies, at a state park type of CG, the city doesn't really matter to me, at least, not yet. I'm interested in seeing the beauty of the Rockies. I would be going in the fall, I'd love to time it when there's color in the trees.

Unfortunately, it will take two days each way, at very best. Realistically, three days. What I would do it hobo it on the way out, drive till I'm tired, hit a Walmart or similar, up early and go. I'm good in the car for 800+ mile days (I travel for a living) so I'm conditioned, but reality is I will quite possibly pull 700 the first day, 500 the next, 200 the final. Maybe more.

My vacation time and my job will allow me to leave on a Friday, take two weeks off and return by Sunday. Thus, I would have about a week and a half to explore the area.

So, here's what I'd like to know. What areas are best, in your opinion and why. If you know of particular campgrounds that would give great views and decent access into the mountains, etc.

Or if you know of a particularly good plan your Rockies trip guide that would be great as well.

Thanks for your help! Lord help me, but I'm getting excited about this trip and I've barely put pen to paper, as it were!
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Old 01-21-2015, 07:14 PM   #2
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We use Chatfield State Park in Littleton two weeks in summer, then another park for two more weeks.
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Old 01-21-2015, 07:27 PM   #3
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We go to Estes Park for 4 to 6 weeks every year. Estes is a neat little town with plenty of town like stuff: shopping, dining, events, etc. It is right next to Rocky Mountain National Park with more elk than you can count, great hiking trails as easy or as difficult as you want, some of the most beautiful scenery imaginable and plenty to see and do. The down side is it can get a bit busy in the summer, when school is out, but it never bothers us. It's only about 30 miles straight west of Loveland so easy access. We usually stay at Elk Meadows RV Park which is not spectacular but has good views of the mountains. The park has several campgrounds but no full hook ups that I know about. The downside to the private campgrounds is they are all little pricey.
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Old 01-21-2015, 07:33 PM   #4
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Points to "radiate" from:
Canon City
Woodland Park
Just google them. Much beauty to explore!
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Old 01-21-2015, 08:12 PM   #5
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In September 2013 we stayed several nights at Boyd Lakes State Park in Loveland. Water and electric but no sewer, just a dump station. We were in a 29' trailer and had plenty of room on our site. A great location for day trips to Estes Park, across the divide and other places north of Denver. If you like to a ride bike, Loveland has great bike trails.
Here are some pictures to help light the fuse on the torpedos... Maybe you can outrun them.
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Old 01-21-2015, 08:45 PM   #6
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Rather than concentrating on those bigger towns, move inland a little to really experience the Rockies. Estes Park at the gateway to Rocky Mtn. Nat'l Park would be good. Buena Vista and Leadville would be another place to explore in all directions.

With your limited time and long driving distance you probably won't want to go further west than that.

Have fun planning!
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Old 01-21-2015, 08:57 PM   #7
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Old 01-22-2015, 06:54 AM   #8
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I cannot recommend Rocky Mountain National Park enough. We prefer camping in the park at Glacier Basin, but it is dry camping. Estes Park isn't that far away if you need hookups. The park is full of the classic Rocky Mountains experience and views. Take Fall Creek Road (unpaved, no trailers) and then Trail Ridge Road back to the valley. September is a good time, but you can get snow any time in September, though the possibility increases through the month. It generally doesn't stay around too much at that time of year though.

After RMNP head south to Woodland Park area west of Denver. Or you can head north to the Poudre River area, my preference. Save the southern part of Colorado for another trip.
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Old 01-22-2015, 07:21 AM   #9
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X2 on Estes park. Also, assuming you have never been out west, the trip itself can be interesting. Driving from the east, through the midwest, into the areas where the trees diminish and the plains begin, can be entertaining as you do this for the first time.

Originally Posted by twogypsies View Post
Rather than concentrating on those bigger towns, move inland a little to really experience the Rockies. Estes Park at the gateway to Rocky Mtn. Nat'l Park would be good. Buena Vista and Leadville would be another place to explore in all directions.

With your limited time and long driving distance you probably won't want to go further west than that.

Have fun planning!
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Old 01-22-2015, 09:04 AM   #10
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When we have stayed near RMNP we have stayed at a campground on the southern end, just outside the park entrance, called Winding River Campground. Easy access to the park with minimal traffic and easy access to Grand Lake and the stores and restaurants there. If you have time, Durango is a wonderful location to view and drive the Million Dollar Hwy, ride the Durango-Silverton RR, visit Mesa Verde NP, etc.
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Old 01-22-2015, 09:14 AM   #11
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Have gown up in CO .... IMO the most beautiful parts is on the west side of the divide ... tho hard to pick as there is so much to do and see on both sides .... but if you're looking for fall colors and extreme beauty, small towns and lots to explore, look into the Durango area ..... its amazing in the fall ...
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Old 01-22-2015, 09:23 AM   #12
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Have to agree - the best part of Colorado is west of the Continental Divide. Love the Durango area, with Mesa Verde a prime draw. I've lived all over CO, and, as the Doors said, "The West is the Best". Creede, CO has lots of history and there are several RV parks there. Lake City is another beautiful spot. If big cities don't interest you, follow Horace Greeley's advice: "Go West young man".
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Old 01-22-2015, 09:32 AM   #13
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Durango is a beautiful area. With a towed you can get up to Silverton, Ouray, Telluride and go the long loop along the Dolores River to Cortez & Dolores. Mesa Verde is a great day trip to the cave dwellings.
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Old 01-22-2015, 10:11 AM   #14
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You also need to drive up Mt. Evans, a 14, 000 ft. mountain near Denver. Ouray is in a beautiful area and it is a pretty little town, but Steamboat Springs has it beat, in my opinion. We volunteered a summer at Steamboat Lake State Park and are going back there this summer and we lived in the Denver area for 10 years.

There are web sites that give aspen reports, the times when most of the aspen are changed and have not started to shed the leaves. The area around Cripple Creek is known for the fall colors, but there are many places in the state that are gorgeous, included the road to Mt Evans. There are Just too many "have to see" locations to see in two weeks.
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