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  1. #1

    Default Illinois to Colorado

    Me and my friend are going to Colorado in late June. We have 17 days to be gone. We are planning on taking I-70 but don't really have any ideas on where to stop or how long to take to get there. We don't care about leaving Colorado to go anywhere else in that area (thinking of going to the Grand Canyon). Looking for suggestions on routes to take, places to go, things to see.. anything about the trip and the area. I'm new to the site also, soo Hello !!

    Thanks

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula
    Posts
    3,319

    Default Welcome to the RTA forums!

    We love to help road-trippers. Especially those who don't seem to have much experience on the road. However, you really haven't given us much to go on. What kinds of things do you like to do and see? Nature? Nightlife? Theme parks? Fun and quirky tourist traps? A little of all of it?

    Besides Grand Canyon, is there anyplace you've always wanted to see?

    I suggest you start out with a map and look it over to see what cities, national parks, and anything else on it jumps out at you as something that intrigues you.

    Help us help you with more info.

  3. #3

    Default More Camping Questions

    Alright, here goes...

    We love to see nature, ( I want to see Elk ) We'd like to go to mountains, places where we can hike and climb in beautiful scenery. Would like to do a little bit of stream fishing for wild trout. My friend would love all the quirky tourist spots too I'm sure. We want to do some backcountry camping and aren't entirely sure how to go about that.. (is there free places?) I've been to the Grand Canyon, Mesa Verde, and all over there area and loved it all. Been to Carlsbad Caverns and loved it but think it might be out of our way.

    We want to go whitewater rafting, maybe scale a 14,000 footer, camp outside.

    Scenic Drives also I have been looking up, and read many people here talking about I-70 into Utah being beautiful.

    Very inexperienced on road tripping in a car but up until a few years ago when I was younger I did plenty of it with my parents all over.

    We are trying to stay somewhat inexpensive, don't know if under $2500 is possible for the trip.

    We plan on a combination of camping and hotels with maybe 4 or 5 nights in hotels and the rest camping.

    Has anyone ever done any backcountry camping in the National Forest areas in Colorado? From what I gather you just need to find a side road that you can pull your car off and then you can hike into the forest and pitch a campsite almost anywhere? Is there truth to this... how did you do it?

    When camping if you are going to go on a day trip hiking away from your campsite is it common to leave all your belongings there and camp set up or would you take everything down and return it to your car or bring it with you?
    Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 05-20-2007 at 02:55 PM. Reason: "bumping" is considered rude behavior on this Forum

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula
    Posts
    3,319

    Default Colorado sounds like the place for you!

    I'll answer what I can.

    Quote Originally Posted by AlexIllinois View Post
    We love to see nature, ( I want to see Elk ) We'd like to go to mountains, places where we can hike and climb in beautiful scenery. Would like to do a little bit of stream fishing for wild trout.
    I suggest you start by googling "Colorado Tourism" and check out the suggestions there. Also order any tourism guides they have. This should get you on the right track.

    My friend would love all the quirky tourist spots too I'm sure.
    My favorite places for finding TTT (tacky tourist traps) are by using the search function (green bar above). You might start with doing a search for "Colorado" and reading through some of the threads. Also check out the Roadtrip Planning pages (top green bar above) for other trips through Colorado. And for the ultimate in TTT, you can't beat Roadside America.

    We want to do some backcountry camping and aren't entirely sure how to go about that.. (is there free places?)
    Here are Colorado's national parks. If you click on the different parks you're interested in, you'll get more specific info. If you want to camp and hike in the back-country, click on "things to do" and then the back-country section. You'll find that you'll need to get permits at most parks to do this and these sections will explain how to do it.

    Also check out the National Forest Service website and navigate to the Colorado section. Many national forest areas allow you to do what they call "disbursed camping" While hiking rules tend to be less strict than in the national parks, you'll still want to read the rules for these areas.

    Also check out the Colorado State Parks website for more helpful info.

    Scenic Drives also I have been looking up, and read many people here talking about I-70 into Utah being beautiful.
    Oh, there's many beautiful drives there. I love driving 285 along the Rockies. Use the search bar here for threads about the Million Dollar Highway. I've not done that but it's supposed to be amazing. Personally, I also love the drive into Durango. I'm sure there's more...like the drive to Pike's Peak, maybe?

    Very inexperienced on road tripping in a car but up until a few years ago when I was younger I did plenty of it with my parents all over.
    All the more reason to spend some time reading through the articles on the Roadtrip Planning page.

    We are trying to stay somewhat inexpensive, don't know if under $2500 is possible for the trip.
    Go to post #7 in this thread for some tips on how to determine how much money you'll need. The Art of the Cheap Road Trip will give you ideas on how to save money.

    Has anyone ever done any backcountry camping in the National Forest areas in Colorado? From what I gather you just need to find a side road that you can pull your car off and then you can hike into the forest and pitch a campsite almost anywhere? Is there truth to this... how did you do it?
    More to it than that. Explore the websites I gave you links to (above). And never do any back-country hiking without the appropriate maps, preferably topo maps, and a good compass.

    When camping if you are going to go on a day trip hiking away from your campsite is it common to leave all your belongings there and camp set up or would you take everything down and return it to your car or bring it with you?
    This really depends on where you are. If you're doing disbursed camping not too far from the road, then I would gather everything up. It would be too easy for someone to come across your stuff and take it. However, when hiking/backpacking, I will leave things there. I tend to trust other hikers. There are never any guarantees but I've never had anything stolen yet.

    Hope this helps.

  5. #5

    Default Colorado Itenirary

    I posted before about my trip from illinois to colorado and now we have established a little bit of an itenirary. If anyone has any suggestions for stops along the way or things to do in the areas we are, places to stay, eat, camp ...

    Day 1 - Chicago to Omaha

    Day 2 - Omaha Zoo in the morning and then driving to Colorado somewhere between Sterling and Fort Morgan.

    Day 3 - Estes Park and Rocky Mountain National Park
    Campground. Hiking, maybe fishing, try to climb a 14,000 footer

    Day 4 - Rocky Mountain National Park
    Campground or park camping

    Day 5 - Boulder
    Camp or Hotel

    Day 6 - Colorado Springs
    Camp or Hotel (opposite of previous day)

    Day 7 - Leadville, Buena Vista, and/or Salida
    National Forest Area dispersed camping

    Day 8 - Hotel in Pagosa Springs for 6 nights

    During this time we want to see Mesa Verde, a Concert in Telluride (which is far from the hotel so we might camp in the area that night) Durango to Silverton railroad. We need other stuff to fill the time or we can just relax at our hotel and hang out in town.

    Day 13 - Check out of hotel in the morning. ??? for the rest of the day.

    Day 14 - Black Canyon of the Gunnison, Grand Junction, or the White River National Forest. Camping somewhere, maybe disperesed, maybe a campground.

    Day 15 - Maybe spend a day going to Aspen for the heck of it? Is it a town thats THAT worth seeing? Otherwise not sure, probably camping in a campground or forest area again.

    Day 16 - Drive home, probably stay in a hotel or campground somewhere in nebraska.

    Day 17 - Drive home. Back to work the next day.



    Any advice or suggestions are GREATLY APRECIATED!!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    7,930

    Default You're in Good Shape

    Actually, your itinerary looks pretty well put together, with lots of time to explore some great locations and none of the impossibly long driving days that can mar such plans. So I just have a few comments and suggestions.

    From Omaha to Colorado, you're going to be following the path of the old Oregon Trail. There are many unique rock formations along there that the pioneers used as guideposts and mile markers. See how far out you can first recognize them and take the time to stop at a few. At Estes Park, be sure to visit the Stanley Hotel. Great place, great views, and it was the inspiration for Stephen King's The Shining. Rocky Mountain National Park is your best shot at seeing elk (you can hardly avoid them), but also neat is to hike to the headwaters of the Colorado River on the west side of the park. Keep in mind that that river is the lifeblood of much of the southwestern US. During your time in Pagosa Springs, take a day and drive the loop: west to Durango on US-160, north to Montrose on US-550 (the Million Dollar Highway), east to Poncha Springs on US-50 through the Black Canyon of the Gunnison, south to Monte Vista on US-285, and finally back west to Pagosa Springs on US-160 over Wolf Creek Pass.

    Have a great trip!

    AZBuck

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