I'm starting to plan for my summer 2005 trip. There will be 3 of us, all guys in our mid 20s. We are all experienced roadtrippers, who tend to see the world through the car window. We might stop and take a few pictures along the way, but then its back in the car. We're also big baseball fans, and plan to see a few ballparks along the way. We will be traveling in A 4 wheel drive vehicle, either a subaru outback or a mazda tribute, and we will be tent camping most every night at state or national parks.
Right now we're planning on leaving the weekend after July 4th, stopping in KC to see a Royals game Friday night, in Denver for a Rockies game on Sunday Afternoon, and then back through St. Louis the following Saturday for a game on the way home.
I'm looking for any suggestions on places or things to see between Sunday and Saturday. We mostly want to stay in Colorado, and will probably start heading back east on Thursday. Right now, I'm thinking stops at Rocky Mtn NP, maybe out to Arches in Utah, and then back through Black Canyon.
Any suggestions or ideas that anyone has would be appriciated, as always.
A few quick suggestions of mine:
US-40 through Steamboat Springs to Dinosaur NM
Bryce Canyon NP
Rocky Mountain NP, Black Canyon of the Gunnison, yes; but I also LOVED the drive between Durango & Ouray on the "million dollar highway" (#550). The Telluride / Silverton / Ouray area is great for scenery.
The full day jeep tour out of Ouray with Switzerland of America (soa) "Black Bear/Imogene Pass" was spectacular. Note: some do attempt it on their own - but the tour company 4x4's had to stop a few times to get out and push / help the tourists 4x4's who were stuck / about to fall over a cliff, etc. It backed up the trail incredibly!
Favorite Roads in Colorado
Most of my knowledge about Colorado concerns the San Juan Mtns in the SW part of the state -- which is my favorite area. Two of my favorite roads in that area are SR149 between South Fork and US50, and the back road between Cimmarron and Ridgeway. Along SR149, you'll find Lake City -- the location where Alferd Packer had his companions for dinner! There is a marker there to commemorate his feast. This highway is high and spectacular -- two passes -- some of the prettiest country anywhere.
Same can be said for the back road between Cimmarron and Ridgeway -- it is graded/gravel but can be driven by almost any vehicle. It climbs from the Reservoir (lower semi-arid country) up over a pass and down into Ridgeway -- the movie True Grit was filmed back in there and you can still spot some of the locations. There's also a nice lake along that road and a campground -- would be a pretty place to camp if it falls at that time of day for you. If I remember correctly it was called Silver Jack Lake (I could be wrong). This road was about 50 miles or so, I think, and will take you a few hours to drive.
If you drive over Wolf Creek Pass on US160, be sure to drive up to the top of the mountain to Lobo Overlook -- incredible view up there in all directions. The turn-off is from the highway EAST of the pass parking lot and (pass)marker, on the NORTH side of the road. It's only 3 or 4 miles or so to the top, and the road is good. Bob
Colorado has to be my favorite state (for hiking) that I visited while traveling last spring/summer. My favorites were Rocky Mountain NP, Great Sand Dunes NP (I think it's a NP now), and Mesa Verde NP. There was alot of snow even below 10k ft in the Rockies when I was there in May. I ended up snow-shoeing up to Mummy Mtn. I also experienced the marmot menace... :)
Black Canyon of The Gunnison was nice, but definetly not on my top 10 list.
Cutting inland to the Royal Gorge bridge kinda between Denver and GSD NP was cool. I would definetly have scheduled a rafting trip through it had I known they existed. Something you guys might want to think about. I think it's like $20/person or something.
Only other state I think that can compare with Colorado is California.
Just MHO though.
I agree, I agree, I agree! Worked six months in St. George, UT and spent most of my days off in Zion. When I made a trip to Bryce, there was three feet of snow on the ground, so it was difficult to get around enough to comment.
Originally Posted by Boston Wrangler
Thanks for the tips!
Loved all the ideas, Thanks
I'm now thinking we might have to head south down to Mesa Verde, via Million Dollar Highway and the backroad that Bob mentioned. Sand Dunes is an area I hadn't even thought of before, and now I'm going to do a little research on it.
Zion and SW Utah is a great area, but with only 3 or 4 days, I don't think we'll have enough time to drive out there and still enjoy all the things that we can see in Colorado.
Of course, we probably won't make any decisions until we are actually on the road, but I'll let you know what we end up doing, when we end up doing it this July.
If you can fit it in, GREAT SAND DUNES NATIONAL PARK is pretty neat too.
My trip is now just a week away and I thought I'd check in for some last minute advice.
Our plan is still to be in KC on Friday the 8th, then on to Denver by Sunday afternoon, giving us a few days to enjoy Colorado before getting back for a Cardinal game in St. Louis on Friday night the 15th.
Does anyone have good ideas for places to camp around those cities?
We still haven't laid down any exact plans, but now I'm kind of thinking of going from Denver to Rocky Mtn. Park, southwest through a variety of roads, perhaps over to Durango/Million Dollar Highway or one of the other roads Bob suggested, and then back through Sand Dunes as we head east again.
If anyone has a good spot for dispersed car camping, I'd like to hear about it. I would be nice to have at least one night where we can sit around a fire, play the guitar, and drink beer without bothering anyone. Speaking of which, are there any fire restrictions in effect right now that I should know about?
Also, has anyone gone to Sand Dunes and driven up Medino Pass Road? If so how challenging is it and how high of clearance do you need? I'd like to drive it, but I'm not sure my vehicle will be able to handle it. We'll be in a Mazda Tribute 4x4 but it doesn't have a low range option and (despite the commercials which would indicate otherwise) its not really ment for serious off road driving.
Last edited by Midwest Michael; 07-25-2008 at 10:58 AM.
I have also camped on the mountain south of Pagosa Springs -- if you take the highway south from town toward New Mexico (10-20 miles or so), you can take a gravel forest road off to the right from that as it goes over the mountain -- and you'll drive along the ridge back to the west. I've parked in the woods up there for an overnight or two in the past. There's a fire tower up there that's probably manned this time of year -- seems to me I threw my sleeping bag down on the ground at the base of it -- there was no one there at the time. Hope you guys have a great time! Bob