Published on May 5th, 2014 | by gatsbyadmin0
Camping – Colorado – 10 must see spots!!!!
Little Molas Lake Campground, San Juan national forest
People flock to Little Molas ostensibly for its proximity to Andrews Lake, a high-altitude tarn stocked with rainbow and brook trout. But the setting itself – at over 3,300m, encircled by the often snowy, incisor-like peaks of Snowdon, Grand Turk, Engineer and Twin Sisters – is reason enough to visit. The campsite balances in the high trough between the towns of Durango and Silverton, with excellent hiking access to the Colorado Trail. There’s good rock climbing and a beautiful waterfall six miles down the south side of Molas Pass, in Cascade Canyon. Though summer can be glorious, sudden rain, hail and snow is common – even in summer – so come prepared with a solid tent and plenty of foul-weather gear.
• +1 970 387 5522, molaslake.com. Fees from $10-$30 a night
Angel of Shavano, San Isabel national forest
Wedged between two steep ridges in the upper Arkansas Valley, Angel of Shavano is surprisingly remote and little known, given its close proximity to the town of Salida. The Colorado Trail (the 486-mile single track that traverses the state) passes through camp, making for excellent, if chest-constricting biking – the campsite is situated 2,800m above sea level. The even more intrepid can hike the trails to the 4,300m summits of Mount Shavano and Mount Tabeguache. There’s fishing in the North Fork reservoir, just up the valley, but you’ll need a jeep or 4×4 to navigate the rough mountain road.
• +1 719 553 1400, campsite website. Reservations are not accepted, $17 per night. Open late May to late September
Oh Be Joyful Campground, Crested Butte
At the end of a hanging valley, Crested Butte is the quintessential Colorado mountain town, with verdant alpine meadows stretching impossibly upward to serrated peaks all around. A trail leads west from the campground into the Raggeds Wilderness, past pyramid-shaped Garfield Peak, and eventually to the 3,650m Oh Be Joyful Pass. There’s fishing north along the Slate river, icy mountain pools for a dip on hot summer days, and kayaking.
• +1 970 642 4940, blm.gov. Open June to September. FREE!
Pinyon Flats Campground, Great Sand Dunes national park
The San Luis Valley, a massive, grassy high basin to the east of the San Juan Mountains in south central Colorado, is one of the most majestic places in the entire state. At the southeast end of the valley is Great Sand Dunes National Park, home to the largest dunes in the US, though the 230m crests look diminutive beneath the jagged 4,300m peaks above. Pinyon Flats is the place to stay, with abundant hiking throughout the dunes. If you’re lucky, some enterprising local will have sand skis or a snowboard they’ll lend you to whisk down the steeps. And in May, Medano Creek overflows with melt water and creates a water park for all the family.
• +1 888 448 1474, campsite website. Reservations are accepted, $20 per night plus $10 park pass fee. Open year-round
Saddlehorn Campground, Colorado national monument
Saddlehorn is the only established campsite in the Monument, and its 80 established sites fill quickly in summer. It’s situated at the west end of the 23-mile long scenic drive, which winds through steep red-rock canyons, beneath crumbling sandstone towers, and up on to the piñon and juniper-pocked mesa for expansive views back down to Grand Junction and the valley. The six-mile hike along the Monument Canyon Trail is arguably the park’s finest, with access to the signature rock formations, but there are hundreds of miles of back-country desert hiking for the adventurous. The loop road makes a scenic road-bike ride, and there’s rock climbing in the park.
• +1 800 444 6777, campsite website. Reservations are accepted from March to October, $20 per night plus $10 park pass fee. Open year-round
Bassam Guardstation and Cabin, Buena Vista
Bassam is the place to play settler. This one-room log cabin in the rolling hills clustered at the feet of the Collegiate Peaks sits on a burbling creek in a massive stand of aspens. There is little to do but read in the hammock and contemplate the quiet. The fishing is good on public stretches of the nearby Arkansas river, and the cabin is equipped with a propane stove for frying up your catch. Otherwise, wander the surrounding game trails in search of deer, elk and wild turkey, and then huddle around the potbelly stove at night and read the history of James Frame, the ranger who looked after this place in the 1920s.
• +1 719 539 3591, fs.usda.gov. Fees $50 per night
Fowler-Hilliard Hut, Eagle
After it burned down four years ago, the 10th Mountain Division Hut Association reconstructed the Fowler-Hilliard hut (built in honour of two fallen Aspen mountaineers) in even greater glory in 2010. Perched on a hillside six miles west of Vail Pass, at 3,500m, the 16-person cabin is available on a per-person basis with shared accommodation, or as a full booking. Hundreds of miles of forest roads and trails stretch out in the surrounding high country, with hikes up nearby Ptarmigan Hill and Battle Mountain, and mountain bike access to the singletrack Colorado Trail.
• +1 970 925 5775, campsite website. $33 pppn. Open 1 July–30 April, with ski access in winter
Dunton Hot Springs, Dolores
This quaint resort, in the broad valley at the tail of the San Juan mountain range, is an old west ghost town lovingly renovated with full modern amenities. At 2,600m, the cabins – a mix of originals and others collected from around southern Colorado – huddle along a private stretch of the Dolores river, which offers some of the best fly fishing in the state. A web of hiking and mountain biking trails spider-web from the meadowed property, which has a renovated historic hot-spring bath house and a saloon and dancehall serving locally sourced meat and veggies, and wines from the renowned Sutcliffe Vineyards in neighbouring McElmo Canyon.
• +1 970 882 4800, campsite website. Double cabins from $550 a night. Open year round
4 UR Ranch, Creede
Nestled away from the major thoroughfares and tourist towns of the south-west, 4UR is a classic western retreat for anglers. There are daily trail rides through grassy pastures, hot springs for working out the kinks, and plenty of time for relaxing in the rockers on the porch. Many come to fish the six miles of private ponds and tailwater of Goose Creek, which are stuffed with strapping trout. Accommodation is in simple cabins, which lasso out from the central wood-beam lodge. It’s all rustic chic, with bighorn sheep heads on the walls, saloon-style seating at the bar, and seared bison steak and fish fried by the ranch’s Cordon Bleu-trained chef.
• +1 719 658 2202, campsite website. Three-night packages from $1,125pp full board on a double occupancy basis. Open June-September
Vista Verde, Steamboat Springs
If you’re an equestrian looking to brush up on your herding skills, or you’re interested in dude ranches, Vista Verde – tucked among the pines on the rolling hills north-east of Steamboat Springs, near the Wyoming border – is a ranch offering an endless network of high-altitude (2,050m) trail riding, cattle drives by day, and square dancing in the barn after dark. And for those disinclined to horses, guides will take you hiking, biking and kayaking in the surrounding Routt national forest. There’s a staggering glass and wood lodge with wood-fired ambience and well-appointed rooms, as well as luxurious cabins. Lift-serve biking, skiing and fine dining, such as the exquisite modern Bistro CV, is 25 miles away down the dirt road.
• +1 970 879 3858, campsite website. Open year-round, $2,450 per week, including all meals and most activities