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Old 04-18-2009, 06:22 PM   #1
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Exploring Colorado

COLORADO...................Late July

Three weeks to tour Colorado, We would like to move around a bit but also stay in places for a couple days at a time. Just looking for a little wheeling, fishing, biking, hiking, and relaxing.

Any information, suggestions, trip reports and past experiences would be GREATLY appreciated.

We have never camped or wheeled in Colorado so rules and regs for camping is serious interest.

Thanks all for any input.

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Old 04-18-2009, 09:05 PM   #2
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Re: Exploring Colorado

I have never lived in CO, but have visited.

Rocky Mountain National Park is a beautiful place to see, and there is a lot of it. We have not done it in the SMB yet, so my experience is in a smaller 4WD vehicle.

There are some nice out of the way spots between Aspen and Buena Vista. There is an offroad route for that entire stretch, or at least there used to be. I went out of downtown Aspen, up and over the skislope. Again I was in a much smaller 4WD vehicle, but it was fun and remote. This trip was 15 years ago or so.

This last year we found a pretty place above Boulder and Nederland at an abandonded silver mine. There is a thread on it somewhere around here. The SMB is too large to make the entire offroad circuit, but we made it through half and to an area that surprised a bunch of folks that found us there.

There is also an abandoned military facility that I found my way onto a couple of decades ago. I don't remember the name or location, but it was nice, pretty, and remote. There was a problem where they had pulled down some bridges,..... and I decided to leave after rounding a bend in a valley to come face to face with a bunch of guys repelling down a cliff in full military gear and M16s at the ready when they hit the bottom. I did not sick around to see what was going on. Now almost 20 years later, I would probably stick around.
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Old 04-18-2009, 10:55 PM   #3
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Re: Exploring Colorado

Cool, thanks Greg. Helpful stuff I'll search some of it out and add it to the choices.

Thanks again.

Any one with the last three weeks of July off and wants to go? Feel free to speak up!

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Old 04-19-2009, 11:21 PM   #4
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Re: Exploring Colorado

Take a look at the Million Dollar Highway: Silverton, Ouray, Telluride, Ophir, Animas Forks ghost town.

Simply amazing!

If you decide to go there I will pull out some of my notes on where to go/stay.

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Old 04-20-2009, 09:00 AM   #5
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Re: Exploring Colorado

We've managed to not find any truly amazing places here, however there is a road outside of Salida that follows washes and crazy desert type terraine. It's just an alternate route from the highway to the forest, but a heck of a lot of fun for 4x4ing. If you'll be down that way I'll look up the GPS info.

There is so much BLM and National Forest that I think you can skip the campgrounds all together. The one time we paid for camping on the Poudre River we found a free spot a few miles up that was so much better we abandoned the pay site.

And on the same trip, we didn't camp here but I think it would make an amazing site:

Something not camping oriented you should make time for (even if you can't hike, it is worth visiting) is the Garden of the Gods down by Colorado Springs.

And we had a good time at the Dunes, the drive out through Medano Pass was fun if a bit tame for 4x4ing. Leading up to Medano (from the Dunes) were some great camping spots all along the road that we wished we'd had some extra nights just to take advantage of.

That's all I can think of off the top of my head. Oh, except Mount Evans, North America's highest paved road (for those of us who don't hike 14ers) and 4th of July Road, which is clogged with 2wd traffic but worth it especially if you can do it on a weekday.

I'll probably think of other stuff between now and then.
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Old 04-20-2009, 12:44 PM   #6
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Re: Exploring Colorado

For south west Colorado, in addition to the million dollar highway that Cellularsteve mentioned there is also a loop you can do from Durango to Telluride. Million dollar highway (US 550) is the eastern portion. You can make this loop by going through Mancos, Delores and then up to Telluride. Both directions are equally spectacular.

Send me a note if you make it Durango.

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Old 04-20-2009, 12:46 PM   #7
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Re: Exploring Colorado

ditto CellularSteve and MTBGary, gotta do the Apline Loop and explore the well-known routes in around Silverton and Telluride. That said, do not be swayed by Black Bear Pass esp if you have an EB (even with RB). Pretty dicey for the larger rigs and wouldnt recommend trying with any SMB altho it has been done. Great place to stage from is Molas Lake Campground just outside Silverton, or boondock in various high altitude locations all around and up the Animas R. Also try Clear Lake not far from Silverton.

Also recommend if you go to Aspen, do it via Independence Pass from Leadville. Paved but tight and narrow and just beautiful. Closed in Winter. Speaking of Leadville, you can also do a very cool off road route between Leadville and Breckenridge, up and over Mosquito Pass.
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Old 04-20-2009, 03:23 PM   #8
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Re: Exploring Colorado

Ahh man three weeks no longer sounds like a long time.........

Hmmmm wonder if she wants to add two more

A thanks is not enough! For the links, pic's, and info. Got to love a forum like this thanks jage.

Early and rushed stages of putting it together..... Gives my navigator a sense of confidence to have a plan,. I on the other hand like to spit in one hand slap it with the other and follow the splatter, or just make copies of all your suggestions and use it as a tentative road map. bye!!

But seriously thanks, and don't hesitate to keep the ideas coming. My invite still stands.

Gary, I'll be sure and throw you a note if I am.

BC, I have read about Black Bear Pass.....heh! very tempting, very very!! You say itís been done in an SMB? Not alone I'm sure. Do you know who?

Jage, just what I was thinking for the out of the way multi day relaxer...

Steve, whats the camping rules in that area? is it BLM or designated? or?

Thanks all

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Old 04-28-2009, 04:53 PM   #9
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Re: Exploring Colorado

Sorry for the late post but I just saw this thread.
I'll be heading up to the Slverton area around the first of July. I'm entered to run the Hardrock 100 Mile Endurance Run again on the 10th and I usually go up 2 weeks early and take the SMB up high and camp out to acclimate. You can pick up the Alpine Loop out of Silverton. Its 4wd. I've not done the whole route but I did take the SMB over Cinnimon Pass which is above 12000' and down to Lake City. It's not too dicey but there are some tight switchbacks on the Lack City side that will take you a few trys to get around. If someone is coming in the opposite direction one of you is screwed.
If you like to hike ,there are plenty of fourteeners to bag in the area. A good portion of the 14000' peaks in Colorado are in the San Juan Mountains around Slverton, Telluride, Ouray area.
If you're ever in Silverton stop by the Wyman Hotel and ask for Rodger or Tana. Good friends of mine. Rodger use to race buggies in Baja and he can give you directions to the Alpine Loop. It's also a neat place to stay if you need a break from camping. The included breakfast is awesome.
As for Black Bear, I've heard someone rolled a van off of it in the past few years. Not sure if it is true or not and don't know if it was an SMB. But they did meet their Maker.

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Old 04-28-2009, 05:07 PM   #10
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Re: Exploring Colorado

Thanks a bunch Bob. never too late, dont worry about that. Every little bit helps, thanks for the possible connection and we might take you up on stopping at the Wyman if for no other reason but to say hi. looks like we will be in the siverton area, pretty sure of that so far.....still planning.

Is there wilderness camping up in the siverton area or aroound the loop or at all?

thanks again. Good luck on the Hardrock.

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