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Old 08-23-2011, 04:08 PM
 
8,317 posts, read 25,095,377 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SCentralNEGuy View Post
Yeah usually big outdoor areas are pretty far from where the majority of the populace lives. If they weren't there would be a lot of people there. And places that didn't used to have a lot of people have been ruined in a lot of areas not just Colorado but now Wyoming, Montana, Utah etc.
Also very true. What is likely to change that is that exploding fuel prices that lie ahead of us are likely to make such explorations impractical for a lot of people and that will lessen the pressure on a lot of places. It also means, though, that many people from long distances simply will be unable to visit or enjoy such places, anymore. As another blog site opines, "The world is about to get a lot bigger again."
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Old 08-23-2011, 04:16 PM
 
Location: South Central Nebraska
350 posts, read 606,453 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jazzlover View Post
Also very true. What is likely to change that is that exploding fuel prices that lie ahead of us are likely to make such explorations impractical for a lot of people and that will lessen the pressure on a lot of places. It also means, though, that many people from long distances simply will be unable to visit or enjoy such places, anymore. As another blog site opines, "The world is about to get a lot bigger again."
Well figuratively going to the Front Range would then be out of the reach of most Nebraskans - it already is (the hotels at least are ridiculously expensive) so I camp and make it cheaper. I drive a pretty fuel efficient car and next car I will look for even greater efficiency. A lot of Nebraskans drive pickups and the gas to the Front Range is out of reach for them. I will do what I can to make sure I can still go skiing etc whether I have to winter camp, drive a 50 mpg + diesel car, or make cutbacks in other areas until it is too expensive to go.
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Old 08-23-2011, 04:38 PM
 
20,305 posts, read 37,790,850 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jazzlover View Post
.... What is likely to change that is that exploding fuel prices that lie ahead of us are likely to make such explorations impractical for a lot of people ....
You've been blowing this smoke for years about fuel prices, it's nowhere on the horizon.
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Old 08-23-2011, 05:02 PM
 
8,317 posts, read 25,095,377 times
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Originally Posted by Mike from back east View Post
You've been blowing this smoke for years about fuel prices, it's nowhere on the horizon.
The ONLY reason that it hasn't happened yet, Mike, is because of all the demand destruction in the US that the worst recession since the Great Depression has caused. If the economy shows even a whiff of significant improvement, fuel prices will be off to the races in a run-up that will likely crash the country into an even worse depression. Sort of like, "The good news is the patient isn't starving anymore. The bad news is he's dead."
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Old 08-23-2011, 05:48 PM
 
20,305 posts, read 37,790,850 times
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The boom times that "may" bring higher fuel prices are not on the horizon either.

Back to the OP's question, IMO there are tons of places in the Rockies that are less crowded than Estes Park, which is one of the most heavily visited areas in the tourist business here. There are tons of resorts, like Winding River Resort or the Winding River Resort Village, up near Grand Lake, that border RNMP and offer quite a few things to do. There's a very decent motel there too, and the small town of Grand Lake with paddle boats and a water taxi, etc.

Google on resorts in colorado and you should get a whole list of places and towns to visit.
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Old 08-23-2011, 07:59 PM
 
Location: South Central Nebraska
350 posts, read 606,453 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike from back east View Post
The boom times that "may" bring higher fuel prices are not on the horizon either.

Back to the OP's question, IMO there are tons of places in the Rockies that are less crowded than Estes Park, which is one of the most heavily visited areas in the tourist business here. There are tons of resorts, like Winding River Resort or the Winding River Resort Village, up near Grand Lake, that border RNMP and offer quite a few things to do. There's a very decent motel there too, and the small town of Grand Lake with paddle boats and a water taxi, etc.

Google on resorts in colorado and you should get a whole list of places and towns to visit.
Yeah I don't see the economy recovering for a long time, in fact its not even on my horizon. We just don't make enough things and the construction jobs aren't coming back. That said I'm surprised that prices have stayed this high this long - 3.50 - I would have thought that would be a murderously high gas price for most people but it has stuck around. That said the cars of the near future are going to be diesel and much higher gas mileage (VW Jetta/Passat (2012) TDI), and GM announced a few weeks ago a Diesel Chevy Cruze for 2013 with 50 mpg. We always seem to find a way to adapt, the long-term future is alternative fuel or electricity and getting off oil completely but I guess Big Oil won't want to go away silently!
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Old 08-23-2011, 09:47 PM
 
2,253 posts, read 5,835,868 times
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Wink A little peace & quiet -- please!

I hear exactly what you are saying. (Or at least think I do).

Estes Park enjoys the conundrum of a very beautiful setting adjacent to one of the jewels of the national park system in Rocky Mountain National Park. But also in residing relatively close to the front range with most of Colorado's five million people. That might be a situation having many local merchants rubbing their hands in glee, but not a good recipe for locals and others wishing a little space and peace and quiet to go along with their nature. Put succinctly, Estes Park is a zoo in the summer. Most of the 3,000,000 annual visitors visit then.

But there is good and bad news to be had in this. Some of the bad is that you could fire up the car for a determined road trip, say all the way up to Yellowstone or Glacier NP, and find a good deal of the zoo migrated up there as well. RMNP can seem to be in a class of its own at times, but all the more popular national parks will be crowded come summer. One can thank the persistent notion in this country of 310,000,000 or so and counting that growth is the only cure for what ails us, and that there is plenty of open space. Compared to back East, yes there is. But that rapidly dwindles when everybody focuses on a few places.

Some of the good news is that you can still find some beautiful elbow room in a fairly short drive from Nebraska, even in RMNP. Just don't expect to follow the common well-worn path to get there. Driving aside, it would be easier to head to the less known and popular places to find space. As example, Grand Teton NP is a truly lovely area, which many bypass in heading to better known Yellowstone. It does lie closer to Jackson Hole however, and not without its retinue of tourists. As with RMNP, a little forethought and creative woodsmanship would come in handy. Simpler, and closer, to head not far outside of Lander, WY and places such as the Wind River Mountains. There are a LOT fewer people in such places which in total square mileage are far larger than all the national parks combined.

The saving grace of RMNP, which the Estes Park chamber of commerce would ruin if they could, is that most visitors are fair weather creatures when it comes to cold. So while more than a few will appear on autumn weekends after the greater hordes departed after Labor Day, to enjoy fall colors and the elk, by Halloween mostly only the hardcore remain. In their winter aspect Estes Park and RMNP can be entirely enchanting. Do not count on absolute solitude in the more popular places, but nevertheless a decided improvement. Just different as well, as warm breezes and lush green foliage can be enjoyed, so too the myriad browns and bright or muted colors of autumn, the ice in rivers and often soft blankets of white snow as winter descends.

But some of us will still be of the opinion that RMNP should and can be enjoyed throughout summer -- sans crowds. Which is entirely possible, but as with some of the wildlife the secret is to be where everyone else is not. In practical terms one will still have to wade through some people to get out there. If from Nebraska, US 34 west from Loveland is still the most direct route to RMNP. Yes, even if a very lovely canyon, it can be a conga line of bad drivers. So unless willing to suffer that, avoid it on weekends, or head up during the other half of the day when far less traffic at night. Even weekdays in summer can be vaguely moderate if in the middle of the day, not heavier 'commutes' at either end of it.

Once there, all lodging in Estes Park is not created equal. You could squeeze into some motel full to the brim, with slamming doors, screaming kids, and all the rest. Or, and they exist, spend a bit more on some charming cottage somewhat removed, and find that in sitting tranquilly there that you are beginning to feel kind of local, with most all the 'activity' thankfully elsewhere.

With hundreds of miles of hiking trails, many of them in RMNP are no less crowded than the roads in summer. This can be somewhat problematic, as an investigation will reveal relatively few trailheads, with the parking areas and head of the trails an unwholesome circus. But while some trailheads are reliably so, others less so. One might head up early, or take their chances with parking, or take a busy shuttle bus, or depart from the less traveled. In time many of these trails will converge. Generally speaking, the farther from the trailhead the quieter. Although do not be surprised to be several miles in and still running into day trippers on more popular trails. But if into serious hiking or camping, a good deal of that should be left behind once really into the woods.

Conversely, and something many have no clue of, one can be quite close to civilization but entirely out in the woods alone. The simple secret to that is to be in the wilderness. Technically speaking no road, trail, or anything with signs or indication of mankind is wilderness. Some trail might run through it, but itself is not. So do not be on it. Fortunately 95% of RMNP is designated wilderness. Virtually nobody is in it, even if they surrounded on all sides by forest.

Or, possibly, just head across Trail Ridge Road to Grand Lake. As a small town with a lovely situation on the largest natural lake in Colorado, Grand Lake will seem a smaller, quieter version of Estes Park. Do not expect solitude, only a better chance at it. Moreover the west side of RMNP is not only the wetter, but the less known and traveled. All that applies to hiking, etc., should prove all the simpler there.

Oh, and when venturing across Trail Ridge Road, one can enjoy the sights, and what would be a superlative drive save for all the other slow moving traffic. Or, perchance, across at the dead of night, perhaps under a full moon, and then hardly any other car in sight or to be found. Just one in one of the most beautiful places on Earth, and in maybe stopping along the way to gaze upon the night sky and all gently resting, to find this another enchanting realm as well. And distinctly quieter.
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Old 08-24-2011, 12:46 PM
 
Location: Sunnyvale, CA
4,888 posts, read 8,901,170 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SCentralNEGuy View Post
Hi everyone. I went over July 4th weekend to Estes Park/Rocky Mountain National Park and was appalled at the amount of people who were there! It was beautiful, great restaurants, etc but I don't think I would go back because there were too many people. Are there places you don't have to fight for a parking spot or where you can get some more peace and quiet and there aren't like 50 hikers every hundred yards? Obviously fall/winter might be better in Estes Park but I want to go some place in the summer that isn't as crowded. Do I need to go to Wyoming or Montana or are there less crowded places in Colorado? I understand if you don't want to post your secret spot on here so you can PM if you wish.
Regarding the "parking spot" issue, you won't encounter any problems at all in any places in Colorado that are more than 1 hour's drive from Denver. Most of Colorado is sparsely populated except for the Front Range (I-25 corridor = Boulder, Denver, Colorado Springs.) Rocky Mountain National Park (Estes) is probably the most heavily visited mountain area in the state. I've never had issues anywhere else.

Regarding the hiking, most trails thin out substantially once a couple miles away from the trailhead or campground. And that goes for the RMNP area too.

No need for any "secret" spots and no need to go to Wyoming or Montana. Just drive a little farther west from Denver. Here are some spots you might go:

a) the west side of the Rocky Mountain National Park (heading towards Granby)
b) Breckenridge
c) trails and campgrounds around Aspen
d) trails and campgrounds in the San Juan mountains
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Old 08-24-2011, 12:50 PM
 
Location: Littleton, CO
2,395 posts, read 4,160,971 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 80skeys View Post
Regarding the "parking spot" issue, you won't encounter any problems at all in any places in Colorado that are more than 1 hour's drive from Denver. Most of Colorado is sparsely populated except for the Front Range (I-25 corridor = Boulder, Denver, Colorado Springs.) Rocky Mountain National Park (Estes) is probably the most heavily visited mountain area in the state. I've never had issues anywhere else.

Regarding the hiking, most trails thin out substantially once a couple miles away from the trailhead or campground. And that goes for the RMNP area too.

No need for any "secret" spots and no need to go to Wyoming or Montana. Just drive a little farther west from Denver. Here are some spots you might go:

a) the west side of the Rocky Mountain National Park (heading towards Granby)
b) Breckenridge
c) trails and campgrounds around Aspen
d) trails and campgrounds in the San Juan mountains
Aspen can be pretty busy too. Last trip out there I ended up staying in a cheap hotel in Carbondale cause there was 0 camp sites around Aspen
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Old 08-24-2011, 12:57 PM
 
Location: Sunnyvale, CA
4,888 posts, read 8,901,170 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Snikt View Post
Aspen can be pretty busy too. Last trip out there I ended up staying in a cheap hotel in Carbondale cause there was 0 camp sites around Aspen
Campsites, yes. As for trailhead parking, I haven't had issues in any of the sites around there.
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