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Old 08-23-2011, 10:53 AM
 
Location: South Central Nebraska
350 posts, read 606,332 times
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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.
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Old 08-23-2011, 11:44 AM
 
8,317 posts, read 25,091,437 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.
Real simple formula:

1. Get more than 150 miles away from Front Range.

2. Avoid places in or close to the ski resort towns--especially those along the "I-70 Sacrifice Zone."

3. If it's regularly written about in any national publication, blog, or website, forget it--especially if it makes some "Top 10" rating. If it's done the latter, then it's probably already wrecked.

4. The less "amenities" there are close-by--lodging, improved roads, stores, stupid-ass golf courses, etc.--the more likely you will have an uncrowded experience.

Having traveled the entire Rocky Mountain West and having lived in both Colorado and Wyoming, I will say that Colorado has probably the most superlative mountain geography of any of the Rocky Mountain states, BUT much of it is now overdeveloped, overcrowded, and despoiled. If real solitude in nice mountain country is what you want, then Montana, Wyoming, Idaho, or even some areas of northern New Mexico offer more of that. As a native Coloradan, it pains me to say that, but 5 million people living in Colorado is just too g******ed many to have much of an uncrowded recreational experience in much of this state, anymore.
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Old 08-23-2011, 12:17 PM
 
Location: South Central Nebraska
350 posts, read 606,332 times
Reputation: 280
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Originally Posted by jazzlover View Post
Real simple formula:

1. Get more than 150 miles away from Front Range.

2. Avoid places in or close to the ski resort towns--especially those along the "I-70 Sacrifice Zone."

3. If it's regularly written about in any national publication, blog, or website, forget it--especially if it makes some "Top 10" rating. If it's done the latter, then it's probably already wrecked.

4. The less "amenities" there are close-by--lodging, improved roads, stores, stupid-ass golf courses, etc.--the more likely you will have an uncrowded experience.

Having traveled the entire Rocky Mountain West and having lived in both Colorado and Wyoming, I will say that Colorado has probably the most superlative mountain geography of any of the Rocky Mountain states, BUT much of it is now overdeveloped, overcrowded, and despoiled. If real solitude in nice mountain country is what you want, then Montana, Wyoming, Idaho, or even some areas of northern New Mexico offer more of that. As a native Coloradan, it pains me to say that, but 5 million people living in Colorado is just too g******ed many to have much of an uncrowded recreational experience in much of this state, anymore.
Well the biggest problem for me is the distance getting to most of these places from Central Nebraska. The mountains being within weekend driving distance are a real perk but I can't get very far within them. The Front Range is 6-7 hours away which is doable for a weekend trip but going further inland is not an option. I might try Snowy Range in Wyoming but it doesn't look as impressive as the CO Mtns. I like the "I-70 Sacrifice Zone" thing - highway 34? from Longmont to Estes Park I felt like was the Thompson Creek Sacrifice Zone - traffic was bumper to bumper and the road winded and turned and you had a real good chance of getting rear ended - probably some real big pileups there.
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Old 08-23-2011, 12:28 PM
 
20,301 posts, read 37,784,136 times
Reputation: 18081
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.
To be expected on a long weekend at a place fairly close to I-25 AND a well known tourist attraction.

There are excellent place up in the Silverthorne, Dillon area that should be far less crowded, with lots of amenities but surrounded by beauty.
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Old 08-23-2011, 12:29 PM
 
8,317 posts, read 25,091,437 times
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Originally Posted by SCentralNEGuy View Post
Well the biggest problem for me is the distance getting to most of these places from Central Nebraska. The mountains being within weekend driving distance are a real perk but I can't get very far within them. The Front Range is 6-7 hours away which is doable for a weekend trip but going further inland is not an option. I might try Snowy Range in Wyoming but it doesn't look as impressive as the CO Mtns. I like the "I-70 Sacrifice Zone" thing - highway 34? from Longmont to Estes Park I felt like was the Thompson Creek Sacrifice Zone - traffic was bumper to bumper and the road winded and turned and you had a real good chance of getting rear ended - probably some real big pileups there.
Probably the closest relatively uncrowded area in Colorado from where you are in Nebraska is the mountains surrounding the San Luis Valley or over around Gunnison. That's about a day's drive. I know--I drove to eastern Nebraska earlier this summer, and I live in pretty far western Colorado.

P.S.--While Nebraska certainly does not have anything comparable to the Colorado mountains, there are some delightful places to be found in Nebraska--without all of the high-cost, BS glitz that has sullied so much of Colorado. And driving uncrowded, well-maintained rural Nebraska highways is a delight compared to the deteriorating, traffic-ridden crap roads that are becoming the norm all over Colorado these days.
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Old 08-23-2011, 12:33 PM
 
8,317 posts, read 25,091,437 times
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Originally Posted by Mike from back east View Post
There are excellent place up in the Silverthorne, Dillon area that should be far less crowded, with lots of amenities but surrounded by beauty.



Yeah, that's why CDOT is having to resort to this nonsense on I-70.

CDOT test to slow I-70 traffic near Eisenhower Tunnel successful - The Denver Post

Less crowded? Gimme a break.
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Old 08-23-2011, 12:47 PM
 
Location: Littleton, CO
2,395 posts, read 4,160,231 times
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You pretty much went to one of the busiest areas in the mountains. Like others have said, the farther you get away from Denver the better, and avoid I-70

Oh and as far as the hikers you see that a lot on easy trails. Even in the front range you can get some privacy if you do harder/longer hikes
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Old 08-23-2011, 02:09 PM
 
Location: South Central Nebraska
350 posts, read 606,332 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jazzlover View Post
P.S.--While Nebraska certainly does not have anything comparable to the Colorado mountains, there are some delightful places to be found in Nebraska--without all of the high-cost, BS glitz that has sullied so much of Colorado. And driving uncrowded, well-maintained rural Nebraska highways is a delight compared to the deteriorating, traffic-ridden crap roads that are becoming the norm all over Colorado these days.
The problem with Nebraska is that most of the land is in private hands - there are very few state parks. The state parks there are are pretty much camping only or for boating. This caters to the RV crowd and people who pay $$$ for a boat and get zero exercise boating. There is very little in the way of hiking trails. Flat land is not ugly but its hard to enjoy it when there it is all farmed.

It is also hard to find recreational or ag land to buy (pretty much the only other way to go hiking or enjoy open space.) There are some wildlife management areas but the grass is so high that they are not fun to walk through. This is ironic because the state has a huge abundance of land and is so spread out. But most of the land is held onto tightly between generations.

The places that come to mind are Platte River Hike/Bike Trail, Halsey, Scottsbluff (far), Chadron/Pine Ridge (far), Indian Cave State Park. Most of the places are at least 100-200 miles away.
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Old 08-23-2011, 02:52 PM
 
8,317 posts, read 25,091,437 times
Reputation: 9065
Quote:
Originally Posted by SCentralNEGuy View Post
The problem with Nebraska is that most of the land is in private hands - there are very few state parks. The state parks there are are pretty much camping only or for boating. This caters to the RV crowd and people who pay $$$ for a boat and get zero exercise boating. There is very little in the way of hiking trails. Flat land is not ugly but its hard to enjoy it when there it is all farmed.

It is also hard to find recreational or ag land to buy (pretty much the only other way to go hiking or enjoy open space.) There are some wildlife management areas but the grass is so high that they are not fun to walk through. This is ironic because the state has a huge abundance of land and is so spread out. But most of the land is held onto tightly between generations.

The places that come to mind are Platte River Hike/Bike Trail, Halsey, Scottsbluff (far), Chadron/Pine Ridge (far), Indian Cave State Park. Most of the places are at least 100-200 miles away.
All true.

Most of we natives and long-timers in Colorado know of "secret places" in the state where we can go and see almost no one and still enjoy some solitude and gorgeous places. The rub is that those places are that way because they are usually far off of the beaten track, lack most "amenities" that the typical tourist wants, and may be quite difficult to access by vehicle. If they weren't all of those things, then they would be overrun. As an example, I'm headed to one of those places in not too long (actually on my way to some business elsewhere). When I was through there not too long ago, I drove nearly 40 miles through some gorgeous backcountry without seeing another vehicle along a route next to some absolutely prime fishing. Typically, the local ranchers in the area are pretty suspicious of outsiders, but I've been knocking around there for 40 years, so I'm kind of a known quantity to a lot of them. I know a number of places like that around rural Colorado, but four decades of traveling around the rural parts of the state, often on business, has given me local information and connections that many Colorado residents and most all outsiders and newcomers just do not have and probably never will.
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Old 08-23-2011, 03:04 PM
 
Location: South Central Nebraska
350 posts, read 606,332 times
Reputation: 280
Quote:
Originally Posted by jazzlover View Post
All true.

Most of we natives and long-timers in Colorado know of "secret places" in the state where we can go and see almost no one and still enjoy some solitude and gorgeous places. The rub is that those places are that way because they are usually far off of the beaten track, lack most "amenities" that the typical tourist wants, and may be quite difficult to access by vehicle. If they weren't all of those things, then they would be overrun. As an example, I'm headed to one of those places in not too long (actually on my way to some business elsewhere). When I was through there not too long ago, I drove nearly 40 miles through some gorgeous backcountry without seeing another vehicle along a route next to some absolutely prime fishing. Typically, the local ranchers in the area are pretty suspicious of outsiders, but I've been knocking around there for 40 years, so I'm kind of a known quantity to a lot of them. I know a number of places like that around rural Colorado, but four decades of traveling around the rural parts of the state, often on business, has given me local information and connections that many Colorado residents and most all outsiders and newcomers just do not have and probably never will.
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.
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