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Old 05-12-2012, 06:03 PM
58 posts, read 183,341 times
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We are planning a road trip (pulling a pop-up) from AZ to Colorado Springs in July. We will be spending most of the time in the mountains in the Gunnison area and then on to the Springs to check out the area (may be moving there).

Any suggestions for scenic camping in the Gunnision/Crested Butte area as well as things we shouldn't miss seeing? I can pretty much find the large places like Mesa RV resort or the KOA on my own and we may stay there, but if you know of any smaller more scenic places, I would love to hear about them.

Traveling with:
A 3 year old
A small dog
Pop-up tent trailer
For camping we would like to have bathrooms and showers. Don't really need hookups.

If there are any hotels that you found to be really nice, I'd like to hear about that as well, I'll need a break from the pop-up.

Thanks so much!

Last edited by MeridithJill; 05-12-2012 at 06:51 PM..
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Old 05-12-2012, 06:26 PM
Location: Colorado Springs
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I really loved the museum in Gunnison, right as you come into the town from the east on US-50. Indoor and out, many old buildings. I spent a couple of hours there. One of the best small-town museums you'll find in the state.
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Old 05-13-2012, 01:26 AM
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Wink Worthwhile road trip detours

Where to begin? If from southern Arizona, then it would be worth your while to visit Sedona, and then via scenic Oak Creek Canyon to Flagstaff. But you probably already know that.

There are a plethora of sights one might see in the Four Corners region. But as possibly a route through northeast Arizona towards Colorado and Gunnison, it would be worth visiting Mesa Verde National Park. Time wise it could make more sense driving from Cortez directly up past Telluride to US 50 east to Gunnison. But as nice as that route is, US 550 from Durango through Ouray is truly spectacular.

And since in the neighborhood, one may wish to visit Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park as well.

No idea on specific campgrounds. But from Gunnison the most obvious route is on west via US 50 over beautiful Monarch Pass directly to the front range and Colorado Springs. But since probably in or near Crested Butte anyway—and surely so?—it would be ever so nice to take a slight detour on over the decent dirt road of Kebler Pass to join CO 133, and thence northeast over McClure Pass to drop down into Redstone. It is a small if lovely town, with the Redstone Inn offering perhaps the lodging a weary traveler might wish.

The idea in such a detour is to make the most of it in maximizing the potential in continuing along the Crystal River to Carbondale, and then up the Roaring Fork Valley to Aspen. A little sightseeing there might not be out of order, but the main attraction is in continuing over Independence Pass, and a superlative mountain drive. In finding your way to the far side and the enchanting hamlet of Twin Lakes, one can from there easily make their way on to Colorado Springs. One path would be via Hartsel and US 24.

One advantage of that route is it will naturally direct one through ever so unique Manitou Springs. One could perchance find their way to Colorado Springs and somehow miss their much smaller neighbor just adjacent to the west. But now you'll have no excuse in overlooking that, and as glad for it.

Ever so much to see, and this but touches the surface. By the way, Kebler Pass is magnificent in the autumn with the many aspen passed through in shades of gold; but this vast and intwined life is always beautiful in any season.
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Old 05-13-2012, 12:55 PM
Location: Na'alehu Hawaii/Buena Vista Colorado
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Going north out of Gunnison, go right at Almont onto County Road 742. There are a lot of campgrounds up there, but most are pretty rustic. There's one large commercial camping area where County Road 744 comes in to 742, but I can't remember the name. If you go on up to Taylor Reservoir, there's also camping there.

One place we like to go is Gothic. Go through Crested Butte and through Mount Crested Butte and follow the signs to Gothic. Should be beautiful with wildflowers in July.
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Old 05-14-2012, 11:19 AM
Location: Colorado
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These are places I've stayed, all 3 have pit toilets available, but I don't recall showers. Other areas are near Gothic, Taylor Reservoir, the KOA in Gunnison. Can also camp for free off most non-paved roads, but of course there are no restrooms or showers...practice Leave No Trace! (also, please practice LNT even at "real" campgrounds )

Spring Creek Campground, on county road 744 a few miles northeast of Almont. Take 742 east out of Almont until 744 forks to the left. Take 744 and the campground is on your right. If you go a little past the campground, there will be an area on your left that has 3 or 4 sites. These are free and under the "must move after 14 (?) days" rule. No toilets or showers.

Irwin Lake Campground, off of Kebler Pass (County Rd 12) just west of Crested Butte. Sits above a gorgeous high alpine lake surrounded by 12k - 13k' peaks. Free camping just outside the official campground area.

Soap Creek Campground, on northwest area of Blue Mesa...you'll cross the dam (tourist spot!) to get to it. Very secluded with a serene little creek flowing past the campground into the Blue Mesa Reservoir. Highway 50 to 92, cross the dam, turn onto County Road 721 and follow it until it ends at the campground (I believe).

Oh, and the Crested Butte area is spectacular in July. If you are there in the 4th, hit CB for the parade and festivities. Lots of fun, a lot of things for the 3 year old to enjoy. Great park on the east side of town (Rainbow Park). The wildflowers should be at their peak in July as well!
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Old 05-14-2012, 03:58 PM
Location: Wherabouts Unknown!
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If you require bathrooms and showers, you are limited to commercial campgrounds.
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Old 05-14-2012, 06:12 PM
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i spose we can make it a few days w/o showers. we'll have to find some in colorado springs when we get there. But a toilet would be good for my toddler.
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Old 05-14-2012, 07:59 PM
Location: Wherabouts Unknown!
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Some of the forest service, BLM campgrounds might have toilets ( outhouses ), but highly unlikely to have bathrooms and/or showers.
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Old 05-15-2012, 07:19 PM
Location: Sunnyvale, CA
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Originally Posted by MeridithJill View Post
Any suggestions for scenic camping in the Gunnision/Crested Butte area
Yes: Any of the campgrounds along the Taylor river between Almont and Taylor Reservoir off of Hwy 135.
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Old 05-17-2012, 12:22 PM
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I spent several years living in Gunnison. There are some great places to camp there, but probably not this year, unless the weather pattern changes. Rivers and streams are already falling to very low levels, the fire danger is going off the charts, and we have already had more Red Flag Warnings for dangerous conditions for fire ignition this spring than we normally have in a whole year.

A vigorous Southwest Monsoon could reduce the fire danger, but it normally does not come until early July. Bluntly, Colorado is not where I would be spending my vacation money this summer unless things change drastically in the next few weeks, which the current long-term weather and drought forecasts from USDA and NWS say is unlikely.
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