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Old 04-09-2010, 12:11 PM
 
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Hi! We are planning to camp for five days in Colorado in mid July. We will be traveling from Arches National Park. From Colorado we will be going to Alpine in eastern Arizona. We want to camp in a tent campground in a beautiful, forested place. We would also love to see Mesa Verde en route, if possible. Any advice? Thanks in advance for any and all advice!
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Old 04-09-2010, 12:51 PM
 
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That depends on what type of camping you are doing--tent camping, trailer, etc. If your taste is tent camping, there are tons of places to go that should offer you some solitude. The simple rule there is that the more primitive the camping and the harder to get to it is, the more solitude you will enjoy. Conversely, if you are looking at typical RV-type camping, you will likely have noplace to yourself in July. The closest areas to Arches and Mesa Verde that offer superb camping opportunities would be some of the areas between Dolores and Rico off of CO145, and the area of the La Plata Mountains north of Mancos. Be aware that mid-July is getting into the heart of the Southwest Monsoon season in southern Colorado, when the higher elevations will see afternoon thunderstorms just about every day--some with heavy rain that can drop temperatures from the 70's and 80's to the high 40's to mid-50's in minutes. In those same areas of the high country, typical nighttime temperatures will usually drop into the low to mid-40's every night--even in July. By mid-August, nighttime frost is not out of the question.
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Old 04-09-2010, 01:09 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jazzlover View Post
That depends on what type of camping you are doing--tent camping, trailer, etc. If your taste is tent camping, there are tons of places to go that should offer you some solitude. The simple rule there is that the more primitive the camping and the harder to get to it is, the more solitude you will enjoy. Conversely, if you are looking at typical RV-type camping, you will likely have noplace to yourself in July. The closest areas to Arches and Mesa Verde that offer superb camping opportunities would be some of the areas between Dolores and Rico off of CO145, and the area of the La Plata Mountains north of Mancos. Be aware that mid-July is getting into the heart of the Southwest Monsoon season in southern Colorado, when the higher elevations will see afternoon thunderstorms just about every day--some with heavy rain that can drop temperatures from the 70's and 80's to the high 40's to mid-50's in minutes. In those same areas of the high country, typical nighttime temperatures will usually drop into the low to mid-40's every night--even in July. By mid-August, nighttime frost is not out of the question.
Thanks for your quick reply. We will be pulling a small text trailer, which we use like a tent (no hookups) so rain won't be a problem. We prefer camping in organized campgrounds, like national forests, but not like KOAs.

My husband camped in the Durango area as a kid, but he has only a spotty memory of that area. One campground we have looked into is Vallecito, which looked really great, but we are concerned about arriving without a reservation (which can't be made) as we have 3 kids. I will look into the Dolores to Rico area you mentioned. Can you give us some specific campground names, listed favorites to less so, so that we can check them out? Thanks again so much!!!!

Jane
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Old 04-09-2010, 03:44 PM
 
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Originally Posted by janecluff View Post
Thanks for your quick reply. We will be pulling a small text trailer, which we use like a tent (no hookups) so rain won't be a problem. We prefer camping in organized campgrounds, like national forests, but not like KOAs.

My husband camped in the Durango area as a kid, but he has only a spotty memory of that area. One campground we have looked into is Vallecito, which looked really great, but we are concerned about arriving without a reservation (which can't be made) as we have 3 kids. I will look into the Dolores to Rico area you mentioned. Can you give us some specific campground names, listed favorites to less so, so that we can check them out? Thanks again so much!!!!

Jane
A friend's favorite campground is the Priest Gulch Campground on the Dolores River near Stoner. There are a couple of campgrounds up in the La Platas that are nice, too. The San Juan National Forest office in Durango can probably give you some guidance. I would avoid any of the campgrounds near the major towns (Durango, Cortez, etc.)--they tend to be crowded, noisy and sometimes rowdy. What little camping I now usually do is sleeping out under the stars, so I'm not usually in a campground.
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Old 04-09-2010, 04:16 PM
 
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Those campgrounds near Stoner are your best bet. You're about 15 miles up from Dolores, then another 10 miles to Cortez.
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Old 04-10-2010, 03:20 AM
 
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Originally Posted by jazzlover View Post
I would avoid any of the campgrounds near the major towns (Durango, Cortez, etc.)--they tend to be crowded, noisy and sometimes rowdy. What little camping I now usually do is sleeping out under the stars, so I'm not usually in a campground.
Lightner Creek campground is very nice, located along Lightner Creek about 7 miles outside of Durango. Privately owned, nice owners, well maintained.

The KOA near Durango is definitely not in the trees; it's on top of a mountain w/ 360 degree views.
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Old 04-10-2010, 07:37 AM
 
Location: Everywhere and Nowhere
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Not in Colorado but close - Chaco Canyon, NM has a small campground. If you enjoy the cliff dwellings at Mesa Verde and want to see more, that's a place to do it. The campground there was closed for renovation recently (or maybe only open for tent camping) so be sure to check with the National Park Service to see if it's available again. You might want to take a look at their website for other camping spots around where you're headed.
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Old 04-10-2010, 10:44 AM
 
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The city of Silverton operates a campground at Molas Lake that we have stayed at a few times before or during backpacking trips on the Colorado Trail which goes through there.

There have always been kids having a blast playing in and around the lake. It's a nice campground with a tiny store, nice views, good showers, picnic tables, firepits/wood & a great hiking trail.

Molas Lake Park & Campground Photo Gallery | Silverton Camping Photos (http://www.molaslakecampground.com/Molas-photo.html - broken link)
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Old 04-11-2010, 01:21 PM
 
Location: Sunnyvale, CA
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Lots of choices in the San Juan mountains in Southwest Colorado. Lots of campgrounds located along US-550 north of Durango.
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Old 04-11-2010, 01:22 PM
 
Location: Sunnyvale, CA
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Originally Posted by CAVA1990 View Post
Not in Colorado but close - Chaco Canyon, NM has a small campground.
This is in the desert, it's not a forested place. The original poster, from their description, is looking for an alpine-forest type of setting.
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