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RE: Golden to Gunnison Co

Comments on the recommended routes: I-70 vs. US 285: I-70 can be quite busy. Avoid leaving Denver any time after 4:00 p.m. and skip altogether Friday through Sunday. Tunnel is at 11,000'. Fremont Pass is at 11,300'. The climb from Copper Mountain to Fremont Pass has a passing lane virtually the whole way. Quite scenic, but you have to go over two significant passes. US 285 can also be quite busy on weekends, but the traffic thins out after Bailey. Kenosha Pass is under 10000' and a much easier grade than the tunnel approach on I-70. Trout Creek Pass, just before Buena Vista, is almost imperceptible coming from the east. You'll see more higher mountains on the I-70 route, but the scenery on US 285 isn't bad either. South Park is a huge intermontane basin best viewed from the top of Kenosha Pass. Cottonwood Pass vs. Monarch Pass: Cottonwood Pass is 800' higher (12,100') than Monarch. Far more switchbacks also. It is a bit shorter distance, but longer drive time. Both passes have great views from the top. Traffic is easier to deal with on Monarch as there are fewer curves and more passing lanes. Also, as Cottonwood Pass was only recently paved all the way over the pass, it has become a very popular and busy route. I somewhat prefer the scenery from the top of Cottonwood Pass to Gunnison over that from the top of Monarch Pass into Gunnison. No matter which route you select, one somewhat obscure stop worth taking is at Cimarron. Turn right where the sign says Train Exhibit/Morrow Point Dam. It's just over a mile drive (paved road) back to the dam. You'll essentially find yourself at the bottom of the Black Canyon of the Gunnison although further upstream than the NM. Kind of a different perspective. If you're into old narrow gauge railroad cars and engine, stop and poke around at the Visitors Center. I don't think they open the building anymore, but the outside exhibits are open. Nice CG there for an overnight. We've been there a number of times. Rarely fills, or if it does, it's not until the evening. Yes, you can drive on the South Rim Road with your rig without issues.
4runnerguy 08/09/20 09:55pm Roads and Routes
RE: Glenwood Springs, CO

The KOA in Glenwood Springs is a really nice KOA. We've stayed there twice & enjoyed our stay. Newer park (I think) with plenty of space.You must be referring to the KOA in Silt. It's about 10 miles west of GWS. There is no KOA in GWS.
4runnerguy 08/07/20 09:47am RV Parks, Campgrounds and Attractions
RE: CO: Leadville to I70 via Hiighway 24

IMHO it’s a Great drive - One of the more Beautiful ones in the state - we just drove it today on the way to Delta and the RT 133 drive OMG, you drove through GWS and didn't say "Hi"?!?!? :h
4runnerguy 07/20/20 11:14pm Roads and Routes
RE: CO: Leadville to I70 via Hiighway 24

I'd take US 24 over Tennessee Pass down to Minturn and I-70. At Leadville, you've already gained most of the elevation to the pass. It's a long, downhill run to Minturn. A few, well marked switchbacks but nothing difficult at all. A few miles north of the pass on your right are some historical markers about Camp Hale, where the 10th Mountain Division trained in winter combat techniques. The downside of taking CO 91 to Copper Mountain is you have to then make the climb up and the descent down Vail Pass on I-70.
4runnerguy 07/09/20 11:18am Roads and Routes
RE: Recommendations for Moab campground

We've never stayed in any of the private CG's there, so I can't help you on that, but check out my extensive posts on Moab for things to do and other info you might find helpful: A Primer on Moab
4runnerguy 07/09/20 11:07am RV Parks, Campgrounds and Attractions
RE: Glenwood Springs, CO

Obviously I haven't stayed at any of them, but some observations: Ami's Acres overlooks the interstate so may be noisy. Glenwood Canyon Resort has a nice setting. A little pricey and fills often. Down by Carbondale is a KOA. Really nice setting on the river. Near great drives up to Marble or Maroon Bells. Fills often. Past the KOA on CO 133 is a NFS CG. Redstone CG has some sites with water and electric but no sewer. I believe they have showers there too (unusual for NFS CG's here in CO). Pretty full, but keep an eye on and you can often pick up a spot as people's plans change and they cancel reservations. One often overlooked option is Gateway RV park by Carbondale. A few FHU sites. Owned and run by the city of Carbondale. Worth checking out to see if they have any spots. Right near the intersection of CO 82 and CO 133 but below grade so reasonably quiet. Right on the paved Rio Grande Trail, a converted rail grade for walking or biking.
4runnerguy 07/09/20 11:03am RV Parks, Campgrounds and Attractions
RE: Are campgrounds more crowded or is it just me?

Our observations on NFS CG's here in Colorado: In early June, things were unbelievably busy. At a lake near our cabin in southern CO, I've never seen it so busy as it was on Saturdays in early June. And I've been going there for nearly 60 years. It wasn't just campers, people were day tripping just to fish. Wall to wall people all along the shore. Reminded me of the "combat" fishing we'd seen up in Alaska on the Kenai. In mid June, we took a week trip to the Upper Arkansas River Valley between Leadville and Salida. Arrived on a Sunday. Huge numbers of vehicles on the road travelling both directions. Campground hosts said it had been a madhouse all spring. The company they work for is a concessionaire for a number of NFS CG's in the area. But when we left a week later, again on a Sunday, the traffic on the roads was maybe 25% of what it had been the previous Sunday. All but two of the campsites in the CG we had stayed in left that Sunday. Things were definitely quieter as we went through the towns. Then last week it was back to the cabin. On Saturday, July 4th, we walked through one of the CG's. Of the 15 sites, 3 were still available. On a Saturday afternoon on the 4th of July weekend! Again on Tuesday our travels took us back through Leadville, Salida, Buena Vista. Even fewer people than a week earlier. So what we have seen was a real rush in early June. Things are now slowing down quite a bit. We have talked to others who have traveled elsewhere in CO and it seems to be a statewide trend. I would also say that Colorado license plates represent a greater proportion of those out in the mountains than in years past. Yes, we still see out-of-state plates, but not as many as usual.
4runnerguy 07/09/20 10:43am RV Parks, Campgrounds and Attractions
RE: Which route would be less higher grade

I-80 may not have the grades but it can have some nasty winds across Wyoming. Can make towing a challenge if it's a cross wind. If it's a headwind, plan on some extra time and a lot of extra gas! Probably only driven this 50 times so it's the one I have the least experience with. I-70 does have some long grades, especially if you are going east to west. Downhills on Vail Pass and the west side of the tunnel are both around 7 miles of 7% grade. But lots of RV's and trucks do this every year. Great scenery. Monarch Pass on US 50 has a pretty long downhill >6% grade on the west side. Also, whether you come out of Denver on US 285 or up from Pueblo on US 50 (along the river so no passes there!), either route is much less of a pull than I-70 out of Denver to the tunnel. Likewise a scenic route. To avoid Monarch Pass (westbound) you can take US 285 south out of Poncha Springs (Poncha Pass is easy). At Saguache, head west on CO 114 and connect back up with US 50 east of Gunnison. Reverse the directions if you're going west to east. A lot of extra miles just to avoid the downhill, but it is an option.
4runnerguy 06/18/20 05:35pm Roads and Routes
RE: Utah?Next trip plan good distraction! Ideas needed :)

Hidden Canyon is a good less popular hike that gives you a taste of exposure without the insane riskes of Angles Landing with a mob going up.This is a good choice for a hike with fewer people. Go in the a.m. so you'll be in the shade of the canyon. Once you get to the sign that says end of the trail, keep going. Your boys will love the route finding and scrambling as there isn't a specific trail. You may have to backtrack a few hundred yards at times to find another route when you realize you can't keep going. Once past the trail end sign, the canyon is quite a bit narrower so not so much sun. Stays quite a bit cooler than down in the canyon. The hike up Zion Narrows is also a good place to spend a hot day. You'll be wading in the river so quite cool. Plus the canyon is narrow with little sun. Make sure you have some good shoes for wading/walking in the river. Do check on the weather to make sure there's no rain up river as the water can rise quite quickly in the narrow canyon. If you can get a spot, the campgrounds at Zion are great as you can walk to the river from your campsite. The Virgin "River" at this point is somewhat of a misnomer, as except for spring runoff, it's more like a stream. The kids build little dams to funnel the water around while adults set up their lawnchairs in or near the creek to soak their feet and cool of in the shade of the overhanging cottonwood trees.
4runnerguy 04/09/20 07:13pm RV Parks, Campgrounds and Attractions
RE: Utah?Next trip plan good distraction! Ideas needed :)

You'll have to keep track of the situation in Moab. Right now, all CG's are closed, including private, BLM, and National Parks. No boondocking allowed anywhere. The message is they don't want outsiders there as their medical facilities are pretty limited compared to how many people visit there. Current order expires April 15th but I'd expect an extension. Keep track of the current situation here: Discover Moab. Hard to know what things will be like come this summer. We still have reservations for the WA and OR area, but it's sure an unknown situation this far out. If you get to go, check out this post on everything Moab: A Primer on Moab
4runnerguy 04/07/20 04:28pm RV Parks, Campgrounds and Attractions
RE: Cruel Summer

Our summer plans are still on. Of course we are at the whims of closures of federal CGs. But if they cancel our reservations instead of us doing it, we won't pay a cancellation fee and will get a full refund. In the past, that has included the reservation fee plus the per night fee. If we are able to go, the biggest change will be that we won't visit restaurants, brewpubs and such in towns along the way. I hate not being able to do that and help with their recovery but I don't want to risk our health, especially a thousand miles from home. For us, the closure of all the CG's around Moab, even boondocking locations, has been a big miss, as it's only a three hour drive and our easy getaway location. :( Around here, they have or are considering even closing trailhead parking as they are getting overrun because people who aren't working have lots of time on their hands. If that continues, we just may have to throw our backpacks on and hike up the hill from our backyard and into the NF that way! They used to say 60 is the new 40, which is why we still mountain bike and I even picked up snowboarding a few years ago. Now, 60 is the new elderly! Who knew? ;)
4runnerguy 04/06/20 09:58am RV Parks, Campgrounds and Attractions
RE: The sound of wings -- no longer just for us boondockers

The reporter said that several people had told him that they are hearing the sounds of birds' wings for the first time in their lives.A couple of months ago my neighbor was commenting on how he could now hear the birds chirping again. Of course for him, it was because he'd just gotten hearing aids for the first time! ;)
4runnerguy 04/03/20 03:31pm Public Lands, Boondocking and Dry Camping
RE: Insanity in the grocery stores...

I've been contemplating the empty store shelves and some of the comments here jive with what I've concluded. Indeed some of the shopping may be for overstocking peoples cabinets, but another factor is the closure of restaurants. Think of it this way. Even if you used to eat dinner out only once a week, if you're eating all your meals at home that means you need 15% more food from the grocery store every week. There are also a lot of people who grab lunch from a drive thru or a food truck. Suddenly they are making five more lunches every week. These additional meals mean a surge in grocery shopping and the stores will take time to catch up. Agreed there was a lot of toilet paper hoarding initally, but the same thing applies. People used to spend 8 hours a day at work and the kids were at school eight hours a day, using someone elses supply of TP. Everyone's at home now, so plan on 50% increase in TP need at every house in the country.
4runnerguy 03/21/20 01:59pm Around the Campfire
RE: Moab UT Closed

An article in the Aspen newspaper this morning noted that federal facilities are not subject to closure orders from state or local governments. As of this morning, BLM campsites had not closed. Of course that can change at any time. At Arches, those in the campground are being allowed to complete their current reservation period but no new campers are allowed in the CG. Canyonlands is in San Juan County and thus outside of the jurisdiction of the Southeast Utah Health Department. Both parks have closed their visitors centers. We went out for groceries today here in Glenwood Springs (have to restock on fresh foods every once in a while). Saw several groups of teens hanging out together in different places. Seems like there is more possiblity of transmission betweeen people in those groups vs. people camping in their RV's. Just sayin'.
4runnerguy 03/18/20 11:41am RV Parks, Campgrounds and Attractions
RE: Favorite campground on the Gunnison River

The section of road/river between Sapinero and Gunnison isn't particularly scenic. I guess what I should say is there are few trees in this area. When we need a night or two along US 50 between Gunnison and Montrose we stay at the Cimarron CG. It's a NPS CG between the road to South Rim of Black Canyon and Sapinero. Flush toilets and a dump station. Some of the sites have some pretty good sized cottonwood trees for shade. I might suggest heading north of Gunnison to Almont and take the road up to Taylor Park Reservoir. A number of NFS CG's along this road, some with reservable sites. Also Lake View CG above Taylor Park. From there you can drive to Tincup which still has a lot of houses standing, many are now summer cabins. Drive up to and past Crested Butte to Gothic for some of the most outstanding fields of wildflowers in Colorado. There are ghost towns and mining ruins throughout this area. From this area, you can now drive over Cottonwood Pass which drops you right into Buena Vista. Plan an extra day or two in Silverton and rent a jeep. There are so many ruins in this area that you simply can't reach with your rig. Red Mountain, Engineer Pass, Cinnamon Pass, Yankee Boy Basin Road above Ouray. You can spend quite a bit of time exploring some amazing places in the Silverton/Ouray area. Most ghost towns to explore in this area than in the Salida/Buena Vista area. I'm not sure you'll want to venture over Independence Pass on CO 82 with your rig. There are places on the west side where the road is very narrow. There are places where the road is around 12'-13' wide. I've met dually's up there and someone has to back up to find a place to pass. Make sure you continue on the old railroad grade up past St. Elmo to Hancock. If you're feeling up to it, there's a trail to the collapsed east portal of the Alpine Tunnel. Well worth the hike. Better ghost town hunting north in the valley around Leadville.
4runnerguy 03/10/20 10:23pm RV Parks, Campgrounds and Attractions
RE: Utah route from Torrey to Bryce Canyon ?

Stay on UT 12 the whole way. Scenic but there is one pretty good downgrade a few miles past Boulder. An easier (and quicker) but less scenic route is UT 24 west to UT 62 to UT 22 continuing on John's Valley Road (UT 22 ends a couple of miles south of Antimony). Much of the John's Valley road, while paved, is somewhat narrow. But you'll meet little traffic. We always use UT 12 when we are in this area.
4runnerguy 03/09/20 05:35pm Roads and Routes
RE: Sedona to Moab and all points in between

4runners Guide to Moab!. Hope this was what you were after. Best of Luck, Interesting! Did you have your 4runner ran the Moab off-road trail? Planning to do that and I heard there are different classes for non-modified 4runner like mine.I assume this question is directed to me since I wrote the Moab posting in Busskipers link. In my old '96 4runner I had the factory locking differential and factory large tire upgrade. The only nonstock upgrades were the supercharger and headers. In this rig I could do things like Elephant Hill (a 4 rating) but wouldn't want to do much above that. For what the ratings mean, check out Trail Ratings. For an idea of what you might encounter driving on any specific trail, check out Trail List. By clicking on a given trail, you'll go to a page with a description and pictures showing some of what you'll encounter. That being said, once we went to the 2006 4Runner, I had to give up on any trail rated a 4. Simply not enough clearance without upgrading suspension and tire size. Besides, we've decided we really like to mountain bike these places rather than drive them anymore. Do make sure you have reservations for camping during Jeep Safari Week and plan for big crowds everywhere you go, whether it's to the grocery store, restaurants or the gas station.
4runnerguy 03/01/20 09:06am Roads and Routes
RE: Glacier National Park Info

Many of the CG's within the park are first come, first served. Many Glacier on the east side is a beautiful CG that does take reservations. Currently they have about 1/2 of the sites reservable but by sometime in March the other 1/2 will also be come available. This is a very popular CG that books immediately when the booking window opens. One useful took that is usually available on the NPS website is the Campground Status page. But it has only worked very intermittently for me in the last couple of days. If you can get it to load, you can see when the campgrounds filled on a daily basis going back several years. Hopefully they will get it back on line as it is a very useful asset to plan when you need to arrive at a given campground. And as mentioned above, you'll have to drive on US 2 around the south end of the park to get from one side to the other a one cannot tow over Logan Pass. St. Mary's on the east side goes to first come first served in Mid August, so that might coincide with when you'll be there. Rising Sun is another option on the east side Logan Pass road. Apgar on the west is a big CG with good proximity to the Visitors Center where you can catch the shuttle bus. It is worth staying on both sides of the park as they are quite different. West side (the wetter side) has more forests further up the mountain while the east side is more rugged. If you are going during the summer months, yes it will be busy. Not Yellowstone busy, but there is far less parking so one has to plan accordingly. If you are hikers, use of the shuttle system will get you to most of the trailheads. Using the shuttle one can plan loop hikes. But popular routes can mean quite a queue when you get to the bus stop at the end of your hike. We had to wait 45 minutes when we took the Highline Trail down to the Loop bus stop. As noted, if you want to park at Logan Pass, plan to get there at 7:00 a.m.
4runnerguy 02/27/20 09:48am RV Parks, Campgrounds and Attractions
RE: Grand Lake, CO from the west

so Yes Ken Knows Colorado well!As a Colorado native I was hauled to the mountains from a very young age. Once I got my own drivers license, the money I earned went into two things: music albums and gasoline to head to the hills. Been doing it ever since, first in standard automobiles and eventually 4x4 pickups (and of course 4Runners!). Moving to the west slope over a dozen years ago allowed us to explore even more obscure places in the Colorado mountains.
4runnerguy 02/26/20 09:29am Roads and Routes
RE: Grand Lake, CO from the west

Black Canyon to Grand Lake: The route with the easiest grades would be US 50 east to Grand Junction, then catch I-70 and head east to CO 131 at Walcott. North on CO 131 to just over the Colorado River at State Bridge and then head east on the Trough Road (CR 1) which parallels the Colorado River for part of its length. The Trough Road is a well maintained graded road that they put magchloride on to keep it smooth and the dust down. This joins CO 9 just south of Kremmling. From there it's east on US 40 etc. If it's dry weather, the Trough Road is the route we (and other locals) take to Grand Lake from Glenwood Springs. If it's rainy, magchloride makes the road kind of slippery so we head north to Toponas and take CO 134 east over Gore Pass to US 40, then take a right to Granby, etc. Gore Pass is just over 9500' so a pretty easy pass. For a little more scenic variation on this route, take CO 92 out of Delta to CO 133 and over McClure Pass and on through Carbondale. Then north on CO 82 to Glenwood Springs, I-70, etc. The drive along the Crystal River is one of the most amazingly scenic routes in this state esp. up by Marble and Redstone. Leaving Grand Lake: I think the hardest thing about going over Trail Ridge Road is dealing with all the traffic. Lots of people sightseeing = slow going. Heading south over Berthoud Pass means heading into Denver from Empire on a very busy stretch of I-70. Not a difficult drive but for the traffic. CO 14 over Cameron Pass and down the Poudre is indeed scenic but can also be quite busy esp. on weekends. If you don't mind the extra time, the route up CO 125/127 to WY 230 is an excellent option.
4runnerguy 02/24/20 10:26pm Roads and Routes
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