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Old 03-25-2008, 10:32 PM   #1
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Southern Colorado Boondocking

Hi everyone,

I thought I'd write and see what suggestions you may have on boondocking in souther Colorado. My wife and I are planning a trip to the Telluride, Durango, Pagosa Springs area in May and were wondering if anyone has any suggestions as to good places to go. We have a 2006 Bambi 19 foot and so our water will be limited. We don't really like campgrounds but it would be nice to be able to dump our tanks and get water.

I'm not sure what the Colorado laws are concerning going down some dirt road and setting up camp. There are probably some big issues with land owners. Maybe state and nationsl forests are the best bet. It would also be nice to do a little fly fishing too.

I'd appreciate any thoughts anyone may have.

Thanks Flyguy
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Old 03-26-2008, 10:16 PM   #2
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One of the spots we frequent in SW Colorado is the free Forest Service camping spot 2 miles N. of Silverton (about 50 mls. N. of Durango) on the Mineral Creek F.S. Rd. There is a camping area to the left almost immediately after you turn off the Hwy. onto the F.S. road, and another area about 3 miles up the road, also on the left. It has a vault toilet and is along a creek (no other amenities!). There is also a pay F.S. CG at the end of the Mineral Creek Rd. (about 5 miles in) with water and flush toilets. It is a gorgeous area with easy access to the historic town of Silverton.

There are a lot of areas for open camping on Forest Service land throughout Colorado, though some great spots are not very accessible with a trailer (many are, though!).
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Old 03-26-2008, 10:46 PM   #3
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boondocking in southern Colorado

Hi flyguy,
We have boondocked right at the top of Lizardhead Pass on Hwy 145 about 12 miles south of Telluride. Easy highway access to a large grassy meadow on the east side of the hwy with nice mtn. views. There is a fishing lake about 1 mile north and a developed forest service campground about 2 miles north that has water and sewer sites.

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Originally Posted by flyguy
Hi everyone,

I thought I'd write and see what suggestions you may have on boondocking in souther Colorado. My wife and I are planning a trip to the Telluride, Durango, Pagosa Springs area in May and were wondering if anyone has any suggestions as to good places to go. We have a 2006 Bambi 19 foot and so our water will be limited. We don't really like campgrounds but it would be nice to be able to dump our tanks and get water.

I'm not sure what the Colorado laws are concerning going down some dirt road and setting up camp. There are probably some big issues with land owners. Maybe state and nationsl forests are the best bet. It would also be nice to do a little fly fishing too.

I'd appreciate any thoughts anyone may have.

Thanks Flyguy
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Old 03-27-2008, 12:45 AM   #4
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South Mineral

May is kind an "iffy" time. You might check to make sure that their access is open. Silverton got a record amount of snow this year. Does anyone know? We're still in Quartzsite.

Also, you don't want to be "slip-slidin" on the road into Silverton.

Tracy
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Old 03-27-2008, 08:40 AM   #5
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Hi Flyguy, I think we are in the same boat on this one. I am planning on being in that area at about the same time wanting to boondock, fly fish, and do some landscape photography. I have heard what scapirony has told you over and over, and I suspect that many of the places I had envisioned camping will still be snow packed. On the other hand, snow peaked mountains are always nice to look at...... A bunch of the folks with local knowledge have been nice enough to comment on boondocking in that area in my summer 2008 trip planning thread so you might want to see what they have to say. Maybe we will bump into each other out there on the road.
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Old 03-27-2008, 09:21 AM   #6
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I just spoke with Barbra at the San Juan NF office in Durango (970-247-1257). I specifically asked about boondocking (dispersed camping in NF terms) and the rule there is 150 ft from streams and trails is OK unless otherwise posted. Of course, she reiterated the need to adhere to no trace procedures.
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Old 03-27-2008, 09:58 AM   #7
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Airstream25 is describing the southern edge of Trout Lake, just south of Matterhorn FS campground, 10 miles south of Telluride.........
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Old 03-27-2008, 10:46 AM   #8
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Woods Lake west of Telluride is really worth the visit. One of the most scenic national forest campgrounds we've been to.
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Old 03-27-2008, 11:48 AM   #9
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There are also boondock areas around Silverton that are probably not on the map...the former site of the ghost town of Eureka comes to mind, as does Minnie and Maggie gulches, Red Mountain areas, and the State Parks are worth the added expense(Ridgway, Colorado River Parks<Fruita, Grand Junction>)...nice areas to hike, fish, and do nothing but enjoy...
mike
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Old 03-27-2008, 08:28 PM   #10
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There is a BLM office in Durango that can give you info on campgrounds and boondocking areas on BLM lands. Some have fees others areas do not. There are some nice areas in LaPlata Canyon, Lake Vallecito, Lake Lemon and along 160 to Pagosa. ScrapIron's right. It may be a long melt into May/June at altitude for places like Molas Lake, Telluride and places North.
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Old 04-06-2008, 06:35 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mojo
There is a BLM office in Durango that can give you info on campgrounds and boondocking areas on BLM lands. Some have fees others areas do not. There are some nice areas in LaPlata Canyon, Lake Vallecito, Lake Lemon and along 160 to Pagosa. ScrapIron's right. It may be a long melt into May/June at altitude for places like Molas Lake, Telluride and places North.
ScrapIron is right on the money. Record snow fall in the San Juans. Silverton & Wolf Creek got dumped on last week. The BLM & Forest Service offices are one of the same (San Juan Public Lands Center, 15 Burnett Ct, Durango, CO 81301 #970-385-1298). All forest service roads are closed on both the San Juan and Rio Grande Forest. The forest service road crews will start working BLM roads west of Dolores within the next two weeks. Road openings are based on existing conditions and the impact of motorized vehicles. Until then, gates are closed! If you have flexibilty in your travel plans, I would not suggest this area for May or early June (espically boondocking). To put things in perspective, my lawn mower is still stored and my snowblower ready to go.
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Old 04-06-2008, 06:42 PM   #12
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Yes there is still a TON of snow if Silverton......Yikes! Have you been reading about Cascade Village at all? There snow plowing bill this year was $300,000. Yow - they are proposing a $2200 assessment for each owner - to think I was thinking about buying one of their condos - sure glad I didn't.

Are you prepping for your big appearance at balloon fiesta? Have not heard from you in a while, so I figured you were practicing/training and working out for your big event.

Ken J.
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Old 04-06-2008, 06:47 PM   #13
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Michael

Yes there is still a TON of snow if Silverton......Yikes! Have you been reading about Cascade Village at all? There snow plowing bill this year was $300,000. Yow - they are proposing a $2200 assessment for each owner - to think I was thinking about buying one of their condos - sure glad I didn't.

Are you prepping for your big appearance at balloon fiesta? Have not heard from you in a while, so I figured you were practicing/training and working out for your big event.

Ken J.
Your careful consideration paid off Ken, prices are down & assessments are up. What a combination!
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Old 04-06-2008, 06:54 PM   #14
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Pagosa Springs

Quote:
Originally Posted by flyguy
Hi everyone,

I thought I'd write and see what suggestions you may have on boondocking in souther Colorado. My wife and I are planning a trip to the Telluride, Durango, Pagosa Springs area in May and were wondering if anyone has any suggestions as to good places to go. We have a 2006 Bambi 19 foot and so our water will be limited. We don't really like campgrounds but it would be nice to be able to dump our tanks and get water.

I'm not sure what the Colorado laws are concerning going down some dirt road and setting up camp. There are probably some big issues with land owners. Maybe state and nationsl forests are the best bet. It would also be nice to do a little fly fishing too.

I'd appreciate any thoughts anyone may have.

Thanks Flyguy
Lots of FS and boondocking areas around PS,,, Take Piedra Rd North out PS to Williams Lake.

There are four FS campgrounds (Bridge, Williams Lake, Teal, Cimmaron) no elec, pit toilets, old pump your own water. Williams Lake is about 20 or so miles North 5 miles of pavement and 15 or so miles on all weather gravel, the raods should be open as there are several ranchers that live up there. Fishing the Piedra river, Williams Creek. I'll be going over next week so will give you an update.
Don
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