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Old 03-07-2008, 01:57 PM   #43
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The North/South hwy out of Boise can be slow and congested. That said, that's where the scenery and hot springs are.

If you go east from Boise into Yellowstone you may want to consider the Bear Tooth hwy just north of Cody just over the Montana border. It's a very cool drive, without the trailer, and plenty of places to stop for the views. For a good deal of the drive you are above the treeline. In July there will still be snow on the ground and Alpine flowers. Should you continue east from Cody, check the hwy's for grades. Some of them are 10% grades up & down, and run for quite awhile.

Just north west of Alberquerque is Chaco Canyon. Very scenic, and has pueblo ruins. Tours into the canyon are very informative.

Have a great time wherever you go.

________Tom
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Old 03-07-2008, 10:43 PM   #44
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Rodney,

There are 3 ways to go from central NM to Grand Junction/Montrose area. One way is from Durango to Ouray—US 550. It's got a lot of switchbacks in places (Red Mountain Pass for example) and can be pretty narrow. Coming into Ouray is also narrow and winding. Spectacular though.

You could go from Cortes to Dolores to Telluride to Ridgway to Montrose. It's an easier drive. The state park just north of Ridgway (yes, it's spelled that way) is quite nice. To get to Cortes you take 160 from wherever you hit it—perhaps from Chama, NM.

A 3rd way is to go to Del Norte to Lake City over Slumgullion Pass—another beautiful pass—and then up to Blue Mesa Res. and US 50. Go west and pick up Colo. 92 at the Res. dam and drive 40 mostly winding miles along the north side of the Black Canyon (not much traffic) to camp at Crawford State Park. The road along the canyon rim is beautiful and pretty much unknown to most people. I've driven it so many times it's become tedious to me, but it really is quite beautiful. If you come for Pioneer Days in early June—I think it's the 2nd weekend, Saturday night you can watch fireworks over the res. (I can see them from my house, but we usually go down to the lake; maybe we'll visit you). From Crawford, you can go to Paonia and then north over McClure Pass (Colo. 133) to Glenwood and soak in the somewhat crowded hot springs. Oh, a 4th way—from Taos go to Alamosa, Monte Vista, Saguache and then west over North Cochetopa Pass (Colo. 114) to US 50 east of Gunnison. That's probably the fastest way north. From Gunnison you can go to Montrose and Grand Junction or Crawford. I forget the highway numbers because I've been on these roads so many times.

There are a lot of hot springs. There's Valley View in the north end of San Luis Valley—clothing optional and closed to public on weekends (they have a website). A long hlke into the forest east of Pagosa Springs and part way up the pass is Rainbow hot springs. Very nice, kind of small, but have to wait to mid summer because the river will be too high to cross. There is a hot springs book for Colorado and the west to check on all the remote and other ones.

The others are right—lots of snow this year and many FS campgrounds will be inaccessible until July. They are closing down a lot of them here since they're spending all the FS money on helping the oil and gas companies drill everywhere they want regardless of the consequences. The Colorado state parks all (I think) have full hook ups.

A few other things: The hot springs along the Rio Grande near Taos—the one near Arroyo Hondo on the east side sometimes is flooded by the river. There's one near a bridge on the west side, but very small and public. A lot of the funky ones hidden away have been commercialized or are crowded now. One of my favorites years ago (1970's) was Conundrum, an 8 mile hike up to 11,000' southwest of Aspen, but by the late '80's was highly regulated with a FS ranger being annoying—but how seriously can you take a naked ranger in 104˚ water?

The Going to the Sun Highway at Glacier NP is closed to trailers. The glaciers are disappearing too. Waterton NP in Alberta was more beautiful I thought.

A strange place in Idaho is the Craters of the Moon NM—west of I 15 and NW of Pocatello. You can walk through a lava tube. Somewhere around there (along I 15) is a potato museum, but it was closed when we went by. I think you mentioned Virginia City, Montana. Funky old mining town. We spent a week in Yellowstone in May, '06 to celebrate 20 years together. The 20 years and Yellowstone were well worth it. I think we could have spent more time, but we didn't have a trailer and the lodging is expensive. I would have liked to spend more time in the Lamar Valley.

That's all I can think of now.

Gene
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Old 03-09-2008, 11:07 AM   #45
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El Porvenir Campground (Santa Fe NF)

Anyone familiar with El Porvenir campground in the mountains up above Las Vegas NM? All the information I have on it is from the National Forest website. Anyone camped there? The attraction in the area is the Montezuma hot springs which are pretty nice and this campground looks to be right there.

Or the E.V. Long Campground in the same area.
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Old 03-09-2008, 11:56 AM   #46
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NM 434 Mora to Angel Fire?

While in NM I am thinking about entering the mountains above Las Vegas at Montezuma then to Mora by 518 and then onward to Angle Fire via NM 434. Anyone know these roads well enough to comment? Is there good boondocking in the area?
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Old 03-09-2008, 12:16 PM   #47
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gen Disarray
Anyone familiar with El Porvenir campground in the mountains up above Las Vegas NM? All the information I have on it is from the National Forest website. Anyone camped there? The attraction in the area is the Montezuma hot springs which are pretty nice and this campground looks to be right there.

Or the E.V. Long Campground in the same area.
Rodney
I went to church camp at El Porvenir Church Camp several summers long,long ago..., IT's been probably 7 -8 years since I was at the FS Campground, , The way I remember it is it's small and heavly wooded, like the picgture shows... There is a trail head to Hermits Peak. Great views from the Peak. I haven't been to the Hot Springs.
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Old 03-09-2008, 12:19 PM   #48
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That's very pretty area down there! My only experience with boondocking down there has been second-hand with hunters in the fall, who camp in the forest so that they can be closer in to the open hunting areas.

The roads aren't too bad, but nothing to brag about. Highway 518 from Las Vegas into Mora is a nice, big two-lane highway, so absolutely nothing to say there. From Mora, you'd drive 434 upwards toward the Moreno Valley (Angel Fire, Eagle Nest, etc.); there's about a six-mile stretch during which the paved highway is not wide enough to handle a center stripe, so there is none. It's not terribly difficult to negotiate on-coming traffic, but you do have to watch. (A judge from Los Alamos came up here with his travel trailer via 424 several years ago. He wasn't paying close enough attention and wound up leaving his TT's back bumper around a tree.)

In any event, it is important NOT to try to come up to the valley via state road 120. The beginning stretches on both ends of 120 are just fine, but the middle stretch is a smaller gravel (sometimes dirt) road of weather-dependent questionable condition; there are signs at both ends indicating that the road is not maintained as a priority during bad weather. Even under the best of conditions, you would expect a slow, bumpy ride on 120.


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Old 03-09-2008, 12:54 PM   #49
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gen Disarray
While in NM I am thinking about entering the mountains above Las Vegas at Montezuma then to Mora by 518 and then onward to Angle Fire via NM 434. Anyone know these roads well enough to comment? Is there good boondocking in the area?
According to my Carson FS map all the land between Mora and Angel Fire is Mora Land Grant and private.... Between Mora and Taos is Natl Forest there are alot of boondocking sites along the hiway and canyons near the village of Tres Ritos(about half way between Mora and Taos).

Between Angel Fire and Taos is Nalt Forest,,,, Lynn could tell you better on that.

The state of NM has purchased Eagles Nest Lake and it is now a State Park,, just north of Angel Fire.. You already know about Philmont and the Cimmaron Canyon State Park..
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Old 03-09-2008, 01:50 PM   #50
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Don is right: The area between Angel Fire and Mora right along the highway is private. However, there are a couple of fair forest roads leading off of 434 towards the west near Angel Fire, access to Carson National Forest.

Down near Mora and south is Santa Fe National Forest country. (There's also a primitive-only state park down there, too, but I haven't been there.)

Between Mora and Taos via Hwy 518 (a good road) is also Carson National Forest country. Same applies for the road from Angel Fire into Taos (US Hwy 64). There are a couple of national forest campgrounds closer down to Taos, though they're pretty close to the highway.

Directly to our east is a lot of private property: The CS Ranch (a couple hundred thousand acres) owns most of it; much of the rest is Philmont country or Vermejo Park (one of Ted Turner's ranches).

The state owns and operates both the Vietnam Vets Memorial (Angel Fire) and Eagle Nest Lake as state parks; no RV camping at either location. However, there are campgrounds for RVs in the Cimarron Canyon down below Eagle Nest (also a state park).

The most stunningly beautiful area, though, is up at the Valle Vidal. Fairly primitive roads leading in from the NW (north of Red River) and from the SE (close to Cimarron), and primitive camping is permitted. THe area is located to the north of the Cimarron, Eagle Nest, Red River axis.

Probably your very best source for info on the pubic areas is from the detailed national forest maps for the Carson National Forest (for Carson and for Valle Vidal) and for the the Santa Fe National Forest.


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Old 03-09-2008, 02:02 PM   #51
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Man, what great information, many thanks! I'm leaning heavily toward cutting up from LV then once I hit 64 cutting into the Valle Vidal for a bit. All this feed back really helps with the planning
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Old 03-09-2008, 02:09 PM   #52
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Humm. THe problem is that the Valle Vidal access routes are kind of out of the way from the route up from Las Vegas via 434 to the Moreno Valley and Hwy 64.

Two alternatives:

1. From Las Vegas, go to Mora and then directly on to Taos, skipping Hwy 434. At Taos, you go north to the NW access to the Valle Vidal.

2. From Las Vegas, head on up the interstate to just beyond Springer, where you cut west and follow the state highway directly into Cimarron. Near Cimarron, you use the SE access route into Valle Vidal.


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Old 03-09-2008, 02:45 PM   #53
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eubank
Humm. THe problem is that the Valle Vidal access routes are kind of out of the way from the route up from Las Vegas via 434 to the Moreno Valley and Hwy 64.

Two alternatives:

1. From Las Vegas, go to Mora and then directly on to Taos, skipping Hwy 434. At Taos, you go north to the NW access to the Valle Vidal.

2. From Las Vegas, head on up the interstate to just beyond Springer, where you cut west and follow the state highway directly into Cimarron. Near Cimarron, you use the SE access route into Valle Vidal.


Lynn
I have been up the cimarron enterance many times, but never up the red river side. The Mc Crystal CG area has typically been my destination. I remember it as a long long long gravel road.
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Old 03-09-2008, 04:02 PM   #54
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Quote:
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I have been up the cimarron enterance many times, but never up the red river side. The Mc Crystal CG area has typically been my destination. I remember it as a long long long gravel road.
Yes, but a long gravel road is worth it if the Valle Vidal is at the end of that road! Here's a little map:



As you can see from the map, the NW entrance is up by Costilla, where you turn to the SE, going through Amalia and into the preserve.

For those who don't know the area, here's a link to a bunch of pics:

Yahoo! Image Search Results for valle vidal

BTW, the map above shows a little road going off to the left just north of Questa. That's the road to the Wild Rivers Rec Area, also worth a trip!


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Old 03-09-2008, 08:30 PM   #55
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Looks like a nice trip Rodney. If you have a GPS, you can find all the hot springs using coordinates from sites like this:

Thermal Springs List for the United States

I have done a lot of backpacking in the Bridger Wilderness Area around Pinedale Wyoming. There is a 23 mile dirt/gravel road leading to the Green river lakes trail head and campground. It pretty much follows the green river to the lakes, but if I remember right, a lot of wash boarding if they have not grated it recently. I believe you can boon dock anywhere along that 23 mile stretch where you can pull off the road. You should double check me on this, but I camped off this road many times. There are Cutthroat trout in the river; the area is wide-open and quite remote. Elevation is about 8000 feet. Here is some info I found on the road.

The first road portion is paved highway. The last 23 miles are gravel and slow speeds are necessary. The road typically opens sometime in June after the snow melts and the roadbed dries out and firms up. The Campground is typically open mid-June to mid-September. In drier years, the campground may open as early as the beginning of June. Access depends on weather conditions for the road and campground/trailhead/boat launch area. The nearest full-service community is Pinedale, 52 miles south of the campground. The Pinedale Ranger District recommends calling them for current conditions at 307-367-4326. Maps and information are available at sporting goods stores in Pinedale.

Enjoy your adventure
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Old 03-09-2008, 10:15 PM   #56
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the landlocked summer tour?

where is the oregon/pnw coastal leg?

u r missing something special...

cheers
2air'
Where would you suggest for a 1st timer?
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