Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
 
Old 05-18-2015, 06:11 PM   #1
4 Rivet Member
 
westcoastas's Avatar
 
2005 28' Safari
formerly of Tustin, Huntington Beach, Dana Point, and Laguna Beach , California
Join Date: Aug 2014
Posts: 278
Blog Entries: 1
Dry camping (sort of) The Silver Thread

Leaving the Great Sand Dunes National Park and its wonderful Pinyon Flats campground wasnít easy but we headed west towards Durango and an alpine climate. We were interested in camping near the smaller towns - South Fork, Creede, and Lake City. I advise those that are looking for dry camping spots stop in at the brand new BLM office in Monte Vista.

We drove along Highway 160 to South Fork and through its one big intersection - the Silver Thread route along the Rio Grande River to the mining town Creede and Lake City beyond that. We noticed a library, a laundromat, a grocery store that sold propane, and a post office in town so we thought we were set if we could find a spot. We were worried the campgrounds were still all closed until Memorial Day but we tried Beaver Creek campground. The turnoff to Beaver Creek CG is about a mile out of town and five miles off Hwy 160. When we arrived at the campground we noticed a gate that closed off the main loop but there was a small loop outside it with six sites. There was one camper already there and when we asked him if he was the camp host, he said yes but that we could stay in the accessible loop and since there werenít any envelopes available yet, we could stay for free. We backed our Airstream into the furthest site away and the best one, we thought, since it was up the hill from rushing Beaver Creek. When we opened our windows and door, we could hear the creek and later saw four deer out our kitchen windowÖ all this for free. You canít beat that! Four days later, the camp host and his coach left without a word and we had the campground loop all to ourselves.

The campgroundís water pump was still closed off so we had to get our water from the Rainbow Grocery store in town - itís the only one. Thereís a nice little library with free wi-fi but we later found our favorite spot, Feeliní Good Coffee and Cafe at the other end of the intersection along the Silver Thread. The owners Dee and Blair are good people - mother and daughter - and serve good food with free wi-fi. Deeís husband Paul is a local builder and can be seen almost every day at lunch, enjoying his good fortune. We learned a lot of Texans and Oklahomans have nice homes along the Rio Grande and South Fork Rivers and usually occupy them for summer come Memorial Day. We were happy to have our little mobile home right near a creek and within walking distance of South Fork River.

We took a drive up the Silver Thread Highway to visit Creede and Lake City. About 8 miles out of South Fork we saw another campground, Palisades; it was also open but totally unoccupied and right on the bank of the Rio Grande. The Rio Grande had been our traveling partner for the good part of the last month since we took up with it on our way to Santa Fe from the south. Here along the Silver Thread the grandeur of the Rio Grande came into full display with a broad and lush green river valley, dotted with homes, ranches, and a few head of cattle here and there. If I had a lot of money, I could easily put it to good use by buying some big property here in this area. And since I donít have a lot of money, I could still see ourselves living in a small house in this river valley - itís a piece of heaven.

Creede is a great little mining town with a lot of historical character still in place. Creede has a few good eateries; we enjoyed a varied menu at Kip's Grill and a good cup of joe at Coffee On The Fly. There are a few fly fishing outfitters/stores in town along with a pretty good outdoor/hiking supply store. For the size of the town, it has a great grocery store, Kentucky Belle Market, thatís pretty well stocked. You can get free drinking water at the Visitor Center and they can point you to a free sewer dump at the edge of town - what more can you ask for? There are mines to visit and a great 4WD loop, Bachelors Loop, that circles above the town and offers great vistas of the river valley. We scouted out some forest roads outside of town that also led to spots above town but were a bit sketchy in spots for our 28-footer. Later, we found we could access those same unbelievable dry camping spots off Bachelors Loop. We couldnít get our trailer up there at the time due to tricky rain and snow events that worried us about getting up and down. If we had been able to, we would have had the whole mountain side to ourselves along with a few empty winter homes. The two sites we found were Julie Andrews and ďÖthe hills are alive with the sound of musicĒ kind of sceneryÖ but then Iím dating myself.

Lake City isnít too much of a destination spot, in my opinion, but it does have a very old main street with shops, museums, and your typical cafes and saloons. Still, the portion of the Silver Thread between Creede and Lake City is breathtaking but would be a chore for your tow vehicle getting up and over a pass of about 11,500 feet. There are abundant National Forest campgrounds but we found some forest roads that led to more great dry camping opportunities. We were lucky enough to observe two moose and a few small herds of elk along the way and the surprising Clear Creek Falls - a gorge cut into an innocent looking mountain meadow, leaving quite a spectacular drop. At the crest of the highway, thereís a great observation point that looks out at the San Juan mountains. While we were up there, the air rushed through the aspens like a freight train and for a minute there I could have sworn I was listening to the ocean waves back when we lived in southern California. I do miss the sun and ocean but Iíd take the mountain air and trees.

We could have moved to one of the other scouted spots and stayed for free but we decided to stay in our abandoned campground and did so for just short of three weeks. I knew we were supposed to stay only 14 days but there wasnít anyone else in line or a ranger to shoo us away, so we figured we were okay. Yes, we were only six miles away from town but we again had that feeling of solitude we treasure so much. The months of April and May in Colorado offer that and more.

Photos: Beaver Creek Campground and South Fork River
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	DSC02928.jpg
Views:	119
Size:	487.8 KB
ID:	238686   Click image for larger version

Name:	DSC02927.jpg
Views:	107
Size:	607.3 KB
ID:	238687  

Click image for larger version

Name:	DSC02970.jpg
Views:	110
Size:	273.4 KB
ID:	238689   Click image for larger version

Name:	DSC02981.jpg
Views:	107
Size:	469.3 KB
ID:	238690  

Click image for larger version

Name:	DSC03109.jpg
Views:	108
Size:	83.9 KB
ID:	238691   Click image for larger version

Name:	DSC03117.jpg
Views:	100
Size:	433.2 KB
ID:	238692  

Click image for larger version

Name:	DSC02995.jpg
Views:	107
Size:	361.5 KB
ID:	238693  
__________________

__________________
westcoastas is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-18-2015, 06:21 PM   #2
4 Rivet Member
 
westcoastas's Avatar
 
2005 28' Safari
formerly of Tustin, Huntington Beach, Dana Point, and Laguna Beach , California
Join Date: Aug 2014
Posts: 278
Blog Entries: 1
Creede and The Silver Thread...
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	DSC03013.jpg
Views:	107
Size:	307.6 KB
ID:	238695   Click image for larger version

Name:	DSC03014.jpg
Views:	102
Size:	248.7 KB
ID:	238696  

Click image for larger version

Name:	DSC03016.jpg
Views:	101
Size:	103.9 KB
ID:	238697   Click image for larger version

Name:	DSC03022.jpg
Views:	104
Size:	224.1 KB
ID:	238698  

Click image for larger version

Name:	DSC03026.jpg
Views:	97
Size:	113.2 KB
ID:	238701   Click image for larger version

Name:	DSC03037.jpg
Views:	99
Size:	137.6 KB
ID:	238702  

Click image for larger version

Name:	DSC03051.jpg
Views:	107
Size:	395.0 KB
ID:	238703   Click image for larger version

Name:	DSC03065.jpg
Views:	107
Size:	173.6 KB
ID:	238704  

Click image for larger version

Name:	DSC03072.jpg
Views:	100
Size:	224.1 KB
ID:	238705   Click image for larger version

Name:	DSC03075.jpg
Views:	100
Size:	285.6 KB
ID:	238706  

__________________

__________________
westcoastas is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-18-2015, 06:25 PM   #3
4 Rivet Member
 
westcoastas's Avatar
 
2005 28' Safari
formerly of Tustin, Huntington Beach, Dana Point, and Laguna Beach , California
Join Date: Aug 2014
Posts: 278
Blog Entries: 1
And a few more...
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	DSC03079.jpg
Views:	97
Size:	90.5 KB
ID:	238707   Click image for larger version

Name:	DSC03090.jpg
Views:	102
Size:	142.1 KB
ID:	238708  

Click image for larger version

Name:	DSC03094.jpg
Views:	94
Size:	153.0 KB
ID:	238709   Click image for larger version

Name:	DSC03095.jpg
Views:	94
Size:	347.7 KB
ID:	238710  

__________________
westcoastas is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-18-2015, 06:53 PM   #4
Rivet Master
 
Lily&Me's Avatar

 
2006 22' Interstate
Normal , Illinois
Join Date: Jan 2009
Posts: 13,563
Ahhh, the good life.


Maggie
__________________
🏡 🚐 Cherish and appreciate those you love. This moment could be your last.🌹🐚❤️
Lily&Me is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-18-2015, 07:51 PM   #5
2 Rivet Member
 
2014 30' FB FC Bunk
Golden , Colorado
Join Date: Apr 2015
Posts: 35
I grew up in this area! Up the hill across from the Ute Bluff hotel on the other edge of town. I have spent a tremendous amount of time in the Beaver Creek area - one of my old mountain bike trails came directly down the hill on the south side into the CG you stayed at.. very steep trail

Glad you had fun, it is truly a beautiful area!
__________________
bbdo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-18-2015, 08:04 PM   #6
Full Time Adventurer
 
BoldAdventure's Avatar
 
2007 27' International CCD FB
Nomadic , USA
Join Date: Jul 2013
Posts: 2,743
We'll be out there this summer. Looks beautiful. Great write up.
__________________
Family of 4 living, working & exploring the USA in our Airstream.
OUR BLOG | FACEBOOK | INSTAGRAM
BoldAdventure is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-18-2015, 10:10 PM   #7
4 Rivet Member
 
westcoastas's Avatar
 
2005 28' Safari
formerly of Tustin, Huntington Beach, Dana Point, and Laguna Beach , California
Join Date: Aug 2014
Posts: 278
Blog Entries: 1
bbdo, you are one lucky person to have grown up near South Fork. Beaver Creek reservoir was under reconstruction and so the creek was a bit low. I didn't climb above Million Reservoir but could see the devastation of the fire a few years ago. We have hopefully many more years to explore and find the "perfect" town to settle down in and South Fork and Creede are the first ones on my list, although I'm worried about how South Fork will be affected by the expanding Wolf Creek ski resort - probably will be out of our reach in a few years dollar wise.

Bold Adventure - if you're going to be in the area during the summer and can't find a campground site, go to Creede and take the Bachelor Loop from the SW end of town and take the spur roads for some National Forest sites with established fire rings up the mountain slopes. It's a 10 minute drive back to town on a very good gravel road for water and a free sewage dump, although I'm not sure if someone in Creede sells propane; Rainbow Grocery in South Fork does for sure. Free wi-fi in the coffee shop and Kip's Grill.
__________________
westcoastas is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-19-2015, 12:23 PM   #8
Refugee from Napa, CA
 
Photobum's Avatar
 
2015 25' FB Flying Cloud
Madison , South Dakota
Join Date: Apr 2014
Posts: 502
Images: 5
Blog Entries: 1
wonderful post.....
__________________
www.vincentgoetz.com
Photobum is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-19-2015, 12:59 PM   #9
Rivet Master
 
KJRitchie's Avatar

 
2008 25' Classic
Wichita Falls , Texas
Join Date: Nov 2012
Posts: 4,218
Years ago we visited the area when our daughter was an infant. Mom and Dad had a Dolphin micro-mini motorhome and we towed a pop up. We stayed at Fun Valley family resort not far from Beaver Creek. Loved the area and would like to go back with our Airstream to re-live some memories with dad. Dad and I would hike downstream from Fun Valley to fly fish the South Fork Rio Grande. Dad is gone and mom has dementia and doesn't remember their trips. Mom and Dad used to square dance when visiting Fun Valley. Good times back then.

Kelvin
__________________
KJRitchie is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-19-2015, 01:01 PM   #10
Rivet Master
 
KJRitchie's Avatar

 
2008 25' Classic
Wichita Falls , Texas
Join Date: Nov 2012
Posts: 4,218
Is 4 wheel drive advisable on those roads shown in your photos? My Tundra is only 2x4.

Kelvin
__________________
KJRitchie is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-19-2015, 02:51 PM   #11
4 Rivet Member
 
westcoastas's Avatar
 
2005 28' Safari
formerly of Tustin, Huntington Beach, Dana Point, and Laguna Beach , California
Join Date: Aug 2014
Posts: 278
Blog Entries: 1
We did see fly fishermen on the South Fork and Rio Grande and felt it was definitely ramping up - saw a few guided rafts too. We're simple bait fishermen but hope to rectify that someday by learning how to really fish. (Note: I've read the great Norman Maclean's "A River Runs Through It" and still hope to get to heaven despite my using bait.) I can't imagine a more idyllic setting for childhood memories than this area. My happiest memories of my father are those when we were fishing in the California Sierras.

Kelvin, 2WD is fine if they are dry; I couldn't get up them even with 4WD if they're wet. The fourth to the last photo is off the National Forest road past the Clear Creek Falls campground; it starts off wide and then gets narrow as it winds down into the trees but is fine with 2WD and then opens up to this wide meadow where you can easily turn around. You'll see a Forest sign in the meadow telling you not to drive any further but I found a fire ring and evidence of previous campers short of the sign to the left. The second and third to the last photos are off the Bachelor Loop and this road is a very nice and wide gravel road that's hard packed and probably a 3-4% incline but no problem going up or down with 2WD. If you park and get a summer rain, then you may have to wait a day to move off the grassy spots but the I took those photos a day after a decent spot of rain and the roads were fine. I can't wait to go back and try those spots. The local shopkeeper in Creede said these spots have a good chance of being available even in summer. Who knows, maybe we'll cross paths up there!
__________________
westcoastas is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-19-2015, 07:28 PM   #12
4 Rivet Member

 
2015 25' FB Flying Cloud
Eugene , Oregon
Join Date: Dec 2014
Posts: 290
Westcoastas,
A wonderful post! Thanks so much for sharing.
__________________
Meeks is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-19-2015, 09:15 PM   #13
1 Rivet Member
 
2013 25' Flying Cloud
Vian , Oklahoma
Join Date: Apr 2015
Posts: 17
We've enjoyed the Hinsdale county camping area to the east of Lake San Cristibol, south of Lake City. Some sites are up on the edge of a bluff overlooking the lake. No hookups, but water and a dump are available. By Hy 149 from the north it's an easy drive from Hy. 50. But you are right about the pass between Creede and Lake City.
__________________
Okie 1 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-20-2015, 09:47 PM   #14
'78 Sovereign
 
1978 31' Sovereign
Santa Rosa Beach , Florida
Join Date: Jan 2015
Posts: 25
We went to Santa Fe a few years ago and drove along the Rio Grande a while while traveling to some of the places Kit Carson lived. It is beautiful country. Thanks for your post. Especially the photos.
__________________

__________________
frankrightbrain is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
How do I get power to the trailer when dry camping? IrishRover2 Generators & Solar Power 30 01-25-2007 06:09 PM
Dry Camping with an Airstream redeagle313 2005 Safari 62 01-03-2007 11:46 AM
dry camping toilet solution help needed wheel interested Our Community 2 12-26-2004 11:56 AM
Noise dry camping ChrisAich 2002 - 2005 International 24 07-28-2003 07:58 AM
Dry camping Tripp On The Road... 2 01-09-2003 04:15 PM


Virginia Campgrounds

Reviews provided by




Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 11:14 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.

Airstream is a registered trademark of Airstream Inc. All rights reserved. Airstream trademark used under license to Social Knowledge LLC.