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Old 07-18-2021, 05:05 PM   #1
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2021 27' Globetrotter
Malibu , California
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Colorado / Rocky Mountains Boondocking Help

Hi everyone,

I am on a long Coast to Coast and just got to Fort Collins in Colorado. It's my first time to the area but somehow, by being on the road since January, I forgot that now its summertime and everything (Campgrounds, HipCamp, Harvest Host, etc) is fully booked.

I would love to find a few base-camps from where to explore the area (Boulder, Breckenridge, Aspen...), and I was wondering if anyone was so kind to share their secret boon docking locations. I'd love to return the favor for any other State.

Thanks so much,
S

PS: 27F Globetrotter, no lift kit, powerful 4x4 -- and I am from the Alps, so mountain roads don't scare me
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Old 07-18-2021, 05:28 PM   #2
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You will be hard pressed to find real estate this time of year this side of the continental divide.

Looking forward to see what other post.
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Old 07-18-2021, 06:48 PM   #3
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Most of us don’t share favorite boondocking locations on public forums, or soon they are overrun.

There are many small, inexpensive campgrounds in the Rockies outside of the Park, many near rushing mountain rivers.

I like the AllStays app, but whichever one you prefer, find a campground that interests you and then head for it.

Then the next.

My husband and I spent about a month roaming around there some years back, staying a couple of nights at each location, and it was glorious.

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Old 07-18-2021, 07:53 PM   #4
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Not a well executed plan it appears.

Good luck.
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Old 07-18-2021, 08:09 PM   #5
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Anchorage , Alaska
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Not boondocking, but the Boulder County Fairgrounds usually has space. We were just there a few weeks ago and it was maybe a quarter full. They donít do reservations - first come only. Thereís sites with water and power, which most are a bit tight but thereís some nice sites by a lawn area that just have power and were mostly empty when we were there. Power is nice to run the AC when it gets hot.
They have mixed reviews, but we liked them. Itís a great location too.
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Old 07-18-2021, 08:18 PM   #6
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I also liked the Boulder county fairgrounds. Spent a week there. There are campgrounds in Grand Lake that might have a space.
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Old 07-18-2021, 10:45 PM   #7
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There are several private campgrounds near Salida that are nice. There are also some great little campgrounds down near Lake George on recreation.gov, but you won’t find availability on weekends. I checked yesterday and weekdays are pretty open.
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Old 07-19-2021, 09:07 AM   #8
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Courtesy parking in the area would be ideal for your situation. Are you an AS Club member?
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Old 07-19-2021, 09:45 AM   #9
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Mesquite , Nevada
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My travels in Colorado give me the impression that ski resort towns like those you mention strongly discourage boondock camping. There are some small US Forest Service campgrounds scattered in the mountains- first come first serve with no amenities. Often these fill early due to proximity to Denver.
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Old 07-19-2021, 09:45 AM   #10
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Some recommendations... equip yourself with gazetteer/atlas style large format maps (REI, Jaxs etc.) they contain a wealth of info, use them to look for "forest service" campgrounds, when you find one Google it and find what ranger district it's in... then go to the forest service website and there will be lots of info on each campground (reserve or not, elevation, #of sites etc.), will also include which areas/roads are for dispersed camping, this is becoming more tightly controlled in many areas and access is often rugged and way off the beaten trail. It will be very challenging to find anything close (1/2 hr) to any of the major metro areas. Also check the CO state parks, advance reservation 100%, don't even drive into the park but find their reservation phone # and they are very helpful and will set you up right on the phone, Tues or Wed are your best bets, in Colo weekends have been booked for 6 months. Don't even think about Rocky Mtn, haven't been able to get in there for 2 years. You must have a reservation to even access the park, all info on line. Note, many areas are difficult to access with poor roads and lengthy drives, may be worth dropping your trailer and doing some exploring. Would recommend Hwy 285 heading SW out of Denver and Rt 14 following the Poudre river west out of Ft Collins, Perhaps Boyd Lake St Park in Loveland, its within 1/2 hr to 45 min of most of the metro area.
You have to go to know...
Good luck, Mark D
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Old 07-19-2021, 09:53 AM   #11
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Horsetooth Reservoir, west of Ft Collins. Larimer county park.
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Old 07-19-2021, 11:55 AM   #12
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CMHM - welcome to ďGodís CountryĒ. We have been in Colorado for about three weeks and found a Natíl Forest CG, Olive Ridge with no hookups, near Estes Park. Half of the CG is reserved and the other half is first come, first served. The week after 4JUL, many sites were available. Even if you cannot get a reservation to drive into RMNP, there is a neat lake to hike around and a historic church on the road to Estes Park from the CG.

For Coloradoans - when we departed Olive Ridge and headed back to Centennial, we called around for a location to dump our tanks. Camping world suggested Dakota Ridge RV park in Golden. This is a nice RV park and we paid $18 to dump our tanks, and some more $ís to refill one of our propane tanks.

Seems like you would enjoy Ouray a lot and we highly recommend finding a site near there and rent a Jeep and take the 4 wheel drive trails and explore some old gold mining locations. Having been to various mountains in Germany and Sweden, my vote is that Ouray beats them all! You may never return to Malibu with their huge state income taxes and fuel taxes that are nearing $5 per gallon!

Hope you have a great stay in Colorado!
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Old 07-19-2021, 12:18 PM   #13
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Check out "Campendium" website for wealth of information for all types of camping. Make donation if you would like. I use their site all of the time when planning trip or on the road.

Happy Camping
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Old 07-19-2021, 12:18 PM   #14
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All three of the places are overrated and overcrowded. Not to mention super expensive and fake. Try Glenwood Springs, Ouray and Grand Junction (Colorado National Monument). You can boondock at Mud Springs campground. It is 8100 elevation and is a forested BLM campground and very cheap. Also Black Canyon National Park has some inexpensive camping. There is some boondocking sites nearby, but it is too hot this time of year. Have fun!
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Old 07-19-2021, 04:34 PM   #15
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National Forest Campgrounds

Just got back from Colorado Just Camping event in Durango. On the way home, we found open first come first serve sites at Lake Isabel near Rye, CO in San Isabel National Forest for the weekend. Got lucky as we hadnít made our usual reservations for the return trip. Many USFS campgrounds have first come first serve sites mixed in with reservation only sites.
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Old 07-23-2021, 01:45 PM   #16
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Malibu , California
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THANK YOU all, this was very helpful. I am parked at the Boulder County Fairground, this morning it was completely full but it is indeed the best option around Boulder.

I was lucky to sit down with a few fellow mountain guides and I think I have marked every possible dispersed camping spot in Colorado (and happy to share!).

I went horse riding in Red Feather Lakes and found the most gorgeous campground that is not on any app, map etc. as it is part of a ranch and mostly used by hunters. This got me thinking, are there any more like these in Colorado?

Here is a pin to see the type of sites, which are part of the Beaver Meadows Resort Ranch and you book directly with them. Two out of 100 sites were occupied.
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Old 08-07-2021, 12:22 PM   #17
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Twin Lakes just west of Leadville on the way to Aspen makes a good base camp. DO NOT take the trailer over Independence pass to Aspen. It is VERBOTEN due to narrow road and twisty turny switchbacks. Scared the hell out of my GF in ‘76 and we were in a Dodge Colt.
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Old 08-10-2021, 10:06 PM   #18
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Some of the national forest campgrounds have non-reservable spots. Check out apps and national forest and BLM for boondocking. It's really gotten tight here, especially on the weekends. Good luck - there are a lot of great places (we live in Golden and camp a lot with our 25FB). Further away from the Front Range you'll have better luck
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Old 08-11-2021, 08:27 AM   #19
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I cannot believe I am saying this, but I am parked in Aspen at the Maroon Bells campground. There are only 6 spots in two different tiny campgrounds and guess what: the Rangers told me they had enough of the reservation system (and people selling the spots elsewhere) that they converted many of the spots to first come first serve. $15 a night where no house sells for less than $20m, with private access to the creek (yes every site has its own little path to the creek). I got here at 9am and got very lucky, but I hope there is change coming to the “reservation” system.
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