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Old 11-23-2021, 07:49 PM   #1
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Spring Camping suggestions in Colorado

I know we have quite a few Colorado Streamers and I would like your help. My wife and I and two other couples will be spending the last week of April and the first week of May exploring Utah from Kanab to Moab. From Moab, we would like to know where we can expect to find accessible camping areas in Colorado. We have enjoyed CO for many years before and since we bought our AS in 2016 but have not camped this time of year. Any suggestions what will be open from say May 10th forward. We do about a 30/70 split between no service CGs and full or part service CGs.

Thanks so much!

Dave
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Old 11-23-2021, 08:19 PM   #2
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Its going to be cold

Thats early in the season for Colorado, its going to be cold.
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Old 11-23-2021, 10:37 PM   #3
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A lot of the state parks will have at least some of their campground loops open. Some are open all year, even some that are at higher elevations (Sylvan, State Forest). Look for parks east of the mountains (Lory, Lathrop, Trinidad, St. Vrain, Boyd Lake, Chatfield John Martin Res, Jackson res) and the Colorado River parks in the western part of the state (James M Robb, Rifle Gap, Rifle Falls).

I've done Lathrop multiple times in April and May.

National Parks and monuments also usually have one loop that stays open all year.
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Old 11-24-2021, 07:41 AM   #4
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I would stay well south of the mid-line of the state if you want to camp in the mountains. Many of the higher elevation campground get enough snow that their campsites are not plowed until May and they are subject to snow storms through the end of May.

Eleven Mile State Park and Hecla Junction (Arkansas River State Campgrounds) are open year around and are pretty places to stay. Also, Great Sand Dunes National Park is open year around. The problem with many of these places, however, is that you will have to drive over some fairly significant mountain passes (like Monarch Pass on Rt. 50 and Wolf Creek Pass on Rt. 160). These passes are open in the winter barring any major snow so you will have to keep an eye on the weather.

In any event, it will be an adventure!
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Old 11-24-2021, 08:19 AM   #5
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As mentioned above, April and May can be challenging in Colorado from a weather perspective. The evening temperature in Moab can also fall below freezing in April, but snow isn’t likely. We canceled a Colorado trip in late April of 2021 due to a snow storm. Then we camped a few weeks later in Ouray and it was sunny with daytime high temperatures in the 70s. Is there a particular part of the state that interests you? I assume you’ll be heading East on I-70 through Grand Junction when you leave Moab. Is this correct? You’ll want to think about which roads you’ll take and plan for potential weather. For example, US-550 between Ouray and Durango is gorgeous, but I wouldn’t recommend towing an Airstream on that road, especially if there’s any chance of snow or freezing rain.
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Old 11-24-2021, 08:21 AM   #6
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I’d say your chances are about 50:50 for getting most people’s idea of “good” camping weather in mid-May in the mountains since these campgrounds tend to be at 7-8000’ elevation. If you are prepared for winter camping you will do well because the real harsh weather will have passed.

In addition to the good advice above, you might consider the Moraine Park campground in RMNP which has first come first served sites available.
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Old 11-24-2021, 12:12 PM   #7
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If you wish to visit the Denver area, suggest staying at Cherry Creek State Park in Aurora
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Old 11-24-2021, 06:59 PM   #8
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As stated above the conditions in the high country will be cold and who knows, wait 30 minutes and it will change. There are lots of lower elevation places to visit.
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Old 11-25-2021, 02:16 AM   #9
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How about Idaho and Northwest Montana? Try Twin Falls to Challis, and Salmon, then to the Lolo
- Missoula area. Travel west from Lolo to Lolo Hot Springs Resort then further west to Powell campground, adjacent to Lochsa Lodge. Or after staying in the Missoula - Lolo area head north to Superior, St.Regis, and then to Coeur d'Alene Idaho. From Coeur d'Alene north to Sandpoint's Lake Pend Oreill and continue north to the Canadian border. Stay at RV parks, boon dock, or stay at Forest Service campgrounds along the way. The options are endless....
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Old 11-25-2021, 07:58 AM   #10
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Durango and Mexican Hat area should be perfect in May. There is always a chance of snow on the passes year round. Just watch the weather for traveling. Staying on Hwy 160 across southern CO doesn’t guarantee no snow but usually would be a safe route in May.
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Old 11-25-2021, 10:13 PM   #11
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Thanks everyone! Taking notes and appreciate your suggestions. Been to quite a few of these areas but from mid-August to early October. Right now we are considering Ridgway after leaving Moab then South thru
Durango to Pagosa Springs for a few nights then to Taos/ Angel Fire NM, where our buds may start heading home. We might go north as would like to hit the Snowy Range in Wy again. What would be the earliest to go into the higher country in southern WY?
What do you think about the route above?

Thanks again!

Dave
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Old 11-25-2021, 11:20 PM   #12
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I live in Cortez (two hours from Moab) and lived in Durango for many years before that. Early May is early for Colorado high country camping most years but it is often nice in this area by then. It can be windy that time of the of year but temperatures aren't bad. It would be very rare to hit snow at these elevations (6,200' for Cortez, 6520' for Durango) then. Higher elevation roads might be snow covered or too wet to travel but there should be enough lower elevation country open to keep you busy for a while. That is a very nice time of year to explore Mesa Verde National Park, hike Sand Canyon in Canyons of the Ancients National Monument or mountain bike at Phil's World (all near Cortez). It is also a nice time to explore Durango before it is very crowded with tourists.

Most San Juan National Forest campgrounds open the first of May. Morefield Campground in Mesa Verde National Park is open with full services May 1 (April 15 with limited services). And there are plenty of commercial campgrounds open by then.

You might also consider first going from Moab down to Bluff (about a 90 minute drive) for a few days and then heading this way (about 90 minutes to Cortez, another 50 to Durango).

It sounds like a nice trip. Have fun!
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Old 11-26-2021, 08:08 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by davidrrand View Post
Thanks everyone! Taking notes and appreciate your suggestions. Been to quite a few of these areas but from mid-August to early October. Right now we are considering Ridgway after leaving Moab then South thru
Durango to Pagosa Springs for a few nights then to Taos/ Angel Fire NM, where our buds may start heading home. We might go north as would like to hit the Snowy Range in Wy again. What would be the earliest to go into the higher country in southern WY?
What do you think about the route above?

Thanks again!

Dave
The plan is excellent, but the weather is so variable in May that you will have to keep a close eye on the weather and be flexible. Ridgeway is the most iffy stop. I will add an enthusiastic second to the suggestion to visit Mesa Verde.

Northern Colorado and southern Wyoming at elevation are possible, and maybe great, in the second half of May but requires luck. No guarantees. We have been weather bombed out in June! But if you catch a warm streak it is fantastic.
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Old 11-28-2021, 01:24 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Boondocker View Post
Thats early in the season for Colorado, its going to be cold.
I think Rodney just does not want anyone to come to Colorado, sometimes my sentiments also.

Lynn sr
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Old 11-28-2021, 02:07 PM   #15
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The Great Sand Dunes, and the San Luis Lakes Recreational area. Beautiful campground. We were there in September a few years back, and there was no one there ........also Salida is a great stop. They're growing weed in "Area 420" just north of The Great Sand Dunes, west of Crestone, in Moffett.
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