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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 06-04-2013, 08:49 AM Thread Starter
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Question Good Camping Spots Within 2.5 Hours of Denver?

I'm looking for a semi-secluded camping spot near water (pond, lake, river, etc.) within a 2.5 hour drive from Denver. I go camping with my girlfriend and our dog, and we really don't enjoy the commercial camps sites that seem to be all over the place. We are looking for a spot where we likely won't run into many other people, and where no one will care if my dog is off leash and swimming (She's a Newfoundland so she pretty much spends the whole day in the water).

Having just moved to Denver last May, we really don't know of any good spots yet. If you have a good spot but don't want it posted on a public forum, please feel free to send me a PM. We always pack out what we pack in, and leave our campsite exactly how it was when we got there.

Thanks in advance!
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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 06-04-2013, 09:14 AM
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Drive to vail. Take piney red sandstone road up until it turns to piney lake road. Follow it as far as you wanna go.... Pick a camp spot, this is a nice out of the way car camp spot. If you want to hike in, there are tons of trails everywhere up in the mtns.
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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 06-04-2013, 03:03 PM
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Lots of stuff along 285, in the Indian Peaks, Cameron Pass, and South Platte area. All of which do not require you to drive up I70. There are of course pay spots, but lots of forest service land that you can just pitch a tent and do your thing.
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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 06-04-2013, 03:10 PM
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What kind of vehicle do you have?

A lot of the spots I would suggest may or may not be accessible to you. Lots of good stuff up toward St. Mary's Glacier and beyond Montezuma past Keystone up around Argentine Pass, but both of those areas require a decent 4x4 with a competent driver.

Some other good stuff up Squaw Pass near Mt. Evans and up Guanella Pass that's more easily accessible. Another favorite of mine is the Rock Creek area right at the foot of the Gore Range north of Silverthorne.
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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 06-04-2013, 03:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Argo View Post
Drive to vail. Take piney red sandstone road up until it turns to piney lake road. Follow it as far as you wanna go.... Pick a camp spot, this is a nice out of the way car camp spot. If you want to hike in, there are tons of trails everywhere up in the mtns.
The problem I've found around Vail is that it's hard to find a spot to setup a tent that you're not at significant risk of dying from falling beetle kill if a strong breeze picks up. A couple of 4th of July's ago we were going to camp up near Vail and about dusk the wind picked up and all around us it sounded like a war zone with all the beetle kill falling. I was pretty sure our tent was in a safe spot, but I wasn't willing to risk it. We packed our shit up and bounced.
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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 06-04-2013, 04:04 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by linvillegorge View Post
What kind of vehicle do you have?
4WD Volkswagen Tiguan is the car we would be taking. Not much ground clearance on it, so I think anything more than a bumpy dirt road would give us trouble.

Is there an easy way to tell what areas you are free to camp where ever you please, and which areas you are required to pay? In PA (where I'm from), as long as it wasn't private property you were pretty much allowed to camp wherever. But I have noticed a lot of places in CO require you to not only pay, but also make a reservation well in advance.
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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 06-04-2013, 09:50 PM
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There are lot of spots right off the RD in Zuma. Your car could get into some areas in Peru Creek which is off Montezuma RD. My truck is a beast and I love Peru Creek. I love just driving around there for no reason. The first part is pretty easy and most cars can get back there.

Your car would be safe going up the Gulch Rd for sure. There are a lot of nice spots off the gulch rd complete with a river and beaver ponds. The Gulch RD is the Rd that goes behind the North Peak and Outback. It's off Soda Ridge Rd in Keystone. From the Pass you would take a left where the second light is. There's that expensive gas station on the right. Then you take another left. Soda ridge rd is on the right. Take a right on that rd and The Gulch Rd is on the left. There are 2 nice homes on both sides.

These are not pay sites and its natty forest.

It is closed for Elk calving in May to sometime in June. I am not sure if it is open yet. I have not walked my dog over there. We found some new trails. My dog is almost always off his leash and I never have any problems in this area.

There is a ranger station in Silverthorne. They will know more than myself and they have maps.


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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 06-05-2013, 01:01 AM
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Get a 2.5 hour string on a map and draw a half circle west from denver. Pick any spot in national forest land on a road.

Seriously there are just so so so many. There are a shitload of good spots 90 minutes or less. At 2.5 hours you get out to Leadville and there are just endless great spots on 285 (as Kill said) as it comes out of the valley and starts to paralell the mountains again. Turqoise Lake, The Arkansas River, Twin Lakes a bit norther by Alma kinda (some sick spots by Mt. Quandary). I've enjoyed some pretty fun spots just as near as Bailey (there is a kickass 3k vert training hike I do there that nobody is ever on cuz its just a hike, no named peak or anything).

If you require a better resource I suggest 14ers.com whether you are hiking them or not, the big mountains provide some of the best views, and the site is chock full of camping info. The caveat here is if you are on a weekend, they get crowded. The whole country and some of the other countries as well all like to go outdoors in Colorado on the weekends in the summer, period. Finding privacy on a weekend will come by luck and experience.

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Last edited by snowklinger; 06-05-2013 at 01:06 AM.
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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 06-05-2013, 07:31 AM
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Buy a Colorado Gazetteer map and do some exploring......
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