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davetannenbaum's avatar

Good hiking/camping spots in UT and CO?

Asked by davetannenbaum (33 points ) May 11th, 2012

Hi everyone-

I’m taking a road trip from Los Angeles to Boulder, CO in mid-June. I’d like to do some camping and hiking, and will be spending about 3 days in Utah and another 3 days in Colorado. This would be all car camping — no backpacking. Any recommendations?

The number of parks and campsites in UT and CO is astounding, so any advice is welcome. Specific campsites or hiking trials would be appreciated. I’d like to avoid the crowds when possible, although I realize this might be difficult to do in June.

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10 Answers

Coloma's avatar

Gotta hit Bryce or Zion in Utah for sure! Both are spectacular. Look into reservations for camping online first, you may need to reserve a night now with the summer tourist hub kicking into high gear.
Colorado I am less sure of, traveled through but didn’t camp anywhere.

jax1311's avatar

Also check out Moab in Utah. It’s close to the CO border and won’t be very far out of your way.

The camping there is great, and it has some beautiful rock formations.

Check out their website… http://www.discovermoab.com/

wildpotato's avatar

Oh man, there are so many I know in CO, but I’m most familiar with the area south of what you want. Off the top of my head – hit the Great Sand Dunes near Alamosa, CO – probably a large ways out of your way but totally worth it, esp if you want to camp there. Cheyenne Mountain near Colo Springs is awesome. Garden of the Gods in Manitou Springs is low-impact, and there are a LOT of people there, but incredibly beautiful. Gold Camp Road area for hiking and camping; also in the Springs. The reservoir hike at Palmer Lake, a bit further north. Red Rocks outside Denver – it’s not just an ampitheater, it’s also a huge and beautiful park. I’ll get back to you later with more stuff further north, gotta run for now.

deni's avatar

There are lots of national parks, sure, but do you want to spend most of your time in them? If you’re willing to go more out of your way, off the beaten path, I know some amazing spots that are free and well worth the little extra mileage…

jazmina88's avatar

@deni such as…..........

deni's avatar

@jazmina88 well I asked the OP because I didnt wanna spend a bunch of time typing them all out if they were not willing to get off the interstate. A lot of people aren’t!! I know an incredible spot outside of Moab past Castle Valley that is just the greatest spot in the world literally to camp. JUST THINKING ABOUT IT I’M LIKE…PURRING. I suppose I just know where a lot of BLM land with existing camping spots are. There’s some good easy camping I know of near Marble, CO which is a tiny barely there town in ssssouthwestern (kinda) Colorado (and you can go see them mining marble….PILES AND PILES OF MARBLE IN CHUNKS THE SIZE OF CARS!) The camping is very excluded and is near the Maroon Bells, an extremely beautiful range of mountains….I could go on….Also, @davetannenbaum I live in Boulder, if you need any suggestions on anything round these here parts specifically please hit me up.

davetannenbaum's avatar

@deni Thanks so much for the suggestions!!! I’d be very interested to hear more about some of the spots you have in mind. About the spot near Castle Valley — that is definitely not too far off the beaten path for us. (I once camped at Dead Horse point, which I believe is somewhat close to there, and really enjoyed it. But perhaps the place you had in mind is even better). And also the camping near Marble sounds great too. One thing I’ll note is that we don’t have 4-wheel drive, so that’s one limitation for us. But we’re definitely not committed to National parks, and your suggestions sound like they are much better. So any additional details you could provide would be much appreciated!

deni's avatar

@davetannenbaum I’ve never had 4 wheel drive either although I WISH I did, so many more opportunities, but….none of the places I mentioned need it, therefore. If I may suggest, if you go to Marble, you are about a 4–6 (cant recall) hike from Crystal Mill which I’m sure you’ve seen pictures of. Every time I have been to Marble it has poured rain the day we were supposed to hike it. If that is something that interests you you can find more information on it when you get to Marble. It’s a great spot.

The spot near Castle Valley is off Highway 128 and you’d take a right (if you’re coming from Moab) toward the town of Castle Valley, pass it, and continue just on the road you’re on which begins to wind up a mountain that overlooks Canyonlands, Arches, all of Utah’s beauty. It is the most vast view I have ever myself had. Actually here’s a photo from the top….and maybe 10 minutes up you’ll see a BLM sign about a 14 day camping limit. There’s a ton of turn offs, not really marked, but little tiny dirt driveways sort of that go back maybe a 100 yards give or take and there are fire pits and ya know, the works. I will think of more.

jazmina88's avatar

@deni I love Boulder. I took a day trip to Estes Park from there. Marble Rock sounds amazing! I’m a rock hound.

deni's avatar

@jazmina88 You should MOST DEFINITELY check out Marble the next humanly possible chance you get. Me and my ex boyfriend went for a weekend, and it was the first time we had ever been there. We arrived at night. This was in the fall. When we got up we looked out of our cabin and it was just YELLOW ASPEN COVERED MOUNTAIN AS FAR AS THE EYE COULD SEE reflecting into a LAKE below. I have a photo somewhere. Here it is! Also, here is the pile of Marble. To get there was the sketchiest road I have ever been on.

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