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RE: CO 14/Poudre Canyon Closure-09.07.20 Update

How did the Snow do in helping put out the FIres?? It was a help. No fire spread noted. Fire location received around 14inches of snow, and there have been snow showers up there since the big snow. Temps are in the 30s during the day, dropping into the 20s at night, wind chills in the teens. Possibly hit 50s on Friday and a return of winds up there. The snows have dampened any fuel sources for a while, but the fire is certainly not knocked out. 1200 firefighters assigned and they've been able to get more fire lines established. Unfortunately, there has been some property losses, some historic buildings were destroyed. Sheriff's Department hopes to have a property loss assessment soon. I'm fearful for Spencer Heights, Poudre City and Rustic, all of which are in the fire zone.
Thom02099 09/10/20 12:34pm RV Parks, Campgrounds and Attractions
RE: CO 14/Poudre Canyon Closure-09.07.20 Update

All day Monday it was indeed "ashing" all over the Fort Collins/Loveland/Greeley/Windsor area. Visible accumulation, my truck and trailer were covered in it, and there was a odd coverage on the trees. Pre-snow, the Cameron Peak Fire exploded again to over 102,000 acres. From Friday through Monday it went from 24,000 to that 102,000 acres, and according to the Sheriff it as doing runs measured in miles. The snow will give local authorities a chance to get in and see first hand what sort of destruction there's been to any structures in the area. They stated that there were some losses in the Rustic area, now they may be able to see how bad.
Thom02099 09/09/20 06:29am RV Parks, Campgrounds and Attractions
RE: CO 14/Poudre Canyon Closure-09.07.20 Update

Just back from Labour Day weekend in Estes Park. Cameron Peak fire has exploded in size; was 24000 acres on Friday 09.04.20, now at over 40000 acres on Monday 09.07.20. CO 14 remains closed from around Kelly Flats west to Gould. Yesterday, Sunday 09.06.20 Trail Ridge Rd closed at 3pm for several reasons. Heavy smoke from the fire was creating visibility issues AND the fire had moved into the northern reaches of Rocky. From the Alpine Visitors Center, one could see the fire immediately to the north and it was a frightening sight. Trail Ridge Rd will be closed indefinitely; Old Fall River Rd closed the day before. There was also an increase in Ranger traffic as well as fire personnel traffic up on Trail Ridge. Was able to get in and make it to the Alpine Visitors Center, staff there warned that all visitors make sure they exited the park on the side on which they wanted to be, as there would be no re-entry to the park for the foreseeable future. The community of Glen Haven (NE of Estes Park) is under a voluntary evacuation order, as is areas of the Poudre Canyon as far east as the Stove Prairie Rd, and the area around the CSU Mountain Campus. Fire lines have been built to try to protect Red Feather Lakes, Crystal Lakes, and Glacier View Meadows -- all areas more than 10 miles from the current fire location. Winds were fierce up on Trail Ridge as well as in the town of Estes Park. Trailer was a rockin' in the wind, a bit unsettling this morning. The GOOD NEWS is that SNOW is forecast for the entire area. Estes Park forecast calling for 7-11 inches of heavy wet snow. Fire location around Cameron Pass is calling for snow around 12-18 inches, whiche will certainly benefit the fire fighting operations. Earliest snow since September 3, 1961. ETA: H E R E - Cameron Peak Fire is the official information on the fire, which has exploded to nearly 90,000 acres. NINETY THOUSAND. The Larimer County sheriff said that the fire burned 10 miles in a day, and mandatory evacuations are now approaching the Buckhorn Mountain area which is west of Fort Collins.
Thom02099 09/07/20 01:05pm RV Parks, Campgrounds and Attractions
RE: Colorado Fires

We have a trip planned in a couple weeks heading to CO for the fall colors. How bad are the fires and smoke in the Lake City, Leadville and Grand Lake areas. I'm in Loveland and the smoke has been terrible for several days here. Can see/taste/smell it everywhere. Advisories have been posted and last night on the local news/weather segment, they were pointing out that smoke from all of the fires was starting to push and be seen in the midwest area around Chicago. If you're coming in early to mid-September, you're going to be just a bit early. Colours start to pop toward the latter part of September heading in to October. But with the current drought conditions, that could all change. Also, at least for the Cameron Peak fire (the one closest to Grand Lake), fire behaviour is difficult to predict since it's so weather dependent. Extreme conditions have been forecast for that fire for at least the next week to 10 days. Fire movement has been toward the south and east. Remote sections of RMNP have been closed. IF the fire were to move into Rocky, it would have a lot of fuel available as there's an abundance of beetle kill stands on that west side of RMNP, the area north of Grand Lake. Keep an eye on news reports, as fires can change dramatically and rapidly, depending on weather and conditions. One report over the weekend said the Cameron Peak fire would likely not be anywhere near containment until the first big snowfalls of the season, which would be into October/November timeframe.
Thom02099 08/24/20 06:40am RV Parks, Campgrounds and Attractions
RE: CO 14/Poudre Canyon Closure-09.07.20 Update

From personal knowledge and experience, there is a LOT of dead beetle kill trees in that area, so there's considerable fuel for the fire. We can only hope for some monsoon moisture to help the firefighters working this fire.My memory is dimming daily, but wasn't there a fire that threatened the Chambers Lake area in maybe the late 80's/early 90's? Hey might be thinking of the Kilpecker Fire that was in the late 70s between Red Feather Lakes and the Laramie River Valley. Wasn't all that big in comparison to fires of today's measurement, but was a significant fire at the time. There's still scars from that fire visible west of Red Feather off the Deadman Road and the Green Ridge Road.
Thom02099 08/22/20 03:51pm RV Parks, Campgrounds and Attractions
RE: CO 14/Poudre Canyon Closure-09.07.20 Update

Update 08.22.20 Fire is now up over 16000 acres and jumped CO 14 and is now burning on the south side Poudre Canyon as well. CO 14 is closed from Rustic to Gould. All of the campgrounds in the Poudre have been closed as far east as the Stove Prairie Road area as well as Bellaire Lake CG outside of Red Feather Lakes (15 miles from the current fire activity). Oddly enough the Ranger Lakes, Bockman and Michigan Lake CGs in the State Forest SP are still open. Fire appears to be moving in an easterly direction, perhaps the reason they are still open. H E R E is updated information from Incident Command website. From personal knowledge and experience, there is a LOT of dead beetle kill trees in that area, so there's considerable fuel for the fire. We can only hope for some monsoon moisture to help the firefighters working this fire.
Thom02099 08/22/20 09:54am RV Parks, Campgrounds and Attractions
RE: I-70 Glenwood Canyon Colorado fire closure

Based on last nights briefing, I'm guessing maybe another week, maybe more, before the canyon opens up. It's amazingly quiet at night right now, as there is no through traffic on the interstate. Is there a safe alternative route if I70 does not open soon from Silt to Estes Park? We have a 36ft 5th wheel. H E R E is a link to the recommended detour. There just is no easy way around that area. You don't need to take US 285 all the way in to Denver. You can take CO 9 to Breckenridge and Frisco and get back on I-70, then take I-70 to the Central City Parkway. That takes you in to CC/Black Hawk where you can pick up CO 119 to Nederland then CO 72 to CO 7 in to Estes Park.
Thom02099 08/19/20 09:38pm Roads and Routes
RE: I-70 Glenwood Canyon Colorado fire closure

We are traveling to Silt, is I70 closed from Grand Junction to Silt? According to that stretch of I-70 is not currently affected by the closures or fires around Glenwood Springs.
Thom02099 08/16/20 05:24pm Roads and Routes
RE: CO 14/Poudre Canyon Closure-09.07.20 Update

They are requesting people not even go up to Red Feather Lakes, and everything south of Deadman Rd is under evacuation. I'm due go up there next weekend to Crystal Lakes area, so we shall see if that happens. So very sad, we had a beautiful spot at Beaver Meadows a month ago. Also have a trip planned up the Poudre, to Ranger Lakes CG the weekend of the 21st. Right in the middle of the closure area on the down side of Cameron Pass. Haven't gotten the cancel notice yet from CPW but no doubt will.
Thom02099 08/14/20 04:22pm RV Parks, Campgrounds and Attractions
CO 14/Poudre Canyon Closure-09.07.20 Update

Another highway closure due to a fire that has exploded in size. CO 14 through Poudre Canyon west of Fort Collins is now closed due to the Cameron Peak fire in the area of Chambers Lake. Closure is at Rustic on the east side and in Walden on the west side, a distance of about 45 miles. Mandatory evacuations in the immediate area around Chambers Lake Campground, Tunnel Campground and Browns Park Campground in addition to a lot of boondocking areas along the Laramie River Road. Voluntary evacuations in the area closer to Rustic, included the Archer's Resort area, as well as the area west of Red Feather Lakes. Fire has rapidly grown to over 1500 acres, and is in an area with a lot of beetle kill stands. Low humidity, winds and rough terrain are hampering firefighting efforts. ETA: D'oh! Thought I posted this in Roads and Routes. Moderator, if you can move please?
Thom02099 08/13/20 10:14pm RV Parks, Campgrounds and Attractions
RE: Million Dollar Highway 550 Co

Headed from Gunnison to Durango. Can I take my 25 foot MH over the Million Dollar Highway? A suggestion. Check out Youtube and search "million dollar highway" for some perspective of what it's like. There's a variety of vids to watch, including a motorcycle perspective. Watch a good selection (probably don't need to watch any of the winter ones unless you WANT to ;-) ) There's a lot of opinions about whether one should or can. Being an informed driver is essential. The driver will NOT get a chance to sightsee unless you pull off for views. There are areas with no guardrails and steep and deep drop offs. Winding/twisty road all the way to Red Mountain Pass. Yes, buses and trucks do it all the time. And they are also professional drivers. It's not so much YOU as it is OTHER drivers who may be in over their heads in driving it and constantly cross over into the oncoming lane. Because of the size of your vehicle, it should not be as bad as some other RV type vehicles going up and over. If you do take it, take your time, be safe and pull over for the views when you get a chance. Well worth it.
Thom02099 08/10/20 08:20pm Roads and Routes
RE: Golden to Gunnison Co

Thanks for all the suggestions. We went with Thom’s route and Monarch Pass. Thanks much for the tip of South Park City, the family enjoyed that. Next stop Durango and Hwy 550. Any more suggestions? Yup! Durango & Silverton Railroad is a must see. Multiple ways of doing it. I've always done the train up and back, but one can also take a bus back from Silverton if you don't want to re-trace your steps. I find much to see in both directions. Also, Mesa Verde National Park , not too far from Durango and good for several days. One's deceptively large so plan on several days to see what needs to be seen.
Thom02099 08/10/20 08:06pm Roads and Routes
RE: Golden to Gunnison Co

Looking for a recommendation for the best route from Golden to Gunnison. We are 25 feet not towing anything. Also, any must stops on the way? Is their a length restriction for the south rim road at Black Canyon of Gunnison Do you want scenic, or "get there"? If you want scenic, here's a suggestion. From Golden take CO 470 southbound from I-70 to US 285 south. 285 will take you through the foothills suburbs and once you get to Pine Junction/Bailey area becomes more scenic. From Bailey you're in a valley and climb to Kenosha Pass at about 10000 feet, then drop down into South Park. Great photo up at the summit of Kenosha, there's a parking area to get some shots of the vast valley below. US 285 continues across South Park and through Fairplay. There's South Park City in Fairplay COVID Info on SPC which is a great recreation of the old west in Colorado, and is, to me, worth a stop an a few hours. US 285 continues on to Antero Junction where US 24 meets up. Continue on US 285/24 to Johnson Village. From there you can explore Buena Vista, and if you want a place to stop, there's multiple good camogrounds/RV parks in that area including the KOA at Johnson Village.That's actually a good place to set up a base and explore that region if you've got the time. Rent a Jeep and take some side trips up and over Cottonwood Pass and explore the Taylor Park area. From Johnson Village go south on US 285 to US 50. You can explore Salida near by that junction. Then take US 50 west to Gunnison, which takes you up and over Monarch Pass. At the top of that pass is an aerial tram that takes you to a summit on the south side of the pass with amazing vistas of the mountains to the south. At 25 feet, shouldn't have any problems with any of the suggestions and finding parking. Not aware of any length restrictions at Black Canyon, but you can check their site at Black Canyon of the Gunnison for more info.
Thom02099 08/09/20 08:44am Roads and Routes
RE: Rocky Mountain National Park to Cheyenne Mountain State Park

Just be aware that I25 from Castle Rock to Monument is still in major reconstruction. Narrow lanes and lots of lane movement. But is there any reasonable alternative when towing a 34' fifth-wheel? I can't seem to find one on the map. There is one other alternative, one that I used when I needed to be on the east side of the Springs at an RV park off US 24. Take I-25 south to E Arapahoe Rd. Head east to S Parker Rd/CO 83. Head south on CO 83 through Parker and Franktown and on in to Colorado Springs. Once there, several routes over to I-25. Yes, there's going to be traffic on E Arapahoe Rd as well as S Parker Rd through Parker. I didn't experience any major problems and I went through during the 3-4pm time frame. Nice drive once past Franktown and on in to the east side of C Springs. Trade off, I suppose, dealing with traffic vs construction zone traffic.
Thom02099 08/03/20 08:38pm Roads and Routes
RE: Rocky Mountain National Park to Cheyenne Mountain State Park

We will be leaving mid-day on a week day to move from Glacier Basin Campground in RMNP to Cheyenne Mountain SP. I am familiar with the Peak to Peak Highway down to I-70 and to Loveland to pick up I-25 S. I am less familiar with US 36 through Boulder. I am just wondering if someone with more local experience might give me some suggestions about the best route. Maybe I am just lucky, but I have never had any difficulty driving right through Denver on I-25. I am not so sure about Boulder. Thanks for any comments or suggestions. As you're coming in to Boulder on US 36 from Lyons, it becomes 28th St, a major north/south route. Which is to say a lot of traffic and traffic lights (at least the times recently that I've been through). Two suggestions. At the intersection for Iris Ave/Diagonal Highway, make a LEFT onto the Diagonal/CO 119 and go just a bit east to get on Foothills Parkway/CO 157 southbound, a RIGHT exit. Though there are traffic lights on Foothills, there are far fewer than you'll have staying on 28th St through Boulder. On the south end, you'll join up with US 36/Boulder-Denver Turnpike. 2 lanes that exit LEFT (don't want to stay RIGHT to Table Mesa Dr -- made that mistake). This bypasses most of the stop/go traffic through Boulder. Second suggestion. Bypass Boulder altogether. Coming down US 36 from Estes Park to Lyons, instead of turning right and taking US 36 south to Boulder, stay on CO 66 (straight) to Longmont (north side of town). Take it past US 287 intersection and continue on east to join up with I-25. This puts you on the 3 lane section of I-25 all the way down to the Denver area. Safe travels!
Thom02099 08/02/20 08:43pm Roads and Routes
RE: Trailer length - does that influence spot availability?

How many are in your family, and what ages for any kiddos? Any fur friends going along? That can make a difference in the floor plan that you're considering and will impact the trailer size. For example, if you're going to need sleeping for 3 kiddos, you'll probably be looking at a trailer offering 3-4 bunk beds. Where they are located in the trailer can make a difference as to length. Are the bunks lengthwise or crosswise? Previously I had a Keystone Outback 25RSS that had bunks in front crosswise, and 2 slide outs. Would accommodate 4-6 on board. That, to me was close to ideal for length and floor plan. Never had any problems with any site limitations, either commercial park or NP/USFS CG. Box of the trailer was a bit over 22 ft, total length was about 26 ft. Rear slide was another 5 ft but could overhang the rear limits of most sites. Find a floor plan and length that fits your needs now and in to the future, unless you specifically know you're likely to buy something different in a few years (ie, kiddos getting older and not likely to be going along a few years down the road). Something to consider -- RENT a trailer for a few trips out, to see what would work for your family and the size you're interested in. Try out that 30-35 ft trailer in one of your favourite spots, see how it works for you. May find that you could go with a shorter length with the same basic floor plan, or that 30 ft is doable for you.
Thom02099 08/02/20 09:10am Travel Trailers
RE: How Often Do you Get Skunked on FCFS Camp Spots?

Also doing the 9-5 situation with weekends off, so reservations are necessary most of the time. Most USFS campgrounds in this area need reservations, and there are few FC/FS sites in those CGs. There are some FC/FS campgrounds in this area of northern Colorado, all sites are non-reservable. Going to try my hand at boondocking in the Snowy Range of Wyoming in August, with a fall back of using one of the USFS CGs up there (that are all FC/FS CGs).
Thom02099 07/29/20 06:46am RV Parks, Campgrounds and Attractions
RE: Leadville to Estes Park CO

Heading to Estes Park from Leadville CO. Don't want to go through Golden and Boulder. Looking at Central City Parkway to Blackhawk hitting 119 to Estes Park. Anyone know if it's doable with 40' fifth wheel. Grades are no problem Yes. It's doable and recommended. CO 119 goes in to Nederland where you'll pick up CO 72 and take that north to CO 7, which takes you to Allenspark and on to Estes Park. On the 119 section, there's some switchbacks along the way, and other curves. some ups/downs as well, but it's not a bad drive. Good roadway, it's a typical mountain drive. In Nederland, the downtown streets are a bit narrow, but negotiable. There's a roundabout to get to CO 72. Again as with 119, 72 is typical mountain driving, there's a climb out of Nederland but not overly difficult. RV'ers do it all the time, it's a great drive with some nice viewing areas along the way (one is the fantastic view of Longs Peak from a close up perspective). CO 72 intersection with CO 7 takes you on the final leg into Estes. There's a goodly hill up to Allenspark, but it's not overly long, and again just typical mountain driving which is to say curves. The roadway is fine with pull offs if needed. As you approach Estes Park and enter Larimer County the roadway does narrow some, but the good news is it's been resurfaced. There's a long downhill to get into Estes Park, just gear down as you approach Lily Lake (trailhead signs there). Depending on where you're going in Estes Park, you can take Mary's Lake Road to US 36/Moraine Ave, which takes you in to RMNP and several CG (Estes Park at Mary's Lake, Elk Meadow, Spruce Lake) in that area. Or stay on CO 7 which takes you to the junction with US 36/34 and other campgrounds on that side of town (KOA) as well as the Fall River Road entrance to Rocky. The entire route is a beautiful drive. There's no shelf road, no steep dropoffs without guardrails, none of that. Well maintained state highways, with shoulders and in some places bike lanes. Something to be aware of, it's a popular route for bicyclists and motorcycles, so just a heads up that you may come up on both, or be passed by MCs.
Thom02099 07/28/20 06:42am RV Parks, Campgrounds and Attractions
RE: Lefthand Canyon Dr., Colorado?

We tow a 32’ fifth wheel camper. Has anyone gone from I-25 (Longmont, CO) to Ward, CO (Brainard Lake Recreation Area/Pawnee Campground)? We would be coming south from Custer, SD. On Google maps it shows to go from Longmont onto what it shows to be Hwy 36 (?), but it is really Lefthand Canyon Road and goes straight to Ward. There’s no number shown for Lefthand Canyon Rd. Otherwise you can go on into Boulder and take Hwy 119 to Nederland, CO and go north to Ward. We are totally unfamiliar with these routes and don’t want to get into some awful road or something. We are coming south from Custer, SD. Thanks Lefthand Canyon Rd is certainly doable. But it's not US 36. It's a well marked turn off from US 36 to Lefthand Canyon Dr. You'll get there by taking the CO 66 exit off I-25 heading west to Lyons. (See also further below) On the outskirts of Lyons, US 36 intersects and takes you to Boulder. Lefthand Canyon is not too far south of that intersection. It's paved all the way to Ward and is a typical canyon drive, which is to say a lot of curves. Be aware that, outside of Ward, it becomes Indian Gulch Rd and goes on in to Ward. The road through Ward is somewhat steep and is not well maintained. Road maintenance is not a priority there. and as you're leaving town, there's a tight hairpin curve before it straigtens out to intersect with CO 72. Make a right at the stop sign onto CO 72 and then nearly immediately make a left onto Brainard Lake Rd. Brainard Lake Rd was completely rebuilt a couple seasons back and is now a good roadway, but there are also multiple hairpin curves to be aware of. There's an entrance station a couple miles prior to the campground so be prepared to pay the entrance fee, unless you have one of the "Geezer" passes, which gets you in free. Pawnee Campground is a couple miles on the right and there's 2 loops there. You're likely to see moose while up there. There's a better way (IMHO) to get there from I-25. Take the exit for CO 66 and take that in to Lyons. In Lyons make a left onto CO 7 and take that up to CO 72. Be aware that you're in a canyon on CO7 as well, so curves and steep sections (12% not uncommon). CO 72 intersection is before you get to Allenspark and is a good road (also known as the Peak to Peak highway) from that intersection to the cutoff for Brainard Lake. Again though, be aware of some steep sections, particularly as you approach Raymond and Peaceful Valley. Watch for the Millsite Inn (restaurant) as you're approaching Ward, the turn off to Brainard sneaks up on you. Also be aware that this drive is very popular with Motorcycles, so heads up on them coming up fast behind you and passing you. Pawnee Campground/Brainard Lake is one of the most beautiful places to stay in CO. Indian Peaks Wilderness all around you with some great hikes. Hopefully that's a reason you're going there. Have my own reservations up there coming up in September before they close for the season.
Thom02099 07/26/20 07:56pm Roads and Routes
RE: Did you notice..........

.... How busy the campgrounds are? PACKED! And are there any new campgrounds in the pipeline to alleviate the issue? Perhaps depends where you are, and what major attracton(s). I've been trying to go to my favourite CG inside Rocky Mountain National Park. Multiple reservations made over the course of the booking windows, and so far 3 of them have been cancelled with a refund, and an active notice that one coming up at the end of July into August may be cancelled as well. So they are far from busy. They haven't really opened for the season, and all of the notices received were due to safety notices due to Covid-19. As an alternative, stayed in a private RV park in Estes Park. Made a reservation thinking they would be packed. They weren't. There were a goodly number of sites available when I arrived there, and through that weekend. Conversely, had a reservation at one of the more remote campgrounds within the Colorado State Forest SP, and it was full. Not just the campground I was in, but the 2 other ones that were nearby within the SP system. Reservations at another SP campground coming up soon, will be interesting to see if it's full or not.
Thom02099 07/19/20 08:25am Public Lands, Boondocking and Dry Camping
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