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Old 03-22-2010, 07:30 PM   #1
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National Forest Campgrounds in Central Colorado

My wife and I spent July 2007 moving among national forest campgrounds in Central Colorado. The campgrounds had vault toilets and a single hand pump for fresh water but no electricity and no dump stations. Campsites were sometimes spacious and easy to back into and other times many campsites were too short for our travel trailer and/or they were hard to back into because of trees.

We had a grand time. We filled our fresh water tanks at commercial campgrounds and/or state parks before heading up the mountains to our primitive campgrounds. After a week we came back down the mountain and dumped our tanks before refilling our fresh water tanks and moving to the next national forest campground. We carried a small generator to power our lights and tv/dvd but it was barely sufficient for running our microwave and it would not have powered our A/C if we had needed it (but we did not).

We have a Senior Pass issued by the National Park Service, so camping fees were generally $8 per night or less. We carried our own firewood because it is generally not permissible to gather wood in the national forest campgrounds although permits are available to cut firewood in some parts of many of the national forests.

Attached are a few photos of the areas where we camped.
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Old 03-23-2010, 09:57 AM   #2
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Wow! Awesome pics.... very beautiful area. Errrrrr, that looked like a bear roaming around on the other side of the lake(?) Yikes!
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Old 03-23-2010, 06:53 PM   #3
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Yup, it was indeed a bear. Ironically, the name of the lake is Bear Lake and the bear had come to steal fish from people fishing in the lake. We watched from afar as it opened a fisherman's cooler and ate the trout that had been stored there. The bear also pulled a metal stringer out of the water and ate the fish off the stringer. Everyone gave the bear lots of space and after it ate all the fish it could steal it ambled off into the forest.
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Old 03-26-2010, 11:36 AM   #4
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Thanks for the pictures Texas Sam! The area looks familiar- I think we were there for a day trip several years ago. Can't wait to get out again!
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Old 03-28-2010, 11:37 AM   #5
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WOW! You live in Colorado Springs, gateway to some of the best camping in the entire USA.

If you have not yet camped at Turquoise Lake (national forest campground) just outside Leadville you really owe itself to yourself and your family to do so. We spent a week there in July 2007 and enjoyed every minute of it. You may want to go during Leadville's BOOM DAYS annual celebration: great parade, lots of street vendors, live performances at the restored theater, mule race, rodeo, Museum of Western Mining, mining competition, train excursions, etc. Attached are some photos of the parade:
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Old 06-22-2012, 11:34 AM   #6
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I don't really know what it is but we have camped at real nice "resort" type places all around. They have all the nice things and all but when camp at a off-the power grid type campsite it just feels better for some reason.. It even feels "more better" when you have less also...

Must be something in our genes. It takes us back to nature maybe... Seems like people are always drawn to the water as well...

I know when the kids were little and came with us all the times they always talked about the far out places more the big city camping...

just sitting here pondering....
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Old 06-22-2012, 03:41 PM   #7
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Nice pics of the National Forest CG, same type of camping I prefer.

As a matter of fact, just departed Monument National Forest CG here in Michigan today..., part of the same National Forest CG system you have in Colorado.

My site at Monument;


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Old 06-27-2012, 11:51 PM   #8
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Saddly, a lot of Colorado forest land is going up in smoke this week.
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Old 06-28-2012, 07:17 AM   #9
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I would like to think that the new growth will be a beautiful thing in a year or so, but Yellowstone still has recovered from fires a number (5-6?) of years ago. Still looks very bombed out with the dead trees still standing and partial green growth at ground level.
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