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RE: Favorite campground on the Gunnison River

The section of road/river between Sapinero and Gunnison isn't particularly scenic. I guess what I should say is there are few trees in this area. When we need a night or two along US 50 between Gunnison and Montrose we stay at the Cimarron CG. It's a NPS CG between the road to South Rim of Black Canyon and Sapinero. Flush toilets and a dump station. Some of the sites have some pretty good sized cottonwood trees for shade. I might suggest heading north of Gunnison to Almont and take the road up to Taylor Park Reservoir. A number of NFS CG's along this road, some with reservable sites. Also Lake View CG above Taylor Park. From there you can drive to Tincup which still has a lot of houses standing, many are now summer cabins. Drive up to and past Crested Butte to Gothic for some of the most outstanding fields of wildflowers in Colorado. There are ghost towns and mining ruins throughout this area. From this area, you can now drive over Cottonwood Pass which drops you right into Buena Vista. Plan an extra day or two in Silverton and rent a jeep. There are so many ruins in this area that you simply can't reach with your rig. Red Mountain, Engineer Pass, Cinnamon Pass, Yankee Boy Basin Road above Ouray. You can spend quite a bit of time exploring some amazing places in the Silverton/Ouray area. Most ghost towns to explore in this area than in the Salida/Buena Vista area. I'm not sure you'll want to venture over Independence Pass on CO 82 with your rig. There are places on the west side where the road is very narrow. There are places where the road is around 12'-13' wide. I've met dually's up there and someone has to back up to find a place to pass. Make sure you continue on the old railroad grade up past St. Elmo to Hancock. If you're feeling up to it, there's a trail to the collapsed east portal of the Alpine Tunnel. Well worth the hike. Better ghost town hunting north in the valley around Leadville.
4runnerguy 03/10/20 10:23pm RV Parks, Campgrounds and Attractions
RE: Utah route from Torrey to Bryce Canyon ?

Stay on UT 12 the whole way. Scenic but there is one pretty good downgrade a few miles past Boulder. An easier (and quicker) but less scenic route is UT 24 west to UT 62 to UT 22 continuing on John's Valley Road (UT 22 ends a couple of miles south of Antimony). Much of the John's Valley road, while paved, is somewhat narrow. But you'll meet little traffic. We always use UT 12 when we are in this area.
4runnerguy 03/09/20 05:35pm Roads and Routes
RE: Sedona to Moab and all points in between

4runners Guide to Moab!. Hope this was what you were after. Best of Luck, Interesting! Did you have your 4runner ran the Moab off-road trail? Planning to do that and I heard there are different classes for non-modified 4runner like mine.I assume this question is directed to me since I wrote the Moab posting in Busskipers link. In my old '96 4runner I had the factory locking differential and factory large tire upgrade. The only nonstock upgrades were the supercharger and headers. In this rig I could do things like Elephant Hill (a 4 rating) but wouldn't want to do much above that. For what the ratings mean, check out Trail Ratings. For an idea of what you might encounter driving on any specific trail, check out Trail List. By clicking on a given trail, you'll go to a page with a description and pictures showing some of what you'll encounter. That being said, once we went to the 2006 4Runner, I had to give up on any trail rated a 4. Simply not enough clearance without upgrading suspension and tire size. Besides, we've decided we really like to mountain bike these places rather than drive them anymore. Do make sure you have reservations for camping during Jeep Safari Week and plan for big crowds everywhere you go, whether it's to the grocery store, restaurants or the gas station.
4runnerguy 03/01/20 09:06am Roads and Routes
RE: Glacier National Park Info

Many of the CG's within the park are first come, first served. Many Glacier on the east side is a beautiful CG that does take reservations. Currently they have about 1/2 of the sites reservable but by sometime in March the other 1/2 will also be come available. This is a very popular CG that books immediately when the booking window opens. One useful took that is usually available on the NPS website is the Campground Status page. But it has only worked very intermittently for me in the last couple of days. If you can get it to load, you can see when the campgrounds filled on a daily basis going back several years. Hopefully they will get it back on line as it is a very useful asset to plan when you need to arrive at a given campground. And as mentioned above, you'll have to drive on US 2 around the south end of the park to get from one side to the other a one cannot tow over Logan Pass. St. Mary's on the east side goes to first come first served in Mid August, so that might coincide with when you'll be there. Rising Sun is another option on the east side Logan Pass road. Apgar on the west is a big CG with good proximity to the Visitors Center where you can catch the shuttle bus. It is worth staying on both sides of the park as they are quite different. West side (the wetter side) has more forests further up the mountain while the east side is more rugged. If you are going during the summer months, yes it will be busy. Not Yellowstone busy, but there is far less parking so one has to plan accordingly. If you are hikers, use of the shuttle system will get you to most of the trailheads. Using the shuttle one can plan loop hikes. But popular routes can mean quite a queue when you get to the bus stop at the end of your hike. We had to wait 45 minutes when we took the Highline Trail down to the Loop bus stop. As noted, if you want to park at Logan Pass, plan to get there at 7:00 a.m.
4runnerguy 02/27/20 09:48am RV Parks, Campgrounds and Attractions
RE: Grand Lake, CO from the west

so Yes Ken Knows Colorado well!As a Colorado native I was hauled to the mountains from a very young age. Once I got my own drivers license, the money I earned went into two things: music albums and gasoline to head to the hills. Been doing it ever since, first in standard automobiles and eventually 4x4 pickups (and of course 4Runners!). Moving to the west slope over a dozen years ago allowed us to explore even more obscure places in the Colorado mountains.
4runnerguy 02/26/20 09:29am Roads and Routes
RE: Grand Lake, CO from the west

Black Canyon to Grand Lake: The route with the easiest grades would be US 50 east to Grand Junction, then catch I-70 and head east to CO 131 at Walcott. North on CO 131 to just over the Colorado River at State Bridge and then head east on the Trough Road (CR 1) which parallels the Colorado River for part of its length. The Trough Road is a well maintained graded road that they put magchloride on to keep it smooth and the dust down. This joins CO 9 just south of Kremmling. From there it's east on US 40 etc. If it's dry weather, the Trough Road is the route we (and other locals) take to Grand Lake from Glenwood Springs. If it's rainy, magchloride makes the road kind of slippery so we head north to Toponas and take CO 134 east over Gore Pass to US 40, then take a right to Granby, etc. Gore Pass is just over 9500' so a pretty easy pass. For a little more scenic variation on this route, take CO 92 out of Delta to CO 133 and over McClure Pass and on through Carbondale. Then north on CO 82 to Glenwood Springs, I-70, etc. The drive along the Crystal River is one of the most amazingly scenic routes in this state esp. up by Marble and Redstone. Leaving Grand Lake: I think the hardest thing about going over Trail Ridge Road is dealing with all the traffic. Lots of people sightseeing = slow going. Heading south over Berthoud Pass means heading into Denver from Empire on a very busy stretch of I-70. Not a difficult drive but for the traffic. CO 14 over Cameron Pass and down the Poudre is indeed scenic but can also be quite busy esp. on weekends. If you don't mind the extra time, the route up CO 125/127 to WY 230 is an excellent option.
4runnerguy 02/24/20 10:26pm Roads and Routes
RE: Quiet boondocking Moab + South Grand Canyon late march

As Busskipper said, check out the thread on Moab here. About 2/3rds of the way down the first page is a segment on boondocking locations. Besides the Jeep Safari in April, be aware that many of the school districts in CO and UT have the fourth week of March off for spring break (March 21-29). By that point many families are burned out on winter so they head to Moab at that time. The boondocking on Willow Springs road can get so crowded it looks like a city out there. :( We usually stay in BLM CG's simply because there are specific campsites so others can't set themselves up right next to you. Does require arriving pretty early (before 10 a.m.) in the day and not on a Friday or Saturday.
4runnerguy 02/22/20 10:01pm Roads and Routes
RE: I-70 Colorado in April

The closer to the end of April you get, the less chance that snow will be an issue. Can it happen, sure, but we've had to use 4x4 to get out of a campsite with 6"+ of snow on July 4th up on the Flat Tops, so no month is totally without risk. Yes there are alternatives. Just because we get a dump here in CO doesn't mean that I-80 through Wyoming won't be good. Just depends on the storm track. Fifty miles north or south can mean the difference between 8" and a dusting. Been happening a lot this winter.
4runnerguy 02/01/20 09:21pm Roads and Routes
RE: State Bridge, CO to Kremmling

For almost all of its length, the Trough Road is a graded gravel that they put mag chloide on to keep it somewhat smooth. We pulled over that road a couple of years ago while it was raining. The mag chloride got all over the truck and trailer so we pulled into a car wash in Kremmling and washed everything off real well. In dry weather, it's not a tough road at all and almost as smooth as some of the paved highways I've been on.
4runnerguy 01/26/20 12:48pm Roads and Routes
RE: Substancial deposit required

We stay in NP's NF's, and a few SP's. They all require payment in full and will refund if you cancel (with a fee, usually around $8). So for our trip next summer, I've basically already paid for all our camping (except for those outside the six month window). So my bill for the camping will come soon and the bill for all the other expenses (gas, food, etc) will come in July, August, etc. Kind of spreads the pain out a little.
4runnerguy 01/16/20 05:22pm RV Parks, Campgrounds and Attractions
RE: Northern Utah and Idaho in 2020

Getting pretty late to book in Yellowstone Park itself. You might be able to cobble together camping in several different campgrounds by moving every couple of days. First come first served CG's in the park are tough to get into and it often means waiting at the CG entrance by 7:00 in the morning. There are private CG's in West Yellowstone and also a few NFS CG's north of West Yellowstone. The downside of those places is the line at the west entrance to get into the park every morning. Wherever you decide for Yellowstone, I'd get reservations NOW (today!!!). For Glacier, we stayed at Apgar on the west side a couple of years ago and didn't have a problem getting a spot. With the time you have alloted for this trip, I'd also try to stay on the east side as well as the two sides are different. You can check for resevations at Many Glacier but you have to get them at 8:00 a.m. MST six months out. So if you can get a spot tomorrow it will be for July 17th. I didn't have luck with the push the enter button lottery last time I tried. Resevations are also available at St. Mary at the east entrance main road. Many Glacier and Two Medicine both sit on lakes at the end of glacially carved canyons and have amazing settings. Lines for the First Come First Served can start before 7:00 a.m. for busy times in the summer. THe NPS has a really handy webpage that shows the fill times for the CG's in the park. You can look at any specific date for a given year or get the average fill time for the last five years. CG fill time info Click on the individual CG then on the month you want to look at. BTW you can't tow across Logan Pass so you'll have to take US 2 around the south end of the park. Plan a day to move.
4runnerguy 01/16/20 05:18pm RV Parks, Campgrounds and Attractions
RE: Ouray, CO- Ouray RV Park and Ouray KOA-Recommendations

As far as timing on when passes open, check out Bushducks. They have info people have posted as to the status of a lot of the trails here in CO. You can also research prior years by clicking on the appropriate link. Lots of good info can be gleaned here.
4runnerguy 12/14/19 11:02pm RV Parks, Campgrounds and Attractions
RE: Yellowstone 2020

In late May you probably won't face the huge crowds one sees later in the summer. But you may find your explorations somewhat limited because of lingering snow. My mother worked at Old Faithful for more than a decade and I remember pictures she had taken in mid-May and they had dug through the six feet of snow to get to the front doors of the store. Not like that every year, but snow will undoubtably still be around. Parking near Old Faithful won't be a problem with your rig as there's a huge parking lot there. There are big rig places to park in Mammoth and you can hike from there. Same with Canyon although not at Inspiration Point. I remember there being RV/bus parking at Artist Point on the south rim of the canyon. You'll be challenged when it somes to some of the other geyser basins. Parking near the Grand Prismatic Spring is particularly difficult, even in a car, as there simply aren't enough spots. I don't know if you have or use them, but bikes are an amazing way to get around and avoid some of the parking crowds. When we were there in mid-July parking at places like the Lower Geyser Basin was backed up a long ways. We simply drove a mile or so up the road, found a paved pull-off, got on our bikes and rode back to the parking lot. (Traffic is pretty slow so really not very threatening) Locked our bikes, hiked the trails, and got back to our bikes. We saw cars still waiting to park that were in line when we got there. Bikes are also really handy around Old Faithful. One can ride along the old road from Old Faithful out to Morning Glory Pool. We would check on the predicted eruption schedule in the Visitors Center, then ride out the road, park and lock, then hike to the geyser. Had several people offer to rent our bikes when they saw how much walking we saved. One more thing: if at all possible try to get that 18 year old to go along. As you know Yellowstone is one of the marvels of the world. She won't be disappointed (although I can't promise how the drive out and back might be! ;) )
4runnerguy 12/02/19 09:16pm Roads and Routes
RE: Road Trip! BC to California

OP wants to do a MH trip. We should answer his question.Then maybe we should suggest someplace closer for spring break. The OP may not have truly considered the distance/time constraints and the nightmare of driving an RV in Los Angeles. My answers to these kinds of questions always skew toward making sure the children have fun. Parents can sometimes lose sight of that in their desire to use their RV's. I don't think I've ever met a kid that would give up a day at the beach, a day at the zoo, a day at SeaWorld and maybe another day at Disneyland :D for four 8 to 10 to 12 hour days of sitting in an RV going down the highway. :(
4runnerguy 11/19/19 10:50am Roads and Routes
RE: Road Trip! BC to California

Another vote for flying vs. driving. Half or more of your trip just staring at the windshield. And driving your rig around LA wouldn't be fun at all. Maybe you've driven in Calgary or Vancouver but neither of those hold a candle to the mayhem and madness of driving in and around L.A. Besides, there's a whole lotta other things to do in and around the area once you get there. And San Diego also has great attractions. Head to the beach, Seaworld, the San Diego Zoo (world class). Spend your time doing things your kids will remember other than spending days in the coach.
4runnerguy 11/18/19 12:20pm Roads and Routes
RE: WA 20 or US 2 across the Cascades summer 2020?

If you are in Washington later in July, the wild blackberries may be ripe, especially at the lower elevations. Bring leather gloves, ziplock bags, and long sleeves. Major thorns. But incredibly delicious -- the fresh picked stuff tastes nothing like store-bought berries.Thanks for the heads up. We'll keep an eye out as we're hiking. I imagine they grow at lower elevations rather than further up the mountain trail? We have a variety of different berries around us here in Colorado but I've never heard of anyone finding blackberries. Funny story. I was visiting my dad out in WA back in 1990. In the store I saw marionberry pies for sale. Now I had not heard of marionberries before so I just assumed it was some sort of joke about Marion Berry, the mayor of D.C. who had been arrested for cocaine possession. My dad then let me know that marionberries were indeed a type of blackberry.
4runnerguy 11/18/19 09:35am Roads and Routes
RE: WA 20 or US 2 across the Cascades summer 2020?

The Winthrop area is a mtn biking mecca - not bad for road bikes and fat/snow riding as well. On the phone, the MTB Project app is handy. There's also a hiking version. More and more places are getting to be mountain bike meccas. Towns now realize that mountain bikers aren't just a bunch of 20 y.o. stoners but a good number of older riders who spend money in town. In some ways figuring out which hikes to do is easier than which mountain bike trail systems to visit. Besides MTB Project, we also use the Trailforks app. Obviously lots of overlap but each has trails that aren't on the other. I like how you can see where you are on the map so when you get to a junction, you can figure out which way to go. Thanks all for suggestions. A common theme does seem to be to stop for ice cream in Winthrop!
4runnerguy 11/17/19 09:11pm Roads and Routes
RE: WA 20 or US 2 across the Cascades summer 2020?

Thanks all for your input. Sounds like WA 20 may be our choice. Try to spend as much time as you can along 20 -- many, many world-class day hikes in North Cascades NP. Great backpacking, too, although I have never done it. Nice blog post. It's interesting that you did some of the same hikes I have put in our list of things to do. Part of our trip planning is to mix days of mountain biking and days of hiking. I found this amazing website on hikes in Washington: Washington Hike Map The trouble is we only have maybe 10 days in WA so trying to narrow the right hikes down is pretty tough with all the choices. I do wish I could find a similarly high quality resource like the Washington Hiking Map for other states too. Well done site.
4runnerguy 11/16/19 11:27am Roads and Routes
RE: WA 20 or US 2 across the Cascades summer 2020?

It is the time it that the highway closes. watch weather we already had snow.I forgot to say that I'm planning next summers trip. Hopefully the snow will be cleared off the road by July! thanks for the input.
4runnerguy 11/12/19 09:59pm Roads and Routes
WA 20 or US 2 across the Cascades summer 2020?

We've never done either of these roads! Have had them on our list in the past but forest fires caused a change in plans. So if were only going to do one or the other, which would you choose? We'll be travelling west to east. We may plan an extra day or two on whichever one we travel to do some hiking.
4runnerguy 11/12/19 05:59pm Roads and Routes
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