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Lake: Blue Mesa Reservoir
River: Gunnison River (Upper)

Dry camping

Post By: Incognigo Montoya      Posted: 7/29/2019 7:41:02 AM     Points: 3    
Forgive me, I'm am new here, and as with all newbies I am probably doing this wrong. 😆
So I am relatively new to the state of Colorado, having lived here just about 10 months now. I am a native of Arizona and have spent most of my life camping and fishing there, specifically in the eastern part of the state, known as the white mountains. I am used to finding primitive camp sites, off the beaten path, to park my trailer and dry camp. I now reside in Montrose, and have done a bit of camping and scouting in the western slope, since about early April when I went to miramonte for a nice weekend (if you forgive the fishermen who insisted on fishing from my campsite, or did I accidentally camp at their favorite fishing spot?) It seems, however, that the state parks and wildlife/forestry service, has gone to great lengths to "corral" campers into designated areas, creating camping neighborhoods, which is not my idea of a good time. I have been to the grand mesa (albeit only twice), Lake city, both cinnamon pass and engineers pass (though not all the way over to silverton). Leroux creek 3100 rd. Kebler pass, silver jack owl creek pass, soap creek, and a few other places I can't remember off the top of my head. They all seem the same. I know there are a multitude of other places, but I am concerned that they're all basically the same, campground neighborhoods with utv/atv traffic jams, with little solitude or quiet where it's just the natural beauty, sounds, and a nice stream or reservoir to fish in. So, am I SOL? Is the outdoors of my youth just a bygone era? Am I looking in the wrong places? Am I choosing the wrong time of year to go? I'm not necessarily asking for a specific place to go, but rather, does what I am hoping to find exist, and will my continued pursuit of it pay off eventually?
Btw, as a side note, went to silver jack today. Caught 9 rainbows 6"-12" on spinners. Beautiful day. My girlfriend and I were the only two on the water, though our peace and quiet was hit and miss with the all too familiar motorbike and atv traffic....
 Reply by: riper69      Posted: 7/29/2019 8:21:04 AM     Points: 1526    
Welcome to colorado
Should have been here 20 years ago or longer

 Reply by: Incognigo Montoya      Posted: 7/29/2019 8:25:42 AM     Points: 3    
Thanks! I had a feeling that was gonna be my answer. 😑
 Reply by: Incognigo Montoya      Posted: 7/29/2019 9:10:19 AM     Points: 3    
Riper, I actually spent a week backpacking, with my family, from the Animas to the continental divide, in 1982. I was 10. Rode the Durango train to elk creek trail. Caught my first fish (rainbow) there, on elk creek. Was a great adventure, I will always treasure. I am planning on doing it again, next summer!
 Reply by: anglerwannabe      Posted: 7/29/2019 9:49:55 AM     Points: 63752    
welcome to the forum. For camping near Blue Mesa, there is a campground on the north side, west of the bay of chickens. It is a small area with only about 12 camp sites that is run by state dept. Although you do have to camp near others, there aren't many and better yet, it has trees so you can get some shade..

You're going to find here in Colorado that prime, isolated camping is sparse. Our fellow Colorado residents seriously go outdoors, not to mention how many tourists we get. Don't get me wrong, there is some available, you just gotta do your homework.

Next time you're in AZ, stop by AJ's and get me some blackberry jasmine tea!
 Reply by: Ajax5240      Posted: 7/29/2019 10:23:50 AM     Points: 32201    
The way I found a lot of the more isolated areas to camp was to go camping and tolerate the crowds.. then use that as your base camp to go explore an area looking for a spot to camp next time. But.. be warned, if you found the spot.. so have many others. If you are making a long drive, be sure to have 4-5 spots in mind.. and arrive on a Wednesday or Thursday. If you wait till friday evening.. all the spots are gone.

I have attempted to camp at blue Mesa once.. key word attempted. A lot of the campgrounds are asphalt or dirt parking lots with picnic tables. Not my cup of tea.

If you want peace and quiet, the key is getting as far away from hot spots. Drive to places the typical tourist would never dream of going.
 Reply by: dallsheep      Posted: 7/29/2019 10:43:56 AM     Points: 0    
If you go to the popular places, you will find what you describe. You'll need to get off the beaten path to find solitude in camping. There are plenty of just need to find them and stay away from the high concentration of people. After labor day the camping subsides.
 Reply by: Incognigo Montoya      Posted: 7/29/2019 11:13:43 AM     Points: 3    
Thanks for the responses. I was hoping that after Labor day it would get better. I've really noticed that there is so much unused shoreline at many of the lakes, and while nice they aren't cluttered with people, or trash, it sucks that you cant access it. Kind of a catch 22.
 Reply by: Incognigo Montoya      Posted: 7/29/2019 11:20:01 AM     Points: 3    
Ajax, that is exactly what I've been doing. lol. So far, pretty frustrating, between all the private land scattered throughout the public land, and the way the forestry roads are set up. I am sure I'll find something eventually. I'm used to driving and finding primitive roads, somewhat obscured, here and there, that'll take you off the main road a ways. Seems like the forest service has done a bang up job here, eliminating those types of roads, and corralling everyone to either campground neighborhoods, or little pullouts, just off the main road. But your response gives me a little hope. Thank you
 Reply by: DLH      Posted: 7/29/2019 7:12:13 PM     Points: 196    
One thing to look forward to is it's not going to get any better. Darn it.
 Reply by: riper69      Posted: 7/30/2019 7:03:11 AM     Points: 1526    
Right on then you know how colorado used to be
More roads would be open if people would stay on them
Look at that guy with the snowmobile on independents pass
Close them all and make people walk

 Reply by: Salmon Slayer      Posted: 7/30/2019 1:52:19 PM     Points: 1569    
A few weeks ago the wife and I camped in Saugauche County. We had a general idea where to go. We got good info by stopping at the NFS office in Saugauche, and bought the huge water proof map of the Rio Grande NF for around $13. The ranger there gave us great info on several dispersed/remote areas, and we used the map to fine tune a destination. This was the first time we have stopped at an office like this in ages and am very glad we did.

There were ATVs in the area. We contented ourselves with a bit of noise and dust because rock hounding was our goal, and we wanted to camp close to dig sites. Some other spots we found on the map and from the ranger could have offered more privacy, say if we were hunting up a remote trout stream. Now that I think on it, this approach is more like scouting spots like in the "good old days," before internet and cellular. And chatting with a ranger truly in the know was a huge plus, too.
 Reply by: esoxrocks      Posted: 8/3/2019 8:36:55 AM     Points: 2504    
Humm, so your idea of camping isn’t parking your rig door-to-door with the next guy’s rig in an RV ghetto? Listening to your neighbor’s satellite tv, air conditioner, and power generator, that is, when the 4x4s aren’t roaring up and down down the dusty road? Not sure what to tell you...that’s what some folks around here call “getting out into the wilderness”.
 Reply by: Incognigo Montoya      Posted: 8/5/2019 11:33:04 PM     Points: 3    
Thank you, Salmon slayer. I will look into that area and try to talk with that ranger. I have found some to be very helpful, and others not so much. The lady I've spoken to in Montrose, on two separate occasions offered little more advice than to say, "you and everyone else" when I inquired about more remote camping locations.
But I've been put scouting and finding some promising leads.
 Reply by: Incognigo Montoya      Posted: 8/6/2019 8:43:32 AM     Points: 3    
Esoxrocks, nope, definitely not my idea of a fun time. Up until a few years ago, I wouldn't be caught dead with a camper. My idea of camping was backpacking into the wilderness and hoping to not see (or hear) another human being, until I hiked back out. But age and circumstances have changed and I found camping with a tt or fifth wheel, can be fun and enjoyable as well. For me, though, I've got to find a spot removed from the crowds. The frustration is driving through miles of national forest not seeing any primitive roads branching off occasionally. I see plenty of places where there was a road, but it's been blocked off. Or the roads only go back 100 ft, so I get to hear the lovely traffic going by... I didn't expect anyone to divulge their secret spot (kinda like asking for your secret fishing hole😐🤨) just wanted to be reassured that there are places out there, and some advice, which I've gotten, so thank you all for that! Now, about those secret fishing holes... 😉

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