Advantages to Off-Season Camping

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Whoa, whoa, whoa …. WAIT! Before you winterize that RV, look at some other options! While others are stowing their campers and gear, others are heading out for more camping adventures. The seasonal differences bring about tremendous experiential variations, such as:

  • Fewer campsite neighbors.
  • Shorter lines at restaurants and attractions.
  • Earlier sunsets.
  • Cooler temperatures.
  • Colorful nature displays.
  • Cozier campfires.
  • Longer hours to star gaze.

IMG_1233Go ahead! Take in the autumn festivals, the less crowded trails, and some snowy adventures like snowshoeing, snowmobiling, cross country skiing, and even downhill skiing.

Many campgrounds along I-70 and I-25 stay open for travelers but, yes, you can actually still go “destination camping” in the off-season, sometimes all year!

Find them by going to our campground search page and choosing which month you’re planning to go. The map will then show you the campgrounds that are open at least part of that month. From there, check on availability and fees by contacting each campground that looks appealing (if they have online reservations, the link is shown in the tab marked Websites, Social Media, Ratings & Reviews).

A few such destinations are:

This list is merely a sampling of opportunities. In Colorado, you can go camping each off-season weekend and not run out of new places to camp.

NOTICE:  Sometimes the RV sites are winterized, while other lodging options remain in full service so always check with the campground to make sure the accommodations you’re expecting are available.

Please also consider these tips in our earlier blog. They could make your cold-weather camping more enjoyable.

Go ahead! Head on over to our campground search page and start making your autumn and winter camping plans!

Happy Camping!

Uncompahgre River RV Park, in Olathe CO, offers long RV sites. For those without RVs, consider tent camping or renting one of their cabins.

Uncompahgre River RV Park (Olathe CO)

 

Westerly RV Park is open all year (Durango Colorado).

Westerly RV Park (Durango Colorado).

 

Ice skating (photo courtesy South Fork Visitor Center)

Ice skating (photo courtesy South Fork Visitor Center)

 

Snowshoeing at State Forest

Snowshoeing at State Forest

Cold Weather Camping Tips

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Winter camping visitors at Base Camp at Golden Gate Canyon (Black Hawk CO)

Winter visitors at Base Camp at Golden Gate Canyon (Black Hawk CO)

Many Colorado campgrounds are open all year, such as Base Camp at Golden Gate Canyon (shown here). Whether you’re heading out for a wild winter adventure or are just wanting some peace and quiet, here are some safe ways to create nice winter camping memories.

Water:  RVers need to keep hydrants and the RV’s plumbing safe from the winter elements.

  • Use heat tape, coiled around the hydrant and hose.
  • Keep in mind that the heat tape that might be supplied by the campground on their hydrant and your heat tape on your hose should not touch the thermostats of the other.
  • Some then add foam insulation. Shorter hoses are usually easier to keep from freezing.
  • Outside water filters are challenging so consider faucet filters for your winter travels.
  • If you get up in the night, consider running your hot and cold faucets for a few seconds to prevent ice buildup.

Thinking of the old household practice of leaving your faucets dripping? That adds a lot to your holding tanks, and many campground water systems simply can’t handle the constant drips of numerous faucets throughout their campground. It is better to keep a supply of water on hand, and when you have finished your dishes and showers, turn off the water and disconnect the hose or drain the pressure off of it.

If your unit’s fresh water holding tank is within the insulated portion of your RV, it should stay well above freezing.

Propane:  Monitor the weather and your propane supply. Don’t get caught running out! It’s even best to not run low because some weather systems have been known to cause power outages, and propane dispensing stations usually require some electricity.

Waste Water:  Let’s not overlook the sewer system.

  • Since all things flow best going downhill, if your sewer line is going downhill, and has no low spots, it might be OK without heat tape.
  • Drain your tanks when it’s warmer out. The valves are usually kept in the closed position until you’re ready to drain the holding tanks, but they can become frozen in the closed position in extreme cold.
  • Heat tape could be helpful near the valves, if possible.
Winter camping can be fun.

Winter camping can be fun.

Keep Heat In:  Your own interior comfort might be enhanced if you cover your skylights and ceiling vents. Heat rises and it easily escapes through these thin areas. You can buy special products for this purpose, or use small tension rods or even duct tape to secure pillows into those areas.

Learn to quickly climb in and out of the rig, minimizing the exchange of cold and warm air.

Bubble wrap can also help insulate windows and doors. Just make sure you always have easy access to your emergency exits!

Don’t use propane or kerosene heaters in your RV! Electric heaters also come with risks, so know what maximum wattage can be handled by consulting both your RV’s manual and the campground’s owner.

Skirting the RV is also an option to consider. Check with the campground owner to learn their policies.

Other ideas for your comfort:

  • Dress appropriately, and in layers.
  • Keep your gloves handy.
  • Use flannel sheets.
  • Use a small fan to blow warm air to colder areas.
  • Keep windows covered, unless the sunlight is beaming in to provide additional warmth.
  • Use area or throw rugs.
  • Use the campground’s restroom and shower house more and your facilities less.

For your own safety, don’t overlook these:

  • Get fresh air into the RV when you can because you don’t want the buildup of carbon monoxide.
  • Maintain your batteries.
  • Moisture inside the RV can create its own problems so don’t boil water any longer than necessary and limit your showers.
  • Have your furnace inspected before the weather turns chilly. Remember that RVs aren’t necessarily built for constant living, so your furnace fan motor might not last very long.
  • Again, don’t use propane or kerosene heaters in your RV!

Camping is an all-year opportunity in Colorado, and Camp Colorado makes it easy for you to locate campgrounds that are open:   

Many Colorado campgrounds are open well into winter.

  1. Go to Find a Campground.
  2. Check the month that you’re planning to camp.
  3. Choose your choice of accommodations (RV vs rental cabin or even tent, if you’re really hearty).
  4. The map will then show you your options.
  5. Consider each listing, research, and contact one or several to learn about availability and fees.

Most parks have limited services from autumn through spring. Their office hours are usually shorter, their activities are often minimal at best, and they’re crowds are considerably smaller. Usually that’s exactly what the winter camper is seeking!

(Camp Colorado greatly appreciates the insight that was provided by Falcon Meadow RV Campground near Colorado Springs. Having served campers for three generations, they’ve experienced Colorado winters and have learned so much from many successes and a few failures of many of their year-round campers.)

 

Haunted Camping

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Haunted camping has been known to occur at some Colorado campgrounds, and it’s all for family fun.

Many campgrounds will be aglow with Jack-o’-lanterns, quite a few may sport giant spider webs, others will set out scarecrows, yet two stand out with a month of festive scares you should consider for your October calendar.

Decorated golf cart at Jellystone Park Larkspur; just one of many contests their guests will enjoy.

Decorated golf cart at Jellystone Park Larkspur

 

Jellystone Park of Larkspur’s Halloween haunting escapades include:

Campsite decorating contests

Pumpkin decorating

Costume contests

Golf cart decorating contests

Magic pumpkin seed story

Trick-or-treating

and possibly its own HAUNTED HOUSE!

Come on folks! Let’s stir the magic potion to make that haunted house appear!

 

 

The entire campground is haunted at La Junta KOA!

La Junta KOA is a haunted campground in October

La Junta KOA began building Halloween excitement 75 days early, through Facebook posts. Based on history, their haunted campground (yes, entire campground!) this October is sure to be a fright.

They’re probably rolling out the … well … if it’s a red carpet it’s sure to be the trail of some vampire! Perhaps for the faint at heart, we should just say they’re rolling out the spider webs.

Brace yourself. They’re telling everyone, “Be afraid. Be very afraid.”

La Junta KOA welcomes you for a haunting Halloween

Our recommendation? Take the family camping to BOTH, and to other Colorado campgrounds that will be brewing a little fun for their haunting guests. It isn’t too early to be booking your campsite!

Camping With Horses

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For those who travel with horses, you’ll be pleased to know that there are Colorado campgrounds that welcome the entire camping party. Here’s a sampling.

Winding River Resort

Winding River Resort

Grand Lake’s Winding River Resort offers a variety of choices. There are RV sites already set up with the corrals, or you can make other arrangements for, perhaps, a vacation rental cabin with a nearby corral. The resort also has horses, making it handy for those in your party who don’t have their own. Aside from riding trails, the resort offers pony rides, hay rides, and even sleigh rides.

Over the years, many campers have taken their horses to Westcliffe’s Cross D Bar Trout Ranch. They, too, offer a variety of camping options, including a tepee! All of the sites provide a marvelous expanse of sky, perfectly suited for star-gazing after spending the day on horseback.

Palisade Basecamp RV Resort is soon to be Colorado’s newest RV park when it opens (getting closer every day!). It’s located about a mile from designated horse riding trails, and the horses are allowed on the rural roads from the resort to those trails. We’ve been told the trails are rather spectacular.

Eureka Campground

Eureka Campground

Seeking higher elevations? Eureka Campground allows horses, and there are some mighty grand views in this area! Situated at 9,862′ in elevation, it opens in May and closes in September. This is a rather remote or rustic (although not primitive!) campground, located about 8 miles north of Silverton.

In the Montrose area, Murdoch’s Ranch & Home Supply can provide guests with more information on nearby places to lodge horses and ride the trails. That note came to us from Jellystone Park of the Black Canyon. Camping is also available at Centennial RV Park and Cedar Creek RV Park.

Further west, in the town of Naturita, you’ll find High Country RV Park. They’re very accommodating to those with horses, and you’ll be able to access some trails right from the RV park! They offer RV sites, tent camping, and several rental options.

While Bristlecone Lodge in Woodland Park can’t accommodate the horses, they have guests who camp with them while they use the nearby stables for the horses. There are many trails in the area.

Trail near Winding River Resort

The view from riding one trail near Winding River Resort

Outside of Colorado Springs, Falcon Meadow RV Campground allows horses if you choose a tent site. There’s a nine-mile trail nearby. The horses have to be trailered to it, though it’s only a short distance.

For those overnighting it and not needing to ride yet, Colorado Springs KOA offers horse corrals.

Happy trails to you! 

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