Wildflower Touring by RV—Start Planning Now!

Whether you’re reading this while the snow blows past your windows or from a beach where there’s endless summer, it’s gonna be spring sooner than you think. With warm weather comes one of my favorite occupations, jumping in the RV and tracking down the meadows, prairies and mountain slopes where wildflowers paint the landscape.

No matter if you’ll be dusting off your RV from winter storage or planning for an RV rental, it’s not too early to plot your course in search of the best wildflower displays. Or maybe you’ll make several trips by the time the flowers fade and late summer’s heat turns us to other ways to enjoy RV camping. If RV travel to find America’s wildflowers strikes a chord, here’s a quick list of places you’ll want to discover:

America’s Best Wildflowers by RV

By mid-March, the bluebonnets are blooming and they’re joined by red and white poppies, coreopsis, Indian paintbrush, fire wheels and a dozen more vibrantly-colored species of wildflowers in Texas Hill Country.

From March to May, you’ll find a gorgeous vista over every hilltop, especially if start in Fredericksburg and follow US-87 north to the towns of Doss, Castile and Mason, saving time to venture onto side roads for even more wildflower glory. One special note: this is a journey best taken during the week, as wildflower lovers come from all over on weekends to enjoy the display. Reserve your spot early at a Hill Country campground, too, so you won’t have to leave this remarkable region too soon.

Another extraordinary opportunity to view hundreds of acres of wildflowers in one place can be found in California’s Central Valley at Carrizo Plain National Monument. Depending on winter rainfall, you may spot during March and April purple lupine, golden California poppies, orange fiddleneck and goldenbush carpeting the Monument’s two valleys.

As you hike through this nearly quarter-million acre BLM preserve, you’ll be enchanted by daisies and other bright spring florals on the slopes of the surrounding mountains.

The two RV-capable campgrounds here are primitive, meaning you’ll need to fill your water tanks and empty waste tanks so you’re self-contained. No electricity here, either, so keep that in mind when you come. If you’ve never experienced BLM camping, it’s a whole different world from developed campgrounds but the back-to-nature peacefulness is worth the adjustment.

Our next pick for an RV camping trip to find glorious wildflower color would be to Colorado, where the Crested Butte Wildflower Festival has encouraged in-depth enjoyment of local wildflowers since the 1980s. Scheduled events for this July festival (you’ll need to register online before you come) include 4×4 tours, hikes and rides to discover medicinal plants, photography workshops and more.

Expect to see stunning displays of columbines, sunflowers, lupine, elephantella and other showy species of wildflowers on your RV trip to Crested Butte. Camping possibilities near Crested Butte, CO include Lake Irwin Campground in Gunnison National Forest and at least a dozen private campgrounds in the Gunnison/Crested Butte area. Here’s a link to RV campgrounds in Colorado.

RV Wildflower Viewing Trips

RV Wildflower Viewing Trips

I’ll complete my list of suggested RV wildflower tours with a trip to the shores of Lake Michigan, where Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore provides plenty of chances to photograph and otherwise enjoy the wildflowers of spring.

The Lakeshore’s Bay View Hiking Trail is a popular hike to find wildflowers. Pitcher’s thistle, pink ladyslipper and orange dune lily are just three of the floral delights you’ll discover as you hike the trails on your own or take one of the ranger-led tours during May and June. You’ll also enjoy camping at Platte River Campground, close to Lake Michigan as well as hiking trails, scenic drives and other National Lakeshore attractions.

Do these ideas for planning an RV wildflower tour have you wishing for spring? We understand, and we’re ready to help you plan your trip, complete with a convenient RV rental. Map your route and have your cameras ready; spring wildflowers are just around the corner.

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Colorado’s Trail Ridge Road by RV

An RV trip to Rocky Mountain National Park is never a bad idea. Add in a trek over the Continental Divide on the park’s Trail Ridge Road and you’ll kick your trip up to a whole new level. It’s just an hour and a half drive from picking up your RV rental in Denver to reach RMNP’s eastern gate at Estes Park. Why not take a camping trip to Colorado and marvel at the views that keep RVers heading for Trail Ridge Road all summer?

Where to Camp on Your Trip to Trail Ridge Road?

If you’ve never experienced RV camping in the Rocky Mountains, there’s no more beautiful location than Rocky Mountain National Park. Three campgrounds within the park’s boundaries (and splendidly surrounded by mountain scenery) are suitable for RVs.

Mary's Lake RV Campground, Estes Park, CO

Mary’s Lake RV Campground, Estes Park, CO

You also have several choices for campgrounds near the Park; one of the most convenient is operated by the Estes Valley Recreation and Park District. The Estes Campground at Mary’s Lake  can accommodate large RVs with full hookups, and offers fishing at the lake and easy access to the charming mountain village of Estes Park.

Private campgrounds in the Estes Park area are also well-equipped to welcome motorhome and travel trailer campers. One more possibility with stunning views, if you enjoy dry camping, can be found at Herman Park Open Space Campground, south of Estes.

What You’ll Find Along Trail Ridge Road

But now it’s time to talk about the reason you’re in Northern Colorado—the chance to travel nearly fifty miles, from Estes Park to Grand Lake, through alpine forests and then rocky tundra, on the highest scenic byway in America. Trail Ridge Road, after crossing the Continental Divide, peaks at 12,183 feet before sweeping back down the mountainside to about 8,000 feet in elevation.

This two-lane highway can be traveled with ease in summer, thanks to no more than a seven-percent grade while gaining four-thousand feet in elevation. What that means is that, between late May and October, you won’t have trouble making the grade in an RV.

But what you’ll see along the way is the real reason RV travelers wind their way up Trail Ridge Road. As the treeline drops away, the immense, barren tundra allows views of ‘fourteeners’ all around. Wide loops of highway make their way across this plain to just above twelve thousand feet, with perfect views as far away as Denver.

Impossibly deep, boulder studded canyons plunge away as you travel the highest continuous paved highway in North America. Keep an eye open for elk, moose and bighorn sheep along the route. The variety of terrain promises an abundance of plant and animal life accustomed to alpine habitat. Take advantage of the many pull-outs to stop and experience the views from outside your vehicle. Be sure to explore the Alpine Visitor Center at Fall River Pass to learn more about the tundra and enjoy some of the best views on Trail Ridge Road.

If you have time, follow at least one of the trails that intersect the highway for a more intimate look at life above the treeline. Keep in mind it’s much cooler, as much as thirty degrees, at this elevation, so dress accordingly.

Your trip along Trail Ridge Road may well be the highlight of your RV camping trip to Rocky Mountain National Park, but you’ll want to spend some time discovering at least a few of the other attractions there.

Holzwarth Historic Site/Never Summer Ranch near Grand Lake on the west side of RMNP is a look back at a 1920s dude ranch and the Park’s early history. You’ll also want to make the drive to Horseshoe Park for premier wildlife viewing opportunities. Take a hike through a mountain meadow, up the side of a mountain or around an alpine lake on one of the park’s nearly three hundred miles of trails. There is literally no place within Rocky Mountain National Park that isn’t memorable, so why not stay awhile and find your favorites?

A drive along Trail Ridge Road can be the beginning of a lifelong love affair with the Rocky Mountains, or the highlight of this summer’s return trip to Colorado. Book your campsites and RV rental now so you won’t miss a day of adventure.

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Nine State Park Campgrounds to Kickstart RV Camping Season

What plans have you made for camping on Memorial Day Weekend and beyond? With the beauty of America’s state parks just waiting to be enjoyed, there’s no time like the present to find your favorites in the comfort of a motorhome or travel trailer.

If you need some help deciding where to go first, why not use our list below of nine state park campgrounds that RV campers love to visit? Then build your own list and be sure to let us know in the comments section where you plan to go RV camping this season.

Nine State Park Campgrounds for RV Camping

  1. Salt Point State Park – California

“Camping by the rocky Pacific shore, just off iconic Highway 1 north of San Francisco”. Doesn’t that sound like a splendid way to kick off camping season? With coastal trails, an underwater park for divers and coves just waiting to show you the best views of the summer, there’s no reason not to add Salt Point State Park to your camping itinerary.

  1. Pocahontas State Park – Virginia

Fishing, paddling and more bring RV camping families to this state park near Chesterfield, VA. Besides the many miles of hiking, mountain biking and multi-use trails, you’ll find an Aquatic Center for swimming with the kids, Beaver Lake where you can rent canoes, kayaks and paddleboats and Swift Creek Lake, where the largemouth bass can be legendary. It’s just three hours north of Roanoke, VA and easy to access from Richmond and Norfolk, too, so why not make this park a goal for this summer?

  1. Grayton Beach State Park – Florida

Sugar sand beach, a scenic coastal dune lake and a pleasant RV campground—that’s what you’ll find at Grayton Beach State Park on Florida’s Gulf Coast. Not only can you play on the beach and hike the trails through coastal forest and dunes, you’ll also enjoy Western Lake, a prime spot for paddling and fishing.

  1. Golden Gate Canyon State Park – Colorado

Why not kick off the summer camping season by picking up your Denver RV rental and then heading west (and a little north) just thirty miles to Golden Gate Canyon State Park? Your camping party will find twelve-thousand-acres of rocky, tree-lined trails, be surprised by clear mountain lakes and, in the midst of all that, enjoy modern, convenient RV campsites.

  1. Elk Neck State Park – Maryland

About an hour and a half northeast of Baltimore, jutting out into Chesapeake Bay, is a wonderful place where hiking, lighthouse viewing, swimming and RV camping are just the beginning of the adventure. Elk Neck State Park, on the peninsula between Chesapeake and the Elk River, offers a whole vacation full of interesting things to do. Bonus: Nature photographers are going to love the trails, the seaside cliffs and the wealth of wildlife this gorgeous state park promises.

  1. Mills Norrie State Park – New York

What if you could pick up your RV rental near New York City and then drive north a couple of hours to a wooded paradise on the Hudson River? Would that help you jump into summer RV camping season? Then a visit to Mills Norrie State Park is in order! Wooded, no-hookups campsites with views of the river, trails through forests and to state historic sites, a legendary public golf course, a river marina and an on-site environmental center round out the perfect spot for a summer vacation on the Hudson.

  1. Clear Lake State Park – California

Just a couple of hours northwest of Sacramento is the chance to camp on the shores of California’s largest freshwater lake. Clear Lake State Park is a bass angler’s dream that also promises shaded campsites, hiking and interpretive trails and a visitor’s center. Bring the boat and plan to stay awhile!

  1. Shabbona Lake State Park – Illinois

Drive an hour straight west from our Glen Ellyn El Monte RV Rentals location and you’ll find Shabbona Lake, the “Muskie Capitol of Illinois”. Besides great fishing, your crew can rent kayaks and discover the lake’s scenic shoreline, hike the woodland trails and enjoy the amenities at the state park’s well-managed campground.

  1. Palisade State Park – Utah

A place to play for everyone—that’s the best way to describe the playground two hours south of Salt Lake City. Palisade State Park, home to Palisade Reservoir (great trout fishing here!), is also home to a public golf course, an expansive campground, miles of hiking trails and OHV trails in a high desert canyon. What could be better for kicking off summer camping season?

These are just nine of the places people like to play when they go state park RV camping in America. Let us know where you like to go, and as always, let us know if we can help with an RV rental.

Posted in Colorado RV Camping Vacation, Illinois RV Camping Vacation, Maryland RV Camping Vacation, New York RV Camping Vacation, State Parks, Utah RV Camping Vacation | 1 Comment

Adventure RV Camping at Great Sand Dunes National Park

Great Sand Dunes National Park

Great Sand Dunes National Park

If you’re new to RV camping and aren’t sure it can fit into your active, adventure-seeking lifestyle, you’re in for a surprise. Coming back to RV comfort after a long day spent climbing, canyoneering, trail running or whatever it is you do to get the adrenaline pumping makes adventure vacations even more enjoyable. Here’s an idea for your maiden RV camping voyage—why not take a trip to Colorado’s Great Sand Dunes National Park?

It’s an amazing place filled with plenty of outdoor recreation possibilities. Imagine the tallest sand dunes in North America (some as tall as 700’), surrounded by snow-capped mountains, alpine forests and mountain lakes, and you’ve got an idea why adventure seekers flock to Colorado’s Great Sand Dunes.

How to Get There

The park is located two hours southwest of Pueblo, CO. Get there by following I-25 south and then I-60 west. You’ll turn north on CO-150 to access the park’s visitor center and interior roads. From the west, follow I-60 from Durango to the national park.

What to Do There

You might just be surprised at the range of outdoor sports visitors to Great Sand Dunes National Park enjoy. Here’s a quick list of five to whet your appetite.

  • Sand Boarding and Sand Sledding are favorites of park visitors, using specially built boards and sleds that safely slide the dunes. Area outfitters rent the equipment so you don’t need to lay out cash to buy your own.
  • Fat Biking on Medano Pass is another way to find adventure while at the Dunes. Mountain bikes are pretty tightly restricted within the national park and fat tire bikes made for riding in sand are restricted to Medano Pass Primitive Road (sorry, no dune riding), but there’s plenty to experience along the route. Hint: keep your eyes open for wildlife!
  • Hike the Dunes: With thirty square miles of dunes to hike, you can discover some totally spectacular views! Test your ‘sand legs’ by setting out for the summit on any dune you’d like. This is the original ‘find your own trail’ adventure venue.
  • Hike Mt Herard: Adventure seekers with mountain hiking experience will want to make the climb up this 13er. You’ll have to make the trip by high-clearance 4WD vehicle (no ATVs) to Medano Pass to reach the trailhead to the summit. Once you’ve made the summit, the view of the dunes, lakes and tundra surrounding Mt Herard is unforgettable.
  • The Dunes After Dark are a whole new world waiting for your nocturnal exploration. Plan a hiking party by the light of a full moon and enjoy a midnight picnic at the summit of a dune (don’t forget to pack out your trash!) The darkness at this national park is so intense, the stars will pop out in ways city dwellers may never have experienced. 

Where to Camp There

Once you reach Great Sand Dunes National Park, you’ll want to set up camp quickly so that you can get out on the dunes, mountain trail or in the middle of Medano Creek. There’s a campground that can accommodate RVs right inside the park entrance, so if that’s where you’d like to stay, jump on the NPS website and book a campsite before you come.

There’s also plenty of camping at private campgrounds within forty miles of the national park, and also at San Luis State Park just down the road. No matter which campground you pick, you’ll be close to the action and in some of the most scenic country you can imagine, right in the shadow of the Sangre de Cristo Range. If you haven’t taken the plunge to purchase an RV, you’re still in luck. You can pick up a Denver RV Rental and enjoy RV camping comfort for less than you think.

It’s going to be a great trip, so start packing your adventure gear and be sure to share your experiences in the Comments section below. Colorado’s Great Sand Dunes National Park—it’s got to be seen to be believed.

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Six Spectacular RV Camping Trips to Find Fall Color

Chase a splash of red up a mountain road, and be rewarded by an endless valley filled with autumn colors. Wake up in your RV campground to the blaze of red and gold glory all around. That’s the beauty of an RV camping trip to find fall color.

These six spectacular trips offer a banquet of autumn beauty to RV travelers. It’s not too late to plan your itinerary!

  1. Gatlinburg, Tennessee:  Located on the northern boundary of Great Smoky Mountains National Park and half a day’s drive from Louisville, KY, Gatlinburg is one of our favorite autumn destinations. Use it as your starting point for one of the many scenic drives through the National Park to net a camera full of autumn color.
  1. Bristol, Rhode Island:  There’s never a bad time of year to drive Rhode Island’s coastal highways, and autumn there is particularly memorable. From the grounds of the Blithewold Mansion to the autumn wonders of Colt State Park on Narragansett Bay, RV travelers will find their fill of fall color in Bristol. RV vacation bonus—it’s a short drive via I-95 from Boston!
  1. Park City, Utah:  If you find yourself RV camping near Salt Lake City this autumn, take the time to visit Park City, less than an hour east on I-80. That’s where to start your journey through miles and miles of golden aspen as you follow the Provo Canyon Scenic Byway, with a side trip up the Alpine Scenic Loop “Backway” through Sundance. Don’t miss this Western wonder of nature!
  1. Grand County, Colorado:  The county and forest roads around the Rocky Mountain towns of Granby, Grand Lake, Winter Park and Fraser reveal some of
    Fall Foliage

    Fall Foliage

    Colorado’s best fall foliage. About an hour and a half from Denver, Grand County RV campers can find hours of autumn color along byways like County Road 50 (Church Park Rd) west of
    Fraser and Hwy 34 from Grand Lake to Granby. Autumn travel extra—keep an ear open for elk bugling during fall mating season!

  1. Tioga County, Pennsylvania:  Here’s an RV traveling family’s chance to see the PA Grand Canyon, as well as unforgettable autumn vistas! Tioga County, PA, a couple hours’ west of Kingston, boasts charming towns like Wellsboro, where quaint shops and homes are surrounded by glorious hardwoods in full autumn blaze. Follow the county roads between Ansonia, Wellsboro and Colton Point State Park for your best fall camping trip photos.
  1. Galena, Illinois:  As your motorhome rolls into Galena, Illinois, be prepared to be charmed! This Mississippi River town along the Great River Road blends abundant autumn leaves, streets winding up scenic hillsides and Victorian homes and shops galore. About three hours west of Chicago, Galena is one of the finest places to find fall foliage in the Midwest.

Admit it, you’re hoping to make an RV trip into the countryside to witness the beauty of autumn foliage. Use these suggested itineraries to start your trip planning, and don’t forget to give us a call if you’re in need of an RV rental. This autumn promises to be spectacular! Don’t miss the chance to see it for yourself with an RV camping trip to find fall color.

Posted in Colorado RV Camping Vacation, Fall Foliage, Illinois RV Camping Vacation, Pennsylvania RV Camping Vacation, Rhode Island RV Camping Vacation, Tennessee RV Camping Vacation, Utah RV Camping Vacation | Leave a comment

RV Camping Flea Market Adventures – Colorado Style

As promised, we’re continuing our series on RV camping while visiting the country’s best flea markets. Today’s post is for motorhome campers traveling to Colorado.

Colorado is prime bargain shopping territory, with more than three dozen flea markets across the state. Whether you’re picking up an RV rental in Denver or traveling to this Rocky Mountain state in your motorhome, you’re sure to find a flea market that piques your interest. We’ve made it easy to find the best of these bargain-filled expos by highlighting some local favorites.

Southern Colorado Flea Markets

The town of Pueblo, 30 minutes south of Colorado Springs, is home to the Sunset Flea Market every weekend from Memorial Day to Labor Day. More than one hundred vendors keep things interesting for bargain shoppers and the camping at Lake Pueblo State Park, just outside of town, is a big bonus.

Before you leave the region, be sure to swing up to the Colorado Springs Flea Market on East Platte Avenue. With as many as four hundred vendors each Saturday and Sunday (plus a farmers’ market on Fridays all summer) you’ll love the variety of goods to browse. Scenic campgrounds are abundant in the hometown of Pikes Peak—here’s a list of Colorado campgrounds to help start your search.

Denver Area Flea Markets

The Denver metro area is packed with flea market potential, and one of the most popular is the Paris Street Market in Littleton. Held at the Aspen Grove Shopping District the first Saturday of every month, May to October, this bargain shopper’s paradise features antiques, artisan creations and upscale collectibles.

Love to ferret out the unusual? Denver’s Stapleton neighborhood is the place to be for funky retro and vintage finds, courtesy of the Sweet William Market held final Saturdays from May to September.

One more must-visit event for RV travelers who love a good flea market is the Horseshoe Market in Denver’s Berkeley neighborhood. Held one Saturday each in May, July and October, this much-loved outdoor market is your chance to taste, see and buy exceptional products.

While making the rounds of the Mile High City’s flea markets, consider camping at a Denver area state parks. Cherry Creek State Park and Reservoir in Aurora or Golden Gate Canyon State Park in Golden are top-rated by RV travelers.

Flea Markets beyond Denver

As you head north from the Denver area, make a stop in Boulder to experience something a little different than the normal flea market. The Firefly Handmade Market in July and September has a home in the historic 29th Street District, with a goal of introducing local artisans to shoppers.

And what RV camping bargain hunter can pass up the chance to visit the “Largest Indoor Flea Market in Northern Colorado”? The Foothills Flea Market in Fort Collins is located along College Avenue, the city’s Antiques Row, where plenty of antiques and collectibles are waiting to be found.

By the way, camping in the Fort Collins area is an adventure in itself, thanks to the wide variety of camping venues in and near Rocky Mountain National Park and Roosevelt National Forest. Book your campsite before you come to ensure a premier camping experience.

Imagine camping your way across Colorado, searching for the bargain of a lifetime. Plot your path and reserve your campsites, and be sure to let us know if we can help. It’s flea market season in Colorado!

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Five RV Trips to Discover Fall Foliage

RV Camping in Gorgeous Fall Color 

As the last heat of summer wanes, the hearts of RV campers turn to planning RV trips to find fall foliage. Lucky for you, here at El Monte RV we work overtime locating fall color hotspots worth discovering.

Here are five fall foliage trips to tempt you out onto the road for Autumn RV camping. Pack your camera, a jacket and your hiking shoes – you’re going to want to wander through America’s gorgeous fall colors!

Fall Foliage RV Trip #1: New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania

If you’re picking up a New York City area RV rental, you can start your trip in nearby Sussex County, New Jersey. Snugly wrapped in the Kittatinny Mountains, this picturesque county offers leaf peeping opportunities to see oak, hickory and ash forests ablaze in color.

Head north on the New York State Thruway to Albany and then up to historic Saratoga Springs. Continue north into New York’s Adirondack Park for six million acres of fall foliage possibilities!

Once you’ve camped your fill in the Adirondacks, why not swing back south through Pennsylvania’s Pocono Mountains State Park? Mountain Vista Campground near East Stroudsburg, PA is convenient to hiking trails and scenic drives sure to reward you with fall color.

Fall Foliage RV Trip #2: Massachusetts and Vermont

What could be more scenic than Massachusetts’ Berkshire Mountains in the Fall? Roll through the forests and meadows of these ancient mountains and be on the lookout for fall color through early October. RV camping idea – Historic Valley Campground at Windsor Lake, just north of North Adams, MA, for comfort, convenience and a colorful woodland setting.

If you’d like to extend your leaf peeping trip, head your RV one hour north to Green Mountain National Forest in Vermont. This wonderland of scenic autumn vistas is also home to comfortable RV camping at Camping on the Battenkill in Arlington, VT.

Fall Foliage RV Trip #3: Peak to Peak Highway – Colorado

With a Denver RV rental from El Monte RV, you’re equipped for an unforgettable Rocky Mountain fall foliage tour.  The Peak to Peak Highway takes you north from Denver to historic Estes Park, with miles and miles of gold and orange aspens along the way. Other points of interest to explore as you’re leaf peeping on this route: Blackhawk – famous for its casinos, Rocky Mountain National Park and almost-ghost-towns like Nederland, CO.

Consider a stay at Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park near Estes Park, close to plenty of fall foliage scenery.

Fall Foliage RV Trip #4: Northern Arizona

If you’re in the Phoenix area in late September or early October, you’re just a couple of hours away from spectacular autumn color!

Head north on I-17 toward Flagstaff, and plan to spend time driving the scenic routes inside Coconino National Forest. You’re sure to find many breathtaking miles of aspens, oaks and cottonwoods as you ramble along scenic drives or park the RV and hike one of the many forest trails.

All the way through Sedona and into Flagstaff, you’ll have plenty of places to stop and look to your heart’s content at the beauty of Northern Arizona in the Fall. KOA in Flagstaff is a friendly place to stay before you head back south to Phoenix.

Fall Foliage RV Trip #5: Tahoe National Forest, Northern California

Did you know that some of the best leaf peeping in the West can be done just a couple of hours east of Sacramento? Pick up a Sacramento RV rental and then point it east toward the Nevada/California border.  The views east of Nevada City on Hwy 20 (toward Truckee) and northeast along Hwy 49 into the National Forest are reported to be spectacular in late September and early October.

Campgrounds in Tahoe National Forest may close early, but RV campsites are available year-round at the Nevada County Fairgrounds in Grass Valley, CA.

Fall Foliage RV Road Trips

Fall Foliage RV Road Trips

Doesn’t a trip through the countryside to find fall colors sound wonderful? See it all from the comfort of an RV – pick an itinerary from one of our five suggestions or plan one of your own. There’s no better time to travel by RV!

Posted in Arizona RV Camping Vacation, California RV Camping Vacation, Colorado RV Camping Vacation, Fall Foliage, Massachusetts RV Camping Vacation, Vermont RV Camping Vacation | Leave a comment

Check Out the Fall Colors in Colorado on an RV Trip

This autumn is a great time to drive through scenic Colorado and enjoy the colors of the trees changing. You can drive Colorado Highway 550 to see the brilliant colors, with the foliage peaking in late September and early October. This is one of the most beautiful drives through the Rockies and filled with so many opportunities for marvelous outdoor activities. And this route is ideal for an RV trip!

Highway 550 Silverton Colorado

Uncompahgre Gorge and Mount Abrams between Silverton, Colorado and Ouray, Colorado on Highway 550

Begin this autumn journey in Ridgeway, Colorado surrounded by mountain ranches and towering peaks. The Uncompaghre River offers many unique opportunities to see wildlife, particularly bald eagles that nest in the trees lining the banks.  This is a western town which holds a number of events throughout the year, so when you arrive you should check the town schedule. The time spent here allows you a chance to get away from the hustle and bustle of city life for a while.

While in Ridgeway, be sure to visit the Ridgway Railroad Museum.  They are open until the colder and snowy winter months arrive, but until then you can tour the museum to see exhibits that commemorate the significance of the railroads in area history. There are historic artifacts, railroad equipment and photographs you will love to see.

Ghost towns are always a pleasure to visit, particularly in the Rocky Mountains. Some were small and some were large, but all give testimony to the past fortune-seekers, folks who risked their life to mine valuable gold and silver from these hills. Camp Bird Mine was one of the richest, Red Mountain Town was one of the largest and Ironton one of the most fascinating. Don’t miss any of the ghost towns you have the chance to see on this route.

Besides marveling at all the amazing colors on display, you will want to stop in Ouray, Colorado and take in the sights. This community is at the head of a valley and surrounded by tall snow-capped peaks. At 7,792 feet above sea level, the air is clean and fresh. In town you can walk the streets and see the old Victorian homes that have been restored. Outside of town, you can take to the jeep trails and hike or climb the surrounding cliffs. Capture some of the lovely waterfalls with a camera so you can take some tangible memories home.

Next stop – Silverton, Colorado and its historic sights! This was a mining town which has attracted people for many years to come enjoy the scenic vistas and outdoor recreation. The surrounding San Juan National Forest offers landscapes conducive to many activities. Fish the streams or hike the forests. Mountain biking is also a favorite activity for those up to it. From Silverton, you can take the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad to get even better views of autumn foliage.

Durango is your last stop on this fall drive in an RV. More history and lots of outdoor fun awaits you here. Vallecito Lake is a wonderful place to sail and soak up the last of the summer sun. It will be difficult to say goodbye to the Rockies and head home, but this region is going to be here for a long time to come. You are always invited to return.

Picture credits: The picture of Fall Foliage in Michigan is from the Wikimedia Commons. It is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

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Travel the Top of the Rockies in an RV this Summer

View of the Rockies Near Twin Lakes Colorado

View of the Rockies Near Twin Lakes, Colorado

Move along the top of the Rocky Mountains on the Top of the Rockies Byway in Colorado. This trip is an exciting venture across our planet’s most incredible Continental Divide. Sea level is a thing of the past and the rugged mountains present themselves to you in all their magnificence. An ideal destination, too, to get out of the summer heat! Experience the best of the Rockies on this RV trip!

Beginning your adventure in Aspen, you may want to spend some time in this mountain town before moving on. With all the trails surrounding Aspen, it is a great place to get out and hike. Of course, there is always something going on right in town, from a festival to a sporting event. You’ll find something to capture your fancy. Find a secluded spot to sit and fish for a day.

As you follow Highway 82, you are going to come to Independence Pass, a pass that has challenged travelers for many decades. You can drive three miles from the summit to visit the ghost town of Independence to get an idea of the many broken dreams of those who left when the gold rush was over. You will also have the opportunity to visit the Upper Lost Man Trailhead Interpretative Site on your way to this spot. Learning a little history is always good for the soul and puts things in perspective.

If anyone in your party is blind or disabled, the Braille and Discovery Trails were developed especially for them. The Braille Trail allows visitors to experience the outdoors in so many ways – sound, touch and smell. It is an enlightening experience for anyone at all and is worth a stop.

Picture of Downtown Leadville Colorado

Downtown Leadville, Colorado

Stop in Twin Lakes on your way along this scenic byway. The town overlooks the Twin Lakes and has the towering Mt. Elbert as a backdrop. The natural beauty of this area will simply take your breath away. And then, you will come to Leadville. Truly a historic town, Leadville offers a charm that is hard to resist. Besides great food, you will have the opportunity to get out into the wilderness and hike, bike, or fish – or all three. Browse the antique stores. Perhaps buy a gift for a friend or loved one back home. You will have many great amenities at Leadville RV Corral, so settle in there for the duration.

While in Leadville, be sure to see Tabor Opera House, currently being renovated to restore it to its original beauty. Also stop at the National Mining Hall of Fame and Museum to see numerous displays of valuable metals and minerals. This museum honors those who worked so hard to discover and develop our country’s natural resources.

Pass through Red Cliff (or stop for a snack) and then on to Minturn which marks the end of your RV adventure. The views here are wonderful, and you can stop and take them in before turning to head for home. There is nothing like a summer Rocky Mountain RV trip to rejuvenate the spirit.

Picture credits: The pictures of the Rockies near Twin Lake is from the National Scenic Byway website. The picture of downtown Leadville is by Dennis Adams and is from the National Scenic Byways website. Both images are in the public domain.

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An RV Trip to Boulder Colorado for Beautiful Fall Foliage

Downtown Boulder Colorado

Downtown Boulder Colorado as seen from the foothills

Taking an RV trip to Boulder, Colorado is a wonderful experience, especially in the fall months. Of course, you have the aspen that turn vibrant shades and a wide variety of outdoor recreation to look forward to. You will find RV camping in Boulder is plentiful. There is a wide choice of campsites that will accommodate your RV with plenty of amenities.

Although the aspen spectacle of colors usually peaks in September, you never know when you will find a pocket of color. There are many other trees turning as well, and you will have plenty of views of marvelous autumn leaves. Bring a bike or your hiking gear, because you will want to get out into the forests to be right in among the beauty.

A popular place to go in the fall around Boulder is Flagstaff Mountain. There is a nature center at the summit, and you can hike there for amazing views. You are bound to see wildlife as well as panoramic views of fall foliage.

To get out into the forests, you will want to take some hiking trails. The East Portal Trailhead is always a favorite. Branching trails will take you just about anywhere you have the inclination to hike. The Switzerland Trail follows an old railroad grade. The full length is fourteen miles, so get ready for the long haul. Have an ATV with you? You can use it on this trail.

For more fall colors, be sure to get to Mesa Trail. The south end always shows the displays of the cottonwoods. Running along the Front Range foothills, this is a marvelous hike in the autumn. Eldorado Canyon Trail is another outstanding hike, although it can be somewhat steep as you start out. It is a 3.5-mile hike one way.

Within Boulder you will find there are a number of places to go, inside and out, for a great time. Sticking to the Boulder Creek Path will take you sixteen miles through town and up into Boulder Canyon. Boulder Falls offers the opportunity to witness a lovely waterfall just a few minutes west of town.

Want to get indoors and find some history of the area? The Boulder History Museum can give you a fine taste of the historic past of the Boulder region of Colorado. The significant collection of artifacts makes for an interesting visit. And then there is a contemporary art experience at the Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art on 13th Street in downtown Boulder. Something you shouldn’t pass up.

Fall is definitely a premiere time for an RV adventure. You can get away from it all, marvel at the colors this season brings and experience the outdoors as it should be experienced. In autumn you also avoid the summer crowds. But Boulder is a place of wonder, no matter the season. Be sure to come back again, next time in the summer, for warm weather fun.

Picture credits: The picture of the downtown Boulder is from the Wikimedia Commons. It is licensed under the Creative Commons  Attribution 2.0 Generic license.

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