Storm Valley Ranch
Before 2016 ticks away, I want to say what a great year it was! We had so much fun in SW Colorado where we spent most of the year. Our favorite spots are below with detailed info on all of them after and at the bottom our plans for 2017.
Here are our favorite camping spots of 2016 (in no particular order):
1. Lost Dutchman State Park, Apache Junction, AZ
Beautiful, sparkling clean campsites, nicely spaced with a spectacular view of the Superstion Mountains and great hiking! $30 to camp, some spots have electric and water.
Lost Dutchman State Park. We stay here each year.
2. Boondocking in Mancos National Forest, Mancos, CO
Great camping with lots of choices, right off the highway, easy to get to and level with lots of privacy. Close to Mesa Verde National Park and Durango. Durango/Silverton Railroad is here.
Mancos, CO. We stayed here twice.
3. Boondocking at Hecla BLM, Salida, CO
Nice, private spot in a little box canyon just off the highway. Close to Salida and Buena Vista. Gorgeous mountains to hike (many over 14K ft. elevation), rivers to fish, bike paths and dirt roads.
Hecla BLM. Stayed here two different times.
4. Boondocking in Leadville National Forest, Leadville, CO
About 2 miles out of town. Level, easy access, surrounded by pines, mountains to hike, bike paths, and much to explore in the old mining town. Great 4th of July festivities!
5. Boondocking in the San Isabel National Forest, Nathrop, CO
One of our very favorites. 2 miles off the highway, level, easy access, lots of pines, more hiking/fishing/biking in the surrounding mountains, lakes and rivers.
Nathrop Area, we stayed here twice.
Gorgeous spot, level but up a steep gravel/dirt road. On the river. Just outside of town with endless hiking and 4-wheeling and a cute town. Small fee to camp, no water or electric.
Steep climb to get to this tiny campground, but worth it!
7. Rio Grande National Forest Campground, Creede, CO
Right off the highway, level spots with decent access. Right on the river. Hiking, 4-wheeling and lots of dirt roads and nearby mining towns to visit.
Near Creede, right on the river. Gorgeous!
8. Boondocking in the San Juan National Forest, Silverton, CO
Tie for our favorite. 1 mile off the highway, easy access, level, park right next to the river. Hiking, fishing and lots of off road fun. Durango/Silverton Railroad is here.
Right on the river! Another winner!
Not surprising, all but 2 were boondocking for free. We had good internet in all of these places.
This is the types of camping spots that WE love. Some we get from other RVers, Apps and friends and some we luckily stumble upon. We look for privacy, easy access, gorgeous views, on or very near water for fishing or kayaking, nearby hiking and biking trails, not too far from towns for amenities, entertainment, good food and water/dump. We also love areas with history, breweries and other fun things. Again, might not be what others like, but these are right up our alley!
For those that might be interested, here's a breakdown of all of the places we stayed, and the costs:
The boondocking includes BLM, National Forest, LTVA and family.
Stays Nights Total AVG (per night cost)
Fairgrounds 5 31 $508.50 $16.40
Boondocking* 12 149 $80.00 .54
Private Parks** 8 56 $435.00 $7.77
State Parks 7 51 $1200.00 $23.53
County Parks 6 26 $556.00 $21.38
Casinos 2 5 $44.00 $8.80
National Forest*** 3 22 $342.00 $15.55
Forest Service 2 15 $307.00 $20.47
National Rec. Area 1 7 $22.00 $3.14
Other**** 2 4 0 0
* Boondocking includes dispersed camping in National Forests, BLM, my brothers ranch and a one time BLM LTVA fee of $80 otherwise all boondocking would've been free.
** Our time at one of the private parks ended up with us having 8 days free. See the "Hurley Incident". Normally nice private parks will be $30 or $40 and up. This skewed the numbers.
*** National Forest, these were fee campgrounds within the NF.
**** This includes 3 nights at a free parking lot and 1 night at a Walmart (we usually have several of these for quick overnights).
AND FOR 2017??
Our main destination is Maine! While we've been here before, it was when the kids were little and not with the 5th wheel. We will be spending time in Virginia with Steve's family and attending his 40th class reunion. We chose a route that will take us through the mid states as we have spent the least amount of time there. Also we will have a "theme" this year. We are going to hike the highest peak in each state we are in. That's about 28. The lowest is 448 feet in Deleware and the highest at 8749 in Texas believe it or not. That's higher than any peaks in the Appalachian. Surprisingly Kentucky, Kansas and Nebraska have peaks around 5,000! Most will have trails but some are piles of rocks in the middle of a potato field on private property.
This is an aggressive route and since I've only started the planning, we may not actually be able to hit them all. Some are grouped somewhat together so we can hit 3 states within the same campground. This will give us about a week at most campgrounds and sometimes 2 or 3. We will most likely wing most of it with very few reservations in advance. Just like we like it!
Happy New Year Everyone!!