Bonita Raders and Randy Smischny will be the Circuit Leaders for this Sundowner. The circuit starts on July 13th. Additional gatherings will be added as the circuit continues to travel through Colorado. Plans are to extend the circuit to the end of September. Changes to the circuit will be posted on this page of the WIN website and if needed WIN Alerts will be sent out to announce changes. Please note that the Meeker, CO gathering requires reservations.
As of July 1, 2020, Colorado requires that you MUST have a hunting or fishing license to use a State Wildlife Area. The circuit has 2 SWA sites for a total of 13 days at the Walden and Granite gatherings. The most affordable option for staying at both gatherings is to buy a Colorado annual non-resident fishing license for $98. A 5-day and an additional days over 5 as needed passes are also available for those not planning to do both gatherings. Fishing licenses are sold at Colorado Walmarts and at other retail stores that sell fishing supplies. The circuit includes many lakes, so fishing will be an easy and relaxing activity to enjoy.
Volunteers are needed to host the locations. The group will be required to practice social distancing and to wear masks. If you are interested in joining the circuit please contact Bonita Raders at (225) 717-9219 or at email@example.com. Randy can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If a volunteer is willing to organize it, this circuit or another Sundowner could continue into New Mexico, Utah, or Arizona to meet up to the winter circuit.
Visit the Rocky Mountain National Park, Grand Lake, Granby, Granby Lake. Sightsee, hike, kayak, bike, off-road
Stillwater Pass OHV/Snowmobile Staging Area, National Forest, free, large field with pit toilets, room for many rigs. No water or dump at the PARK:. Vault toilets. https://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/arp/recarea/?recid=28546
From Junction of CR-4 and US-34 (5 miles south of Grand Lake or 8 miles north of Granby) go 4.5 miles on CR-4 to to the staging area. Also known as the Idleglen OHV/Snowmobile Trailhead.
To drive a vehicle into or thru or to use any Rocky Mountain National Park location, a “timed entry” day pass is required due to current Covad-19 restrictions. These are for specific days and 2 hour windows and cost $ 2.00, there are no additional service charges. Reserve on www.Recreation.Gov website.
N40.2252482,W105.8949902 – Click on link to see Google Map
Lake Cowdrey State Wildlife Area, Hiking, Kayak, Fishing, Bike
Lake Cowdrey State Wildlife Area, large open area w hard gravel surface
8 miles north of Waldren on paved State Route 125, take gravel road (County Road 39) westerly 1/2 mile to lake. Colorado Fishing and Hunting License required to camp in this State Wildlife Area based on new law effective July 1, 2020. Please read the introductory information on this circuit for more details.
N40.839171,W106.312374 – Click on link to see Google Map
Wildlife viewing, Hiking, Kayak, Fishing, Bike, Ski Resort chairlift rides
Rabbit Ears Pass Area, Medicine Bow-Routt National Forest / Thunder Basin National Grassland, free dispersed dry camping. Elevation 9,400
21 miles east of Steamboat Springs on US-40. From junction of CO-14 and US-40, travel west on US-40 to Forest Service Road 312, large gravel areas north of US-40 off 312 approx 200 yards north of US-40.
N40.380343,W106.579723 – Click on link to see Google Map
Wildlife viewing, Hiking, Kayak, Bike, Day trip to Dinosaur National Monument, White River Museum
White River National Forest, North Fork Campground. RESERVATION REQUIRED, RESERVE ON RECREATION.GOV Picnic tables, toilets, drinking water. $ 25 / night, half price with senior or disabled pass. Set in an Aspen grove overlooking the north fork of the White River.
From Meeker, take CO-13 north for one mile, then turn east on County Road 8 for 32 miles. As of June 27, 20 sites are reservable. https://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/whiteriver/recarea/?recid=41063
N40.05833,W107.44972 – Click on link to see Google Map
Chapman Dam Campground is a large campground about 30 miles outside of Basalt. There are a wide variety of campsites here at Chapman Dam Campground for everyone to enjoy. There is walk-in camping near the dam, tent and trailer camping near the lake, and campsites large enough for RVs in the meadow below the lake. The Frying Pan River goes right through the campground. This offers some good fly fishing if you don’t mind the willows.
This campground is higher in elevation and has not succumbed to the bark beetle infestation that is plaguing many of the great camping areas around Colorado. The campground is well wooded with pine and aspen. The area is covered with wildflowers. For wildlife viewing and convenience this is a great campground to enjoy.
Biking, Birding, Campfire Rings, Drinking Water, Firewood, Fishing, Group Camping, Hiking, Horseshoe Pit, Host, Interpretive Trails, Parking Area, Picnic Area, RV sites, Recycling, River Access, Trails, Trash Collection, Vault Toilets, Volleyball Courts, Wildlife Viewing, Dump Station
White River National Forest, Chapman Dam Campground. RESERVATION REQUIRED, RESERVE ON RECREATION.GOV .Picnic tables, toilets, drinking water. Cost for 7 nights, $ 102.50 with Senior or Disabled Pass.
From I-70 exit 116, take Highway 82 south to Basalt. Then, Frying Pan Road for 29 miles.
N39.309382,W106.641012 – Click on link to see Google Map
Kayak, fish, hike (Colorado trail), bike. Day trips to Leadville. 15 miles from Mt. Elbert, highest point in Colorado. 8900’ elevation.
Clear Creek Reservoir State Wildlife Area (SWA). Dispersed sites. Free. Room for 50 RVs along creek or in an open-sky area. Good interior gravel roads. Some fire rings, pit toilet.
From Granite, go 1.6 mi. south on US24, turn right (west) on Clear Creek Canyon Rd / CR-390, go 2 miles to the SWA on left (signed), just past reservoir. Colorado Fishing and Hunting License required to camp in this State Wildlife Area based on new law effective July 1, 2020. Please read the introductory information on this circuit for more details.
N39.021996,W106.281078 – Click on link to see Google Map
Blue Mesa Reservoir is Colorado’s largest body of water with 96 miles of shoreline and the largest Kokanee Salmon fishery in the United States. Let’s go fishing!!! Visit the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park for hiking, scenic drives, kayaking; rock climbing, and wildlife watching. Head down to the Gunnison Diversion Tunnel, a National Historic Civil Engineering Landmark, that routes water from the Gunnison River through the mountain to Montrose and other farming communities. Visit the Morrow Point Reservoir at the beginning of the Black Canyon where visitors can take a ranger-led pontoon boat through the upper Black Canyon. Attend Ranger led hikes and Ranger campfire programs to learn about the area. Take a day trip to Crested Butte. Consider a day trip on the Cumbres and Toltec Scenic Railroad for a 64 mile journey through abandoned mining towns.
Elk Creek Campground on the Curecanti National Recreation Area. Elevation 7,540 feet.
16 miles west of Gunnison on US-50. (970)641-2337 Dump and water are available at the campground. $16/night for non-electric sites. Electric hookups in loop D only, additional $6/night. Loop D recommended for larger rigs. Reservations are strongly recommended and can be made up to 6 months prior to your stay. Must be made 4 days prior to arrival. www.recreation.gov or call 877-444-6777.
N38.46778,W107.17583 – Click on link to see Google Map
Tour the Museum of the Mountain West and the Ute Indian Museum. The Montrose Water Sports Park is a must do afternoon for kayakers, beginners to expert, with six drop structures, and a gradient of 11 feet for 1/5 mile, supporting a leisurely run with natural obstacles. Catch a performance of the Magic Circle Players. Visit the Montrose Botanical Garden and the Montrose County Museum. Shop at the Montrose Farmers’ Market on Saturdays. There are several hot springs in the Montrose and Ouray area.
Elks Lodge #1053, 891 S. Hillcrest Dr. (970) 249-4852 $5/night donation.
Electricity and dump available.
N38.479638,W107.8599647 – Click on link to see Google Map
Ride the free gondola from Telluride to Mountain Village. Hike the Bear Creek Falls trail, the Jud Wiebe Trail, Bridal Veil, and hike along the San Juan River – which also has white water rafting opportunities. Walk downtown Telluride, shop at the Farmers’ Market, and tour the Telluride Historical Museum. Take a day trip and drive to Ouray, the “Little Switzerland” of Colorado, over Black Bear Pass. Catch a performance at the Sheridan Opera House or Telluride Theater.
Lizard Head Pass Dispersed Campground, Telluride, CO Elevation 10,250 feet
East side of Lizard Head Pass, 10 miles south of the town of Telluride on CO-145.
N37.81150,W107.90572 – Click on link to see Google Map
Visit the Mesa Verde National Park, and take a Ranger guided tour of Cliff Palace, Balcony House, and Long House ($5 per person – tickets sell out quickly but can be purchased up to two days in advance at the Mesa Verde Visitor Center, open 7:30 am to 7 pm). Visit the Cortez Cultural Center for a glimpse into the current Native American culture and the Hawkins Preserve to see the area’s native flora. Celebrate Labor Day.
American Legion, 320 N Harrison St., Cortez CO 81321 (970) 565-8151
As an alternative the Elks Lodge in Cortez has camping, 2 with electric hookups.
N37.3526286,W108.5806477 – Click on link to see Google Map
Durango is a historic cowboy mining town. The center point is the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad, through the San Juan Mountains and Animas River Gorge, and is rated one of the ten most exciting train rides. Parking at the fairgrounds provides easy access via a path by the river that follows the train tracks into town, or on a trolley. Every morning at 8:15, you can hear and see the magnificent historic Steam Engine 408 chugging by. Shopping, a melodrama at the Strater Hotel, breweries, a chuck wagon and show, “burn your own” dinner, lots of laughter, and, of course, the Durango & Silverton train trip will make for a wonderful visit to Durango.
Junction Creek Campground, 1499 FDR 171, Durango, CO 81301, (970) 884-2512
From US Hwy 550 take W25th Street West, which becomes Junction St, which becomes Junction Creek Rd, which becomes 204. Reservations need to be made at www.recreation.gov Junction Creek Campground sites becomes first come first served (FCFS) on September 14. Reserve the nights of September 9-13 and pay for the night of September 14 in the pay box after arriving, for the spot you are already parked in. Note: Some sites may become FCFS on other days so you may have to browse recreation.gov viewing all sites to find open sites.
N37.3384,W107.9166 – Click on link to see Google Map
Turkey Springs NF, Pagosa Springs, CO
From Hwy 160 in Pagosa Springs, take a left onto Piedra Rd, CO 600, go 6.5miles, turn left onto Turkey Springs Road. Free dry camping, no facilities.
N37.328389,W107.12975 – Click on link to see Google Map
Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve. There’s a lot more here than just the huge dunes that are the tallest in the US and cover 330 square miles. There is also forest and mountain ecosystems in the park. Zapata Falls is nearby.
Biking, Birding, Campfire Rings, Drinking Water, Firewood, Hiking, Horseshoe Pit, Host, Interpretive Trails, Parking Area, Picnic Area, RV sites, Recycling, River Access, Trails, Trash Collection, Vault Toilets, Volleyball Courts, Wildlife Viewing, Dump Station
Pinon Flats Campground, Great Sand Dunes NP. Reserve on Recreation.Gov. Dump, water, trash pickup, bathrooms.
From Alamosa, take US-160 E for 14.4 miles, turn left on to CO-150 N. 20.3 miles north to Great Sand Dunes National Park and the Pinon Flats Campground (beyond the visitor’s center).
N37.6076554,W105.8280986 – Click on link to see Google Map
Visit the Garden of the Gods, the Royal Gorge, the United States Air Force Academy, the National Museum of World War II Aviation, the mining towns of Cripple Creek and Victor, the Pike’s Peak Cog Railroad, Manitou Springs, Seven Falls, Cave of the Winds, the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, the Colorado Springs Pioneers Museum, and the Ice Skating Hall of Fame at the Broadmoor in Colorado Springs. Hike or bike Red Rock Canyon. For you adrenaline junkies, there is the Rusty Wallace Racing Experience. Visit the Fountain Creek Nature Center and catch a performance at the Fountain Community Theater or the Pikes Peak Opry.
Colorado Springs Elks Lodge #309, 3400 N. Nevada Ave. (719) 633-1727
Electric hookups available. Water and dump ($10) on-site. Plenty of dry camping available/$10 night. For access from I-25 N or S., Exit 245 and turn east on Fillmore. Proceed approximately .7 mile to stoplight. Turn left on Cascade Avenue. About .3 mile turn right onto Commerce Street. Turn left next block onto Tejon. Rear of Lodge and RV parking on right. Please enter the Lodge through the back door on the north side of the pool. Take the stairs down near the rear door or the elevator located near the front door. Bar is on the lower level.
N38.880678,W104.819222 – Click on link to see Google Map