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CA Bay Area - CO and back, with a twist


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#1 Moose Dog

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Posted 11 January 2019 - 04:23 PM

Hi everyone, 

 

 In late spring I'll be driving from CA Bay Area  ( San Jose area ) to Denver...have to stop in Golden CO on the way there or back..return trip via .Estes Park ( friend there ), hopefully Grand Tetons...looping back to the Bay Area. 

 

 Exact dates tbd and I won't have a lot of time, but do want some quality camping! The twist is this: I overheat really easily. More than anyone I know or most likely anyone you know , it's my ridiculous super power. Been that way since I was a kid, so I know plenty of ways to deal but the best thing is to avoid heat ( at my low level ) in the first place.

 

 Recommend any camping spots with that twist in mind? Feel free to PM as I totally understand not shouting out spots on the world wide web and keeping places secret...

 

 Thanks so much! 

 

 


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#2 smlobx

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Posted 12 January 2019 - 12:12 PM

Interesting dilemma!
While I don't have any specific reccomendations I would remind you that elevation is your friend. Of course this depends on exactly the time of your trip and route as snow may be an issue as well.

Good luck!
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#3 Taku

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Posted 12 January 2019 - 02:24 PM

If you are heading up from CO to the Tetons, look at going over South Pass and spend some time along the Sweetwater River and the south end of the Wind Rivers (if you like to hike) Big Sandy or Scab Creek. Going to the Upper Green River above Pinedale to the end of the road is beautiful, good fishing in the river and lakes and a great view of Squaretop. Then backtrack to the Union Pass road, cross the Green and go up to Union Pass - high elevation and lot's to explore up there. Can then go back down toward Pinedale, or go north and visit Dubois, then back west over Togwotee Pass and the north end of the Tetons.


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#4 Moose Dog

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Posted 15 January 2019 - 04:12 PM

Thanks! 

 

And I have found evaporative cooling is best, dumping water on oneself.  Put an AC on my rig for safety reasons.  - really didn't want to but I imagined breaking down somewhere too warm, better safe than sorry,  I knew I'd regret no AC f that happened. 

 

 Instead of short drives with short stays I might break it up into longer drives but with two nights plus in the good campsites. No doggie on this trip. 

 

 All ideas welcome. :) Cheers, everyone!


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#5 Foy

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Posted 17 January 2019 - 10:13 AM

Seems as though it's going to be difficult to plan far ahead with the development of this winter's snowpack still to unfold over the next 4 months.  Late Spring means different calendar dates at low elevation than at high elevation, where we might consider late April to late May as Springtime down low but must consider late May to late June as Late Spring higher up.

 

I'd be checking with the authorities at Rocky Mountain NP as to when Trail Ridge Rd opens up. The NPS website mentions earliest ever opening as May 7 with the latest ever opening being June 26. If you're routing to Estes Park from Denver in order to traverse Trail Ridge Rd headed west/northwest, it may not be possible.

 

In general, I'd be looking at US 287 out of Ft Collins up towards I-80 at Laramie as a scenic drive through lots of NF and BLM lands as well as one which holds fairly high elevation throughout, but which is a major shortcut route avoiding the 8,640' pass between Cheyenne and Laramie along I-80 so as a result is well traveled and plowed. From Laramie to Rawlins, I-80 runs at between 6,500' to over 7,500' with abundant access to even higher elevation public lands.  There again, US 287 north of Rawlins is high elevation intermountain cruising with fairly easy access to public lands on the north side of the Wind River Range.  US 287 proceeds through high mountains all the way from Dubois to Moran Junction north of Jackson, WY at the entrance to the Grand Tetons NP.

 

Also in general, Late Spring at all elevations translates to higher water levels (runoff season) on streams within and exiting mountain ranges. Since practically all routes accessing higher ground begin by heading up a canyon along a stream, you may find high water issues at bridges and at campgrounds as you enter higher terrain.

 

From Moran Junction you may continue into Yellowstone if the roads exiting to West Yellowstone, MT are open or run south through Jackson to cross Teton Pass to enter Idaho, head west/southwest to Twin Falls, and take US 93 down to Wells, NV to pick up I-80.  Most of that is along the Snake River plain so is low elevation, but you're never too far from some high ground for overnights until you reach Wells.

 

Foy


Edited by Foy, 17 January 2019 - 10:21 AM.

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