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Old 09-21-2014, 06:50 PM   #1
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National Parks after Labor Day

Yesterday I returned from a 5-day trip to southwest Colorado area from Denver through Lake City, Pagosa Springs, Durango, Silverton, Ouray, etc. and back home The fall colors of the aspens in the high country were spectacular.

I found out something real interesting on the trip. I don’t know if it applies in others areas or states, but some of the national park campgrounds are still open in the mountains and are free. No camp hosts, water or trash available, but free. These are regular campsites, not just dispersed camping. One of them is the Silver Thread campground about 20 miles north of Creed. I checked with the ranger station in Creed and sure enough, in fact it stays open year-round, closed only if due to heavy snow. Another campsite at Cimmaron, CO is still open and even has a camp host.

Ergo, it would seem that some of the best camping is after the cg’s officially close the weekend after Labor Day, and then check to see which ones are still open to catch the fall colors and cheap camping opportunities. Very little traffic during the week and you practically have the campground and roads to yourself. Be sure you have a good furnace in your camper when in the high country around 9,000 feet that time of year. It's beautiful with the clear blue skies and sunny days but gets very cold at night.
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Old 09-21-2014, 08:07 PM   #2
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Fall/winter camping

We spent a week in mid-October at Black Canyon of the Gunnison in a '72 Winnebago Brave motorhome, but encountered many closed campgrounds further south in NM the following week. Luckily NM permits roadside and rest area camping if you're just over-nighting...

That area is absolutely gorgeous at that time of year, and if more people travel in the "shoulder" seasons (or in winter), more campgrounds will remain open.

I think the Colorado NM campground stays open until mid-October (we were there post-Labor Day), and a lot of Utah sites stay open year-round as well. No amenities, of course.

We didn't have a furnace, but did fine with an electric blanket at night. The actual winter, even in southern AZ, was a lot more chilly!
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