Camping in early June

Old Apr 2nd, 2012, 07:25 PM
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Camping in early June

My husband, preschooler and I are going to Colorado the first week of June. I am longing to camp. What areas are most promising that early in the summer? I gather RMNP is probably out.
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Old Apr 2nd, 2012, 07:33 PM
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Your preschooler would love The Great Sand Dunes National Park. Take a sled and wax for sliding. See Zapatta Falls. Medano Creek(doesn't run good every year and still to early to tell about this year)runs best from Mid-May to Mid-June. You can easily spend a full day in the creek if it is running. You could see the Aligator place not far from there. There is a huge hot spring swimming pool not far from Great Sand Dunes too.

Camping in a tent or in an RV/trailor?
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Old Apr 2nd, 2012, 07:33 PM
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RMNP is not out... if you don't mind chilly nights! At least some of the campgrounds are open year 'round, so you can certainly do it if you want to. I did so years ago - and froze - but it was a lot of fun.
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Old Apr 2nd, 2012, 07:44 PM
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I've camped in RMNP in early June, wasn't that cold. Just depends, could be nice, could be cold.
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Old Apr 3rd, 2012, 07:37 AM
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And, it could snow. We have seen snow on July 4 in the Colorado Rockies. Our spring season is "mud season", so it could also be messy.

Are you planning on hiking and tent camping, or 'car camping'?

If budget is an issue, there are nice YMCA facilities in RMNP and in Fraser, CO, near Winter Park.
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Old Apr 3rd, 2012, 07:57 AM
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I'd highly recommend looking into hard-walled lodging in Estes Park instead of camping with a youngster. RMNP is always a great place, but keep in mind in early June, very cold weather overnight is guaranteed, and snow is not out of the question. The good thing is that it's not high season yet and lodging is cheaper. Check into Valhalla where my family and I stayed a few years ago. They have small cottages and you can get a feel for roughing it, with a fireplace and heat when you need it!

If the goal of your trip is camping, though, not location in the Rockies, then look into a more desert destination, like Moab or Mesa Verde. That time of year is better before the scorching summer heat, and you can't beat the scenery!
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Old Apr 3rd, 2012, 08:30 AM
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The caution about early June is not to be taken lightly. Last week we were setting records - mid 80s, today there is six inches of snow on the ground and the temp in high 20s. Will probably snow all day today. Early June can still have wide weather swings.
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Old Apr 3rd, 2012, 08:36 AM
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I agree that Moab would be another good choice and it is a whole lot warmer. If you do MOab spend a night at Goblin Valley State Park. Totally awesome place for kids and adults.
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Old Apr 3rd, 2012, 10:23 AM
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You might be able to camp at RMNP but the road might not be open. That kind of defeats the purpose of staying there for me. You do still get great views of the mountains but you can't get up in them.
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Old Apr 3rd, 2012, 04:03 PM
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Usually the road opens Memorial Day Weekend. If they have a lot of snow, then of course that can be later.
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Old Apr 3rd, 2012, 07:27 PM
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I've camped in RMNP in June, or even earlier, plenty of times, and to me camping means a tent. I understand that I'm weird in that regard, but I also have a good sleeping bag.

Anyway, if you are "longing to camp" and you have good stuff, then there is no reason to rule out RMNP. It could be cold, hot, or in-between, the latter being most likely.

To paraphrase what they say in Scotland, there is no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing (or gear).
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Old Apr 3rd, 2012, 08:39 PM
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Let's just be clear: when speaking of the road being open (or not) people are referring to Trail Ridge Road. It is the highest paved road on the country and the only road that goes directly from the east side to the west side of RMNP. There are other roads in the park, which will definitely be open and provide access to most of the hiking. If TRR is closed due to weather it would likely reopen in a day or so. You can see and do plenty of things on the east side without ever driving over TRR, so that shouldn't be a limiting factor in June.
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Old Apr 4th, 2012, 06:44 AM
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Thank you all so much for your replies. I'm leaning towards staying away from RMNP...but can't drive all the way to Mesa Verde or Moab. Maybe the other parks within 3-4 hrs from Denver will be safer/warmer...
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Old Apr 4th, 2012, 07:32 AM
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In that case I'd strongly consider Great Sand Dunes. It's usually perfect at that time of year. Your preschooler will have a lot of fun playing around on the dunes, and so will you.

There good wildlife viewing and the bird migration will be in full swing then, if that has interest for you. Best place that I've seen Western Tanagers up close, for example. Very memorable.

Hike along Medano Creek and smell the clove bushes which should be blooming them. Views of the Sangres. All beautiful stuff.
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Old Apr 4th, 2012, 07:36 AM
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thanks nelson. i will start looking into GSD. i'm also interested in seeing glenwood canyon & hanging lake but have heard it's quite touristy in glenwood springs itself. i'll compare and contrast.
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Old Apr 4th, 2012, 09:08 AM
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If you can get a 4 wheel drive vehicle in GSD, it is worth it. This allows you to drive the primitive road, which is really awesome. I would consider staying a night in the backcounty at one of the sights by the primitive road.

I didn't get the map out, but drive time to Moab from Denver might be faster than to GSD.
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Old Apr 4th, 2012, 11:04 AM
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The Great Sand Dunes is much closer than Moab. It is four hours at most from Denver. I don't view Glenwood Canyon or Glenwood Springs as particularly touristy especially in early June. Hanging lake is a little hard to get to so it is not a common tourist attraction. Not sure what a 4 wheel drive would do for you in the GSD given that you cannot drive on the sand dunes and road in is paved.
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Old Apr 9th, 2012, 03:08 PM
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Personnally, if you have a car, I'd make a couple different plans and adjust as you get closer and know the weather. Lost Creek Wildernes or Golden State Park are lower elevations and could be great alternatives if it's going to be cold. Campgrounds in RMNP or Summitt county if it is warm.
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Old Apr 9th, 2012, 07:05 PM
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fmpden,
The Primitive Road isn't paved. You drive on the sand, you cross Medano Creek (6 or 7 times in fairly deep water), much deeper than it is near the visitor cntr. The road winds up the mountain for 20 miles or so. It is very bumpy. They suggest you deflate your tires a bit. There is an air tank to refill. It is a very bumpy ride. You absolutely must have a 4 wheel drive high clearance, or you absolutely will not make it. This road also leads to AWESOME campsites.
In the fall, the fall colors are really good here too, but no water in the creek by then.

http://www.nps.gov/grsa/medano-pass-road.htm
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Old Apr 9th, 2012, 07:11 PM
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I should say, I haven't been there since the fire, so I have no idea of what it looks like now or how bad it was.
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