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mc Apr 26th, 2005 09:44 PM

Rocky Mountain National Park Moraine Campground Loop preference
Hi... Well we recently finalized our plans to the Smokey Mountains for next week and now are making preliminary plans for a mid summer vacation. Have decided on The Rocky Mountain NP. We are going in mid July. Already have a cheap flight booked into Denver. Plan on a few days down in the Colorado Springs area and then up to the Rockies for several days. I am leaning toward Moraine Campground. They have open sites available for our dates in all Loop sections of this campground. Can anyone tell me from experience which camping loop is better. Or does it really make a difference? Since we have such a wide open selection, I want to reserve in the best section for convenience as well as scenic view.

Thanks for your help,

drsawyers Apr 27th, 2005 07:53 AM

I would definitely recommend staying in Moraine CG. It's conveniently located for all of the east side areas, and not too far from Estes Park. Campsites are somewhat shady (essential in July), but not crowded by trees and brush. Lots of wildlife neaby - always elk in the evenings, plus coyote, deer, and even hummingbirds.

I don't think I've ever been allowed to reserve a specific campsite (or loop), but then that may be a seasonal thing.

It's difficult to go too far wrong in Moraine Park. Some of the campsites have spectacular views, but it is a relatively small CG, so any campsite is within a 2 minute walk of the same great view.

Also, the campsites with the best views are also the least sheltered. If you are tent camping this could be an issue, since the winds coming down from the Divide can be fierce.

bob_brown Apr 27th, 2005 11:06 AM

I don't recall from my visit which area is best. We took what we could get.

One caution, you may not adjust immediately to the altitude. If you start to feel a headache and out of sorts, remember it is the altitude. It can be tough on some people.

Also, remember that the air is thinner and does not filter the UVA and UVB rays . You can cook quickly, particularly if hiking over a snow bank. Above the tree line, the glare can be fierce.

And if you take pictures, you really need a UV filter. Otherwise you end up with purple rocks.

mc Apr 27th, 2005 04:28 PM

Thanks for the info... I'm not exactly sure if you can reserve a specific campsite or loop site or not, but in reviewing the reservation site, it shows a list of all specific sites available by site number with a detail description of each. So,I assumed that you can specify a particular site or location. I didn't want to try it yet and be locked into something that wasn't optimum. They make it sound like you can't change it once you reserve.

Guess I'll read over the site descriptions and give a shot.

Thanks, Bob for the reminder about the altitude. I camped and hiked in the Rockies many years ago when I was much younger , and I remember even then the effects I experienced. Also thanks for the photo tip. We do take alot of pics. Is this true for digital photography as well?

Anyone else with ideas or experience to share?

Connie Apr 27th, 2005 07:35 PM

Are you tent or RV camping?

Loop C is the most scenic but is really set up more for RV's than tents.

bob_brown Apr 27th, 2005 07:40 PM

I think you can color adjust digital photography much more than you can standard film photographs.

I have not yet gotten into digital. I should.

I know some of those software packages for digital photographs have some nice features for color correction, color saturation, and sharpness enhancement.

My son has it all set up and he can crop and enlarge at will and get good results from only moderately good pictures. Last summer in the Canadian Rockies, a friend took a family picture but it came out with with an object in the frame that did not help. On his computer, my son cropped out the noise in the photograph, enlarged what was left, adjusted the color, and got a very nice family picture out of it.

I am still in the single lens reflex dark ages. I have so much tied up in the old technology that I keep using it.

I remember my first trip to RCMP in 1965. I was green as grass as a camper and ignorant of the conditions involving sun burn. I escaped serious problems fortunately by getting a big hat, wearing a long sleevd shirt and using what passed for sun screen back then.

If you can, walk to Alberta Falls from Glacier Gorge Junction. If you have enough left in the tank, go up to the Loch. It is a beautiful glacial lake.

If you can, make it to the waterfalls beyond the Loch. Then, if you are in super shape, ascend the escarpment of the falls and go to the next lake.

It is beautiful up there. But if you only get as far as the Loch, you can be satisfied that you saw a lot.

And be sure to drive Trail Ridge Road.
I think it is more spectacular than the Beartooth Highway in Montana. It goes up over 12,000 feet, so don't jump out and try to run up a slope.

mc Apr 28th, 2005 04:47 AM

Thanks again for the info! Connie, we will be tent camping so loop C probably won't work for us. There are still alot of sites available in the A loop and B loop and a few in D loop. The descriptions all sound about the same with litle varience other than shade, partial shade, or no shade. We probably want something with partial shade I think. But with a great view if possible.

Bob, good info... thanks! We like to hike, so we will definitely give your sugestions a try. We'll see how far we can get :D

Any one have a good suggestion for a campground in the Colorado Springs area that is convenient to Garden of the Gods, Pike's peak and Cripple Creek?

mc Apr 28th, 2005 04:39 PM


Connie Apr 29th, 2005 06:47 AM

I got out my Colorado Campgrounds, The 100 Best and all the Rest. He's pretty accurate about his recommendations. Here's what he says:

Loop A has a variety of sites
Loop B is open , unshaded, and close together.
Loop C offers sweeping vistas but the least protection from the elements.
Loop D offers some of the best tent sites among interesting rock formations.

Later he says "the best sites for tents is 77-130 in Loop A; Loop D offers wonderful tent sites as well".

For showers, Dad's Laundry in Estes Park has pay showers. It's in the corner of a strip mall (kind of hard to spot) close to the Safeway Grocery Store and the historic Stanley Hotel.

mm Apr 29th, 2005 07:19 AM

At the top of Trail Ridge Drive there is a store of sorts, at least there was 20 years ago, where you can mail postcard with the postmark saying something like "Continential Divide 12,000 ft." Kind of fun.

I remember driving along with a friend and his wife. We were marveling at the views (steep drops, no guard rails) when I looked into the back seat and found Jan laying across the seat with her head covered by a jacket. It was too scary to look!

Have fun,


wtm003 Apr 29th, 2005 08:50 AM

Take a look at Mueller State Park for camping options in the Colorado Springs area.

Check out the Colorado State Parks website and select Mueller.

Unfortunately, I can't give you a first hand account of the camping conditions. We had reserved a tent site last July. Our plan was to camp after spending the day at Pike's Peak. By the time we got to the park entrance it was raining - a cold, downpour - and it looked like it could turn to snow. We turned around and went home. We're hoping for better conditions this summer!

Good luck and have a great trip!

Connie Apr 29th, 2005 12:19 PM

I second Mueller. It's one of Colorado's favorite state parks and I now know why.

At this point in time you may have to call over and over waiting on a cancellation but it would be worth it.

mc Apr 29th, 2005 02:42 PM

Connie, thanks so much for going to the trouble to look up that info . That's exactly what I was looking for...descriptions of the landscaping , view and layout. Also thanks to everyone else who have provided info. I will definitely look at the Colorado state park site and specifically about Mueller State park. I was also reading something about Woodland Campground near Woodland, Co. (I think operated by the U.S Forest Service. It noted that this was a very popular campground centrally located used as a home base to most of the tourist sites in the area. Anyone have personal knowledge of this campground as well?

Again, thanks !

Connie Apr 29th, 2005 08:49 PM

There are 12 national forest campgrounds in the Woodland Park area but none are called Woodland Park. Here's a good site for info of national park campgrounds:

There is a privately owned campground called Campground At Woodland Park. My Woodall's Campground Directory has an ad from them. It has a "heated swimming pool, shade, 18 hole mini golf, camper cabins, restaurant, nightly activities, showers, bike rentals, campfires are allowed".

My book is a few years old so I'd get a second opinion. is a great place for camping advice. It's as busy as Fodor's with lots of nice people.

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