RVing in Colorado

This will be the second summer in a row that we won’t be spending any time in Colorado… sigh! I love Colorado and called it home for over twenty years. Once we sold our Colorado home and moved into the RV full-time, we still continued to spend our summers meandering around the state, that is, up until last year.

Cherry Creek, Colorado

The RV has allowed us to explore and see parts of Colorado that we never had the opportunity to experience while living in our sticks and bricks house. And while we aren’t returning to Colorado this summer by choice, that doesn’t mean a part of me isn’t missing it.

We arrived at our summer ‘home’ in Prescott, Arizona on the 1st of May and were quickly reminded how weather in the high country likes to surprise us with one last winter storm before giving way to spring.

Our home for the summer in Prescott Valley, Arizona – photo taken May 2nd 🙄

Our first full day in Prescott Valley brought inclement weather in the form of rain, thunder, hail and sleet. Al and I chuckled as the loud sound of hail pummeling the roof of the RV made having a conversation impossible. After five minutes, the hail stopped leaving in its wake a thin layer of white covering the landscape which fortunately melted quickly. And also fortunate, the hail was small in size and caused no damage.

This spring storm reminded me of Colorado and made me smile as fond memories flooded my mind. With that said, I thought I’d do a little reminiscing by sharing with you one of my favorite mountain towns in Colorado. Here’s a blog post I wrote a while back….

Everyone’s Favorite Mountain Town

I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone who didn’t like Telluride, Colorado.  If I had to recommend one Colorado mountain town to visit, it would definitely be Telluride.  There’s a little something for everyone to enjoy. Plus, how could anyone resist a place where there’s usually a herd of elk in a meadow on the edge of town welcoming visitors to the area?

Telluride, Colorado

We’ve had the pleasure of visiting this charming mountain town a few times over the past few years and each visit was truly a joy.  First off, Telluride is beautiful.  I mean, drop dead gorgeous. It sits in a canyon surrounded by steep forested mountains and cliffs along with the stunning Bridal Veil Falls seen at the far end of the canyon.

Telluride was founded in 1878 as a mining settlement.  By the 1970’s, the extensive mining in the area was replaced by ski tourism.  By the mid 1990’s, Colorado’s best kept secret was discovered by celebrities like Oprah Winfrey, Tom Cruise, and Oliver Stone.

Although Telluride is well-known for outstanding ski slopes, the summer months have actually become more popular with tourists as the town hosts a variety of festivals, including film festivals and endurance events all summer long.  The outdoor recreation is fantastic and even offers extreme hiking: Via Ferrata.

Via Ferrata

Via Ferrate in Telluride. Photo courtesy of Wiki

Telluride, CO

Newer home styles seem to blend in well with the surroundings.

I love the architecture in Telluride. Each structure is one of a kind. There’s a beautiful blend of old and new which captivates my attention and appeals to my taste. There’s a hiking trail that allows one to wander from town all the way out toward Bridal Veil Falls allowing a visitor to admire the houses along the way …. each unique and attractive.

Telluride, CO

I was in love with these houses – restored 1800’s

Trivia:  The famous bank robber, Butch Cassidy, committed his first recorded major crime in Telluride by robbing the San Miguel Valley Bank in 1889 and exiting the bank with over $24,000.

Telluride, Colorado

This charming Rocky Mountain town located in southwestern Colorado is most definitely worth a visit and goes to the top of my favorites list.  The town boasts a population of less than 3,000 and sits at an elevation of 8,750 feet.

Bridal Veil Falls

At the base of Bridal Veil Falls

Bridal Veil Falls

Bridal Veil Falls in the far distance

We’ve enjoyed hikes to Bridal Veil Falls, shopped the Friday morning Farmer’s Market, and taken the free Gondola ride – a bonus not to be missed. We’ve taken a back country 4×4 road to get to Telluride which I call the ‘back way’.  We’ve eaten at several tasty restaurants, met fellow bloggers for a brew, and generally savored the vibe and beauty that is quintessential Telluride.

Where to eat in Telluride

We’ve eaten at several restaurants throughout town but our personal favorites are eating at the local farmers market or Smuggler’s Brewery. At Smuggler’s Brew Pub, they serve up a great burger along with some tasty brews. Al always orders a beer called “Debauchery“. With its 10% alcohol content, it’s served in a brandy sniffer in lieu of the normal beer glass. With Debauchery’s high alcohol content combined with Telluride’s near 9,000 foot elevation, one drink is usually hubby’s limit, especially if I’ve planned lots of walking afterwards 😄

Telluride, Colorado

Camping near Telluride

Whenever we’ve visited Telluride, we’ve always camped at Ridgway State Park, about an hours drive away.  The park offers sites accommodating tents and large RV’s alike.  Ridgway State Park is one of our favorite campgrounds in western Colorado.

Tee PeeMuch closer to Telluride is a delightful National Forest Campground;  Sunshine Campground.  The campground is super close to Mountain Village where one can park and catch the free gondola taking you up and over the mountain into Telluride.

We would love to stay at the Sunshine Campground due to its stunning views and near proximity to Telluride, but unfortunately, we’d barely fit into a couple of sites and the turning radius to navigate into and around this campground is tighter than our comfort level allows, but this campground is perfect for smaller RV’s.

Further down the road is the Matterhorn Campground, also a National Forest Campground, and this place can accommodate just about anyone, but finding an available site might prove to be difficult. It’s a very popular place.

 For those traveling with tents, vans, or small RV’s,     the perfect place to camp to really immerse oneself     into the Telluride lifestyle is the Telluride Town Park   Campground.  Nestled in a grove of pine trees along   a   creek, it’s within walking distance to festival   venues,   restaurants, and shops.  Obviously where   there are   trees, there are low branches and tight   turning   radius’.  Thus, not an option for us.  Once   again, small   RV’s have the advantage.

Note; during festivals this campground is jam-packed making it difficult for even a Honda Civic to navigate.

Lodging in Telluride

And when it comes to other types of lodging, should camping not be your thing, Telluride has it all.  Check out this guide for more information on planning your visit to Telluride, one of my favorite Colorado mountain towns, and enjoy your own Rocky Mountain getaway. I promise, you won’t be disappointed!

With so much natural beauty along with an abundance of things to see and do, it’s no wonder Telluride could easily be referred to as ‘everyone’s favorite mountain town‘.

Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away – Maya Angelou

(affiliate links)
Hiking Colorado: A Guide To The State’s Greatest Hiking
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50 thoughts on “RVing in Colorado

  1. What a beautiful place! Tom went backpacking around there when he was younger. After seeing your story, he says we need to go camping there someday.

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    • Most definitely – you won’t be disappointed. We barely scratched the service with hiking and back country road excursions. All the more reason to return 😊

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  2. I enjoyed this visit to the Rockies and Telluride, Ingrid, thanks so much. Bridal Veil Falls and the vista landscapes look as stunning as you describe. It’s a joy hearing about your love for Colorado.

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  3. Telluride looks and sounds like a beautiful and wonderful town, Ingrid. Maybe, with our small (yet tall) RV we manage to stay at one of those National Forest campgrounds you mentioned. I’ll surely check them out. We had hail in Santa Fe about a week ago as well! A surprise. We were worried about damage to the roof of our camper, but that part seems alright. 🙂

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    • You must stay at either the town RV Park or Sunshine NF. You’ll enjoy either and you won’t be too tall. Having lived in Colorado for many years, we are quite accustomed to hail storms and as long as the hail is little, we don’t worry about damage. The hood of our F-250 looked like a golf ball (divots everywhere) after one serious hail storm. Fortunately, it was an easy fix and one can’t even tell it was riddled with little dents.

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  4. This post is just timed perfectly. This part of CO was on our route in 2015 but only Steve made it through. Fortunately my honeybunce Steve is willing to drive Betsy there again this fall so I can enjoy fall colors and beautiful towns such as Telluride. I will surely refer to this post when the time comes.

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    • It is beautiful country and you will love the fall colors. I have another post on the area posting this Sunday that you might find useful. Plus, you know you can always email me for any additional tidbits 😊

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  5. Very nice post about Telluride. We drove through many of the mountain towns of Colorado as we made our trek to Pennsylvania. We enjoyed every single one!

    I didn’t know about that crazy storm in Prescott. My one Zumba friend lives in Prescott during the summer and that one fire came very close to her.

    Be careful when hiking. Anthem just had a large bear 🐻 roaming the Country Club. 😳 They finally caught up with him and used tranquilizer darts to get him where he belongs. Isn’t that crazy?

    Love your pictures!

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    • Colorado offers some amazing scenery and quaint towns. We enjoyed living there and now love visiting.
      Yeah, that bear was already tagged when she was caught in Prescott. She traveled 40 miles to Anthem and later euthanized. Since she had been tagged before, she was viewed a threat 😥

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  6. It’s fun to read this as I stopped in to stay in Telluride midway through my drive around the San Juan Scenic Byway. I stayed at the Victorian Inn. I guess I wasn’t lucky, as it was raining and gloomy when I arrived, and as it was a Sunday before the season really opened up, lots of shops were closed. I did eat some delicious mushroom toast at Smuggler’s Brew Pub though. I had to be at Mesa Verde the next morning, so when I woke up to find the sun shining, I was disappointed to have to leave without exploring more. At least you made it to the base of Bridal Veil falls. I remember those cute little houses too!

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  7. We are hoping to finally get to Colorado this September. It seems like there is always somewhere else we need to be in the fall when visiting Colorado would be better then the spring with all the snow. So it is on our schedule so I hope all works!! We have been to Denver and Estes Park/Rocky Mountian NP with the MH but that’s it. We have SO much more to see like Telluride! Thanks for this post!

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    • You guys will love the western slope … an abundance of fabulous hiking trails. Centennial RV Park in Montrose is a great ‘home base’ to park the RV and explore not only hiking trails but 4×4 back country roads with your Jeep. So much fun and beauty! Target mid July or early/mid September. August is also nice but wildflowers have waned and fall colors haven’t started but weather is still agreeable.

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  8. Thanks for the tips on where to stay as well. A bit worried about the altitude given we live at 750 feet. Did not have a problem at 18 when I visited higher altitudes, but the older me has no idea if it would be an issue. Wonder if it might be a good idea to start lower somewhere in Colorado and take a tour to higher altitude to see what happens. Or does it take a longer period of time to figure out if high altitude effects someone?

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    • I was in my late 20’s when this IL gal visited CO for the first time and I did experience altitude illness while visiting Estes Park/Rocky Mtn NP. The key is taking your time increasing the elevation, drink lots and lots of water, and taking an aspirin a day. RVing will allow you to increase that elevation slowly. I don’t think you’d have trouble driving and stopping at scenic overlooks at higher elevations, but avoid hiking until you’ve tested shorter walks. You might get winded a little quicker at 5,000′ but most folks don’t start to have issues until 9,000/10,000 feet or higher. When I visited Mt. Evans, I got dizzy walking around at 14,000′, but I had no trouble with short hikes in Rocky Mtn. NP at 9,000′.

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  9. Colorado is certainly a beautiful state, with lots to offer. With both children in Arizona, it seems you might be spending more time there. Having lived in Arizona for ~ 25 years, I would say that it isn’t a bad replacement for Colorado.

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    • You must spend some time around Ouray exploring the back roads with your UTV. Stunning landscapes especially when the wildflowers are in full bloom around mid July. Quite a few places to boondock as well.

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  10. I sure agree with you on Telluride even though we’ve only spent one day there while staying near Montrose. It was a place I always wanted to ski but never got there. I could easily live in Colorado, especially the high country in the summer.

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    • Colorado’s western slope is definitely a favorite with us. We never tire of the scenery. We’re hoping to return next summer for some more excursions.

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  11. We’ve been all around it but never made it to Telluride. Sounds wonderful! We’ll be sure and put it on our next Colorado itinerary. Thanks for sharing!

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  12. Telluride is indeed. We spent a week there attending a conference in the early 90s. Unfortunately for me with my asthmatic lungs I quickly developed mountain sickness and ended up having to descend in a swirl of wet lungs and wheezing. Walking stairs was almost more than I could handle. We only managed one short hike to the edge of a nudist colony before fatigue drove us back down the mountain. Even so I have very fond memories of that beautiful place.

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    • Wow …. altitude illness is not fun. I encountered it myself during my very first visit to Colorado. We lived in flat Illinois at the time and Rocky Mountain National Park was a little much for this former flatlander. At least you still have fond memories of your visit to Telluride in spite of the illness.

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  13. Our SIL has a condo in Telluride and my brother loves to ski there. We have only been there once since it’s so out of the way, but it is a very beautiful bucolic place. We plan a Western Slope/Utah trip at some point and will book a spot at Ridgeway. Our daughter camped there last fall and loved it. I think we tent camped there with the kids over 20 years ago. Time to go back! Maybe we’ll finally find time to check out the west slope wine harvest this fall! Can’t wait for their peaches and corn this summer!

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    • Lucky SIL …. I love the western slope. My brother lives in Grand Junction. Thus, I’ve been to the Wine Festival in Palisade and don’t even get me started on the peaches. Palisade peaches are the best and I’m not a huge peach fan. And Olathe corn … oh yum! I know you’ll enjoy your western slope excursion … hard not to!

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      • And let’s not forget Rocky Fords! My 3 favorite Colorado fresh produce. Olathe corn, Palisade peaches, and Rocky Ford cantaloupe! Oh yes, and Pueblo Big Jim chiles! No wonder we love summer in Colorado! Then we can go to Tucson in the Spring and get fresh oranges and dates. I think I’m making myself hungry!! lol

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  14. Like you said, who doesn’t like Telluride? I feel like I’m in the Alps when I’m there. Its jaw-dropping beauty is inspirational. Hoping to visit there over Labor Day Weekend. 🙂

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