The Back way to Telluride

Stopping in at a local visitor center is the perfect way I like to start exploring a new area. The first time Al and I camped at Ridgway State Park was the first time we experienced this part of western Colorado, and I couldn’t wait to dive in and explore.

Lost Dollar

Last Dollar Road – back way to Telluride, CO

And by diving in and exploring, that meant taking the roads less traveled. One of the activities that is super popular around the town of Ouray, Colorado, is 4×4 back country travel. If you don’t have your own 4×4, there are several businesses eager to rent you a Jeep, ATV, or UTV or you can sign up for a guided tour. Free maps are available noting these back roads with a designation from easy to difficult.

This is another reminiscing post about our travels to western Colorado. Although, I will truly miss a Colorado excursion this summer, new adventures await here in Arizona.

Roads less traveled

It was July 2013  ….  Al and I review the atlas and peruse all the information we picked up at the Ridgway State Park visitor center.  From the state park to the mountain ski town of Telluride should be about a one hour drive if we stay on the main roads.  Al and I talk about it, and contemplate our route. “Hmm, we have all day.  What’s the hurry?” one of us asks.


This southwest part of Colorado was a buzz of mining activity in the 1800’s.  Even Telluride’s logo is that of a miner’s pick.   This mining activity created a multitude of back roads throughout the picturesque San Juan Mountains.

Today these back roads are available for Jeeps and OHV (off highway vehicles).

Some of these back roads are assessable by regular automobiles, but most require high clearance, and others demand four-wheel drive capabilities.  The roads might be gravel, dirt, rock or any combination of the three.

Last Dollar Road

Last Dollar Road – this road is classified as “easy”

The back way to Telluride

My little red four-wheel drive Toyota Tacoma should be able to handle most of the roads we were interested in and researched.  Al and I err on the side of caution and pick a couple of “easy” roads to explore …. one of which is called the “Last Dollar Road”.  As far as mileage goes, this is a shorter traveling distance to Telluride than taking the main roads.  However, time wise it would be double.  Obviously, we won’t be driving this road at 60 miles per hour.

Last Dollar Road

some ruts were a little deep, but no problem for us.

For the most part, it was an easy drive even though there were some mud puddles from the storms the day before.  The visitor center publication was informative, spot on, and we were glad to have read it before hand.  Some of the ruts, mud, and water would definitely present a problem for a vehicle without a high clearance.  We encountered no problems, and the drive presented some amazing scenery complete with wildflowers.




It was the end of July and the wildflowers were starting to wane, but I was still thrilled with the tufts of color here and there.


The drive from Ridgway State Park to Telluride took us about two hours and that included all the photo-op stops.  I didn’t think that was too bad considering the slow speed that the road necessitated. It was a beautiful drive that I would do again in a heartbeat. Plus it wasn’t too challenging of a drive and was relatively easy to navigate.

I might venture to say, mid July and mid September would be the two most perfect months to explore these back roads. Wildflowers in mid July are at their peak and fall colors mid to end of September are at their peak.

TellurideOnce in Telluride, we stopped at the visitor center in town to gather up some local information. Al always likes to ask locals for lunch recommendations.

We found ourselves at a kind of sports bar housed in an old house off a side street.  It appears to be a favorite with locals.  Lunch was good, but nothing special, and I’m not sure I’d return, especially with so many other restaurants to try.

After lunch we headed over to the gondola station for a ride up and over the summit to Mountain Village.  The folks at the visitor center highly recommended this. Pretty cool that the ride is free considering other mountain towns in Colorado charge upwards of $25 per person for their gondolas. The Gondola here in Telluride operates year round free of charge and is a common form of public transportation for workers, school children, mountain bikers, hikers, and of course, tourists.  Oh, and it’s pooch friendly too.

On the way to the gondola, we encountered a farmer’s market and quickly took notes as to some potential purchases we should make before heading home.  A grocery list quickly formed in my head!



Once we arrived at the gondola, we noticed all the mountain bikers and hikers. The Telluride side of the mountain is pretty steep while the Mountain Village side appears to be more moderate.  That’s where these two young mountain bikers were heading.  They’ll disembark at the summit and ride their bikes back down toward the town of Mountain Village.  We also saw quite a few hikers doing this as well.  There appeared to be very few hiking or biking down on the Telluride side of the mountain. Too steep perhaps!



With our ‘tourist’ day coming to an end, we picked up some goodies at the local farmers market held on Friday mornings during the summer months, and promised each other future visits to this beautiful mountain town would be a must.

For our return drive to the RV, we took the highway back to Ridgway State Park and arrived about an hour later.  I’ll admit, even the scenery via the highway was lovely, although not quite as beautiful or adventurous as taking the Last Dollar Road but lovely just the same.

It was a great day exploring amongst some breathtaking scenery and we couldn’t wait to tackle another back country road.

Al and me at Mountain Village – love the European feel

Another back country road

From our campsite at Ridgway State Park, I had an unobstructed view of unique rock formations known as Courthouse Mountain and Chimney Rock. My curiosity was piqued and I once again scoured the maps and information that I’d picked up at the visitor center.  The map indicates there’s a back country road labeled as easy that will take me closer to this mountain range.

Ridgway State Park Colorado Site 3

We catch County Road 10 just a couple of minutes south of our camp at Ridgway State Park and head east toward Chimney Rock.  The road is wide and gravel and no four-wheel drive is necessary. We pass some of the most beautiful ranches with unbelievable views.

Ranches near Ridgway Colorado and Owl Creek Pass with Courthouse Rock in the background

Somewhere along this stretch is the field where they filmed John Wayne taking on the bad guys in the movie “True Grit”…. reins in teeth and guns a-blazing.

Ranches near Ridgway Colorado

We continue our trek up and over Owl Creek Pass toward Silver Jack Reservoir.  Although the road is gravel, it’s in great shape and easy to negotiate. This is the perfect Owl Creek Pass Ridgway Coloradodrive for anyone who has a problem with altitude because it doesn’t go much above 10,000 feet in elevation and there aren’t any sheer drop offs for those with a fear of heights.

It’s a great excursion easing oneself into the remote countryside. However, the views aren’t nearly as spectacular as the other mountain passes. Much of this road meanders through forested land.

Silver Jack Reservoir and Campground is about a 21 mile drive from Highway 550 and not the preferred route for RV’s.  The easier route to take for campers would be from the town of Cimarron off Highway 50.

Silver Jack Lake near Ridgway Colorado
Silver Jack Lake, Colorado

The Silver Jack Campground sits in a forest of Aspen and Pine trees in the Uncompahgre National Forest.  Some of the sites are large enough to accommodate our 31′ Fifth Wheel, but there’s no internet service.  We couldn’t even get one bar on our phones 😦 We didn’t find the reservoir to be easily accessible, finding only one road leading down to the water’s edge.  There were, however, numerous hiking trails.

Owl Creek Pass, Colorado
Back road near Owl Creek Pass, Colorado

This was another great driving excursion offering us some beautiful scenery and solitude.

Still on my list

Our time in the area was over before we knew it, and I still had a few more back country excursions on my list. Unfortunately, those roads will have to wait for another time…. there’s Imogene Pass and Engineer Pass, but the Yankee Boy Basin Road remained at the top of my list. It’s classified as moderate and four-wheel drive is highly recommended.  We shouldn’t have any trouble driving Yankee Boy Basin with the Tacoma, but it would be a more challenging drive than Owl Creek Pass or Last Dollar Road.

Mid July, when wildflowers are blooming, would be the perfect time to visit and do a little high country hiking at the end of this out and back road – that is, if I think I can handle the high altitude.

Columbine flower Colorado's state flower

For those of us looking for an “extreme” Colorado adventure, check out this video of Black Bear Pass. This is the one pass vehicle rental companies will not allow you to drive with their equipment. If you do not have your own Jeep/UTV or you don’t feel experienced enough to negotiate this treacherous pass, but are still interested in experiencing this adrenal filled excursion, there are tours available in the town of Ouray – something that’s on my bucket list.

Black Bear Pass is a one way single lane road starting from just outside of the town of Ouray and traversing up and over the mountain into the town of Telluride. The road is only open starting sometime in July and closing sometime in September. Because there have been fatalities, (ya know – folks rolling off the side of the mountain) there are talks of closing off access to this high country pass. So knowing that, would you be interested in such an excursion? I’m game, if you are!

Another glorious day, the air as delicious to the lungs as nectar to the tongue – John Muir

(affiliate links)

Hiking Colorado’s Western Slope (Falcon Guides) 

The Mountains Are Calling and I Must Go T-Shirt

A Momentary Lapse

We truly enjoyed our visit to Devil’s Lake, but had commitments necessitating we pull up jacks and start rolling north toward Marshfield, Wisconsin.

Baraboo Wisconsin
Baraboo, WI Farmer’s Market

Between the hiking, the crane foundation, and the Baraboo farmer’s market, we had a wonderful stay at Devil’s Lake State Park and wouldn’t mind returning some day.

It is however Wisconsin’s busiest state park and even though I booked our reservation five months in advance, I was still unable to secure a site over a weekend.  During the week, there did appear to be plenty of open sites available for drop-ins.  (We stayed here during the middle of August)

driveway camping at a friend’s home

Al’s best friend from college and best man in our wedding was eager for our arrival.  We fit comfortably in Roger’s driveway and set up house within minutes.  Even though we only stayed in Marshfield the weekend, we managed to get in plenty of catching up.  That Sunday was preseason football and the Green Bay Packers were playing.  This is serious Packer Land and Cheese Land.

cheese head
Oh no, this Bronco’s fan has been turned into a ‘cheese head’

Roger planned a tailgate party at his house which included a bunch of people we hadn’t seen in years.  Even though the Packers lost, it was a super fun day.  We loved visiting with everyone and the weekend flew by.  I may have worn Packer green that day and been turned into a cheese head, but I assure you, it was a momentary lapse and I’m back to wearing the orange and blue of the Denver Bronco’s.

Lambeau FieldBut there was more impending fun with the guys to be had …. for hubby;  a fishing trip on Lake Michigan.

The day after the football game, we packed up the RV and headed to Algoma, Wisconsin.  But first, a stop at Cabela’s to empty the holding tanks was necessary and a cruise by Lambeau Field (home of the Packers) was in order, for posterity.  After all, we were Green Bay Packer fans for a day.

PepeLePewPulling into the Green Bay Cabela’s was easy.  Quite a few Cabela stores offer a dump station free of charge. Not this one. (for all you non-RVer’s, this talk is about the not so fun and stinky part of RVing. Our holding tanks contain our waste water, including potty waste and when we’re not staying in an RV Park with full hook-ups we need to find a place to clean out our tanks before they fill up).

There was a $5.00 charge to access the dump station or free if we bought something.  Hmm!  We stepped inside the store and quickly purchased some chocolate walnut fudge.  We took our receipt to the customer service counter and were given a number that would unlock the dump cover.  Let’s see – they gave us fudge and we gave them shit …. literally!  Sounds like we got the better end of the deal 🙂Wisconsin

With clean tanks and plenty of fresh water on board, we continued the drive from Green Bay to the little town of Algoma, Wisconsin.  The rest of the fishing gang wouldn’t be showing up until late the next day allowing Al and I to have a day to explore Door County.

Door County
Door County, Wisconsin

Door County is a popular tourist destination especially for residents of Wisconsin and Illinois, boasting 300 miles of scenic shoreline, 5 state parks, and 19 charming communities.

With our RV comfortably parked in Algoma, we set off on a scenic drive that had us skirting up County Road B, along the waters of Green Bay.  It didn’t take long for Al and I to realize why this is such a popular place for vacation homes.  Homes of varying architectural styles are nestled in the woods along the shores of Lake Michigan’s Green Bay.  Most homes enjoy their own private dock for easy watercraft access.  As we approached the quaint town of Egg Harbor, we were greeted by plenty of old fashion charm.  This would be merely the first of several such communities we explored that day.

Door County, Wisconsin
quaint shops offering locally grown and handcrafted products.

We saw plenty of unique shops, eateries, brew pubs, wineries, art gallery’s, and marina’s, but what stuck out to me the most were the beautiful gardens.Door CountyEach business seemed to take the extra effort in the gardening arena, adding more character and ambiance to an already lovely place.

Door County
How could I resist stopping here? That sidewalk going through all those flowers was irresistible.

Considering this is Wisconsin, I shouldn’t have been surprised with all the lush and beautiful vegetation.  The rich, black soil makes it easy to grow just about anything.  All those flowers did continually captivate my attention to the point hubby asked jokingly, “How many more Black Eyed Susan’s do you have to look at?”

And then there’s the orchards…. apples, cherries, and berries oh my!   Up next.

Green Bay
An overcast day along the shores of Green Bay

Door County Outdoors: A Guide to the Best Hiking, Biking, Paddling, Beaches, and Natural Places
Door County Coffee Single Serve Cups for Keurig Brewers (Almond Toffee, 12 Count)

Is it worth the drive?

I’m going to wrap up my series of posts on “Top 5 favorite Colorado mountain towns” by heading up in elevation.  Hold on, as the only road to get to Silverton, Colorado, is not for the faint of heart.

Silverton, Colorado
Highway 550 in southwestern Colorado

Silverton sits in southwestern Colorado and there’s only one paved road leading to this charming and historic town.  I need to put an emphasis on the word paved because this former mining town is host to some of the most fantastic 4×4 back country roads.  That said, you’ll need to know not to trust your GPS because if she recommends any other route other than Highway 550, you may find yourself traversing one of those high clearance, dirt, mountain roads, turned summer fun four-wheeling routes.  Many of those old mining roads are numbered, named, and recognized on maps, and trust me when I say you’ll want a “high clearance” vehicle traveling these back roads as deep ruts, rocks, and water are common encounters.

Highway 550
Highway 550 in southwestern Colorado

So to get to Silverton from the south, you’ll need to take Highway 550 from the town of Durango and travel about 50 miles north on a beautiful and scenic well maintained road.  The road twists, bends, goes up, and goes down as it meanders through the San Juan Mountain Range.  There are drop offs with Aspen treesguard rails or maybe not.

You’ll pass mountains, lakes, and streams and take in some jaw dropping beauty.  And when the wildflowers are blooming in July and August or the Aspen tree leaves turn golden in September….. oohhh …. my ….. gosh!!!  Let’s just say, it’s a sight to behold and photographs rarely capture the enormity of such a spectacular and stunning sight.

If driving mountain roads isn’t your thing, consider taking the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad.  The rail route is even more scenic than the highway and the train pulls right into the town of Silverton.Durango & Silverton Train

SilvertonOnce in Silverton, you’ll find the town has a natural beauty that’s steeped in Victorian charm and mining history.  Gold was discovered here in the 1860’s.  The town was platted in 1874 and by the late 1800’s the main business section was built.

On the “other side of town”, is notorious Blair Street.   At one point, Blair Street was home to 40 saloons and brothels.   Many of the original buildings are still standing today and have been turned into quaint gift shops and restaurants.

Tidbit: During the mining boom, Silverton boasted a population surpassing 2,000.  Today the year round population is less than 700.  Although tourism has replaced mining as the current economic engine, conjecture is someday mining will return.

Silverton is listed on both the National Register of Historic Places and the National Historic Landmark District.

Silverton, Colorado
It was a cool and wet September day when we last visited Silverton.

Silverton, ColoradoWith mining heavily ingrained in the area’s history, the back country is dotted with remnants of abandoned mines and ghost towns.  Have a high clearance vehicle?  The old mining roads are a blast to explore and remains my favorite thing to do in this part of Colorado.

The visitor center in the town of Ouray provides free maps and info to help you navigate the back country.  The visitor center in Silverton also has a lot of info but charges for some maps.

In Ouray (pronounced; your ray) there’s several businesses that rent Jeeps, ATV’s, and Razors allowing one to explore the high country at one’s own level and pace.  There’s also a few places in Silverton that offer rentals.  However, for those less experienced in high mountain four-wheeling, a guided tour might be the perfect option.San Juan mountains

During previous visits, Al and I have taken the Toyota Tacoma on a couple of the “easy” 4×4 roads.  The map info is very helpful in rating these roads and we wanted to start easy and work our way up.  We’ve taken “Last Dollar Road” to Telluride and “Owl Creek Pass” to Silver Jack Reservoir.  Although lovely and enjoyable drives, neither road took us above tree line and with the exception of a couple of rutted areas, a Subaru or CRV could easily travel these two 4×4 roads.

The view along Last Dollar Road

For those of us looking for a true white knuckle Colorado experience, there’s Black Bear Pass.  I’m still working on hubby for us to rent a RZR and tackle this insane scary road, but I’m not averse to signing up for a tour with an experienced driver.  Actually the more I watch this video, the more I think that’s the way to go.

And speaking of white knuckle driving, I’ve shared the route from Durango to Silverton, now let’s talk about driving from the other direction.  Coming from the north, the 21 miles via Highway 550 from Ouray to Silverton, otherwise known as the Million Dollar Highway, is an experience in itself.

Million Dollar Highway
a part of the Million Dollar Highway

This two-lane mountainous highway can be a challenging and potentially hazardous drive due to narrow lanes, steep cliffs, and no guard rails.  There are some hairpin curves, elevation changes, and the road is shared with semi-trucks and brave RV drivers.

PoppyWe’ve driven Highway 550 from Durango to Ouray with the truck camper many years ago, but not with the 5th wheel.  It’s all about comfort level.  Northbound traffic gets the luxury of hugging the inside of the curves while southbound traffic gets to be perched on the outside edge.

Is it worth the drive to visit Silverton?  Absolutely!  The drive is an integral part of the overall adventure.  Regardless of which direction one travels from, the San Juan Mountains are breathtaking, and once in Silverton, the towns’ rough, rustic character easily transports a soul back in time.

Ridgway State Park
camping at Ridgway State Park

So there you have it – my Top 5 Favorite Colorado mountain towns;
Telluride – everyone’s favorite
Crested Butte and Grand Lake – my two favs (family memories play an important role in why they are “my” favorites) and then there’s Frisco and Silverton, each with their own unique draw, charm, and character.San Juan Mountains

Camping near Silverton? There are a bunch of camping options, however I can’t speak from experience. We’ve always camped at Ridgway State Park and driven Highway 550, aka the Million Dollar Highway, to Silverton for day trips with just the truck.  If you’re interested in a little more info on camping around Silverton, you can check out Amanda’s post here.  You can also find more camping reviews in western Colorado by checking out Nina’s blog here or my buddy Russ here.

We find ourselves returning to Colorado every summer and during each visit we discover more hidden gems.  I guess there’s more than one kind of mining when it comes to finding gems!Rocky Mountains

Frogg Toggs All Purpose Women’s Rain and Wind Suits, Cherry/Black, Large
Columbia Men’s Watertight II Packable Rain Jacket, Black, Large

The Apache Trail

Are you an adventurous traveler?  Are you looking for a scenic memorable drive?  Well, I’ve got just the day trip for you.  Al and I first drove this 80 mile scenic loop three years ago and it still ranks as one of our favorite day excursions.Salt River AZ

On the far southeast side of the greater Phoenix area lies Arizona’s oldest highway. This former stagecoach trail which runs through the Superstition Mountains was Lost Dutchmanoriginally used by the Apache Indians thus aptly named The Apache Trail.

The Apache Trail is officially known as State Route 88 and links the town of Apache Junction with Theodore Roosevelt Lake.  The trail was developed into more of a road in the 1930’s to support the development of dam’s along the Salt River creating some beautiful lakes in the process.

There’s a bunch of interesting sights and views along the way which necessitate lots of stopping.  Photo-op anyone?  Thus, the Apache Trail Circle Loop requires an entire day for the excursion.  It’s also not for the faint of heart, which I’ll explain in a minute.Apache Trail

We’ll start our journey from the town of Apache Junction and head north on State Road 88, aka The Apache Trail.  Our first stop is the Superstition Mountain Museum.Superstition Mountain Museum

The museum collects, preserves, and displays the artifacts, history, and folklore of the Superstition Mountains.  Even though we knew we had a long day in front of us, this  picturesque place is worthy of a photo-op and stroll around the historic buildings. We’ll tour the museum another day.

Moving on; our next stop is the Goldfield Ghost Town.  Goldfield was once a happening gold mining town back in the 1890’s. I found myself on more than one occasion visiting this little tourist attraction.  There’s free parking and free strolling around, but there is a fee for each attraction.  You can click on this link for more info on attractions. We don’t usually do the ‘tourist’ thing so I can’t vouch for any of the paid attractions.Superstition Mountains

The quaint little shops offer unique trinkets as well as the usual tourist stuff.  The grounds are loaded with original mining equipment.  It’s obvious these are the original buildings and have been standing for a very long time.  As a matter of fact, a museum building was closed while construction workers were busy shoring up a second floor balcony.

As I strolled around Goldfield Ghost Town, I could almost visualize the harsh realities of life over 100 years ago. These were hardy folks living in an unforgiving and harsh environment.  I also found it funny that the Bordello was located near the church.

For those unable to secure a campsite at the Lost Dutchman State Park, Goldfield Ghost Town does have a campground.  It’s a bit rough, but at least it’s a place to park in a pinch.

Lost Dutchman State ParkAnd speaking of Lost Dutchman State Park, which is just a little further up the road;  we discovered some of the best hiking trails at this park.  We take full advantage of these trails anytime we’re in the area.  There is a day use fee unless you are already camped in the park.  Lost Dutchman State Park requires it’s own day to explore and it’s own blog post.  And I highly recommend camping here.

Continuing on our journey the road starts to climb, twist, and bend. Shortly after passing the state park we enter the Tonto National Forest.  The scenery becomes more rugged and stunning with each mile.  March is particularly beautiful as the road is lined on both sides with yellow blooms from the brittle bush and desert marigolds.

Twenty miles north of the town of Apache Junction, we round a bend and are graced with the sight of an oasis in the desert.  Canyon Lake with it’s deep blue waters surrounded by rugged cliffs and rocky terrain is a pleasant and unexpected surprise.Canyon Lake AZDefinitely worth a few photo-ops around here.  Canyon Lake in itself is a great day excursion; perfect for a picnic, kayak adventure, or even a cruise aboard the Dolly Steamboat.Canyon LakeTortilla FlatA few more miles up the road is the cute little town of Tortilla Flat – population 6.  This is the perfect place to stop for lunch.  The restaurant serves up great burgers and has a fun décor.

We recently revisited with friends and in the photo you can see dollar bills stapled to the walls along with old mining tools and historical photos. The bar stools are saddles and the little general store serves up some of the best ice cream and fudge around.

With tummies full, it’s time to brace ourselves for the truly adventurous part of the drive.  Just past the town of Tortilla Flat the pavement ends.  Most rental car companies will not want you driving this road and it’s not recommended for any vehicle over 25 feet in length….  Definitely no RV’s!

Apache Trail
The Apache Trail runs through rugged desert terrain

Apache TrailThe gravel road is wide and in pretty good condition up to the scenic view parking lot.  Obviously the vista is worth a view and for those less adventurous this would be a good place to turn around and retrace your journey home.

For us? Al and I are used to driving unpaved mountain back roads with steep cliff drop-offs with no safety barriers or guardrails.  In other words, the stretch of road between Tortilla Flat and the Roosevelt Dam is not for the faint of heart.

As we continue past the scenic overlook the road narrows and winds.  This two way traffic road narrows down to about a one to one and a half lane wide road.  Those going down hill supposedly have the right of way and it’s not uncommon for the need for someone to back up to a wider spot in the road so vehicles can pass by each other.  Fish Creek Hill/Pass is the worst part of the journey with sheer drop offs, very narrow, lots of turns, and a steep elevation change.Apache TrailOne lane bridges and a washboard gravel road add to the overall adventure. Once we reach Apache Lake, another beauty, the road becomes a little easier to traverse.  Due to the washboard condition of the road and our extra long wheel base on the F-250, it’s slow going.  Two and a half hours after leaving Tortilla Flat we finally arrive at the Theodore Roosevelt Damn and Lake.

Apache Lake
Apache Lake
Tonto National Forest
Tonto National Forest

We tour the campgrounds and the boondocking opportunities and are pleasantly surprised.  We will definitely be keeping Roosevelt Lake as a possible place to camp in the future.  It’s pretty.  It’s remote.  It’s inexpensive.  It’s located within the Tonto National Forest, although the word ‘forest’ is a relative term.  You won’t find any of the usual trees around here.  This is still the desert.

poppiesThe majestic scenery continues from Roosevelt Lake to the active mining towns of Miami and Superior and onto the Boyce Thompson Arboretum.

By this point in the journey, I’m photoed out, tired, and just ready to get home.  We make notes for things to see and do in the future.

Whether one is looking for solitude or a host of activities, this part of Arizona seems to offer it all.  I remain in awe by it’s raw beauty and fascinated by the plants and animals that survive in this harsh land.

Hmm… whatever shall we do tomorrow?Apache Trail

Wild in Arizona: Photographing Arizona’s Wildflowers, A Guide to When, Where, and How

Arizona Ghost Towns and Mining Camps/a Travel Guide to History


A Perfect Day

Rocky Mountain National ParkWe’ve all experienced those days when nothing seems to go right, you know Murphy’s Law and all, but then there are those days where everything comes together perfectly.  Our last full day in Rocky Mountain National Park was just that; a nearly perfect day.

After three consecutive days of hiking, we opted to take a break from the trails and take a scenic drive.

Trail Ridge Road is known as the highway to the sky and stretches 48 miles between the towns of Estes Park on the east side of the Continental Divide to Grand Lake on the west side.  There’s an eleven mile section that traverses above tree line with the high point being at 12,183 feet in elevation.

There are numerous scenic pull-outs along Trail Ridge Road and all worth stopping at to take in the amazing scenery.  This is a great way to enjoy a sweeping view of the Rocky Mountains in all directions.

Since we’ve had the privilege of visiting this National Park several times previously, we knew to plan the entire day to truly enjoy all that this scenic drive has to offer.

We packed a picnic lunch allowing us time to meander without a schedule.

We left our campsite at Glacier Basin Campground around eight in the morning.  It was a beautiful sunny morning with a crispness in the air.  Our first scenic stop was at Rainbow Curve.  From this vantage point we were able to see the Alluvial Fan in the valley below.

Continuing up highway 34 (aka Trail Ridge Road or as Al and I like to call it, Ogden Ave. As newlyweds, hubby and I lived near Ogden Avenue aka highway 34 in northern Illinois.  So it’s kid of a joke between us) our next stop was the Forest Canyon Overlook.

Trail Ridge Road
It’s August 18th and I’m glad I wore my earmuffs.

From the Forest Canyon Overlook there were spectacular views of some of the park’s remotest areas.  Because this scenic overlook sits at an elevation of about 11,700 feet, the views were directly in front or below me.  There were stunning mountain peaks in all directions.  The winds were particularly gusty and cold during our stop and I was glad I donned my earmuffs.

Tundra Communities Trail
Trail Ridge Road, Rocky Mountain National Park. The view from the Tundra Communities Trail.

PikaOur trek quickly continued just past Rock Cut to the Tundra Communities Trailhead. Although hiking wasn’t on the days agenda, a stroll was.

You see, ever since I read about Pikas I was on a quest to see these little guys up close and personal and this should be the perfect place to find the cute critters.

Did you know they are related to rabbits? Aren’t they adorable?

Rocky Mountain National Park

As we were about to pull into the parking lot, I noticed two birds flying very close to one another.  Actually, a little too close and rather strange.  I blinked to clear my vision and then asked Al, “Is that one bird or two?”  Boy, did that get hubby’s attention as he urgently responded, “Of course, that’s one bird.  Do you need me to drive since you’re experiencing some double vision”.  “No, no I’m fine. Yes, it’s obviously one bird. I think I’m ok now”, I responded as we pulled into the parking lot.  Keep in mind, we were driving a high mountain road with no guardrails or room for error, thus hubby’s concern was most definitely warranted for several reasons. Hmm, was the thin air and lack of oxygen effecting me? Possibly!

Safely parked in the parking lot….. with a smirky little chuckle, Al says, “You don’t plan on doing anything silly like hike this trail, do you…. especially since you’ve already experienced double vision?”  “No hon, not to worry.  I’ll just walk up to that sign up there. Ok?”  Ah, we both knew better.  Of course I was taking that trail.

Rocky Mountain National ParkThe Tundra Communities Trail is a 1.1 mile hike. The first quarter mile is taxing considering it’s at 12,100 feet in elevation, but it levels out after that. The trail winds through alpine tundra scattered with delicate wildflowers during the months of July and August. The trail eventually leads to Mushroom Rock.

I walked to the first interpretive sign while Al checked out some other signage at the parking lot.  I was huffing and puffing as I continued up the trail.  Gosh, I thought to myself, “I haven’t walked far at all.  Why am I so light headed?”  And although I promised Al I wouldn’t hike this trail today, Mushroom Rock was calling to me.  “Come on, it’s only a mile UP the trail”, I thought.  “How difficult could it be?”

Since I was having a little trouble breathing and felt a little woozy, I started doing some deep yoga breathing.  My friend, Carol, would be so proud!

Trail Ridge Road
Al hikes no further than the first sign

PikaThe deep breathing was working so I continued my stroll.  “So how much fricken further is that mushroom rock?” I wondered.  I kind of promised Al I wouldn’t venture further than the first interpretive sign, but here I was already further up the trail and he was now at that first interpretive sign.

I waved to him, he waved back.  I pointed in the direction of the trail and he waved me on.  That was his way of saying it’s ok, go ahead without me.  Not that I needed his permission mind you, but out of courtesy for his concern for my well being I did want him to know where I was venturing, as if he didn’t already know.

He and I have become well versed at “our” version of sign language.  Must be all those hand signals I use to help give Al back up the RV 😁

Trail Ridge Road

Trail Ridge Road

I captured a couple photos of Mushroom Rock but more importantly I captured several shots of the cute little Pikas.  I was so engrossed trying to follow the fast Pikas that I could’ve cared less about any symptoms of hypoxia. Gosh, they are so fast as they scurry between, up, and over the boulders.  I was lucky to capture any photos at all.  Trust me when I say I took lots of photos of rock and vegetation with no Pika in the frame … sigh!

A Pika – they have the cutest little butts!
Busy Pika foraging for food

Although our perfect day continued with sightings of bighorn sheep, elk, and moose the sightings of the Pikas will remain my highpoint of the day.  There’s also something about the tundra and its fragile ecosystem that intrigues me.



If I didn’t encounter any other wildlife that day, it still would’ve gone down as a very memorable and special day.  But it got better!  Next up…. our perfect day continues…

in addition to the Pikas we saw lots of Marmots

Hagen Living World Pet Tunnel, Red/Grey
Pika: Life in the Rocks

A Happy Camper

Our son flew into Denver from Phoenix last Wednesday.  It’s been almost 2 years since our little family of four has been together. So you can imagine, I’ve been one very happy mom lately aka one happy camper with a perpetual smile plastered across my face.Summit Lake

Thursday found us attending a Rockies baseball game that was delayed 45 minutes due to a rain storm or rather a thunder and lightning storm.  I’ll write a post about that game later.  For now I want to share our trip up to Mount Evans… one of my favorite places in Colorado; right up there with Crested Butte or the San Juan Mountains.

tallest paved road in North America
Ingrid, Al, Ashton, and Logan at the top of Mt. Evans


Mount Evans
this road is damaged in quite a few areas due to the extreme weather

After two failed attempts this summer to drive to the top of Mt. Evans, I finally made it on Friday.  I guess third try was a charm.

Be warned - this drive is not for the faint of heart
Be warned – this drive is not for the faint of heart

We left the RV at 8:30 a.m. with a full tank of gas and cooler filled with drinks, lunch, and snacks.  It’s crucial to drink plenty of water when visiting an elevation of 14,265 feet (4,348m) to help avoid experiencing any altitude issues.

Mount Evans
folks can be seen hiking from the parking lot to the top. Our family photo was taken at the top of those boulders. Can you see the little specs of people?

Our son, Logan, grew up in Colorado but now calls Phoenix, Arizona, home and has for the past five years.  He’s young and fit but even he got winded as we hiked from the parking lot at 14,130 feet to the top of the boulders at 14,265 feet.

In the photo below, we can see Summit Lake under Ashton’s pink shoe.Mt. Evans

The altitude didn’t stop the sibling rivalry between a Colorado State University ‘Ram’ and a University of Colorado ‘Buff’ (Buffalo).  CSU and CU have had a long-standing rivalry and it’s a big deal when these two universities face off in a football game.  So big, that the game is even held at the Broncos stadium; Sports Authority Field Mile High Stadium in Denver.

that's enough kids.... don't you dare push each other!!!
that’s enough kids…. don’t you dare push each other!!!

Both kids received a bachelor’s degree in Business.  Our son from CU in Boulder and our daughter from CSU in Fort Collins.  Ah, yes…. a proud mom!

Even Mr. Marmot enjoys the views

MarmotMt. EvansAfter photo ops at the top of Mount Evans, we slowly drove back down to Summit Lake for some hiking.

But before I go any further, I need to admit…. we were fricken freezing our buns off.

We were all bundled up in sweatshirts that we then took off for the photo ops.  The winds were blowing, gusting, and howling…. I swear I’m not exaggerating… it was cold and unpleasant.

The photo of the thermometer was posted on a building near the restrooms at the top of Mount Evans.  It wasn’t too bad when the wind wasn’t gusting, but boy those winds were nasty.  So bad, that the kids were afraid my camera sitting on the tripod was going to get blown over.Chicago Lakes

Near Summit Lake are some trail heads.  The hike I was most interested in was the Chicago Lakes trail.  This former Chicago gal hiking in Colorado to a place called Chicago Lakes – funny!

Mount Evans
The Chicago Lakes Trail is on a high ledge

I was really hoping as the day progressed it would start warming up, but no such luck. Ominous clouds started rolling in obscuring the warm sunshine.  The winds increased, the sky darkened, and the clouds threatened to let loose.  It was a unanimous decision to forgo any hiking and head down the mountain to a lower elevation in search of warmer temps.

Patches of snow still present in August
Patches of snow still present in August

When Ashton and I visited last summer, it was a balmy 60 degrees Fahrenheit.  Not only was I somewhat disappointed with the weather this trip, I was also disappointed the mountain goats weren’t nearby.  We did see them feeding on the side of the mountain but they were too far away for me to capture a nice photo. Here’s some photos of the goats from last summer and you can read about that trip here.mountain goatsMt. EvansLast year, the mountain goats were near the parking lot and I managed to get quite close. This year, I think they stayed on the side of the mountain that was blocked by the blustering wind. Smart animals.  Oh well, I guess I’ll just need to revisit again.Mt. EvansSummit LakeFor anyone planning on driving America’s tallest paved road to the top of Mt. Evans, here’s a few of my recommendations and info.

  1. Start early. Storms roll in every afternoon as well as the number of cyclists and general tourist traffic increases as the day progresses.
  2. The road gets more narrow the higher in elevation you get making it more of a challenge to share the road with oncoming traffic AND cyclists.
  3. Narrow road, damaged road, and severe drop-offs with no guard rails exist.
  4. It’s not uncommon for the temperature to be 20 degrees or more cooler than in Denver and/or be covered in rain clouds while Denver is blanketed in sunshine.
  5. There are two ways to access Highway 5 (the road to the top) off Interstate 70. Twice I’ve driven to the town of Idaho Springs then caught 103 to 5.  There is serious tunnel construction near Idaho Springs. To avoid the construction on this trip, I exited the interstate in the town of Evergreen then caught 103.  This was a very pretty drive with little traffic and will now be my preferred route.
  6. There is a $10 fee to drive to the top of Mt. Evans.  If you want to go only as far as Summit Lake for hiking, the fee is $5.  (since this is Federal land it’s free for those of a ‘certain age’ holding the senior pass)
  7. Altitude; drink lots of water to avoid altitude sickness, dress in layers, and hopefully you don’t suffer from a fear of heights.

Mt. Evans

I’m not sure what it is about Mount Evans that captivates me, but it does and I’m hoping to take in at least one more trip to the top before I head south for the winter.Echo Lake
Echo Lake
Chicago Lakes
Summit Lake
mountain goats

Mount Evans
this road suffers regular damage from the extreme weather

I’m married to MacGyver

Once settled into our new home, a home with a view I might add, we set out in search of some petroglyphs aka rock art.  After a little research, I knew just where to go.  From our home located off Highway 191 we headed south and picked up Utah highway 279.

Colorado River Utah
The Colorado River along Utah scenic byway 279


petroglyphsUtah road 279 located several miles north of Moab is a paved two lane road that meanders along the Colorado River and is a popular place with rafters, canoeists, and kayakers .  There’s numerous places to access the river as well as a few designated campsites.

The hunt for these petroglyphs or rather referred to as Indian writing and also known as rock art is an easy search.  There are actually a couple of brown signs near pull-outs that say “Indian writing”.

Al and I parked the truck and stood near the road glancing up at the red rock wall.  After a couple of minutes scanning the wall, I screamed out while pointing a finger, “There….up there.  Can you see it?”Indian WritingThere are several areas along this rock wall that were engraved with Indian writing – petroglyphs – rock art, whatever one calls it, that obviously told a story.  Most of the rock art is located on the smooth blackish face of the wall at least 20 feet up or higher.Indian WritingIndian writingrock climbing repellingI could’ve stood there for quite some time starring up at this unique historical site trying to decipher the story.  This was someone’s journal…..a blog post!  Hmm, wonder how long it took them to complete a blog post with all the carving and chiseling required.  I guess we have it pretty easy with our simple clicks and auto correct 🙂

We continued down Utah road 279 also known as Potash Road and stopped to observe some rock climbers.  Ah, to be young again.  However, even twenty some years ago I would’ve viewed the climbing part as perhaps a little too much work, but repelling?  Now that’s fun and I would still consider doing that today…..just beam me up Scottie and I’ll repel down.Moab Utah

We continued down Utah road 279 but not without getting side tracked with a gravel road that shot off to the west.  A little four-wheeling in the back country found us surrounded by huge majestic rock cliffs that left us admiring their beauty in awe.Red rockfour wheeling in Moab Utah

four wheeling the back country near Moab UtahIn the above photo, can you see little ole me climbing up the hill with camera in hand?  Look at the size of those boulders.  I wouldn’t want one of those tumbling down towards me.

Had we taken a map with us, we may have explored this back country road a little more, but the further in we drove the worse the road conditions got.  No map and a worsening road had us turning around.  We returned back to paved road 279.

Shortly after this slight back country road diversion and back on 279, the pavement ended near a large boat ramp.  This was the perfect place for our picnic lunch.  Beyond this point, folks with Jeeps or bicycles access Shafer Road; a gravel road leading up to Canyonlands.  High clearance vehicles are a must as well as a sense of adventure.

Across from our picnic area was the Intrepid Potash Plant.  I’ll share more about Potash in my next post.  For now it’s time to return to camp.Intrepid PotashBut before returning to camp, we needed to stop at Lion’s Park located at the intersection of Roads 191 and 128 in Moab to fill up our five gallon jugs with water.Colorado RiverRemember our day from hell……you know the day we blew a tire?  Well, that blown tire damaged our water lines.  We all know what a precious commodity water is especially when boondocking (dry camping).  Every time we turned on the water pump, we’d lose some water on the ground through the sliced line, thus we found ourselves going through water a lot quicker than normal even with our MacGyver patch.

boondocking Moab Utah
Our home with a view for a week. Boondocking north of Moab, Utah – Where’s my hook-ups?

With jugs filled, we returned to camp where Al preceded to fill our RV tank with fresh water.  Being self-sufficient in this lifestyle is a must and having a MacGyver for a husband is a big plus.

boondocking dry camping
Filling the RV with fresh water

It’s interesting how all winter long we stayed in RV Parks with hook-ups with a plan to spend most of April boondocking.  As luck would have it, we damaged the water lines just as we were entering our boondocking phase of the journey, which required us to travel through some pretty remote parts of Utah.

dry camping boondocking
Al’s nifty little rig up…..notice my lovely tape job on the wheel fender that got damaged from the blown tire – we’re a class act!

Unable to find the ‘right’ parts to fix the water lines properly, MacGyver aka Al used some tape to stem the loss of water and with a little more conservation on my part, we managed to still enjoy our boondocking.  Yep, it’s good to have a MacGyver around.  Once we get to a bigger town, we’ll getter all fixed up.

dry camping

Just another day in the life of an RV’er…………

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Home with a view!

We’ve enjoyed the past four days camped at Goosenecks State Park in Utah, but the itch to move on has set in.  adventureWith Moab a mere two hours up Highway 191, hubby and I hit the road but not before taking one final look around camp.  We find ourselves doing a quick recap of our stay at Goosenecks State Park and what made our stay so enjoyable;Goosenecks State Park

Socializing with our RV neighbors, Linda and MikeValley of the Gods

Exploring Valley of the GodsTrail of the Ancients

Touring the Trail of the AncientsMexican Hat

Discovering how the town of Mexican Hat got its nameSan Juan River Utah

Fearlessly enjoying inclement weather and high winds camped on an open, exposed mesaGoosenecks State Park

Enjoying sunrises and sunsets with a view that stretches endlessly.

Adventure and DiscoveryIt was such a positive and fun experience that Al and I feel this may just become a regular stopping point as our travels take us between Colorado and Arizona.  I will add it is very remote country; perhaps some might even use the word desolate to describe it.  Thus, it’s not everyone’s cup of tea.  However, it’s hard to dispute the beauty of the landscape.

After an uneventful scenic drive (we like uneventful), we arrived in Moab, Utah.  We originally planned to stay at Ken’s Lake Campground where we stayed last fall, but changed our minds wanting to explore new territory.  However, I would definitely recommend this BLM campground.  There are a bunch of sites that can accommodate almost any size RV and the internet connection was relatively good.

Hum, wherever shall we stay?  We found a large parking lot in Moab to park the RV while hubby and I set out in my truck….the “scout vehicle”…..and scout we did.  We already knew we didn’t want to stay in any of the BLM campgrounds along Highway 128 and thus we didn’t even bother checking them out on this trip.

Hwy 128 meanders along the Colorado River in a canyon and is very scenic.  However, the campgrounds are designed more for tents, pop up trailers, or small RV’s.  Of course, there are always a few sites that might accommodate larger RV’s, but they first need to be available.  Spring and fall are very popular times to visit Moab, Utah, and the BLM campgrounds fill up fast.   Finding an open site isn’t always easy.

Most of the campgrounds along Highway 128 are very tight and almost impossible for us to maneuver our truck pulling a 31 foot 5th wheel around.  That said, we skipped the BLM sites and ventured further north along U.S. 191 toward the Moab airport in search of a boondock spot. I’m looking for a home with a view!   FYI…….. Moab offers a ton of RV Parks with full hook-ups and lovely accommodation’s as well as plenty of hotels.  home with a view

We found a great spot about 15 miles north of town on state land with beautiful views in all directions.  This is popular Jeep and ATV country so one needs to embrace dirt, dust, and the vroom, vroom of engines to fully enjoy.  With amazing views and a nightly fee of nada, we were a couple of happy campers and most of the four-wheelers were rather respectful.  Yep, I found my home with a view and now it’s time to explore………camping in Moab

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Crazy or Callous?

Ah, yes!  Another day of explorations unfolds.  It’s a beautiful spring morning in southern Utah.  Our journey today (April 3rd) has us taking a scenic drive which is part of Trail of the Ancients.  Trail of the Ancients is a National Scenic Byway located in the southern portions of the states of Colorado and Utah.

Happily perched above the San Juan River at Goosenecks State Park – RV upper right

We began our day from our home at Goosenecks State Park then headed north on route 261.  It wasn’t long before the yellow signs appeared warning us of impending road conditions.  I had read about this stretch of road called the Moki Dugway from fellow bloggers and was prepared for a little white knuckle driving.Moki Dugway scenic byway scenic byway

The pavement quickly came to an end.  The 3 miles of gravel road along with its numerous switchbacks would take us 1,000 feet up to Cedar Mesa.  10% grades, no guardrails and tight switchbacks would’ve had this gal sweating bricks twenty some years ago…… regardless of the beautiful scenery.  Today?  No white knuckles, no sweating, no problem.  While asking hubby, “When do you think the really scary part of the drive will begin?” all of a sudden the road widened onto pavement and we had just completed the “Moki Dugway”  portion of Utah road 261.scenic road in Utah

scenic drives in Utah
Very well maintained road

Have I become immune to these types of roads?  Am I crazy or just callous?  The road was a piece of cake with my Tacoma and if we ‘had to’ and I mean really ‘had to’ we wouldn’t have any trouble pulling our RV up and over.  Marsha and Pam each photographed trucks pulling this pass.  Mind you, I don’t recommend it because the sign clearly states ‘not recommended’ and the road does get pretty narrow in spots. My point is, if you’ve ever spent much time driving the back country in a mountainous area this road is no big deal and the views are beautiful.  Over the past few years, I’ve driven some pretty dicey back country roads making the Moki Dugway look like a well maintained every day highway.  However, a flatlander may view it differently.

scenic byway moki dugway
lots of switchbacks

That said, I assure you twenty some years ago as we explored this part of Utah with 2 little kids and a dog in tow, I had a very different opinion.  Being a flatlander from Illinois and a city gal at that, this land made me feel very uncomfortable as well as these roads were not something I was accustomed to.Moki Dugway scenic drivephotographic scenic drives

The barren red rock, sparse vegetation, and consistent change in elevation made me feel like I was in another country, or rather on another planet.  There was plenty of discomfort and white knuckles the last time (mid 1990’s) we drove through this part of Utah.  Today?  Well, I seem to be in my element and loving it.trail of the ancients

The entire Trail of the Ancients Byway consists of approximately 480 miles (772 km). We’ve chosen a 100 mile (161 km) loop portion of the trail in Utah to explore.  Along the route are numerous opportunities to view archaeological, cultural, and historic sites highlighting Native Americans in the southwest. Trail of the Ancients

This scenic byway is considered a trail from the past to the future.  It encompasses the history of Ancestral Puebloans to nomadic Navajo, Apache, and Ute tribes to the impact of European settlers.  It’s the only scenic byway totally dedicated to archaeology and it’s necessary the traveler get out of the vehicle to truly experience everything the byway has to offer.   Knowing this, I originally had a bunch of stops planned along today’s route.  One of which was a hike to ‘House on Fire’ a unique ruin that photographed at the right time of day appears to be on fire.  Unfortunately, 30-40 mph sustained winds accompanied by 60+ gusts kept hubby and me comfortably confined to the vehicle.

ancient ruin
‘House on Fire’ ancient puebloan ruin. Photo courtesy of Linda; Bear Tracks Blog

Although we may have missed out on some amazing sites, the drive was never the less beautiful.  When we returned to Goosenecks State Park, we proceeded to share our info on Trail of the Ancients with Mike and Linda.  We  knew they were working their way north and we thought they might be interested in hiking to ‘house on fire’ and indeed they did.  Linda captured some great photos…..thanks Linda.

Next stop Moab…….




Valley of the Gods

From our perch 1,000 feet above the San Juan River at Goosenecks State Park, we awoke to another beautiful spring morning.  The winds during the night were mild, providing us with a wonderful night’s sleep.  After enjoying our coffee with a view, we decided to explore the surrounding rocks and things to see in Utah

The day’s destination was Valley of the Gods.  This 17 mile gravel scenic drive took us through some of southern Utah’s stunning sandstone red rock formations similar to Monument rock formations

We accessed Valley of the Gods on the valley’s eastern end which starts about nine miles north of the town of Mexican Hat along U.S. 163.  This gravel road is relatively well maintained and usually passable by normal vehicles in good dry weather.photographic drives in UtahAs we turned off of U.S. 163, the gravel road immediately dipped and we crossed Lime Creek, a seasonal wash.  Since we’d received some rain a few days earlier, there was indeed a small stream of water we needed to travel through…..piece of cake for my little truck or any other high clearance vehicle.scenic Utah red rockssandstone red rock formations in Utah

After crossing the stream, the road climbed up slightly and we were greeted with a stunning view as the vast valley opened before us.  There were tall sandstone rock formations as far as the eye could see.  These red mesas, buttes, cliffs, pinnacles, and monoliths form unique shapes.  Shapes that one can’t help but name because of the unique characters they seem to form.  The locals have name a few.

monoliths in Utah
Setting Hen Butte
seven sailors Valley of the Gods
Seven Sailors
photo of lady in a tub
lady in a tub

Valley of the Gods is managed by BLM (Bureau of Land Management) and as such, dispersed camping is allowed.  Many of the campsites we came across would comfortably fit just about any size RV.  Definitely a boondocking paradise.  The major obstacle in accessing this beautiful valley with a RV is that first big dip in the road at the entrance to the valley and crossing the wash that could be wet and muddy .  Entering from the west would not be an option because the road gets more difficult with dips, turns, switchbacks, and narrows the closer one gets to Utah route 261.

Valley of the Gods
a trailer boondocking. What a great campsite.
boondocking in Utah
Yep, I could call this home! Great fire ring. Although all the info says no fires are allowed and yet almost all the campsites seem to have a rock fire ring.

Al and I seriously contemplate boondocking in Valley of the Gods during our next time through this part of Utah.  That dip near the entrance may have us scrapping the bumper a little on the 5th wheel, but well worth waking up to these views.  Food for thought anyway and worth a second look 😉

boondocking dispersed camping in Utah
The road becomes less RV friendly the further west we head

Valley of the Gods

As the road winds through the valley, Al and I found ourselves stopping numerous times to take in the view.  We checked out various boondocking campsites and admired the red rock formations and scenery.  This is definitely a mini Monument Valley and what’s even better is the lack of restrictions.  Monument Valley is on Navajo land and thus regulated by the Navajo people with strict in Utahscenic drives in UtahValley of the Gods is located on BLM land and offers us all the freedom to camp, hike, and explore to our hearts content with a few simple regulations.  Yes, Valley of the Gods is truly a hidden gem….. one we’re very glad we discovered.boondocking dispersed camping in Utah

scenic drives in Utah

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