Looking for advice from seasoned adventurers

Glapin

Member
Also, I highly recommend you alternate nights camping with nights "in town". The wife will appreciate it, and when Momma is happy, everyone is happy, right? I did a similar trip a few years back. Best vacation ever:

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You read my mind. I’ve sporadically booked a hotel room here and there when we’re closer to town. Give the wifey and kiddos a break. Thanks!
 

krick3tt

Adventurer
We have occasionally booked a room while on a camping trip if we see a place to stay that looks comfortable as we drive by it. Going to the website to see what is available and pricing. Sometimes it works, sometimes not but it is worth the effort.
 

LR Max

Local Oaf
Fun fact: a Roll of paper towels fits perfectly in the cup holder in the 2nd row doors (or a roll of shop towels that has had about 1/4 used, but same idea). My friend with a 3 year old showed me that trick.
 

mpinco

Expedition Leader
Some general observations:

  • Don't try and see every area and point of interest on a long trip. You will spend too much seat time.
  • Generally we camp 3-4 nights and then hit a improved campground will all the amenities.
  • Plan accordingly and pay attention to trail closures - It's June and Colorado's snowpack is 437% of normal: What that means for flood season
  • May was cool with rain/snow. What we tell people to bring - layers. Yes, cloths for 90deg down to 40deg. Expect 30 deg swings day to night
  • Enjoy!
 

Blaise

Well-known member
Lots of good advice here.

I spent 6+ months camping and driving around the western US. Don't worry about more recovery gear - the only time you'd ever need it was if you were specifically trying to look for roads to get stuck on. I never used any of mine and drove the entire road system in Alaska as well...

Like everyone else said, just do a good maintenance check of the truck, and then just bring your kitchen, sleeping, and hangout setup.

I wouldn't skip Alpine Loop in CO. Would. Not. Skip. Same with White Rim in Moab.

If it was my trip (which it's not, and I'm very aware of this), I'd go Santa Fe -> Durango (then Alpine Loop), followed by Moab, then down 24/12 in UT through Escalante and Zion, and then Death valley via Vegas en route to the Ocean. If that's a necessity. You could very very very VERY easily spend all of your days just in SW CO + Moab/UT alone. You've got a lot planned for not a lot of time...
 

mpinco

Expedition Leader
OK, so those wanting to hit some trails in Colorado need to understand that we were hammered this winter and some ski areas are still open. Four wheel drive trails? Check before you even consider attempting travel.

Alpine Loop / Engineer Pass report:

".......5/16/19 - It is important to note that this was a historic year of snowfall. San Juan county has discovered the valley to Animas Forks is FILLED with snow, up to 100' deep. And this is the access road for the Alpine Loop Essentially. Nothing is open for Memorial Day Weekend, and all trails are in doubt until Late July or August. Just don't want a lot of disappointed folks driving up there. San Juan County plans to make a valiant attempt to cross Hurricane Pass with dozers to bi-pass the area below Animas Forks but they have no idea what they will face right now. The issue is not just snow fall, but record breaking Avalanche runs that buried and destroyed everything....... "

And as the snow melts there are new issues as mud season, floods and ............

Massive Rock Slide Closes Southwestern Colorado Highway

".......A pair of massive boulders rolled off a Colorado mountainside and smashed into Colorado Highway 145, destroying the pavement and leaving a house-sized rock across the roadway that will have to be blasted apart, state transportation officials said Saturday. .....large boulder carved an 8-foot trench as it went over the roadway. ......it began about 1,000 feet above the highway ......"

Edit add: Opher Pass

"........6/1/19 - San Juan snow pack is now at a staggering 676% of average! San Miguel has announced an attempt to begin bulldozing Ophir pass open in middle June. Crazy considering this is the first back country trail to open up in the San Juans. The good news is the melt has finally begun in the San Juans and trails will open slowly over the summer. For the 4th of July much will not be open so come to enjoy Silverton, camp and ride past historic avalanche carnage. ........."
 

krick3tt

Adventurer
LR Max,
I use shop towels. Same size as common paper towels but last much longer and don't fall apart.
 

Blaise

Well-known member
OK, so those wanting to hit some trails in Colorado need to understand that we were hammered this winter and some ski areas are still open. Four wheel drive trails? Check before you even consider attempting travel.

Alpine Loop / Engineer Pass report:

".......5/16/19 - It is important to note that this was a historic year of snowfall. San Juan county has discovered the valley to Animas Forks is FILLED with snow, up to 100' deep. And this is the access road for the Alpine Loop Essentially. Nothing is open for Memorial Day Weekend, and all trails are in doubt until Late July or August. Just don't want a lot of disappointed folks driving up there. San Juan County plans to make a valiant attempt to cross Hurricane Pass with dozers to bi-pass the area below Animas Forks but they have no idea what they will face right now. The issue is not just snow fall, but record breaking Avalanche runs that buried and destroyed everything....... "

Holy. Crap. Wow.
 

Glapin

Member
Thanks for all the intel guys. Great info here. @Blaise , yeah, I know I've got a lot planned. I will certainly look into Alpine Loop (if open) and white Rim as we are going up through Moab now and then cruising down into Zion and staying in that area. Our original stops have deviated a bit. We have to be in San Diego by the 12th unfortunately.
 

LR Max

Local Oaf
I just did white rim. You'll need at least one camping permit while you are there. Unless you basically baja the road, starting at 5am. Which defeats the purpose. If I had to do it all over again, I would've started the trail early one morning and camped at White Crack, finish the trail out on Day 2.

Or more reasonably, start mid day up at the grand view, take my time up there, then go down, camp at Airport, then 2nd day, head for candlestick or Potato Bottom campsite. Finish out 3rd day. If you do White rim, you'll need a spare 5 gal gas can. I left moab, went to the airport, then grand view, then down Shafer trail, then white rim, and out to Moab. Burned 17 gallons in my LR3. The other LR3 I was with, he did Potash road, then up Shafer, then met me at grand view, this burned about +5 gallons. I'd have the extra fuel just so you could do all the side trails, come in on Potash, etc. The grand view is A MUST if you're going to do White Rim as is all of the other crap up there. The side hikes are wonderful too. On the White Rim, the side 4x4 trails are great as well. Try to give yourself as much time as possible. We did it in a day and some change, and really, we rushed it. Looking back, I would've much rather NOT been fighting the clock. Everytime we stopped, we felt like we were wasting time. Not worth it.

White rim isn't difficult. When you hit Dirt, shift into low range, and keep the transmission in drive. Will keep the car running economically, which is what you need out there. Also between Airport and Labyrinth campsites, leave it in off-road suspension height. I didn't and got re-educated a few times. Nothing damaging, just a nice "DING" noise against...something under there.

Moab the town is a lot better setup for off roaders than Telluride, Ouray, or Silverton. They have good amenities and you can actually go relax there. Also Arches National park is AWESOME. We just went for an afternoon and saw one arch.

Oh for Moab and Ouray, if you an east coaster, try to get you some cardio in before your trip. The guys in my group who exercise vs. those who didn't was quite apparent. You gotta be tough to be out there.
 

jonnyquest

Adventurer
Also, I highly recommend you alternate nights camping with nights "in town". The wife will appreciate it, and when Momma is happy, everyone is happy, right? I did a similar trip a few years back. Best vacation ever:

Journeys-08.jpg


Journeys-03.jpg


Journeys-12.jpg


Journeys-26.jpg


IMG_1643-X5.jpg


NWoods-Utah-03-3500-X5.jpg
That looks like a load of fun!
 

jonnyquest

Adventurer
If you're still considering Prescott, look at Schnebly Hill Road dropping down into Sedona. You could then camp at Dead Horse Ranch State Park. There are low cost air conditioned cabins there. Showers and flush toilets. You could then go over Mingus Mtn and drive Smiley Rock Trail mentioned earlier. Go on into Prescott, visit Martyn at Adventure Trailer and stay that night at Watson Lake in Prescott. No cabins but there are showers and flush toilets. Leave time to canoe Watson Lake. It's beautiful.
 

AbleGuy

Officious Intermeddler
If you drive north from Santa Fe up through Wolf Creek Pass and down into the small Colorado town of South Fork, there is a fun family oriented RV park spread out over many acres right along the Arkansas River with numerous trout fishing ponds that you and your 4 year old can fish without having to get a license. They also have horseback riding.
 

Blaise

Well-known member
I just did white rim. You'll need at least one camping permit while you are there. Unless you basically baja the road, starting at 5am. Which defeats the purpose. If I had to do it all over again, I would've started the trail early one morning and camped at White Crack, finish the trail out on Day 2.

Does White rim really take that long on four wheels? I did it back in 2011 on a DRZ400 and we didn't realize the river was so high so we essentially did the entire thing twice (out and back). It was a LONG day, but just the loop didn't seem like it would take so long.
 

LR Max

Local Oaf
I think on 2 wheels, its quicker. There are some spots we slowed down for. Our average moving for the trail was about 8 mph. On top of that, we would stop and look at stuff, take pics, etc. There were other guys out there going faster. I'm sure if you've got 35s and air down, you could really hit it. That said I doubt you'll be over 15 mph average. We did joke about hitting it in a Ford Raptor.

We left airport campsite about 9am. Went counter clockwise. Stopped a few times, etc. We hit pavement at 6pm. We were kinda hustling. I would've preferred to take it easy.

You can totally rush it. There is a video of some subi guy bombing it. That is fine, however its such a nice place, why wouldn't you want to stay longer. Heck when we went, the weather was miserable (raining, sleeting, snowing, ridic wind) and it was great.

Also side trails like Lanthrop and White crack, are about a hour in and out (once again, if you bombing it, then quicker) and then 30+ minutes at each location.
 

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