Camping and hiking around Leadville, Buena Vista

Colorado 14er peak questions, condition requests and other info.
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Camping and hiking around Leadville, Buena Vista

Postby steadman26 » Sun Jun 14, 2009 1:47 pm

I am coming up in August for the Pikes Peak Ascent and Marathon and was wondering if anyone had any good beta on where to car camp and hike some 14ers within driving distance of said camping area. Also what are the prettiest summer climbs in the area. We are looking to do 2-3 climbs, more like class 1-2.
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MUni Rider
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Re: Camping and hiking around Leadville, Buena Vista

Postby MUni Rider » Sun Jun 14, 2009 1:53 pm

Dear God man, you are right next to more than a dozen 14ers if you are in Leadville/Buena VIsta.

Check out the routes for the Collegiate peaks. They are ALL within driving distance of Leadville/Buena Vista.

Actually, come to think of it, every 14er in the state is within driving distance of Leadville if you have the time, since you didn't specify how much time/distance. :roll:

If you are not too conserned about camping at the trailhead proper of a 14er and are thinking more in the lines of a base camp to drive in and out of each day before/after each hike:

On the way up the dirt road while driving toward Missouri TH along Clear Creek you will find many camp sites high above the 3 fairly deep gorges of the creek. Know that you may see whitewater kayakers camping in the area, depending on flows in the creek. I may be one of them. You could also camp on the up-river side of Clear creek reservoir if you like the big group site thing with porta-potties.

Upstream of BV along the arkansas river you will find Railroad Bridge campground (no trains use the rails these days)(pay site) and the next few miles farther upstream offer multiple free sites next to the river. These sites have great views of the peaks in the immediate area. You WILL see rafts/kayaks floating by as well. One again, I may be one of them.
"It is not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the strong man stumbled, or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena; whose face is marred by the dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions and spends himself in a worthy course; who at the best, knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who, at worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly; so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory or defeat." (Theodore Roosevelt)

"Wilderness is not a luxury but a necessity of the human spirit." (Edward Abbey)
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Re: Camping and hiking around Leadville, Buena Vista

Postby peter303 » Wed Jun 17, 2009 4:55 pm

You have both formal "fee and facility" campgrounds and informal forest-service pull off road campgrounds. Roach's latest book has a decent summary of both kinds, although informal ones are disappearing as encroaching vacation homes get them closed down to keep the "varmit hikers and hunters" away. Plus there have been closures due to decreased forest service funding. (In in other parts of Colorado closures due to dead tree plagues.) A nice, centrally located formal campground is Twin Lakes on the Independence Pass turn road to Aspen. Theres both kinds of campgrounds along Halfmoon forest road on the way to Elbert & Massive from Leadville. Turquoise Lake has formal camping near Leadville.

Another question is the type of rental car? If you have a regular sedan, some of the 14er trailhead access roads may violate the rental contract as being "off-road". A completely paved trailhead access is Mt. Yale and thats not too long of a hike for warmup 14er, though there is a fair amount of rock scrambling on top. The fore-mentioned Halfmoon is a pretty tame gravel road. Elbert is also fairly moderate and favorite being 2nd highest peak in the lower 48.

In August many people are training fro the Leadville 100 run and bike races and occupy the short term housing.

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