So, I just wanted to put this out there to help someone avoid making the same mistake I did on my car camping adventure last week.
My ladyfriend and I had planned a week long car camping trip where we would set up a base camp and scramble and climb different peaks in the area. I was looking for something secluded that would entail more difficult access roads so as to keep the crowds away. Having lived in Colorado for three years but never having made it to the Crested Butte/Aspen area, we decided to give it a shot. The Elk Range looks beautiful and has been on my list for a while.
I did a lot of research on Traildamage.com and in a few books on off-roading, etc. I spied a great place called Italian Creek. It looked rough enough to be a fun challenge (but not too much so because I'd be wheeling by myself), but secluded and boring enough to make it unappealing for the super-modified 4x4 crowd to make it a destination. There were ample ridge-lines to attain and fun scrambling opportunities. Italian Mountain looked like a fun challenge, and only fitting as we're both of Italian descent (not the "horray for Columbus" types though). However, the beta on camping and crowds there was minimal so we took a chance.
Holy crap was I wrong about this place. It is OVERRUN with ATVs and dirt bikes. I was the only vehicle that was street legal (i.e. Jeep, 4runner, etc.). We were there midweek and the noise and hoards started at 8:30am and didn't stop until 6pm. This isn't to begrudge anyone on the forum who uses ATVs or dirt bikes responsibly by adhering to the Stay the Trail style ethics, but these people cared less about any sort of preservation of trails and the wilderness around them. Regardless, packs of 3-10 people whizzing by all day is not my idea of peace and quiet.
So, I pass along this vital information. IF YOU ARE LOOKING FOR SOLITUDE AND QUIET, DO NOT CAMP AT ITALIAN CREEK. Granted, we were very alone after the sun went down (almost too alone...you know...where your eyes shoot open when you hear a pack of wild dogs/coyotes fighting/killing something less than a mile away).
I learned a lot of valuable lessons about reading Nat Geo maps. Had we just drove up Crystal Creek road nearby, there are no ATV/dirt bike trails back there and it seemed much more peaceful. Other 4x4 roads/high-clearance roads bordered Wilderness Areas nearby, which there is no motorized vehicle usage in.
Anyway, the mountains were a nice enough reward though. We hiked up to the Reno Repeater Tower on top of a 12'er, and then stayed on the ridge and scrambled up the ridge of Italian. We didn't summit but we had a lot of fun and it was nice and secluded up high.
I hope this post ends up in someone's search results if they are ever inquiring about camping at Italian Creek.
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Unbeknownst to you, you were there right in the middle of the Colorado 500 moto group. Which is the time of year every year when we're overrun with dirtbikes here in the CB backcountry. While I would normally expect a few motos and ATV's in that area, you definitely hit it a the worst time possible. Now, camping up Texas Creek in the Taylor park area-- that's a guarantee of all day and all night moto madness.
lol. Well, that *would* be my luck. Thanks for the heads-up. Do you have much experience up Crystal Creek Road? Is it more secluded because of the lack of access to ATV trails?
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