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Camping and 14er?

FAQ and threads for those just starting to hike the Colorado 14ers.
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Camping and 14er?

Postby TonyV » Thu Jul 11, 2013 9:18 am

My brother and I are traveling west from Denver and looking to camp near the base of a 14er in late July. Reading the posts, it seems we'll be fit enough to tackle an easier 14er as defined by this site.

The goal is to find a good hub near an easy/moderate 14er that can be done in a day. We don't have much time (2-3 days) and are looking for a site with at least the basics (facilities or outhouse) as we will be renting our gear (and standard non 4WD car) and aren't familiar with the area. That said we don't want to be overcrowded with tourists as I realize this is peak season.

We're considering the dispersed camping option (perhaps near Leadville and Mt. Elbert), but also a bit tentative since we'll be renting the gear and not familiar with the area. Not familiar with the demand with first come first served campsites, but if it makes a difference we'll be arriving on Thursday afternoon to the site.

Anyone have any recommendations for a good camping spot and 14er combo? Thanks in advance for your help!

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Re: Camping and 14er?

Postby Jim Davies » Thu Jul 11, 2013 9:23 am

The Elbert trailhead on Halfmoon Creek has a lot of dispersed camping, plus a couple of Forest Service campgrounds nearby. You won't have any trouble finding a campsite, unless you come the same weekend as one of the Leadville 100 races.

The easier 14ers nearer to the front range tend to have limited camping. The Grays/Torreys trailhead has a little dispersed camping. There are also dispersed sites and FS campgrounds along the Guanella Pass road about two miles below the Bierstadt trailhead on both sides.
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Re: Camping and 14er?

Postby bigredmachine » Thu Jul 11, 2013 10:31 am

Missouri Gulch, you'll have the option of Belford, Oxford of Missouri. I'm not sure if there is camping at the trailhead, but definitely nearby.

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Re: Camping and 14er?

Postby jchapell » Thu Jul 11, 2013 12:33 pm

Kite Lake is a great Forest Service campground at the base of Democrat, Lincoln, (cameron), and Bross. You have a lot of options for hiking:

- Democrat
- Cameron
- Democrat + Cameron
- Democrat + Cameron + Lincoln
- Cameron + Lincoln
- Cameron + Lincoln + Bross
- Democrat + Lincoln + Cameron + Bross

Any or all of these can be done in a day (or half a day)

There will certainly be others with you, but if you hike down towards the lake from the parking lot (a couple hundred yards) you should be able to find some privacy.

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Re: Camping and 14er?

Postby Cruiser » Thu Jul 11, 2013 1:55 pm

The Collegiate Peaks Campground might be a good base from which to attempt Mt. Yale. Missouri Gulch (or someplace along the way to it on the 390 road) could be another good option. The camping there is more dispersed and the access to the TH for Belford/Oxford is painless.
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Re: Camping and 14er?

Postby IronSkiMountaineer » Thu Jul 11, 2013 1:58 pm

Camping isn't allowed at the Missouri Gulch TH but there are a number of good options along the road

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Re: Camping and 14er?

Postby Cruiser » Thu Jul 11, 2013 2:11 pm

Oops, I didn't realize that there was no overnight camping at the TH. Guess I broke the rules a time or two on accident. :-$
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Re: Camping and 14er?

Postby IronSkiMountaineer » Thu Jul 11, 2013 2:34 pm

I won't tell 8)

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Re: Camping and 14er?

Postby TonyV » Fri Jul 12, 2013 2:22 pm

Thanks for all the thoughtful replies! Very helpful!
I think we've decided to camp along Halfmoon Creek road outside of Leadville and tackle Mt. Elbert for our first 14er. Looking forward to the challenge.

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