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Camping Areas for Sawatch Range

Trailhead conditions, directions, roads, parking, camping, etc. Trailhead Info/Status
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Camping Areas for Sawatch Range

Postby nungunz » Mon Aug 20, 2012 11:43 pm

Hey all, I plan on hiking a bunch of mountains in the Sawatch this week while dodging around the cyclists. On that note, I really don't know any areas for camping.

I plan on hoofing my gear in so I can hike in a few miles off of a trailhead and set up a base camp. The mountains I'm looking at doing are:

1) Belford/Oxford (no camping needed, I'm leaving at early-as-shit o'clock in the morning).

2) La Plata (normally I'd do this one first, but I have a friend hiking this with me and he probably doesn't want to run a combo). Any camping at the TH?

3) Harvard/Columbia. Haven't decided if I want to split this up into two days yet. I'd like to hike in a ways before making camp. Any good spots?

4) Yale (this one is iffy)...if 3) ends up being a 1-day and I'm not too tired. And camping off of Denny Creek TH? If I'm too beat by this point, I'll just head back home for a day of rest.

5) Kelso Ridge. Don't need help with this one. I'm just going because it's a lot of fun and I'm teaching a few friends about Class 3 hiking.

Any help is much appreciated!

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Re: Camping Areas for Sawatch Range

Postby zdero1 » Mon Aug 20, 2012 11:58 pm

1. From what I remember, BelFoxMizzou has several of camping spots at treeline. Even saw someone camping in the basin but would not recommend this as it would be detrimental to the health of the alpine tundra.

2. I did the non-standard route on LaPlata (7-ish miles) and just car camped at the TH. Around the TH were several flat areas to set up camp. I personally car-camped for that hike.

3. For Harvard/Columbia, several camping spots once again at treeline and perhaps a few spots a few miles in.

4. There is a large campground about a mile before the Denny Creek TH on the left hand side as you approach the TH. Noticed a few flat areas for camping a mile or so into the hike.

Sorry for the lack of specificity but I hope some of the info is helpful.

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Re: Camping Areas for Sawatch Range

Postby nungunz » Tue Aug 21, 2012 12:52 pm

Yeah, I'm not really wanting to camp at Tundra. Good to know about La Plata...I'm going the standard route, but hopefully can find some place around there.

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Re: Camping Areas for Sawatch Range

Postby GregMiller » Tue Aug 21, 2012 12:59 pm

On Belford/Oxford, Doug and I camped about halfway between the last creek crossing and treeline, off in the trees on hiker's left (East). Lots of good tent-sized flat spots.

For Yale, I remember some good camping spots a reasonable distance up the trail, but don't remember any specifics.

Sorry I can't do Harvard/Columbia with you, hope you have a blast.
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Re: Camping Areas for Sawatch Range

Postby thebeave7 » Tue Aug 21, 2012 4:10 pm

1) If you want to camp, there are tons of spots along Winfield Rd, pretty much the whole thing is open free camping.

2) You could camp at the TH, but there are actual camping spots just off Independence Pass Rd both above and below the TH. These being places you can pull off the road onto dirt, set up a tent in a place that may also have a fire ring.

3) Lots of good spots up in Horn Fork basin if you want to hike a ways in toward Harvard. Also plenty of camping spots just across the river about 1.5-2mi in as well. No shortage along this trail. Also plenty of camping along the road just below the trail head if you want to car camp.

4) No good camping at the Denny Creek TH. You can hike about 1/4-1/2mi up and find some good flat spots off the trail, but nothing good near the parking lot (there are doable spots).

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Re: Camping Areas for Sawatch Range

Postby nungunz » Tue Aug 21, 2012 4:20 pm

Thanks for all the help so far!

And now worries, Greg, you see to the family first.

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Re: Camping Areas for Sawatch Range

Postby nungunz » Tue Aug 21, 2012 10:07 pm

Also I am worried about weather on this. Most days are at 50%-60% rain this week. Worth trying to tackle the routes anyway with early starts?

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