For the holiday weekend we needed a spot away from 1-70! We also wanted to avoid overcrowded campgrounds.
From west Arvada we took hwy 72 through Coal Creek Canyon towards Nederland. You could also take 119 out of Boulder. In Nederland; stay on 72 out of town for about 7 miles. On your right you’ll see National Forrest Road 326. Turn down this road staying right. You will begin to see a few different directions to go and there are many sites back here. Because we were camping with my parents and a 5th wheel we needed an open spot with an easier road. If you just have a pop up or tent; there are many great spots further in. We went left on 328B and found a great spot for our large group!
Pros and Cons….
Pros: great views, can walk to the river and a creek, close to town, great for groups, lots of hiking trails and 4 wheel trials are nearby.
Cons: You will be camping with others nearby….you can’t necessarily see each other but it’s a fairly busy area. Bears. We had a pretty persistent bear one evening; he came back 3 times; clearly he was conditioned for camping food. He didn’t come into our site with 5 dogs but kept at the people up the hill from us. Be smart about your food.
We did not take any dispersed camping trips during the fire bans of Summer 2012. Call us wimpy–but the campfire is pretty important to us when you are in the middle of National Forest! I will do a posting of “alternative” mountain trips we did during June and July. Sooo, we were thrilled to be able to take off on a trip in August when the bans had been lifted and our state was receiving more moisture. We headed out on a 4 wheel drive trail to an area above Idaho Springs in Arapahoe National Forest. We now own a Dodge diesel truck and my brother has his Jeep. As a reminder…our pop up has a reversed axel and trailer tires. It sits higher. We often use a book published by Fun Treks to find 4 wheel drive trails and campsites. Check them out! We chose a blue trail to try out.
Getting There: 170 West to Exit 238–Fall River Road. When you exit the hwy you will take a right and head north on Fall River Road. This is a paved road for 6.5 miles. At the bottom of a switchback you will see a very nice gated home and an unmarked road to the left of the house. This is your turn. Here is the house…
You’ll start up the trail. It is rated green (out of green, blue and red). I’m saying it is a strong green and more of a blue as you head up. You’ll come to the fork where you’ll go to the left for Chinn’s Lake…to the right is Fall River Reservoir. The road gets progressively rougher—still rated a blue at this point–but it’s a strong blue! We were pulling our pop-up….so it was a bit of an adventure! Eventually you’ll come to the base of Chinn’s Lake. There is camping right at the entrance. We went around the lake and camped above. On one side of the site was Chinn’s Lake–the other side was Sherman Lake. This took about an hour from the hwy.
Here is the easiest spot (then I was hanging on!)
We needed a spot large enough for the pop-up, the truck, 2 tents and the Jeep. It was a bit more exposed than we would have liked (there was wind later) but it was a nice spot with great views. There were probably only 3 or 4 spots total that we saw that would accommodate a pop-up. As it turns out–we didn’t see any other pop-ups…just tents 🙂 There were far more people than we would have expected on a Thursday and up that road! On Friday, they cleared out and the new batch of people started up in the afternoon. There were a few partiers and a little hooting and hollering. Nothing too annoying though.
The lakes were very, very low. It was fun to explore what used to be under water…but we all agreed we’d like to see this area after a better winter. We did some fishing also. ATV’s, backpackers and hikers were also in the area.