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Campsites between Independence Pass and Aspen

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Campsites between Independence Pass and Aspen

Postby MarkDidier » Thu Jul 29, 2010 10:05 pm

I'm heading to the Bells in August and will need to get a campsite for one night - Saturday the 14th - the rest of the week is taken care of. I'll be heading in Hwy 82 over Independence Pass. I am hoping that there is still a site open at one of the 4 campgrounds between the Pass and Aspen (Lost Man, Lincoln Gulch, Weller Lake or Difficult), but I am assuming that by Saturday afternoon they will all be full.

If these sites are all full are there any good backups nearby for putting up a tent for one night? Car camping isn't a viable option.
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Postby Gareth » Fri Jul 30, 2010 9:51 pm

There are several free campsites along the Lincoln Creek road.
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Postby Kiefer » Sat Jul 31, 2010 12:13 am

If all those CG are full, which, Lost Man and Difficult are quite good, you could camp at the TH for North Lake Creek which serves Lackawanna, Champion and the Mt. Massive Wilderness. It's the last dirt area on the east side of Indy pass RIGHT BEFORE the road switchbacks up towards the pass. It's easy to miss.
You could even park there and walk a couple hundred yards north on the well established trail and set up for the night in the small meadow on the right. There's a huge boulder right there that marks the meadow that also, provides some bouldering to entertain oneself!

Just look for the very prominant switchback. The turn is on the right side of the road as you're driving west. I've camped there prolly...four or five times and I've never had a problem.
Water is close by as well.
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Postby Teresa Gergen » Sat Jul 31, 2010 1:19 am

I wouldn't try to get very far up Lincoln Cr Rd with a 2WD low clearance car. Also, the free campsites in there are mostly designated, numbered sites and they too often fill up on a weekend. There are THs in there where you can park if you're willing to camp at a TH.

I've also camped several times where Kiefer suggests, and second his recommendation. Another reasonable spot is just a bit in on the Graham Gulch road, south and lower than Kiefer's North Fork Lake Creek spot on the east side.

I've camped at numerous spots along the Maroon Bells road after arriving late after dark, including at the TH, in my car, not in a tent; setting up a tent in a non-designated area would probably be ill-advised. I've also seen people sleeping on the ground on mats and sleeping bags with no tent, in between the cars at the TH, but it does rain a lot in CO...
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Postby MarkDidier » Sat Jul 31, 2010 3:57 am

Thanks for all of the feedback. Much appreciated.

I have considered the Lincoln Creek option...we did camp in Lincoln Gulch for one night last year (the evening before a successful summit of La Plata :lol: ).

I did check recreation.gov earlier in the week and you can make a reservation for Difficult, but I only need to stay Saturday night, and if you stay Saturday night you have to stay Friday night as well. :oops: I suppose I could just fork out $19 for Friday night (even though I won't be staying there) and avoid all these hassels...but I don't feel like it, so I suppose that makes me a cheap bastard. :wink:
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Postby Teresa Gergen » Sat Jul 31, 2010 5:02 am

If you make a reservation and don't show up on the first night, you not only lose the space, but there are penalty fees, I think.
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