Five miles north of Nederland, National Forest System Road (NFSR) 226, commonly known as Gordon Gulch, turns east off of Colorado Highway 72. NFSR 226 intersects other forest roads: NFSR 314, 228, 233 and their off-shoots. There are 15 numbered, designated campsites scattered along the road system within 1.5 miles east of Highway 72. Camping is permitted in designated sites only. Take care when driving in this area. Snow and mud can persist through most of the year. The free Boulder Ranger District Motor Vehicle Use Map displays National Forest System (NFS) routes open to motorized travel and is available online and at the Boulder Ranger District offfice.
So the Gordon Gulch dispersed camping area has around 15 numbered sites that are ok… but if you keep driving further down 233.1 you will find many more unnumbered campsites. I am reviewing one of these unnumbered campsites in particular, because this one had the best view. Before you read too far, I can't guarantee you will be able to reach this campsite without a 4X4 high clearance vehicle. We got to the site with a Jeep Wrangler and Toyota Tacoma TRD so we had no problems… I can't definitely say a Subaru would make it though. In the pictures I have included a map of the Gordon Gulch trail system. Entering through the Gordon Gulch entrance and taking 226.1 to 233.1 is the hardest route - there is one very steep and washed out spot. Entering via 120J/Switzerland Trail from the Peak to Peak Hwy and then turning right onto 233.1 is the easier option. On that map I have marked the general area of the campsite with a pink dot and here are the coordinates.
DMS: 40°01'18.5"N 105°28'37.6"W
DD: 40.021814, -105.477103 - if you type this into Google Maps it will locate it
As for the actual campsite, it is a great option for spring/fall camping in Colorado. The elevation is about 8,800 ft and it is on the south side of a hill so it gets a lot of sunlight and is protected from northern winds. In terms of privacy, there are no other campsites that can be seen from this one. However, Gordon Gulch is a popular off-roading area so dirt bikes and Jeeps pass by frequently. This campsite is set up high above and away from the road though, so it is really not that bad. Another thing to point out is that this is a popular area for shooting as well, so if you absolutely hate guns it may not be the place for you. Also, as stated before, this is a dispersed campsite the only thing it has is a fire ring. Pack it in, pack it out!
So, the camps themselves aren't anything spectacular but make for a really nice one maybe two nights to get out of Denver. The types of people camping up here can be sort of rough, my girlfriend and I were woken up at 4 AM by someone accidentally discharging a firearm, which the sheriff responded to.
There are fifteen "marked" campsites. Throughout the summer they are all frequently occupied so it may be hard to find a spot a times. Moose visitors at dawn and evening, and hungry bears scavenging for food at night is a common occurance. Luckily my car alarm scared them off pretty easily. You'll hear dirtbikes during the day. The only main complaint I had was the lack of peace due to constant checks from boulder sheriffs.
I personally really like this spot. it’s disperesed so there’s no reason to worry about your neighbors while your walking around naked or embarrassed when your neighbor sees you when you try to do the salsa.
only bummer is that if you get there late on the weekend, you might not get I spot. fills up before 4pm, also a bummer is that there’s some people that hangout there for weeks at a time. but it’s cool! good views
This was a close 1 night get away spot. Pretty area, the sites we saw were numbered. The only disappointing thing was right before dusk was about an hour of shooting, constant and annoying. After dark, very quiet even though it was close to the road. Nederland is close enough to run into town if needed.
It wasn't a bad experience by any means. If you can get there early, definitely do so. Not all campgrounds are really that flat but it's free and it's Boulder, CO environment so I can't complain.
This dispersed camping area allows for a more secluded, private camping experience for those willing to venture off the beaten path a little with their (recommended, certainly not required) 4 x 4 vehicles. While this review applies for the specific campground area on the map, readers should know there are many access points along this road for camping. This place is also very difficult to find at night, so plan your trip with enough day light to find these not-so-well marked turn offs and fire pits.
In general, you're "roughing it" here for the views and hikes. There's no water or facilities or garbage receptacles - so leave no trace is in place to ensure these primitive sites stay open. There's lot of brush and spots are dispersed well enough for privacy. Elevation in these parts is near +9,000 ft, so be aware nights are still cold even in summer. Camp here for closer access to various hiking and exploring, or find some streams nearby for fly fishing, but not for those used to creature comforts typically found at designated campsites.
As a Ranger for The Dyrt, I get products from time to time - today I am testing the Primus ONJA camping stove. As far as portable camp stoves go, this is a fantastic purchase if you're looking to cook at camp and stay within a respectable budget. The price tag may seem a bit high for camp stoves, but not based on the quality. The value is here. In my experience you get what you pay for when it comes to camping gear, and this is such a versatile, well made and compact design it has allowed me to expand my cooking options on so many activities. Before I was limited to carrying the backpacker, single-serving, water-boiling stoves for day hikes and road trips to keep my stove from becoming a huge space waster in the car. That meant freeze dried, basic meals. Now I have an actual stove that is relatively lightweight and very portable. Pro Tip: Take this thing with you when you wake up early to get parking spots at your favorite ski hill and with your parking now secured, bust this out and make some breakfast while you wait for the lifts to open. Watch how many new friends you make thanks to warm breakfast burritos.
The burners themselves are very easy to control with the adjustment knobs, and the temperatures are easy to control. The gas canister connections to the burners are well threaded to securely handle your gas bottle - something pretty important if your putting this over your shoulder as you walk. May want to keep them disconnected during transport in a car though, just for the peace of mind. The pot supporter is durable and I was able to put two medium-sized pots on without any worry. I made a pretty basic spaghetti one night, and to have the assurance to let the water boil and the sauce simmer while I used the included wooden cutting board to prepare the sauce. You usually need a cutting board when camping anyway, so to have this included and not add to my footprint of supplies was convenient. It also protects the burners and port supporter when not in use, which I thought was pretty clever.
I would have liked to have seen a self-ignition or Piezo iginiter-type offering with this product. Having to carry a BBQ lighter just to light the thing isn't inconvenient for car camping, but it's a nuisance for a day hike when you're trying to carry as little as possible to save weight. I also wish the cutting board was a better piece of wood. I've used the stove on three tips and I've had to oil the board twice. Not a huge time or expense, just something to remember to do to extend the life of the board. Wish I didn't have to do it as often though.
Overall, solid piece of gear. Great solution for those looking for home stove top-quality stoves to take outdoors without the price tag, weight or footprint issues of conventional camping stoves.