My first winter camping trip in Colorado. Just south of Glenwood Springs and west of Carbondale is Sunlight Mountain Resort, an awesome little mountain with great tree skiing and untracked powder that can be found days after a storm. It sits in the western side of the White River National Forest in the Sopris Ranger District. From Glenwood or Carbondale follow directions to the resort and just about a mile before you get there you'll take a right to stay on Four Mile Rd or county road 117. Travel about 2 miles after turning and you'll come to a parking area on your left, in the winter its mainly used by cross country skiers and snowmobiles. From here we took off on foot in our winter boots down 2 miles of groomed snow covered road until you reach an intersection with a bunch of signs giving you several different options in directions and places to go. We strapped on our snow shoes and headed west up Fourmile Park- North through 16 to 24 inches of snow for an additional mile and settled at the 2nd camping spot we came to on our left. The low that night was 19 but I stayed warm most of the time until around 4 or 5 and finally had to get up and move around. The best part about the trip was we got to ski before and when we got back the bar was still open. I loved living in Glenwood Springs and choose this area for its proximity to so many awesome places, can't wait to get back.
Just west of Leadville Colorado sits Turquoise Lake at an elevation of around 10,000 ft. Baby Doe Campground is one of the few camps that are situated around the lake on its east side. You camp under the pine trees beside the lake with beautiful views of Mt. Massive and Mt. Elbert to the south over turquoise water. Cost are $24 per night for car camping, bathrooms and water are provided. We camped on June 26th and 27th of 2018 and got to summit Mt. Sherman one of Colorado's 14ers on the 27th. I was really surprised at how bad the mosquito's were at the lake and at this elevation, definitely the worst mosquito experience I had while living in Colorado. If your in town while visiting be sure to check out Periodic Brewing and High Mountain Pies. Highlight: Being able to summit my 1st Colorado 14er was definitely the highlight of the trip, can't wait to go back for another one, I know where I'll be camping.
The campground is located on the Ruedi Reservoir just a few miles east of Basalt Colorado. It also sits in the White River National Forest on the Fryingpan River at an elevation of 7,800 ft. Costs are $24 per night for car camping, restrooms and water are provided. We stayed in one of the sites closest to the water which was about 100 yards away, it had a few trees but was mostly an open grass field with great views of the surrounding. Boating, fishing, camping, and hiking are definitely the things to do here but especially fishing. The Fryingpan River is a tributary of the Roaring Fork River, both of which are part of Colorado's Gold Medal Waters. We camped on May 19th and 20th of 2018 to great weather of highs in the 50's and a low around 30. Two cool places in town we would recommend if your making the trip would be Capitol Creek Brewing and The Brick Pony Pub. Also this is the best time to go camping to avoid the crowds, the reservoir can be pretty crowded during the summer. Highlight: Seeing mother moose and calf tracks on our morning hike around the lake.
At Glenwood Canyon Resort you get to camp right on the Colorado River in a beautiful canyon but its definitely the most expensive tent camping I've ever paid for. Amenities are taken care of from the store at the check in station to the bar and grill that's on site. It has an awesome deck with a view of the canyon but I didn't get to enjoy it. When we checked in we were told it was pet friendly but when we went the bar tender told us our dogs weren't allowed and didn't seem happy to be there, so I had to go back to the campsite and eat and drink by myself. It's okay though because when my wife came back she said the food wasn't that great and they had no craft beer on tap. Aside from all that, the number of outdoor activities and place to see around here are endless, whitewater rafting, kayaking, skiing, mountain biking, climbing, hang gliding, disc golf, etc…….are all within a short car or bike ride and that's were all 3 stars are earned. Definitely worth it if your just passing through but there are many options around here if your staying for some time.
Located 15 miles south of Eagle off of I-70 in the White River National Forest sits Sylvan Lake State Park. This has definitely been our favorite camping spot since moving here a little over 2 months ago. We camped right on the lake next to the boat ramp (no motorized boats allowed) and the bathhouse. At 8,500 ft the weather can change fast so be prepared especially with rain gear and warm close. The sites that are lake front are a little close together which would be my only complaint but for seclusion literally walk away in any direction. Paddle boarding and fishing were by far the most popular things to do on the lake but we stuck to hiking . There's a trail that follows the lake shore around that is also bike friendly, there's also the West Brush Creek Trail which is in the park and a number of gulch trails in between Sylvan lake and Eagle. On your way out of town be sure to stop in Eagle at the Red Canyon Cafe and Bonfire Brewing for a bite to eat and refreshments!
Campground Review: This business is located about 30 minutes northeast of Athens, GA in between Athens and the South Carolina border. Currently camping is only for customers who are either kayaking or going on a zip line tour. The kayaking rates aren't to bad, at $20 weekday/ $25 weekend for a 3 1/2 hour trip down the river and $10 per tent per night. So if your in the area $35 isn't to shabby for a nice weekend adventure. Sites are right on the river but if that's not close enough to the water for you, feel free to pitch your tent in the river on the sandbar itself. They also have 2 rustic cabins for rent if you don't feel like camping. All in all the sites could use a little work but its hard to complain when you get to go to sleep and wake up to the sounds of the river.
Gear Review: Good bye hatchet, hello multi-functional battle axe. As a ranger I receive gear to test out from time to time and this is my review of CRKT's Woods Chogan T-hawk. Before I got the opportunity to acquire this tomahawk I was in the market for a sportsman's axe, or something in between a hatchet and a regular sized axe. I had narrowed my search down to two that were both good quality and I had even gone to the store to get a feel for them both, but then I got the chance to obtain this and I couldn't be happier. Coming in at a total length around 19 inches this was perfect and just what I was looking for. The first thing I noticed was how sharp the blade was, I could literally fillet a fish with it and it easily split logs for our fire. The handle has stood up well to a few miss hits and is made of hickory. Along with the tomahawk I also got a protective leather sheath which makes it easier and safer for carrying. The hammer end is pretty standard and should be used with the sheath on (safety tip). Having already used it on several trips my first tomahawk has more than impressed, great job CRKT.
This campground is 10 to 15 minutes north of Boone, NC in a small town called Todd. It offers RV, drive in and hike in tent sites and also teepee camping. My trip was from a few years ago and after checking the website and looking around it looks like a few things have been added but here's my review from 2014. You first pull into a big meadow surrounded by forest where most of the campsites are. There's a loop with a bathhouse in the middle and all of the rv sites along the edge, the drive in tent sites are also visible from here. Just outside of the loop is a small cabin that is the check-in station with a small storage shed next to it. The wooden "board and batten" siding on the cabin give the whole place a cool old timey feel. They also have a pinzgauer "cool military truck" parked outside to help deliver gear to some of the remote hike in sites if you need it. All in all, this place was awesome and I would love to go back.
Campground Review: R&D Campground in Mountain City, TN is located in the far north east corner of the state almost directly in between Boone, NC and Demascus, VA. It sits at the base of Doe Mt and has access to all the trails which are well known for four-wheeling, horseback riding, biking, or just hiking. Be sure and ask for a trail map when you check in, it has a color coded and numbered system that shows you distance and which trails are friendly for each activity. The campground has 19 total sites, 1-9 are full hookups with water and electricity, sites 10-19 are primitive tent sites. Not far from either is the bathhouse and a pavilion with a fire pit which is great for lounging and getting to know some of the other campers and guest. A few of the tent sites back up to a cascading creek and I would definitely suggest reserving one of these. I think its 13 or 14, Dennis one of the owners can point you in the right direction. The campground is also only 20 to 30 minutes from Lake Watauga and is surrounded by good trout fishing.
Gear Review: As a Ranger for The Dyrt, I get products to test from time to time - today I am testing the Grand Trunk Skeeter Beeter Pro Hammock. This hammock comes with a weight capacity of 400, a net suspension kit, a starter rope kit for smaller trees in tight spaces and carabiners. I also bought a pair of Trunk Straps which come in at 10 feet, and that really opens up your hanging options. I was impressed with the materials and everything about the hammock, the only suggestion I have would be to include or add an attachment to the end of the elastic suspension lines for the netting ( a small plastic figure 8 would do). I used this hammock a little early in the season for mosquito but I like keeping the other insects and spiders off of me just as well. https://www.grandtrunk.com/products/skeeter-beeter-pro
This campground has 106 drive-in sites and 5 hike-in sites. The drive-in sites are split up into two different sections, one being marsh side the other being beach side. I would definitely recommend bringing a bicycle and getting one of the beach side drive-in sites. You can explore the whole island with ease with one and the park also has excellent bike friendly trails. Over the years Edisto has become our favorite beach destination on the east coast. It has a local, non-commercial feel where most of the businesses are still family owned. There are no high rises and almost everyone gets around by bike or golf cart.
This is the state of Alaska's public ferry system and runs from Bellingham, WA to Dutch Harbor, AK. Our journey started in Bellingham were we boarded the Columbia, the largest vessel in the AMH's fleet. It carries about 500 passengers who can either rent a cabin for an extra fee, pitch a tent on one of the decks, or sleep in a lounge chair in one of the solarium's or observation decks. We chose the tent option of course and picked out a good spot. The scenery along the British Columbia coast line is amazing and we got lucky enough to see a group of humpbacks and one full breach not far from the boat. Our first stop in Alaska was Ketchikan which is about a 36 hour boat ride from Bellingham. One of the biggest advantages of traveling by the ferries compared to other ways of travel like a cruise ship for example, is that it allows you to explore a place more thoroughly and not be in such a rush. I've never been on a cruise but the thought of only having a few hours in some of these places would drive me mad. It was nice to have a few days at each of our stops. Our trip was 9 days long and just gave us time to explore some of southeast Alaska around the towns of Ketchikan, Wrangell, Juneau and Skagway. Along the way we got to see glaciers calving, bears catching salmon and bald eagles landing on icebergs. This was definitely one of the most unique camping experiences I've ever had in one of the most wild and beautiful places I've ever been. Can't wait to do it again, exploring Skagway to Anchorage next time and all the stops along the way.
Panther Creek Trail and I go back about 30 years. The campground is on the other side of 441 from the trail head. This 7 mile round trip hike is a Georgia favorite and is usually pretty crowded so plan accordingly if you enjoy your solitude. There are a number of campsites directly off of the trail leading up to the waterfalls as well. The falls are very accessible and are great to cool down in after a good hike . Its been about 7 or 8 years since my last trip and I definitely plan on going back someday because this will always be special to me, its one of the places I first went camping.
Located in Ocala National Forest in central Florida, this park is great for fishing, canoeing and snorkeling. This was a wedding trip for us so we had to keep the exploration to a minimum, I did however get a chance to take a dip in the springs and had a blast, can't wait to go back with better camera and video equipment.
This campground is all about the lake. Not just because its on a lake, but because with no real trails or other sites to see in the near by area its definitely this parks main focus. Situated on a little peninsula on Lake Oconnee in Georgia, this Georgia Power owned campground has 83 car sites and 8 tent sites. Be advised not all sites are directly on the water, so make reservations early.
A quick trip exploring the eastern south rim of the grand canyon, from Desert View Watchtower to Grand Canyon Village. Only got to hike the Rim Trail and Grandview Point Trail but it being my 1st time to the Grand Canyon I couldn't complain and still spent the next few days in awe. Can't wait to go back.
My first visit to New Mexico and the southwest. Red Rock Park is in Gallup, NM right on the Arizona state line in between Albuquerque and Flagstaff. Church Rock Trial and Pyramid Rock Trail are both about 3 to 3 and a half miles round trip from the campground. Your surrounded by desert on one side and dark red stone on the other, very cool place and trails.
This park is just north of Boone, NC near the Tennessee state line. Great primitive sites at the bottom of the 5,520 ft mountain. Take Summit Trail to the top and enjoy great views of the surrounding area 2 miles one way. This trip was in fall and the leaves were beautiful, but this park stays open year round and I would love to go back in the winter.
Mendenhall Campground is right on Mendenhall Lake and keeps you away from the crowds that come into the ranger station and visitor center. Best way to avoid the cruise ship crowds is to go early or late. Photo point trail and Nugget Falls trail are a must and have the heaviest foot traffic from 10am to 2pm. There's way more seclusion on the East Glacier trail and the Trail of time which are both longer. Half way up nugget falls trails there are a few cut through's to the lake where you can find nice private beaches.
This campground has 19 trail side sites that are all great and not far from the Middle Saluda River which runs through the middle of the park. Be sure to check out Rainbow Falls a 90ft free falling waterfall that's about 2 1/2 miles from the campsites.
Plenty to do in this area, camping, hiking, mountain biking, fishing, rafting or kayaking and its not far from skiing in the winter. The site we camped at (2) was right on the creek but to be a tent site we felt a little close to our neighbors, luckily the were super cool. Here's a break down of our itinerary -Hiked to the top of Waterrock Knob, about 15 min drive from camp. -visited one of our favorite breweries in Sylva (Innovation) 10 min from camp. -visited a number of overlooks on the Blue Ridge Parkway witch is only about 5 min from camp. With so much to do in the area this may become one of the Henderson Herds frequent spots.
I grew up hiking and staying at the lodge on Le Conte, llamas bring in your supplies up one of the few trails that lead to the top.The shelters not far from the lodge along Boulevard Trail. This is definitely the best mountain experience I've had in the southeast and one of my favorite places in the world. Alum Cave Trail is my preferred route to the top and has amazing vistas the whole way up. Once at the top Clifftops and Myrtles Point are a must.