Last Minute Trip - Denver Area

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Hey all,

Hoping you could help out an out of stater. I’m thinking of taking my girlfriend on an impromptu trip out to Colorado next weekend (29th, 29th, 30th). We’re coming from the KC area so Denver is the landing spot, +/- 45 minute drive.

I’m leaning on the CO cruiser club for some advice here. Where is a good place to camp that’s off the beaten path? Any good day-wheeling in that area? Since I’ll be alone, I’ll be looking for more “scenic” than “let’s pull the winch.”

Rig is your standard 80 series on 35s. Unlocked. Armored. Winched.

I’ll be doing some research after I post this but it can take forever to put together a decent trip without a little guidance and a few helping hands. Thanks in advance for your input and pics.

Jack
 
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I'm also interested in this. In addition to those locations are there any others that you guys might recommend to other LC owners? Possibly gems that might not make it on these lists?
 
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I've stayed up on Jones Pass and wheeled Argentine Pass up there in my FJ40. There is also Bill Moore lake...both around an hour west of Denver (maybe shorter in an 80 series!). You can also check out the USFS campgrounds...many are "closed" for the season, doesn't keep people from camping in them unless gated. Also dispersed camped up Guenella Pass a couple years ago. Lots of options...
 
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I've stayed up on Jones Pass and wheeled Argentine Pass up there in my FJ40. There is also Bill Moore lake...both around an hour west of Denver (maybe shorter in an 80 series!). You can also check out the USFS campgrounds...many are "closed" for the season, doesn't keep people from camping in them unless gated. Also dispersed camped up Guenella Pass a couple years ago. Lots of options...
Thanks for the input on the passes - I’ll do some digging here tonight. Of those, which would you recommend for views and easy to moderate wheeling?
 
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Though I haven't camped there, Guenella Pass has amazing views but you're on paved roads to the top, I imagine once there it's not far or much wheeling to the camp sites. Plus it's pretty high up there, bring warm clothes.

One thing to note, they just lifted the fire bans in most counties but not all, make sure you're going to one of them. You can use this site.

Google Fusion Tables
 
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Good call on the fire ban. I am pretty self-sufficient and pack light but I'm not sure if she'll want a fire or not.

That said, snow has got me thinking more about this trip too. I know the area doesn't get snow for some time but it's not something I want to be doing much of in the mountains (snow in KC is a lot different than wheeling in the snow or driving those mountain passes in the snow). How do you guys check snowfall at that altitude? Is weather.com or local weather my best bet?

Thanks guys.
 
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funny you should ask about the weather...that is what I do for a living. weather.gov/bou will get you the weather for up that way. They put together great snowfall graphics (as do we down here in Pueblo). Bill Moore Lake probably would be a good bet for wheeling. Not overly difficult, great views and a lake. Argentine Pass is a more longer, slightly more difficult trail. Camping on both Jones Pass Rd and Guenella Pass Rd is nice. Snow up high may be possible next weekend, but keep checking back since we'll know more as we get closer to your travel dates.
 
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funny you should ask about the weather...that is what I do for a living. weather.gov/bou will get you the weather for up that way. They put together great snowfall graphics (as do we down here in Pueblo). Bill Moore Lake probably would be a good bet for wheeling. Not overly difficult, great views and a lake. Argentine Pass is a more longer, slightly more difficult trail. Camping on both Jones Pass Rd and Guenella Pass Rd is nice. Snow up high may be possible next weekend, but keep checking back since we'll know more as we get closer to your travel dates.
Couldn’t have asked a better person! Haha.

The more I research Bill Moore, the more I like that path. Seems totally feasible for my skill level and rig’s capability. Snow will be the deciding factor - plus whether or not she wants to make the trip. I think she’s in.

Speaking of, anybody down for a potential day wheeling trip?

Oh, and while we’re on the subject of weather, what (free) app do you recommend? Apple’s weather app is less informative than a 4 year old drawing on a napkin.
 
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If I wasn't working I'd possibly be in! Snow looks possible maybe Sunday night, but from the sounds of your dates, you should be out of there. If you are doing Bill Moore Lake, I'd stay up Jones Pass (just west of Empire). There are some nice dispersed camping sites up there.

Where are you at in the KC area...grew up there!
 
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If I wasn't working I'd possibly be in! Snow looks possible maybe Sunday night, but from the sounds of your dates, you should be out of there. If you are doing Bill Moore Lake, I'd stay up Jones Pass (just west of Empire). There are some nice dispersed camping sites up there.

Where are you at in the KC area...grew up there!
Perfect! I'll keep my eye closer on it throughout the week and may check in with you for your opinion, if that's okay. I'll research Jones Pass for directions and a way to get to a campground. Seems like the snow may take longer to melt on Jones Pass, per the comments on Trails Offroad. Are there multiple ways up to the lake that I may not have caught onto during my research?

+1 on Trails Offroad. Their writeup on Bill Moore Lake is super helpful for the internet wheeler. Both of them are linked below:

Jones Pass

Bill Moore Lake

As to the KC area - from the Overland Park/Prairie Village area. Born, raised, and came back here after the blurry days I call college. Where did you grow up around here? Any favorite BBQ spots of yours?

Jack
 
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Trails offroad is a great site...we have a couple people in our club that do trail write ups for them. I think for Jones Pass, they were talking about the spring snowmelt taking longer. Bill Moore is pretty well marked. There is an offshoot up Red Elephant Hill that is pretty well marked. There is also a short little spur up a rock hill that is a more challenging line, but meets back up with the main trail after a short distance. The main road is pretty easy to follow.

I grew up in Raytown on the south side of KC. My sister currently lives in PV though! LC's BBQ is my favorite out there, but Jackstack and Joe's aren't far behind!
 
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If I wasn't working I'd possibly be in! Snow looks possible maybe Sunday night, but from the sounds of your dates, you should be out of there. If you are doing Bill Moore Lake, I'd stay up Jones Pass (just west of Empire). There are some nice dispersed camping sites up there.
Are you saying that you would stay at Jones Pass over Bill moore or in addition to? Is there a reason not to stay up at Bill Moore? I'm thinking of doing a dispersed camping trip in 2 weekends.
 
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Are you saying that you would stay at Jones Pass over Bill moore or in addition to? Is there a reason not to stay up at Bill Moore? I'm thinking of doing a dispersed camping trip in 2 weekends.
Make it this weekend and let’s make a party out of it! Haha. What part of town/country are you in?
 
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Trails offroad is a great site...we have a couple people in our club that do trail write ups for them. I think for Jones Pass, they were talking about the spring snowmelt taking longer. Bill Moore is pretty well marked. There is an offshoot up Red Elephant Hill that is pretty well marked. There is also a short little spur up a rock hill that is a more challenging line, but meets back up with the main trail after a short distance. The main road is pretty easy to follow.

I grew up in Raytown on the south side of KC. My sister currently lives in PV though! LC's BBQ is my favorite out there, but Jackstack and Joe's aren't far behind!
I like the ideas. Sounds like it won’t be that bad and nothing I haven’t done before. I worry a little bit about going up solo though if I’m honest.

Great choices in BBQ too. Not sure when you were in town last, but Q39 (new-ish??) is a solid choice for damned good food.

Small world on where she is and where you grew up. Next time you’re in KC, let me know and we’ll grab some BBQ.
 
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I like the ideas. Sounds like it won’t be that bad and nothing I haven’t done before. I worry a little bit about going up solo though if I’m honest.

Great choices in BBQ too. Not sure when you were in town last, but Q39 (new-ish??) is a solid choice for damned good food.

Small world on where she is and where you grew up. Next time you’re in KC, let me know and we’ll grab some BBQ.
Heard Q39 is decent. More modern than some of the old school places. I'll definitely let you know when I'll be in town next...(maybe Thanksgiving???) Still waiting to see if my wife has time off and if we are headed back to the east coast to see her family.
 
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Well guys, looks like the trip is going to happen. @PWCO70crusier, I didn't see anything in the weather that would say we'll have trouble with snow... or for that matter, any snow. Thoughts?

Additionally, we are going to stay Sunday and do either or both Pickle Gulch and T-33 Plane Crash site. If anybody is open, let's make it happen.

Jack
 
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