The day after our trip to Great Sand Dunes National Park, Dave and I took a trip to the nearby Zapata Falls trail for a short hike. Our neighbors told us to be sure to experience the hike, and we’re so glad we did! Like Medano Creek, Zapata Falls will be most exciting to visit when the snow is melting most aggressively: so the month of May is probably best, if you can.
The turn off to the trailhead road is about 3 miles before the main entrance to the National Park. There’s a 3 1/2 mile rocky unpaved road full of switchbacks that needs to be driven up to the trailhead itself. The views during the drive are gorgeous, but it’s also important to keep your eyes on the road — you don’t want to accidentally drive over a large rock! There are plenty of opportunities to enjoy the views of the sand dunes from up there.
I figured I’d peel off two of the activities from our weekend in the San Luis Valley into separate blog posts. I realized I didn’t find a ton of consolidated information about spending a day at Great Sand Dunes National Park, so I figured I’d write about our personal experiences.
Location: Approximately 7 miles east of Alamosa, Colorado.
Miles Traveled: 170 each way
Dates Stayed: Friday, May 21 – Monday, May 24 (3 nights)
Cost Per Night: We paid $45/night: rates vary depending on season, holidays, etc. The rates go up to $53/night starting Memorial Day weekend.
Site #: 5, Pull-thru
Hookups: Full hookups, with 50/30/15 amps available
Amenities: Small campground, but growing // Massive 112’x40′ pull-through sites // Sites are angled strategically such that your camper door faces northeast, shielding you from the prevailing southwesterly winds // Currently only 13 sites, but the owner has plans to expand // Opportunity for overflow dry camping (boondocking) to accommodate busier times, such as if you can get a Friday and Sunday reservation, but not Saturday // New shower/laundry building: 4 large private individual shower rooms that include toilets and sinks, too
Needs Improvement: No shade: the owners have planted numerous ponderosa pine and aspen, but it will be a while before those provide useful shade // No playground for the kids (there is a basketball hoop on the premises but the wind knocked it over)
Cell Signal/WiFi: Good but not great. WiFi is transmitted from the roof of the shower building. The closer you are to the building, the stronger the signal. Signal deteriorates during high usage (such as in the evenings when everyone is back at camp). We were able to use our Roku TV and laptops well, but our cell phones struggled with the WiFi. There is a cell tower less than 1/2 mile away, but our cell signal was hit-or-miss.
Hi! This is Patricia! As I’d said before, Dave and I have reserved weekend camping trips with Bojack for almost every month during the “warm season”…April through October.
Our 2nd trip of the year is coming up this weekend, and I’m getting excited for it! This will be the longest trip Bojack will have taken with us, to Base Camp Campground east of Alamosa, Colorado. Alamosa is a 2.5-3 hour drive from Colorado Springs, in the heart of Colorado’s San Luis Valley, home to many of of the state’s potato, lettuce, and (interestingly) quinoa farms.
Location: Colorado Springs, CO, just west of the Fort Carson Army Installation.
Dates Stayed: Friday, April 23 – Sunday, April 25 (2 nights)
Miles Traveled: 23 each way
Site #: 22, Back-in
Hookups: Full hookups!
Amenities: Full hookup at all 51 of their RV sites // Numerous walk-in tent sites // All the of park’s RV and tent campgrounds surround a very new, very nice camper services building with showers, laundry, and activities // Each of the campgrounds also has their own flush toilet building // Hiking trails are woven throughout the campsites, making it easy to access the more challenging hiking, bike, and equestrian trails // The best marked, best mapped hiking trail map of any Colorado State Park I’ve visited.
Cell Signal/WiFi: Virtually non-existent. There was no WiFi, and most of the time Dave and I had 1-bar with our Verizon cell service. It was enough to upload the occasional photo, and send texts to the kids and friends, but little more than that.
Who Came on This Trip: Dave and Patricia. The boys and Ranger stayed home but were right up the road.
Happy Mid-Winter! It’s Patricia here! I figured I will give a brief update since our blog has been quiet since late October.
Since we are not full-time RVers, Bojack needed a “winterization“. We had no plans to use him in the winter. Last November Dave and his friend winterized Bojack at the USAF Academy RV lot, and Bojack has just been sitting there, enduring the downslope windstorms that are common to this part the country, waiting for spring. Continue reading “Mid-Winter Thoughts”
Patricia’s been doing the heavy lifting on blogging our adventures but I thought it was high time I contribute. Being the more retired of the two of us, I’ve been doing a lot of the mechanical work on Bojack…and besides, it’s the kind of work I enjoy. I’ve been learning as many of the systems as I can in hopes of being a more informed RVer. In FAA ground school I learned all about my airplane’s systems so that I was more prepared for what could happen in the air, so I figured the same principle applies. Well…yeah, kinda…and not really! Continue reading “Maiden Voyage Lessons Learned…Getting to Know the Water Systems.”
Location: Littleton, Colorado (southwest of Denver)
Dates Stayed: Friday, October 16 – Sunday, October 18 (2 nights)
Miles Traveled: 50 each way
Site #: C Loop #132 (pull-thru)
Hookups at the Site: 20/30/50 amp electrical only (no water or sewer)
Amenities: Minimal water availability mid-April through mid-April // Numerous toilets nearby // Full bath facilities w/ coin-operated showers // coin-operated laundry // playgrounds, volleyball, horseshoes, and multi-use trails in walking distance // boat ramp if you want to bring your boat // large dog park in driving distance (for additional fee)
Cell Service/WiFi: Our Verizon cell service worked well, and we had strong WiFi at our site, with enough signal to stream television.
Next weekend we’re taking Bojack out on his maiden (Wait…is there another adjective I should be using instead if Bojack is a “boy” camper? Does it matter?) camping trip!
Our plan is to head somewhere local, and we primarily plan to spend the time figuring out systems. We got a campsite at Chatfield State Park, which is about an hour northwest of us, near Littleton, Colorado. You can see it on the map to the right. We lucked out, too, when we learned that the water would be turned off in the park right after the weekend we’ll be there.