I don’t know about you, but the recent warm weather here in Colorado has me thinking a lot about camping. The camping season is almost upon us and I, along with many other campers, are making their plans for the year.
Colorado’s camping season is considered to be between Memorial Day Weekend (June 25th through 28th) and Labor Day (August 31st to September 3rd). I know that seems far away now, but with the warm winter and spring just around the corner, some low altitude trips just might be in order!
It’s always best to be prepared. No matter where you live, you should always take at least some gear to handle any weather your area might have throughout the whole year. Yes, in Colorado I take gloves, a heavy coat and snow boots even in July or August, and I have used them in the past! In fact, I have seen and camped in snow in every month of the year in Colorado. So always be prepared. This is a good rule to follow no matter where you are.
However, during this early spring time, I would suggest taking more than one set of cold weather gear. Take at least two full sets because you can, and likely will, get snowed on in March and April in the mountains. However, during this time the days are usually warm and much of the snow that does fall can melt off quickly. This depends on the altitude of your camp, but if you try to stay under 8000 feet in March and 9000 in April you should be able to avoid the harsh end of winter storms.
This is a great time to get out there and do some camping before the crowds show up. It is still too cold for many. Also you should be aware that most campgrounds do not accept reservations yet. So it will be first come, first serve, but you should be able to find something. Take extra water and be prepared for the electricity to be turned off. It is likely the outhouses are also closed and locked so make sure to take up toiletry supplies and set up a proper latrine if you need one. Some campgrounds will still have fees, but most will have a reduced off peak season fee and many will be free.
It’s a fantastic time of year to be out camping in the Colorado mountains, or anywhere its spring for that matter. The animals of the forest are waking up from their long winter slumber. They will also be out and about in droves looking to start the process of fattening up for the season. There are not many people that go out this time of year, so animals will be much more likely to be seen running around the campground. Also with the spring friskiness in the air, most animal activities is increased even more. Make sure to bring your camera and lots of extra batteries as you will likely be in for a treat or two as the mountains wake up.
Camping this time of year can be great, if you don’t mind it colder and are prepared to “rough it”. Make sure to watch the weather and postpone a trip a week if it looks like any major storms are coming in. These early spring blizzards have hit Colorado before and they will again. You certainly don’t want to be out camping in one. However, the threat of snow keeps many away and you can use the opportunity to get out early and see beautiful Colorado wake up for another season. Just go prepared and aware of any possible weather issues and you will not regret sneaking out before most campers dare to.