Camping Road Trip Time: Montrose to Pagosa

Dear Maia and Isaac,

The next few posts are about our summer camping road trip through southern Colorado and Northern New Mexico.

Red Mountain Pass, CO

I was ambivalent about this trip so had to make myself plan it. It is odd for me to not be thrilled to be trip planning . . . but life is in transition and the trip would slow down other progress, I guess. Still, I wanted to do something new and head to the mountains. We have done N CO twice because it is familiar family territory. I felt it would be too repetitive to do it twice in a row. So, I decided that I really didn’t know much about Southern CO or Northern NM – and there are mountains in both.

Near Pagosa Springs, CO

Booking sites was a challenge because all I had was a recreational map. So, trying to judge distances and find campgrounds about the right distance apart took some time. In the end, I was pretty successful but was skeptical about what I was choosing. Maybe that was part of the ambivalence. Also, I wanted to avoid the Hwy 50 construction, so I had to skip down to 160 for the southern CO tour.

Moki enjoying the first night of camping.

I also learned that NM State Parks give you a senior rate if you have a national parks senior pass . . . so it was an inexpensive trip. I booked right after the 4th of July.

Our campground – West Fork – near Pagosa Springs

Monday the 19th came and we left about noon. We took Red Mountain pass going down, which I avoided after 8 years due to getting a bad vertigo episode (I mean I was in the tent throwing up all morning and sleeping all afternoon). I finally braved it last fall and twice this spring (twice to pick up Moki and bring him home) and did OK. So, over we went. It took a while to get to Pagosa – I always think it is closer to Durango.

Sazi hopes for treats

Our campsite was a few miles past the community, right at the start of Wolf Creek Pass. Between Garmin and Google, we found it without an issue. I think it was the most forested area that we stayed. We got there in time to pitch the tent, walk the campground loop and eat dinner. I wish the days were longer . . . the light was perfect on our drive in but I wanted to get the tent set up so didn’t get a lot of pictures.

West Fork Campground near Pagosa Springs, CO

This stop was the best mid-way between Montrose and the Great Sand Dunes. And, that is seriously how I picked many of the sites this trip. PS – I woke up the following morning (Weds AM) with my positional vertigo. Ugh – I was skeptical about taking more mountain passes but the vertigo wasn’t bad and seemed to improve in a couple of days. I wonder if it is a combo of a mountain pass and laying as flat to sleep as you do in a tent?

Love, GMH

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