Shelf Road; Colorado Winter Camping
Colorado Winter Camping
When most people think of Colorado in the Winter, they imagine the snow capped Rockies, thick powdery snow, blistering cold winds on a chair lift with frozen toes and fingers. But believe it or not, the Wintertime can also offer some of the best camping weather in the state. You just need to know where to go and time a good window of clear sky weather. The temperature fluctuations can be drastic in the southern and southwest Colorado during the winter. If the sun is out, you can have days in the 40’s and 50’s that feel like the 60’s. At night the temps can easily drop 40 degrees, so it’s all about preparation, plenty of blankets and warm layers. We chose a beautiful weekend, mid November to camp and climb in Shelf Road, situated on BLM land north of Canon City, Colorado. This area is known for rock climbing, but also boasts some great hiking, biking trails as well as some prime fishing along the river. Just the camping alone is worth the trip, but it gets crowded on the weekends, so you have to get there early. The beauty of bringing along the Adventure Tow Teardrop Camper Rental is that it can squeeze into the campground just like a tent. We brought two of the camper trailers and easily moved them out of the way of the cars, so there was room to camp and to park the vehicles. Try doing that with a larger RV or tow behind!
During the day the temps in this part of Colorado were absolutely perfect. 45/50 degrees, and sunny. So a long sleeve, light jacket and pants was all you needed. At night, inside the camper trailer, just the warmth of our bodies was enough to warm up the trailer and make it comfortable with just a couple blankets……..and that is with the temps dropping well below freezing.
Camping at Shelf Road is all about meeting new people, sitting around a campfire, telling stories and soaking in the adventures of the day. For me, the most important aspect of this trip was sharing my love for the outdoors with my son Bryce. He climbed, hiked, played in the dirt, and pretended he was running a bakery shop out of the window of the camper trailer. He didn’t have a single game, Iphone, or any other distraction to keep him from experiencing the outdoors, and he loved it. It’s amazing to me how quickly his imagination took the place of other games you would normally try to pack to entertain a kid.
By the end of each day, we were all exhausted. 8PM and everyone is ready for bed, especially Bryce. Your body seems to roll back into it’s prehistoric sleep cycle, curling up in your modern cave (the camper trailer) shortly after the fire goes out, and waking up at first light to start another day of exploring. There’s something refreshing and natural to letting the sun dictate your sleeping behavior, versus the TV…….and this unknowingly plays a big role in why camping is such a popular activity.
If you were to take away a couple learnings from this blog, it would be:
1. Camping is not just a summer activity, even in Colorado.
2. You don’t need a bunch of extra entertainment for kids while camping. Let nature do the babysitting
3. Get rid of your watch (and cell phone) and let the sun bring you back into your normal sleep pattern.
Now go have an adventure!