The western end of Colorado is so much more than just desert. In fact, we have our very own 10,000 ft flat-topped mountain, The Grand Mesa. Nevermind the fact that many mountain ranges criss cross the western side of the state. The leaves in all those high elevation spots will be turning before you know it, so it’s best to get your planning hat on and start now! We’ve compiled a few Western Colorado fall camping trip ideas for you.
Grand Mesa > Ridgway > Dolores > Moab
From Grand Junction, where all our trip ideas are based, head up to the Grand Mesa and take a few days to hike popular and beautiful trails like Crag’s Crest and Indian Point. There are plenty of places for primitive camping, along with several campgrounds.
Then, drive down into Delta, Colorado and on to Ridgway State Park. As you know, if you’re a reader of this blog, Ridgway is one of our favorite areas, and for good reason! There are plenty of day trips, by hiking, biking, or car, to see fall colors available! The RAT area biking/hiking trails are a great lower elevation option, or you can head up the steep but beautiful Blue Lakes trail.
From Ridgway take the scenic drive over to Dolores, Colorado. You’ll find great camping with wifi and hot showers at the Dolores River Campground, and free primitive camping near the Boggy Draw Area.
In Dolores you can enjoy a fall afternoon by the river, or head down to Mesa Verde National Park for the day. The drive over to it is the reason to end up here; plus Dolores is a funky little town with some great restaurants!
Finally, leave the mountains behind and head to Moab, UT for a few days of biking and camping. Fall is a popular time of year, so if you can make a camping reservation somewhere, DO IT. Otherwise plant to arrive early in the day and know several areas to check for boondocking.
Silverjack Reservoir is located between Cimarron, Colorado and Ridgway, Colorado, or between Hwy 550 and Hwy 149 in Colorado. Accessing it takes about 20 miles of driving on a gravel road that is sometimes very “washboardy.” It will rattle your teeth, but it’s usually in good shape for a variety of vehicles from Subarus on up. Once there, the Silverjack Campground is the largest of three or four maintained campgrounds. There is also a ton of dispersed camping in the area.
Trails are popular up here for both dirt biking / ATVing and also for hiking in the Uncompahgre Wilderness. No mechanized ANYTHING is allowed in the wilderness, so if you’re looking for peace and quiet, that is a great place to go. You can spend several days at the reservoir itself and hiking various trails like the Middle Fork of the Cimarron.
No matter how you choose to spend your fall, these two western Colorado fall camping trip ideas can help you escape to the mountains and see all those beautiful fall colors.