Staying dry in the greater Denver area this week
August 8, 2017 9:02 AM   Subscribe

My dad, brothers, and I just flew in to Denver on Saturday for a week-long camping trip up in the Rockies. Friends camping last week apparently were sharing pictures of sunny trails, but it turns out we managed to schedule this during effectively a week long thunderstorm. Help?

We bailed on RMNP last night since we got soaked (even with rain gear) on a 5 miles hike and had no good place to dry out, and ended up outside Boulder where I'm typing this on my phone while we're currently waiting for my brother's (previously existing) cast to get replaced with a dry one!

We hiked the Sand Dunes on Sunday and had talked about doing Pikes Peak and/or Garden of the Gods, but ended up driving the scenic route to the western entrance of RMNP instead. We had planned to do some longer mixed-use trails in RMNP, attempt one of the fourteeners, and just spend a lot of time hiking around.

It looks like various suburbs around Denver have varying amounts of rain forecasted, and we're will to get a little wet, but are trying to avoid all out storms. We're fine driving an hour or two away, but are struggling to even figure out what's worthwhile that isn't in the mountains. So far the coolest thing we've run across is the Manitou Incline back towards Colorado Springs, but it looks like that area is calling for even more rain.

We're hoping to figure out two things:
- A place to camp that won't get completely soaked every day. Or an inexpensive hotel, if that's how we have to swing it.
- Hiking or other outdoorsy activities during the day, from today until Friday.

Suggestions? Alternatives? We're basically idea-less right now. Thank you!
posted by Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (8 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
While I ponder your question, here's the best regional forecast I know of (it's for weather nerds, so it's in-depth) for the area: Weather5280. You're going to notice right away the forecast models for rain involve the entire front range. It's "monsoon" season here and a wet one. So if you're here an entire week, would you be willing to go west and maybe south? I'm thinking Durango, Grand Junction area, possibly even Crested Butte?

Are you camping, or backpacking?

Check your MeMail!
posted by barchan at 9:38 AM on August 8, 2017 [1 favorite]

Yesterday's weather was pretty unusual for this area. I'm not a meteorologist (I just play one on TV), but it looks like the weather will return to "normal" for the rest of the week - which means daily afternoon thunderstorms, followed by cooler, clearer weather in the evening/night.

Fun outdoor/hiking activities around Denver just off the top of my head include: Red Rocks, Staunton State Park, Alderfer/Three Sisters, Golden Gate Canyon.

If you are willing to get out of Denver, I second barchan's suggestion of going to Grand Junction or Crested Butte. Grand Junction is on the Western Slope, which is typically drier. And Crested Butte is AMAZING. It's one of my favorite places in the whole state. Lots and lots of hiking and wildflowers, and a quirky little town that I just love. Both are 4+ hour drives though...
posted by GoldenEel at 9:59 AM on August 8, 2017

Head out to the Western Slope. Take I70 out to Glenwood Springs, and head down to McClure pass. From there head down to Crested Butte. Plenty to do there, and farther from the monsoon.

That, or go all the way to the San Juans - if you do that, I can give you plenty of hikes (memail me).
posted by notsnot at 10:08 AM on August 8, 2017

Pagosa Springs, Indian Peak Wilderness, and Steamboat. Buena Vista for some Collegiate peaks and more 14ers, Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument, and some casinos in Victor and Central City.
posted by brent at 10:30 AM on August 8, 2017 [1 favorite]

Check out Castlewood Canyon near Franktown. Gorgeous little canyon! One of the best kept secrets in Colorado!

Roxborough State Park is near Denver and always a hit even in cloudy/misty weather.
posted by Lord Fancy Pants at 10:39 AM on August 8, 2017 [1 favorite]

If you're a golfer, Fossil Trace golf course has fossils in walls around every turn.
posted by Lord Fancy Pants at 5:02 PM on August 8, 2017

Lord Fancy Pants' suggestions were all what I was going to suggest, especially Castlewood Canyon. So consider those wholeheartedly seconded.
posted by ThatSomething at 6:14 PM on August 8, 2017

Hey thanks everyone. Shortly after I posted this we remembered the ORIC desk we saw at REI the other day, so we swung by there to see what that was all about and got a lot of really really great advice. There's some overlap with what people have posted here, and I think now we're slowly figuring out how to save the week! Thank you!
posted by Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug at 8:49 PM on August 8, 2017

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