Moto Camping Southern Colorado & Utah in October

Discussion in 'The Rockies – It's all downhill from here...' started by hooptie_dreams, Jul 14, 2020.

  1. hooptie_dreams

    hooptie_dreams n00b

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    After duly mourning the demise of my 2020 trip to South America, I've finally started planning a new adventure that seems possible even in the time of coronavirus.

    I'm thinking a motorcycle camping trip in October through Southern Colorado, taking in a bit of the San Juans, passing through Durango, then scooting up into Utah as far North as Moab, then looping down around the Grand Canyon and back through Texas.

    My main concern is the weather. Looks like temperatures can get down around freezing in the evenings, which is a bit colder than I would prefer, but manageable. Rain looks pretty sparse that time of year. Will definitely have to be bundled up for much of the ride.

    Curious for y'all's perspective on 1) whether it will be too cold to be comfortable, 2) recommendations on places to see / stay / camp / hike, 3) people to connect with, 4) any general advice.

    Thanks a ton.
    #1
  2. PhactoryFil

    PhactoryFil Adventurer Supporter

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    I've had 70's going over some southern passes in October, and I've had snow on the same passes. It's a crap shoot at the higher elevations, so be prepared for all conditions. The scenery will blow your mind if mother nature cooperates that time of year. Best of luck.
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  3. Boricua

    Boricua Long timer

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    October as in the first week or the last week? First week chances are you'll survive with just an extra blanket, last week. Let's say I don't camp in October and in the last week in Oct I send my skis for tunning.
    #3
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  4. MountainsandRivers

    MountainsandRivers loves dirty things! Supporter

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    More often than not, late october is colder. There are exceptions. I've rode in 4" of snow in Imogene in mid Sept and twice been caught in july up high with near hypothermic fingers. Plan to at least camp low. Big differences in temp.
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  5. DADODIRT

    DADODIRT Long timer Supporter

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    Have a good Plan B. Utah is great that time of year, Colorado can be iffy.
    If it happens to be too cold up high, you could stay south of I 40 in Arizona and New Mexico.
    Specify where you would like to camp, and I'm sure we can help with some remote BLM camp spots.
    #5
  6. Rogue_Ryder

    Rogue_Ryder

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    "unpredictable" is the word everyone is looking for.

    3 years ago the SO and I planned a camping trip in late Sept to Yellowstone, we got snowed out and headed to SW Colorado instead. While the weather was still good for 3 of the 4 days, we did have 1 day with rain and temps in the 40s in Delores. That would mean snow if you're up on a pass! Late October I'd highly recommended against camping in the San Juans very likely you could have sun and nice weather but there's a chance you could see an 18" snow storm. Southern Utah should be no issues camping at all in October, that's one of my favorite times to go there.
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  7. The Lone Ranger

    The Lone Ranger Adventurer

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    Several years ago I was camping in this area around this time. Colorado. Can’t recall the exact time, but it was defiantly in the Fall. The days were glorious. A bit chilly, and very pleased with myself for having my Tour Master electric jacket liner as a back up to that chill. Bring a Winter sleeping bag and down booties and a sleeping cap for the nights. Obviously you will be at higher altitudes which add to the drop in temperatures. Have a (safe) campfire to comfort you before crawling into bed, or visit others that do, if they are around. Insulate from ground. It WILL get fricken cold ,so prepare. At the very least, make yourself a cup of coffee in the morning.If you can schedule your trip with the turning of the leaves time, you will have a wonderful ride, one that will stay in your mind and heart as one of your best. Better to have more warm clothes than not enough, especially for the night. I can’t recall the route number, but west of Gunnison, Co. near The Black Canyon of the Gunnison take the road north through Hotchkiss to Paonia. Check map for what the hellI am talking about. Can’t recall all the details at the moment, but this is my favorite roads in southern Co. Also, ride WEST over Independence Pass in the A.M. (sun behind you) Ride safe Rouge _Rider. You will not need your spacesuit however!
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  8. DADODIRT

    DADODIRT Long timer Supporter

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    ^^^The road along the Black Canyon is 92. Yeah, don't miss that one.
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  9. Boricua

    Boricua Long timer

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    This year there's not such a thing as a safe campfire. We are experience a severe drought in the southern half of the state. Skip the campfire thing. Its not worth it. Quoting Smokey "Only you can prevent forest fires"

    Thank you
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  10. The Lone Ranger

    The Lone Ranger Adventurer

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    Highway 50 is the one I was meaning. 92awesome as well
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  11. The Lone Ranger

    The Lone Ranger Adventurer

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    10-4 good buddy. I am not in the States for awhile and not up to the current condition. I had to cancel my trip home to New Mexico due to Covid-19 this year.
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  12. Boricua

    Boricua Long timer

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    You were right the first time the one not to miss is 92. It goes north from 50 at curecanti and goes along the Gunnisson and part of the canyon and reconnects back to 50 in Delta. The most scenic spots are in the southern section along the Morrow reservoir. If you wish to really stretch your legs you can pick a trail and hike down to the reservoir. Just remember everything that goes down must come back up. Access to the canyon in east portal and Cimarrom is from 50 on the south side of the canyon.
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  13. RideFreak

    RideFreak Torque Junky

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    I drove a rental motorhome on that road, it wasn't a pleasant experience.
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  14. Boricua

    Boricua Long timer

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    Yeah, is steep and crooked. Nightmare in an RV, perfect in a sport bike.

    That road is part of the west elk loop. One of many scenic routes in the state.
    #14
  15. hooptie_dreams

    hooptie_dreams n00b

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    Thanks everyone for the great recommendations to this point. I've already taken a lot from them. Main things seem to be (1) come prepared for cold weather, and (2) be flexible on the route.

    Here's the extremely rough, first draft outline of the route: link.

    Initially, I envisioned going further north into Colorado. Routes 50 and 92 sound amazing. It will be mid-October by the time I have the opportunity to ride them. Sounds like it might be too cold. Weather permitting, I'll venture up there.

    Otherwise, would love to hear about potential camp sites, great roads to ride, and sights to see along the rough route sketched out at the link above.

    Thanks again.
    #15
  16. Cigar Mike

    Cigar Mike Too Old and Too Slow Supporter

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    Look up Skyline Drive Utah. It runs parallel to 89. It may be too late in the year. Snow and mud can make impassable. It is Scenic riding across the high plateau. Most of it is well graded with some sections high clearance 4 wheel drive. It is one of the highest roads in Utah. Plenty of camping along the route.
    #16