Sunday, July 10, 2011

Camping on Lake Granby, Colorado

Stillwater Campground on Lake Granby, Colorado

Deep in the heart of the Colorado Rockies, Stillwater Campground sits on the shores of picturesque Lake Granby and is surrounded in all directions with snowcapped peaks, pristine lakes, and abundant wildlife.  Although the pine trees at this campground have been removed because of the pine beetle infestation, this is still a favorite camping destination of mine. I  stayed 2 nights here in my T@B, watching sailboats drift across the lake during the day and stars crowd the skies at night.  

Grand Lake village and Rocky Mountain National Park are just 7 miles away and make great day trips.   Grand Lake is a popular summer destination and offers many activities including boating, fishing, hiking, swimming (brrrr), and horseback riding, to name a few.  If you are inclined to a more relaxing pace, the main street through town has many interesting tourist shops, restaurants, bars, and an old fashion ice cream parlor on just about every block.

Kauffman House Museum/Hotel
One unassuming treasure that is easy to overlook when visiting Grand Lake is the Kauffman House Museum.  For a $5 admission visitors are transported back to the early 1900s to a 5-room, 2-story log hotel filled with colorful artifacts and period pieces that offer an intriguing glimpse of the people and places in early Grand Lake.   I'm generally not a huge fan of museums, especially when on a camping trip (I'd rather be hiking or biking), but this was an exception for me with a very friendly and knowledgable staff that gave an enriching tour of the hotel.  If you are looking for something at a more relaxed pace - this will fit the bill.  I give it two thumbs up.

Second only to my love for old camping trailers is my fascination with antique boats.  As luck would have it, there was a small antique boat show on Grand Lake this weekend.  Some of these gleaming wood beauties were over 100 years old, and one even had a small steam engine.  One owner, in particular, was very proud (and rightly so) of his Chris-Craft runabout named CC Rider.  As I walked by, he began to regale me with all the details about his boat and boasted that the engine had a triple intake.  I had no idea what the significance of that was, but I nodded as though I did.  He was like a proud parent showing off his new baby and didn't seem to mind or notice my mechanical ignorance.  He introduced me to some of the other boat owners with the same exuberance and enthusiasm about their projects as his own.   I envy people like him who are so passionate about their work.

Elk off Trail Ridge Road
Trail Ridge Road is also close, and it runs through Rocky Mountain National Park.  It is a perennial favorite drive of mine between Grand Lake and Estes Park, and so I took this route home over the "highest continuous highway in the U.S." reaching a chilly and snow-covered elevation of 12,183'.  I towed the T@B with a Nissan Xterra and had no difficulties pulling the camper at this altitude and steep grade,  taking extra caution, of course, on curvy and narrow sections and near the sometimes stomach-wrenching drop-offs.

Hello Marmot
The drive not only offers top-of-the-world views, but also frequent glimpses of wildlife near the road, making this a perfect opportunity for a photo safari.  I saw many diverse wildlife including herds of elk, a moose, and even a typically shy marmot greeting passers-by.

I continue to enjoy the T@B camper and the adventures it offers on these short get-aways.    Sadly though, another weekend flew by too quickly.   

More photos here.

If You Go:

Lake Granby
Stillwater campground is located 6 miles south of Grand Lake, CO, and sites can be reserved on  I stayed in site #94, which was smaller than most, but it was a perfect size for a T@B camper and tow vehicle.   The campground is built on a hill, so some sites are terraced with separate levels for tent pad, picnic table, and parking.   The main drawback about Stillwater campground is that, like many in the area, the pine trees have been cut down because of the pine beetle infestation.  So, shade is hard to come by, but it also means that most sites have unobstructed, spectacular views of the Lake.    The campground has showers (sometimes the water is even hot) and flush toilets.  Some sites have electricity and water, and there is a dump station at the entrance.  In addition to the $20/day camping fee there is a daily use fee (~$5) for entrance into the Arapahoe Recreation Area where the campground is located.  A multi-day pass can be purchased with a credit card at the entrance to the campground.


JennGrover said...

Hi there,

I stumbled across your blog doing research for a possible T@B purchase for myself. I have not seen any comments on taking the T@B on any rough Forest Service Roads. What are your thoughts about the T@B from an "off-road" perspective. Obviously you are limited by clearance and have no skids.

Tim S. said...

Oh my - apologies for the long delay in responding. I am just seeing your question today (2015!). I am sure this response is too late to be of any value to you, but for the sake of completeness and in case someone else should come across this question later: The standard T@B is not, IMO, designed for off-road use. However, they now make a specialized T@B package called the Outback, which would suit that purpose.