We’re booked! Easter Weekend in Rabbit Valley, with a short hop (yuk yuk) to Colorado National Monument. Want to stay legit? You can easily tent-camp or car-camp this itinerary. We’re going to glamp it in a rental RV.
- See a few natural wonders . . . but not too many other people.
- Find a primitive campsite . . . without flipping our rental RV.
- Maintain a balance . . . between unplugging and arachnophobia.
Night 1 – Boondock in Rabbit Valley Recreation Area
Night 2 – Boondock in Rabbit Valley again.
Are “boondocking” and “dry camping” synonomous? Comments welcome.
Out and About
Our children (ages 8 and 4) hike happily for 1.5 to 2 miles and grudgingly for 2.5 to 3. So everything is flexible. We carry a lot of toilet paper.
Rabbit Valley: Trail through Time Dinosaur Loop (1.5 miles, easy)
Rabbit Valley: McDonald Creek Trail (3 to 4.5 miles, easy to moderate)
State Line Fossil Area
Colorado West Outdoors, exclusively, seems to have the 411 on this sweet spot. The BLM allows “casual collecting of reasonable amounts of common invertebrate and plant fossils from public lands for personal use.” Woot!
Colorado National Monument: Window Rock Lollipop Loop (1.7 miles, easy)
The trail leaves from the visitor center, but there’s access from Saddlehorn Campground, too. Either way, we will carefully time our hike to avoid the heaviest crowds. REI’s Hiking Project has a nice little map.
Need an indoor day? The Museum of Western Colorado Dinosaur Journey is right off Interstate I-70 in Fruita, Colorado.
(in addition to card games and s’mores)
Clean and catalog our fossils: Daniel Hemann tells us how.
Make Plaster Fossils: The materials are easy to find and pack, and the gratification is near-instant. Here are simple instructions from Planet-Science.com.
While the plaster is out, here’s a brilliant petroglyph craft from NFK: Nature for Kids.
2013 KZ Spree Escape 19 BH (bunks, RV-queen, and slide dinette), from the very pleasant folks at Funshares in Grand Junction. Towing with our own SUV.
Firewood gathering is prohibited in Rabbit Valley. According to other visitors’ photos of local signage, wood fires are prohibited at Saddlehorn Campground (charcoal only).
One thing I learned for certain: camping rules widely vary across the area. This chunk of Colorado is a Venn diagram of public land designations: BLM, Wilderness, National Conservation Area, National Park, some BLM-by-permit use only, and, oh, yeah, a wild mustang protected range.
And let’s not forget the seasonal road closures.
You may need to compare several maps. Feel free to drop me a note and I’ll share what I’ve got.
That’s it. We’re going. This. Family. Will. Camp.
I don’t yet know whether we are “RV people.” I can’t say that we are not.
But of two things I am certain:
Spiders? Yes. Sorry, kids.
Television? No. Not sorry.