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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I don't know where else to put this. Maybe "Fishing Trips and Adventures" would be a good section to add.
So we did the Colorado section of the Shadow of the Rockies trail, which the southern portion to Buena Vista is also the Trans America Trail. It is almost an all off-road trail of Colorado from New Mexico to Wyoming. We started in Branson, CO, which is mainly rural gravel roads until you cross under I-25 and get to Viana Canyon. We didn’t start until around 2 PM so we only had a couple of hours before we had to start looking for a place to camp. A lot of the land around this section is private so it was difficult to find something. But we finally found some on public land. No one had camped there before so we made our own fire ring. I have the coordinates so if you are in this section and would like them, message me. It would make a great camp site. It was up a ridge away from the road but you will definitely need 4 wheel drive to get up there. This campsite was off Bear Creek Road before you get to Le Veta

The next day, we continued on through Le Veta. At State road 69, the SotR trail joins the Enchanted Rockies trail. At one point, they separate and come back together. We took the ER trail as it looked more technical and it took us up to 11,000 feet. We took a side trip to look at Bishop Castle. There is a great story behind that. Apparently this man has been building this castle all by himself all his life. We saw him out there, wheelbarrow in hand, hauling rocks up continuing his work.

After that, the ER trail breaks off at Johnson gulch and heads for the Garden of the Gods. We kept on, having lunch in Westcliff and then on through Cotopaxi. We ended up camping about 10 miles north of Cotopaxi around Stoney Face Mountain. Our 1st night above 10,000 feet. It got down to 28 degrees that night but it was nothing that our Mr. Buddy couldn’t handle.

The next day, we traveled through Salida and had breakfast and then stopped at the Next Eddy Fly shop to get some waders for my buddy and some flies. We hadn’t fished up to this point because we wanted to make sure we could get Tin Cup Pass in. So we headed up to Tin Cup. There was snow on the trail and we could only make out one other set of tracks. So it seems only one other vehicle had gone before us. It was awesome. It was my 1st pass like this. I had it in 4 low the whole way, mainly in 2nd gear but sometimes in 1stto crawl over some rocks. My Mojave is a standard transmission but allows me to crawl in 1st and even 2nd so I don’t have to use the clutch. At the top, we celebrated with a shot of Tin Cup Bourbon. There was much more snow on the backside. So much that you couldn’t even see the trail on Old Tin Cup, so we didn’t take that.

We made our way down and ended up camping in Wheelbarrow Gulch off Rocky Brook Road right along the Rocky Brook. It got down to 24 degrees that night. After breakfast, we broke down as we needed to head up to the Encampment River in Wyoming. But after we broke done and started driving, we saw a spot in the brook that looked like it should hold fish. And we were right. We rigged up our fly rods and for 2 hours, caught our fill of little brook rainbows and browns.

We finished fishing around noon and headed for Crested Butte and over Keebler Pass. We stayed with the Shadow of the Rockies to the point where it breaks off SR 133 and starts to head through Hayrack Park and up to Rifle. We had to head up 133 toward Steamboat and into Wyoming.

All in all, we camped 3 nights and averaged 100 miles a day for 4 days. We then headed to a lodge in Wyoming that sits on the Encampment River. It is all private water but it gets fished by its guests on a weekly basis so it is highly pressured. So each day, we hiked into the mountains about 3 miles and found bigger and more fish. It was the last week for them to have guests before they close for the winter as it is an 8 mile drive down a road that you have to have 4 wheel drive to get into. It snowed 2 days while we were there. Come winter, you have to have a snow cat to get in there.
All in all, great trip. We could have fished more in the beginning, especially the Arkansas River around Salida but like I said, we were trying to get to Tin Cup Pass before they closed it.
If you are ever out this way and need the coordinates for our campsite. DM me.
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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I have camped and fished all over that part of the country, nice write up. I prefer when it is a little warmer for dry fly action.
Yeah I do too. I would rather dry fly and streamer fish than droppers any day of the week. One of the things I do like about the cold though is that it is uncrowded. In Florida, no one camps in the summer, where as everybody in Colorado camps in the summer time. Last March we did a trip and camped in New Mexico, Arizona, California, Nevada and Utah and except for Arizona and California, we basically had everything to ourselves as it was so cold.
 

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Yeah I do too. I would rather dry fly and streamer fish than droppers any day of the week. One of the things I do like about the cold though is that it is uncrowded. In Florida, no one camps in the summer, where as everybody in Colorado camps in the summer time. Last March we did a trip and camped in New Mexico, Arizona, California, Nevada and Utah and except for Arizona and California, we basically had everything to ourselves as it was so cold.
I hate the crowds. As nice as Colorado is I usually avoid it because of how crowded the front range is due to the proximity to Denver. I prefer the smaller streams in Wyoming, Idaho, Utah, and Montana. I have spent 5 summers bumping around out west in the summer months since I retired. Nothing on the east coast compares to the solitude of out west.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I hate the crowds. As nice as Colorado is I usually avoid it because of how crowded the front range is due to the proximity to Denver. I prefer the smaller streams in Wyoming, Idaho, Utah, and Montana. I have spent 5 summers bumping around out west in the summer months since I retired. Nothing on the east coast compares to the solitude of out west.
Agreed. We will spend the whole month of March this next year just doing Utah. If you are out there, hit me up. There has been many nights, sitting under the stars with just us, wishing we had some other friends out there. Speaking of stars, there is this.
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Agreed. We will spend the whole month of March this next year just doing Utah. If you are out there, hit me up. There has been many nights, sitting under the stars with just us, wishing we had some other friends out there. Speaking of stars, there is this. View attachment 188063
Hit me up when you are planning, happy to give you some ideas/places that are not mainstream.
 

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Used to do similar prospecting fishing trips before moving to MT twenty years ago. Great adventure, getting off the beaten path, great pictures .. Congrats on getting out there!
 
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