Happy Campers: A guide for Eagle County residents | VailDaily.com

Happy Campers: A guide for Eagle County residents

Eagle Valley Enterprise
Eagle, CO Colorado
Kristin Anderson/Vail Daily file photoEagle resident Liz Pfeffer paddles in her inflatable kayak Sunday on Sylvan Lake at Sylvan Lake State Park.
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EAGLE, Colorado ” Memorial Day is always a welcome holiday in Eagle County, Colorado.

For students it marks the impending end of the school year. For workers it marks a long-awaited three-day weekend. And for campers it marks the official beginning of the outdoor season.

Whether you are a hearty backwoods enthusiast or a dedicated car camper, Eagle County is a great place to sleep outside. Downvalley, camping options abound literally right outside their back doors.

So for everyone who can’t wait to haul out the sleeping bags and light a fire, here are some camping location suggestions, packing tips and even some tried and true campfire recipes. Get out and enjoy them.

Location: Called a ‘crown jewel’ of the Colorado State Parks system, Sylvan Lake is located 15 miles southeast of Eagle.

The perks: Stocked with flushing toilets, showers and drinking water, the campsite offers many of the luxuries of home.

Driving to the park is like stepping back in time. Complete with horse crossing signs, Brush Creek Road becomes increasingly rural as it moseys through farms and rolling mountains. Sylvan Lake, which spans about 42 acres, is small but scenic.

The downside: Can be crowded in summer with car campers and RVs. The park tends to attract people from outside Eagle County.

Memorial Day advice: Most of the campsights are already booked for Memorial Day, said Deb Frazier, communciations manager for Colorado State Parks in Denver. If you still want to attempt camping over the holiday weekend, call ahead to see if any spaces have opened up.

Activities: A trail wraps around the lake, and makes for a nice hour-long hike for campers with children, Gosiorowski said. Mountain bikers can cruise along forest roads and old logging roads, he said. The lake is stocked with rainbow trout and home to brook trout. Fishermen also have access to East and West Brush creeks, where brown and brook trout abound. Along with fishing, visitors to the lake can rent canoes, kayaks and paddle boats.

Campsight details: Sprawling across 1,500 acres, the state park is surrounded by the White River National Forest. It has 44 campsites, along with nine cabins and three yurts. Camping is $14 per night, plus visitors need either a $6 daily pass for each car or an annual state park pass for $60. Reservations are necessary for camping on weekends and recommended for camping on weekdays, Frazier said.

Reservations for cabins and yurts are necessary year-round, she said. For reservations call 800-678-2267 or visit http://coloradostateparks.reserveamerica.com.

Directions: From the I-70 exit in Eagle (No. 147), head south on Eby Creek Road. At the roundabout, take the first right onto Highway 6 west. At the next roundabout, follow signs for Sylvan Lake Road. Continue south on Sylvan Lake Road for about two miles. Turn right onto Brush Creek Road and continue southeast for about eight miles. A large Sylvan Lake State Park sign will appear on the left. At the Y intersection, head right for about six miles. Turn right at the Sylvan Lake State Park sign to get to the lake and campsites.

Location: 16 miles south of Eagle

The perks: A relatively secluded fly fishing haven, Yeoman Park cozies up to East Brush Creek in the White River National Forest.

Although it’s rarely clogged with people, Yeoman Park attracts plenty of other creatures. Campers can glimpse deer, elk and even the occasional moose.

The downside: Because Yeoman Park’s campsites are small, they aren’t well suited to large RVs. However, 10 sites can accomodate RVs 15 to 30 feet long, said Brenda Rebitzke, recreation manager for the White River National Forest. And RVs can make it down the gravel road to Yeoman Park, she said.

The crowd: Expect to see mostly tent campers and fly fisherman. Although more people flock to the campsites on weekends, the spots rarely fill up, he said.

Memorial Day advice: The campsite typically opens in June. Call ahead to find out whether it will be open for Memorial Day, Rebitzke said. The number for the Holy Cross Ranger Station in Minturn is 970-827-5715.

Activities: Fishermen can hook brown and brook trout in the stream. You can mountain bike to Fulford Cave campground and double back to Yeoman park along Old Fulford Road. It’s a leisurely two-hour ride.

Campsite details: Yeoman has 23 campsites. They feature vault-style toilets, picnic tables and fire rings. The fee is $8 per night.

Directions: From the I-70 exit in Eagle (No. 147), head south on Eby Creek Road. At the roundabout, take the first right onto Highway 6 west. At the next roundabout, follow signs for Sylvan Lake Road. Continue south on Sylvan Lake Road for about two miles. Turn right onto Brush Creek Road and continue southeast for about eight miles. A large Sylvan Lake State Park sign will appear on the left. At the Y intersection, head left for about six miles to Yeoman Park Campground.

Location: 17 miles south of Eagle

The perks: This petite campground is a popular launching point for trips to Fulford Cave. Situated along East Brush Creek, the campsite hugs a beaver pond.

The spot rarely attracts crowds.

The downside: Narrow valley doesn’t have as spectacular views as Yoeman Park and although East Brush Creek runs nearby, it isn’t easy to access the stream.

The crowd: Spelunkers flock to the campground.

Memorial Day advice: The campsite typically opens in June. Call ahead to find out whether it will be open for Memorial Day, Rebitzke said. The number for the Holy Cross Ranger Station in Minturn is 970-827-5715.

Activities: Campers can explore Fulford Cave, the 12th longest known cave in Colorado. Remember to bring three sources of light and a helmut. Hikers can follow a four-mile trail to Lake Charles, an alpine lake perched at about 11,000 feet.

Campsite details: Fulford Cave has seven sites. There are vault-style toilets, picnic tables and fire rings. The fee is $8 per night.

Directions: From the I-70 exit in Eagle (No. 147), head south on Eby Creek Road. At the roundabout, take the first right onto Highway 6 west. At the next roundabout, follow signs for Sylvan Lake Road. Continue south on Sylvan Lake Road for about two miles. Turn right onto Brush Creek Road and continue southeast for about eight miles. A large Sylvan Lake State Park sign will appear on the left. At the Y intersection, head left for about six miles to Yeoman Park Campground. Continue for about another mile to Fulford Cave Campground.

When you are out in the wilderness, or even just out at a developed campground, the last thing you want to learn is that you have forgotten something vital for the enjoyment of your camping trip.

Necessities

Basic Items

– Matches

– Bottles of Water

-First Aid Kit

-Map/compass

-Sunglasses/hat

-Flashlight/batteries

-Nylon rope

-Watch/alarm

-Knife

-Insect repellent

-ID/money/keys

Comfort Items

-Backpack

-Sleeping bag

-Ground cloth

-Mattress/pad

-Pillows

-Blankets

-Tent/pegs/poles

-Tarp/rope

-Lantern

-Sunscreen

-Soap

-Toilet paper

-Toothbrush/paste

-Towel/washcloth

-Comb/brush

Clothes Items

-Boots/shoes

-Socks

-Underwear

-Long underwear

-Swimsuit

-Shirts

-Long pants and belt

-Shorts

-Sweater

-Poncho/raincoat

-Hat/bandana

-Sweatshirts

-Jackets

-Sandals

Kitchen Stuff

-Food

-Snacks

-Beverages

-Stove and fuel

-Fuel containers

-Knife/forks/spoons

-Spatula

-Pots and pans

-Pot holders

-Bowls

-Foil/baggies

-Trash bags

-Can opener

-Grill/charcoal

-Cooking oil

-Tablecloth

-Water purifier

Vehicle Stuff

-Water cooler

-Ice chest and ice

-Shade/screen tent

-Extra fuel/gas cans

-Heater/fuel

-Rope

-Grill and fuel/starter

-Tackle box

-Fishing pole

-Horse shoes

-Dutch Ovens

-Lawn chairs

-Folding table

-Dish pans

-Air mattress

-Jumper cables

From Google.com

Niceities

These are 10 things that certainly aren’t necessary for a successful camping trip, but they will make your time outdoors more enjoyable:

– Wet wipes

– A deck of cards

– Instant flavored coffee (in the morning, it’s a quick taste of heaven)

– Aloe vera lotion

– Advil PM or Tylenol PM

– Mouthwash

– A reading book

– A bird or flower guide book

– Safety pins

– Duct tape


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