Oh Colorado. Where else can you drive down a dusty forest road among fourteen thousand foot peaks and pristine mountain streams just to camp next to hipsters, hunters, hikers, millennials, rednecks, Midwesterners, Texans, and other assorted douche bags? I just had an epiphany. What if we rounded up all the politicians, threw them into a tent and left them in the wilderness for a month? They’d either kill each other or come out on the other side with something in common. Maybe just pooping in the woods, but that’s cheaper for us taxpayers than golf or elaborate prayer breakfasts.
A wonderful place I’d suggest where this mix of campers exists in harmony is along Half Moon Creek outside of Leadville, CO. Only 20 minutes from town, this area has it all. It’s an excellent area to hike the tallest mountains in the state, the fishing is okay, but can be great if you are a straight up badass like myself, and the scenery is hard to beat.
There are two pay campgrounds along this road. Half Moon East and Half Moon West. Both are acceptable but the real draw is the dispersed. Get there early and you’ll find some excellent spots but the key is to get there early. This area, like all in the state, fill up early. You’ll be above 10,000 so bring layers and a good bag.
Attractions along the road include the creek itself for small brook trout, brown trout, and rainbow trout fishing. Emerald Lake is worth an afternoon. Tons of fat stocked rainbows for dinner and a scenic place for canoeing and stand-up-paddle boarding. The water is crystal clear and Mt. Elbert looms above. If you are a hiker, the trail heads for both Mt. Elbert and Mt. Massive are right here as well.
The further you drive up the road, the more rugged the terrain and the fewer the camp spots, but the more dramatic the scenery. Don’t bring a trailer, it’s too rough and there’s nowhere to turn around past the last campgrounds. Have fun and respect your neighbors. Insert old man rant here about loud music and four-wheelers.
Directions: From Leadville, take 24 south out of town. If you need literally anything at all, stop at Saturday’s Discount store at the bend in the highway. Take the first right after the store, pass the trailer park, and take a left on 11 south. Drive a couple miles and take a hard right on Half Moon road 11. You’ll hit the forest on the edge of the plains and start looking.