Lake Granby Colorado RV Trip – A Summer Beach Vacation!

August 2023 – Lake Granby Colorado is ideal for an RV trip, and we met several RVers from hundreds of miles away who were enjoying a summer beach vacation there. Lake Granby is picturesque, great for boating and kayaking, and is lined with small beaches and quiet coves that are perfect for a day in the sun.

Lake Granby Colorado RV Trip - A Summer Beach Vacation!

Lake Granby is a great spot for a summertime visit!

We love it when our RV travels take us to places by the water. Although we had just come from a stay at Antero Reservoir and evenings alongside the Blue River, we soon fell in love with Lake Granby.

We often get our travel advice from fellow RVers who have just “been there and done that” at a cool place. And so it was with Lake Granby. I mentioned to an RVer back in Crested Butte that we were aiming for Rocky Mountain National Park, and her instant reaction was, “We always go to Lake Granby!”

Lake Granby Colorado with a kayak on the beach

Ready for an evening cruise on Lake Granby.

I made a mental note and was surprised when the next RVer I mentioned Rocky Mountain National Park to said the same thing: “Don’t miss Lake Granby!”

With two solid recommendations, I started studying the map. In no time, I met a third RVer whose response to “Rocky Mountain National Park?” was a simple, “Lake Granby!”

Lake Granby Colorado Speed boats and mountain scenery

Speeding past the mountain views on Lake Granby.

Lake Granby and Arapaho Bay (a long narrow tail of the lake at the east end) both have several USFS campgrounds on or near the shore. There are also two other similarly sized lakes nearby that have waterfront USFS campgrounds as well: Shadow Mountain Lake and Grand Lake. So, there are all kinds of shoreside RV camping options in the area.

Colorado National Parks Book

Traveling early in the week, and showing up before 10:00 a.m., we were able to snag a campsite. The name of the game at any of these lakes in the summertime is either to plan ahead and make reservations well in advance, or to show up early in the week AND early in the day for one of the few first-come-first-serve campsites, and start scouting!

Waterskiing on Lake Granby in Colorado

What a ride!

Lake Granby is a perfect spot for a summer beach vacation. Not only were there waterskiers flying by at top speed, sailboats tacking placidly in zig-zags and kayaks and paddle boards floating around near the water’s edge, there were fishermen catching dinner from the shore.

Fishing on Lake Granby Colorado

The fish were biting!

One evening, a fellow RVer and new friend knocked on our door holding out a plate full of delicious crappie (pronounced “croppy”). His day of fishing had been so successful, he and his wife couldn’t finish it all! We’d never had crappie before, and it was absolutely delicious!

Human fishermen aren’t the only people reeling in fish at Lake Granby, however. Some resident osprey who have set up housekeeping on top of human-erected nesting poles around the lake were out at dawn each morning catching breakfast for their broods. We heard their piercing calls all around the lake all day long!

Osprey at Lake Granby Colorado

Quite a few osprey were fishing at the lake.

Osprey flies over Lake Granby Colorado

“Maybe there are more fish over there!”

Early in the morning, Lake Granby is wonderfully calm. We walked along the thin strip of beach and breathed deeply. The water and air were perfectly still.

Then, a soft zephyr blew across the water’s surface, making ripples of sunlight dance on the sand in the depths.

Ripples in the water at Lake Granby Colorado

Sunlight plays with the sand and the water.

This reminded me so much of my childhood days spent playing on a very calm beach on Massachusetts’ north shore. The movement of the sun’s rays through the water always fascinated me. I was tickled to capture it with my camera here in Colorado!

Ripples in the water at Lake Granby Colorado

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Sunlight in the water at Lake Granby Colorado

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Our dear pup, Buddy, was busy making his own special memories on the beach. He trotted happily on the sand.

Lake Granby Colorado beach

Buddy LOVES the beach!

Faster than a speeding bullet…able to leap tall driftwood in a single bound, he dashed back and forth with sheer delight.

Flying puppy at Lake Granby Colorado

“Look at me – I’m flying.”

Dog at Lake Granby Colorado

“Did you see how fast I am?”

Dog Bowl with Kibble Storage

Lake Granby is a very big lake, and at one end we found a pretty sailboat bobbing at anchor in front of a mountainous backdrop. There’s also a marina that has a lot of sailboats lined up at the docks and many more moored out in the bay.

Sailboat for a summer beach vacation at Granby Colorado

Morning peace.

Late in the afternoon, the setting sun peeked through the trees on a trail down to the beach, casting light and shadow through the woods.

Sunset hiking trail at Lake Granby Colorado

Day’s end.

The sunsets at Lake Granby were wonderful. We went to a different part of the shore each afternoon, never knowing what kind of sunset might materialize.

Lake Granby Colorado sunset

Sunset at Lake Granby Colorado.

Sunset at Lake Granby Colorado

There were lots of interesting trees and driftwood at the water’s edge.

Sunset at Lake Granby Colorado

Mystical sky.

Sunset at a picnic table on Lake Granby Colorado

We visited different parts of the lake each afternoon.

Lake Granby Colorado sunset starburst

The last ray of sun before bedtime.

Buddy loved these outings and waited patiently while we fussed with our cameras.

Lake Granby Colorado sunset with a dog

“I’ll wait right here.”

What a beautiful lake this is!

Lake Granby Colorado summer sunset

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Summer sunset at Lake Granby Colorado

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I don’t know if it happens every year, but this summer the late afternoon monsoon activity was intense in this part of Colorado. Each afternoon the clouds would build until the sky grew dark. Then the wind would suddenly pick up, and it would pour!

Lake Granby Colorado clouds

The clouds built every afternoon during our stay.

This pattern of calm sunny mornings transforming into stormy wet afternoons was surprisingly consistent. Equally consistent, though, was the sunshine that pierced through the clouds after the rain ended, just before dusk. It often creating a dramatic sunset that began with shades of gold that faded to orange and finally deepened to a rich pink.

Lake Granby Colorado sunset

Gold reflections.

Sunset at Lake Granby Colorado

A few minutes later the gold became orange.

Lake Granby Colorado sunset

And then it deepened to pink.

Nights along the shores of Lake Granby were magical too. Lights from the homes on the far shore shone across the water, and stars filled the sky above.

We were fortunate to be there during the new moon, and I was determined to see the Milky Way tumbling into the lake. So, I snuck out of the trailer very late one night. Mark wished me well in a muffled voice as he pulled the covers over his head!

When I got to the beach, the scene was ideal. The Milky Way filled the sky and the lake was smooth and calm below it.

Lake Granby Colorado Milky Way

Milky Way above Lake Granby.

I stayed out on the beach for quite a while, and the Milky Way slowly walked across the sky, moving from left to right as it always does.

It was eerie being out on the beach by myself in the pitch dark. Suddenly, the wind began to blow and waves noisily lapped the shore by my feet. A few steps away, a swimming dock creaked and groaned in the growing swell.

I tried to ignore the noises and focus on my photos, telling myself there was nothing to fear. But suddenly I heard a loud bark right behind me! I jumped and felt a shiver of goose bumps ran up my spine. Fumbling for my flashlight, I swung it in the direction of the noise, but there was nothing there. Of course!

I told myself it was okay and turned back to the task at hand even though my hands were shaking.

Photographing the Night Sky

When I got back to the trailer, I dove under the covers, safe and sound.

Astrophotography always has its thrills and chills and funny stories that come from tromping around in the pitch dark on moonless nights. However, those little frights are always worth it.

My favorite photos of the stars reveal the calmness and certainty of the infinite, something most easily seen in the night sky. It is the true backdrop of our lives.

Lake Granby Colorado Milky Way

The stars are ever present.

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Remote RV Camping: Antero Reservoir & Blue River Colorado

August 2023 – During both summer and winter, Colorado’s popular ski resort towns and other spots with mountain views get very busy. However, you can still find some fairly remote RV camping areas away from those locales. Both Antero Reservoir South Shore Campground and a few places along State Route 9 next to the Blue River offer not only scenic views but quiet nights too.

Remote RV Camping- Antero Reservoir & Blue River Colorado

A summer thunderstorm brings a beautiful double rainbow off the beaten path in Colorado.

Antero Reservoir South Shore Campground

Denver Water, the entity responsible for providing Denver’s city water, has some rustic waterfront dry camping campgrounds at their reservoirs. One of these is Antero Reservoir South Shore Campground where we stayed for a few days.

Antero Reservoir Campground offers remote RV camping in Colorado

Antero Reservoir South Shore Campground in Colorado.

Antero Reservoir is a very beautiful lake that has distant mountain views in every direction.

Even better, Antero Reservoir South Shore Campground is FREE!!! And it’s not the only free campground operated by Denver Water. It turns out that several Denver Water lakeside campgrounds are free!!

Antero Reservoir Campground provides remote RV camping in Colorado

Sunset on the shores of Antero Reservoir in Colorado.

Well, it turns out that the Denver Water campgrounds are free for now.

A ranger informed us that, beginning in 2024, Denver Water will charge $18-$22 per campsite. Because these campgrounds are on Denver Water land rather than Federal land, the popular Federal Interagency Senior Pass discount won’t apply.

So, we felt really fortunate to have found this campground before that change took place!

Sunset near Antero Reservoir in Colorado

We had a ball chasing sunsets with the RZR!

While Antero Reservoir is very beautiful and utterly devoid of crowds, especially on weekdays, what it lacks in quantities of bustling tourists it unfortunately makes up for in quantities of buzzing bugs!

During our stay, the deer flies were really thick. Deer flies bite hard and their bites hurt! So, outdoor pursuits were a challenge. But the lovely surroundings were worth the constant swatting.

Sunset near Antero Reservoir Campground in Colorado

What a colorful sky!

Sunset at Antero Reservoir Colorado

A last glimpse of the sun.

If it weren’t for the bugs, Antero Reservoir South Shore Campground would be a top destination for RVers and daytrippers too. It’s first-come-first-serve now (we’re not sure if that will change too), and every site is just steps from the water. Just take your bug spray!

When I emailed a friend about the bugs accompanying the beauty at this campground, she recommended we try a bug spray by Sawyer Products which she’s found works wonders, smells good, isn’t toxic and lasts for 12 hours. We couldn’t get it ordered fast enough to use during our stay at Antero Reservoir, but it’s on our list to order and keep in our truck so it’s always with us!

Sawyer Bug Spray

Every night we were at Antero Reservoir, we wandered along the shoreline watching the sunset. The patterns of colors were constantly changing.

Sunset near Antero Reservoir Campground in Colorado

Reflections at a small inlet.

Antero Reservoir Campground in Colorado at sunset

A burst of color behind a mountain silhouette.

Antero Reservoir is also a great place for dogs, and Buddy met many during our stay. Big ones, little ones, young ones and old ones–he made friends everywhere.

When we were indoors, his favorite activity was watching the Outdoor Channel at his window. There were lots of chipmunks running around and he knew where they all lived.

Puppy watches the Outdoor Channel from inside his RV

Buddy kept a close eye on the chipmunks.

Way beyond the campground limits, we found a huge open meadow where he ran to his heart’s content, full speed ahead. It’s not often that he has acres and acres of open land to run wherever he wants and show off how fast he is.

Puppy runs free in the Colorado countryside

“This place is FUN!”

After all that running, he cooled his jets for a bit in the water.

Puppy in Antero Reservoir in Colorado

“The best way to get a drink is to wade right into the water bowl!”

There are several dirt roads in this area, and he just loved taking rides in our Polaris RZR side-by-side.

puppy loves riding in his Polaris RZR side-by-side

“Make it go fast!”

At one point we looked up on a ridge, and we saw a stately pronghorn antelope standing there framed by puffy white clouds.

Pronghorn antelope at Antero Reservoir in Colorado

A pronghorn antelope looks down at us.

The antelope watched us closely and then turned away. I loved the way the clouds billowed behind him.

Antero Reservoir in Colorado pronghorn antelope

It is so exciting to see one of these exotic looking creatures.

Then he took off at an elegant trot.

Running pronghorn antelope at Antero Reservoir in Colorado

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Corps of Engineers Campgrounds

The winds built all morning every morning, becoming quite wild and woolly by the afternoon. Wind waves crashed on the shore and we saw some serious whitecaps further out in the lake. By then, the boats and kayaks were long gone!

Waves at Antero Reservoir in Colorado

Wind wave action.

Antero Reservoir is primarily used by fishermen, and many of the people camping in the campground had a boat of some kind with them.

But we loved just walking along the shore, watching the patterns and energy of the waves.

Antero Reservoir Colorado splashing waves

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State Route 9 on the banks of the Blue River

Moving on from Antero Reservoir, we drove up State Route 9 which runs alongside the beautiful Blue River north of Silverthorne. In some places, the water tumbled over rocks on its northward journey to the Green Mountain Reservoir.

Beautiful Blue River in Colorado

The Blue River in Colorado north of Silverthorne.

There are several USFS campgrounds along the river and around Green Mountain Reservoir. Last year, near the end of our summer RV adventure, we camped at the Green Mountain Reservoir and really enjoyed our stay (blog post here…see the second half of the post).

This year we explored the rest of the river between Silverthorne and the reservoir.

The Blue River moves fast, and we had a wonderful time blurring the cascades as they flowed over the rocks using various slow shutter speeds.

It’s always hard to choose — do you go for the striated lines in the water that give a sense of its speed and movement, or do you go for the totally silky look that gives the scene a deep and otherworldly serenity?!

Blue River Colorado-2

Fast moving water.

Blue River Colorado

A serene moonscape of rocks.

Sunset was the best time — and not to be missed!

I lolled around in the camper, though, just not in the mood to run down to the river at that particular moment to take photos. However, Mark was Johnny on the spot, and he got some fabulous photos.

I was totally jealous when he came home and showed me what I’d missed! No more lolling around at sunset!! As Ansel Adams said, “Chance favors the prepared mind,” and mine had been somewhere else!

Blue River Colorado at sunset

The Blue River at sunset.

Sunset at Blue River Colorado

Another view of the Blue River at sunset.

Reese Goosebox

Towns and villages — even small settlements and homesteads — are rare in this neck of the woods, and we felt one with nature. The distant mountain peaks lit up in a deep burnt orange as the sun slipped from the sky.

Rocky Mountains at sunset near Blue River Colorado

The day ends in a blaze of glory.

Colorado sunset at the Blue River

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RV at sunset by Blue River Colorado

Goodnight, Colorado!

This year, the summer monsoons were very active in the Colorado mountains, and we saw quite a few rainstorms late in the day.

One afternoon, we got a doozy of a thunderstorm, complete with enormous black clouds, huge thunderclaps and lightning.

RV under stormy skies at Blue River Colorado

Monsoon storm clouds gather over our RV.

After it was over, the sun came out and a huge double rainbow appeared in the sky.

RV under a double rainbow in Colorado

A reminder of God’s promise.

When we think of Colorado, our first thoughts are always the famous mountain towns like Ouray, Durango, Telluride and Crested Butte. But there are quiet, out-of-the-way places too, and they are just as wonderful!

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Willow Lake (& more) around the Granite Dells in Prescott AZ

Willow Lake is like the quiet, hands-in-his-pockets, unassuming brother to its neighbor, the more popular, vibrant and beloved Watson Lake. Both lakes are situated on the edge of Prescott, Arizona, and they share the wonders of the stunning rock formations known as the Granite Dells. Willow Lake is on the west side of the Dells and Watson Lake is on the east side, and miles of hiking trails roam through the vast acreage of boulders between them.

Willow Lake Arizona & More!

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After taking in lots of “WOW” sunset moments at Watson Lake, we finally went over to Willow Lake to see what was there. It was midday and the light was harsh, but what a beautiful place it turned out to be. We wished we’d gone there earlier in our Prescott RV trip!

We started at the Willow Lake boat ramp on the north shore and were surprised to see waves incessantly lapping the shore and the trees trunks! The lake level was very high and the wind was strong that day.

Willow Lake Arizona boat ramp

High water on a windy day at Willow Lake.

Along the shore of Willow Lake there were huge expanses of boulders, and we were soon hopping from one to another. There were fabulous patterns in the rocks, like veins running all through them.

Willow Lake Arizona Patterns in the Dells at Willow Lake Arizona

Colorful veins meander through these rocks by Willow Lake.

Buddy was on the lookout for any stray ground squirrels that might be scampering about. Mark caught him up on his lookout perch from below.

Willow Lake Arizona It's a long ways down!

“Is there a squirrel down there?”

Willow Lake Arizona Photographer and pupppy

I see you!

Arizona Delorme Atlas

Some of the rocks in the Dells had quite a bit of color.

Willow Lake Granite Dells in Arizona

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Suddenly we heard the familiar haunting cry of a Gambel’s quail. I just love the way these guys dress up with very dapper trim on their bodies and faces and that wonderful little topknot on their heads.

721 Gambel Quail at Willow Lake Arizona

All dressed up and ready to go!

Gambel Quail at Willow Lake Arizona 2

“Are you taking my picture? I wasn’t ready yet!”

We noticed a young man expertly navigating the crazy boulder formations and discovered he’s a local who hikes around the Dells around Willow Lake all the time. He highly recommended that we follow a trail that headed to the north and east past an RV park on the edge of the Dells, and he mentioned intriguing things we’d see, including a red bench and a bridge.

This sounded like fun, so off we went.

Hiking at Willow Lake Arizona

“C’mon, Dad, let’s go find that red bench!”

As we hiked away from Willow Lake, we saw some wonderful old trees and lots of massive expanses of boulders.

Tree and shadow at Willow Lake Arizona

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Willow Lake Arizona granite dells

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We came to a sign with a large map on it and could clearly see the trail that went to the red bench. Woo hoo! This was definitely a really cool area. We hiked along the trail for quite a while.

But then the trail suddenly went straight up a boulder hill. Mark stayed below while Buddy and I checked it out. At the top it seemed like we were standing in a sea of boulders, but I sure didn’t see a red bench or a bridge anywhere.

Willow Lake hike through the Granite Dells in Arizona

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On the way down we met a couple hiking the Willow Lake trails with a dog. After the pups introduced themselves with a few sniffs, I asked the couple where the heck the red bench was. It turned out we’d missed a fork in the trail and had taken the Ascent Trail instead of the Red Bench Trail. Oops!

Oh well. What we saw was still cool and it was a beautiful day to be out hiking.

Suddenly, a mountain biker rode over the boulders past us. Wow! Then his friend appeared and the two of them rode up and down the boulders like experts. What fun!

Granite Dells at Willow Lake Arizona mountain biking

Don’t try this at home!

Mountain biker in the Granite Dells at Willow Lake Arizona

These mountain bikers at Willow Lake made it look so easy.

Granite Dells mountain biking at Willow Lake Arizona

Weeeee!

Arizona Highways Scenic Drives

Buddy watched the mountain bikers for a moment, but he was much more interested in athletes of the rodent kind.

Regal pup

“Not just rodents, Mom. I’ll chase anything that moves. Lizards are good!”

Willow Lake is definitely worth a visit, and we’ll be back at sunrise or sunset next time to add a dash of color to our photos. In the meantime, we found a few more photos of the Granite Dells at Watson Lake buried in our computers along with some more lovely shots of Lynx Lake that we thought you’d enjoy.

Here you go — the Granite Dells and cactus flowers at Watson Lake:

Granite Dells at Watson Lake Arizona

Granite Dells at Watson Lake (next door to Willow Lake).

Full moon at the Watson Lake Granite Dells in Arizona

Granite Dells under a full moon.

Red cactus flowers at the Watson Lake Granite Dells Arizona

Red cactus flowers in the Dells.

Red cactus flowers in Arizona

Happy cactus flowers smiling at the world.

Red cactus flowers at the Watson Lake Granite Dells Arizona

Look for these red beauties in the springtime!

And here’s the southeastern corner of Lynx Lake where the water trickles into the lake and forms wonderful shallow pools on its way:

A trickle of water flows into Lynx Lake in Arizona

The pools of water in the southeast corner of Lynx Lake are as clear as glass.

A glorious sunset reflected at Lynx Lake, Arizona

Tree reflections at Lynx Lake Arizona

A reflected archway in the lake.

Lynx Lake Sunset

Goodnight!

We really enjoyed our brief RV trip to explore the lakes in the area around Prescott Arizona. There are actually even more lakes nearby that were on our list but we didn’t get to…so now we have to go back, and we will!

Puppy fur blown by gentle breezes

Buddy is looking forward to exploring the Prescott area some more.

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Granite Dells at Watson Lake near Prescott AZ – SPECTACULAR!

May 2023 – The Granite Dells at Watson Lake near Prescott, Arizona, are a spectacular moonscape of rounded granite boulders that beg to be climbed on and explored. These gorgeous rocks line the shore of the lake and pop up out of the water here and there, forming mini islands. The views from every vantage point are magnificent.

Watson Lake Granite Dells in Prescott Arizona

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We have seen The Dells from a distance many times, catching brief glimpses of them as they appeared on the horizon for a split second while we drove to or from Prescott’s historic Courthouse Square.

This year, on an RV trip to nearby Lynx Lake, we had a chance to get a closer look at Watson Lake’s Granite Dells, and what a rewarding experience that turned out to be!

Granite Dells at Watson Lake near Prescott AZ

The Granite Dells are a magnificent moonscape of rounded boulders on the shores of Watson Lake.

Kayak at the Granite Dells at Watson Lake near Prescott AZ

The Dells are a fabulous place to explore on foot — or by boat!

We climbed and scrambled and followed the narrow hiking trails along the edges of Watson Lake. The trails dodged between the boulders and sometimes vanished to become just white dots painted on the rocks until the trail resumed on the other side of the boulders. It made for fun and easy route finding and gave each hike an amusing twist!

Hiking trail through the Granite Dells at Watson Lake near Prescott Arizona

The hiking trails were gravel in some places but became white dots painted on the rocks in others!

Storage ottoman bench for RV

Buddy was totally in his element and scampered over the rocks in sheer delight!

Climbing the boulders at the Granite Dells at Watson Lake near Prescott AZ

Buddy was in his element. We were too!

Hiking the boulders at the Granite Dells at Watson Lake near Prescott AZ

All smiles!

We made a point to go to Watson Lake at dusk on several afternoons, hoping to catch the Granite Dells in the beautiful soft golden light of late afternoon and then watch a stunning sunset. Mother Nature has its own agenda for sunsets, however!

The boulders seemed to glow as the last rays of sun hit the Dells.

The Dells at Watson Lake in Prescott Arizona

Golden glow.

Sunset at Watson Lake Granite Dells Prescott Arizona

What a place!

As I began setting up for a shot, I noticed my shadow on the rocks. How cool is that?!

Photography at the Granite Dells and Watson Lake Prescott Arizona

A ghostly figure under a full moon across from me was busy taking photos of the incredible landscape!

Watson Lake is very popular with kayakers, and we saw lots of them out on the water. As the sun began to sink low in the sky, the kayaks came in from all directions to return to the boat ramp.

Kayaking on Watson Lake between the Dells in Prescott Arizona

Exploring the hiking trails was great, but checking out the views from a kayak might be even better!

Kayaking past the Granite Dells at Watson Lake in Prescott Arizona

Kayaks returned to the boat ramp at the end of the day.

Kayak at Watson Lake Granite Dells in Prescott Arizona at dusk

A kayaker navigates the island Dells to return to shore after a nice ride.

Every direction we looked we saw a stunning view, and we wandered happily from one dazzling photo op to the next. Some of the trees were standing in the water. They looked quite peaceful and very much at home!

Granite Dells at Watson Lake near Prescott Arizona

Heavy rains this year raised the water level until the trees were immersed.

Granite Dells at Watson Lake in Prescott Arizona

The trees didn’t seem to mind this extra drink one bit.

Flashlight

When the sun slipped over the horizon, Mark caught a starburst between the tree branches. Just as he hit the shutter button, Buddy walked right into the picture! But we both love how it turned out.

Puppy at the Dells in Prescott Arizona Watson Lake

Buddy photo-bombed this photo at just the right moment.

Buddy then took a seat so as not to photo-bomb any more images, and he kept a close eye on us.

Puppy resting in the Granite Dells at Watson Lake near Prescott AZ

Buddy patiently waited and watched as we took endless photos.

One night, the sunset was more subdued than we would have wished, but the setting was so glorious it didn’t matter. Such beauty!

Watson Lake Dells near Prescott Arizona the Granite Dells

The Granite Dells at dusk.

Watson Lake Granite Dells near Prescott AZ

Magnificent!

On another night, the brilliant colors in the sky we’d hoped for never appeared at all. But we were in seventh heaven anyway, crawling around on these rocks and savoring the gorgeous views.

The Granite Dells at Watson Lake near Prescott Arizona plus a puppy

I noticed this wonderful dead tree by the side of the trail and Buddy watched me as I got set up. Behind him, Mark was busy creating another beautiful composition.

Watson Lake Granite Dells near Prescott Arizona

Watson Lake and the Granite Dells are such a surprise in the high desert and pine forests of Prescott AZ.

Watson Lake Granite Dells in Prescott AZ

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At last we got a sunset to remember. The sky and its reflections in the water went from bright orange to peachy pink to a rich pink and blue.

Granite Dells at Watson Lake Prescott AZ

Lots of people come out to Watson Lake to watch the sunset, and when the sky first lit up on fire, we heard a roar of cheers from somewhere high up in the rocks!

Sunset behind the Granite Dells at Watson Lake near Prescott Arizona

Then the sky turned peach and pink.

Granite Dells at Watson Lake near Prescott Arizona

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over

And then it settled into a rich pink and blue. Ahhhh!

Granite Dells at Watson Lake Prescott AZ.jpg

“That was such a rush, I’ve gotta rest for a while!”

We will always remember that afternoon!

If you visit Prescott, Arizona, be sure to wander down to Watson Lake Park and explore the Granite Dells. There are lots of trails to choose from. We stayed close to the shore but the Dells fill a huge area that extends all the way from Watson Lake to neighboring Willow Lake a few miles away.

Watson Lake is popular with both locals and visitors, and you’ll have plenty of company to share the experience with. But everyone around you will be grinning from ear to ear and will be very happy to be there. It’s that kind of place!

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Location of The Dells – Google Maps

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Lynx Lake, Arizona – Great RV Camping Near Prescott!

Lynx Lake, Arizona, and the nearby attractions around Prescott proved to be a great place for a week-long RV camping shakedown cruise in our toy hauler. This trip gave us a chance to do some exploring and test our solar power upgrade and generator repair before we headed out on our summer travels.

Lynx Lake Arizona sunset

A fiery sunset at Lynx Lake’s South Shore.


Lynx Lake is a quiet spot in the higher elevations of north-central Arizona that is known for great fishing. Sitting at 5,500′ altitude, it is cooler than the Verde Valley and Sonoran Desert parts of Arizona.

We were hoping to get some nice photos, and we played a lot with bracketing our photos (taking identical shots at different exposures) and HDR (combining those images to get the most out of the highlights and shadows).

Sunset at Lynx Lake Arizona

Lynx Lake at dusk.

Lynx Lake is manmade and has two recreational areas, one at the north end near the dam and the other at the south end. The South Shore Day Use area is a wonderful spot with picnic areas and lots of places to fish. That’s where we spent most of our time.

Picnic Day Use area at Lynx Lake Arizona

The day use area at the South Shore of Lynx Lake is beautifully outfitted with picnic areas and grills.

Lynx Lake is known for good fishing and it’s well stocked! There were fishermen along the shore and trolling in boats at every time of day.

Fishing at Lynx Lake Arizona

People were fishing all along the shoreline.

Fishing and trolling at Lynx Lake Arizona

Fishermen were trolling in boats too!

Arizona Delorme Atlas

We followed the shoreline to the far southeast corner where we found a large gravel beach that was perfect for kids and dogs to play in the shallow water.

Shoreline of Lynx Lake Arizona

There’s a beach with shallow water that’s idea for kids and dogs.

A stream ran through a small craggy canyon to the lake. I suspect this area is usually dry or just a trickle, but because of the heavy winter and spring rains, the water spread out into marvelous shallow pools that mirrored their surroundings.

Stream leading to Lynx Lake Arizona

We followed a craggy canyon upstream at the southeast end of the lake.

We caught the trees making lacy shadows in the water.

Tree shadows at Lynx Lake Arizona

Leafy patterns in the water.

Buddy just loved this part of the lake. He loves going in the water, but only up to his armpits! The water was the perfect depth, and he and a few other dogs had fun chasing sticks.

Happy puppy

Buddy and other dogs had fun playing in the water.

A slightly overgrown trail followed these pools far back into the canyon and took us to a surprise manmade waterfall. It was wonderful to be here when there was so much water flowing.

Manmade waterfall at the South Shore of Lynx Lake Arizona

We came across a manmade waterfall that was flowing really well after the heavy winter and spring rains.

At dusk, we wandered back through the canyon along the stream to the main part of the lake where the sun was beginning to do its magic.

Lynx Lake Arizona southeast tip

Peace at twilight.

Lynx Lake Arizona peaceful shoreline

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After all that fresh air and fun at the lake Buddy crashed when we got back to the RV!

Tired pup after a day at the lake

Buddy was dog tired after all that!

There are two campgrounds at Lynx Lake: Lynx Lake Campground and Hilltop Campground.

Lynx Lake Campground has hookups and the sites are better suited to larger RVs. It’s also located halfway between the two main access points to Lynx Lake — the North Shore and the South Shore.

Hilltop Campground is near the South Shore and is better suited to smaller RVs and tents. It is dry camping only. Campsites at both campgrounds can be reserved.

Renogy 200 watt solar panel

We decided to take our chances on squeezing into a site at Hilltop Campground. Some campsites are first come-first serve, which we prefer because you can see what you’re getting yourself into. But with busier campgrounds these days, and not knowing how busy Hilltop Campground might be, we opted to reserve a campsite ahead of time.

We chose a campsite the USFS website said was suitable for a trailer up to 40’ long. Since ours is only 33’ we thought it would be fine. Not!

As we stood there scratching our heads trying to figure out how to shoe-horn our rig into the sloped and tightly curved pull-through campsite, the campground host showed up in his golf cart and kindly offered to put us in a big former campground host site that he kept available for people in a bind like we were. Phew! It was plenty long enough and didn’t have any weird sharp turns.

RV Camping at Hilltop Campground Lynx Lake Arizona

We had a wonderful stay at Hilltop Campground.

Many sites at Hilltop Campground are called pull-through sites, but they are really just pullouts along the campground loop road. You’re basically just pulled over on the side of the road. We would have fit into several of those but they were full.

campsite at Hilltop Campground at Lynx Lake Arizona

Most pull-through campsites at Hilltop Campground are simply pull-outs from the campground loop road.

The campground pads in the campsites themselves are beautifully constructed, however. It’s a very hilly area, and each site has a large tent pad, picnic table and fire ring, often at different levels and facing into the woods.

Campsite at Hilltop Campground at Lynx Lake Arizona hiking trails

The campground pads are nicely constructed. Many are multi-level and there’s always a large tent pad and area around the picnic table and fire ring. Plenty of room to spread out!

There are wonderful hiking trails running all through ponderosa woods around Hilltop Campground and down to the lake. These would be ideal for mountain biking. We didn’t bring any bikes with us, but we walked these trails every day. Well, Buddy ran them at full speed sometimes! We were always the only ones on the trail.

Hilltop Campground at Lynx Lake Arizona hiking trails

The hiking trails around the campground were fabulous and rarely used.

We love ponderosa pine woods because the trees are spaced wide apart, creating a natural park-like atmosphere. You don’t feel closed in by the trees and have lots of open areas between them strewn with soft pine needles.

Ponderosa pine forest at Lynx Lake Arizona

A natural alley in the ponderosa pines.

Happy Camper Holding Tank Treatment

Each evening we wandered down to the lake to catch the sunset.

Lynx Lake Arizona at sunset

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A pretty sunset was reflected in the lake’s surface.

There is a hiking trail that goes all the way around the lake. On the eastern shoreline it is a narrow trail that is very lightly used. On the western shore it is a paved walking path that is very popular. We liked the intimacy of the eastern shoreline trail.

Hiking trail on the eastern shore of Lynx Lake Arizona

The hiking trail along the eastern shore of the lake is narrow and has very few hikers on it.

Park bench on the eastern shore of Lynx Lake

At one point on the eastern shoreline trail we came across a park bench with a pretty view.

The sunsets were lovely. The week we were there was windy, but on a few evenings the wind quieted down completely and all the ripples in the water disappeared.

Lynx Lake Arizona at sunset

The water was perfectly still as the sun set.

Sunset at Lynx Lake Arizona

The sky lit up just as the sun sank behind the distant trees.

It is amazing how much we relax when we’re out in our RV. As soon as we set up camp, we both let out a huge sigh of relief.

It’s not that our conventional home-based lifestyle is stressful, but somehow there’s always a lot to do that keeps us busy all the time. Also, the focus is very much inward and homeward.

On the road, the focus of the RV lifestyle is outward and full of curiosity about what lies around the next corner. The “busy-ness” of day-to-day living slips away. When we’re camping in the woods, our to do list dwindles to the simplest things: eat, sleep, smell the fresh air, hike, ride the side-by-side, take photos and relax. Napping sneaks in here and there too!

Napping in a toy hauler

Buddy and Mark love napping in the upper bunk bed!

Our newly upgraded solar power system worked great. The batteries never dipped below 12.5 volts. We also had a chance to run the generator, and it purred like a kitten. Yay!

But our real reason for this trip — besides doing a shakedown and exploring Lynx Lake — was to spend some time at nearby Watson Lake and Willow Lake, home to the spectacular Granite Dells.

Here’s a sampler of what’s over there — with lots more to come!

Watson Lake Granite Dells in Prescott Arizona

The Granite Dells at Watson Lake were fabulous — more pics coming!

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Dead Horse Ranch State Park + Tuzigoot and Clarkdale

February 2023 – Back in mid-November we spent the better part of a week at Dead Horse Ranch State Park in central Arizona and used it as a home base to visit Tuzigoot, Clarkdale and the Arizona Copper Museum. We’d known about this state park for many years but this was our first time visiting. What a delightful stay we had!

DEAD HORSE RANCH STATE PARK – LAGOONS and TRAILS

The first thing we noticed after we got our campsite set up was the trio of beautiful lagoons that are the centerpiece of the park.

Rich fall colors at Dead Horse Ranch State Park Arizona

Autumn splendor at Dead Horse Ranch State Park in central Arizona.

The name “Dead Horse Ranch State Park” seems strange, but it has a fun origin.

In the late 1940s the Ireys family of Minnesota was looking for a ranch to buy in the southwest, and they visited several prospective properties. At one of them the kids noticed a dead horse. After two days of driving all over the dirt roads of Arizona ranch hunting, the dad asked the kids which one they liked best. “The one with the dead horse!” was the reply!

The Ireys named their ranch, “Dead Horse Ranch” and they lived and worked on the property until the 1970s. When Arizona acquired the ranch, the Ireys made retaining the name one of the conditions of the sale. Dead Horse Ranch State Park officially opened on June 1, 1977.

The lagoons in Dead Horse State Park Arizona

The lagoons are a highlight at Dead Horse Ranch State Park.

Many people think that the desert regions in Arizona don’t have four seasons. However, that’s not entirely true, despite winters being warmer than elsewhere!

There is a distinct Fall season, complete with brilliant autumn colors, that arrives about a month or two later than the northern states, and Spring brings lots of wildflowers. Summer is, well, a lot like being in an oven!

Trees near the lagoons at Dead Horse State Park Arizona

Under the golden arches.

We found some wonderful hiking trails that meandered under the canopy of trees that grow alongside the Verde River. Buddy loved exploring these trails ahead of us and then dashing back to tell us what he’d found!

Fast dog sprints in the woods

“You wouldn’t believe what’s up there!”

TUZIGOOT NATIONAL MONUMENT

As comfortable as we were in our spacious campsite inside Dead Horse Ranch State Park, we ventured beyond the park’s borders a few times too.

Tuzigoot National Monument, a site of ancient Indian ruins that were built by the Sinagua people in between 1050 and 1380 AD, is quite close by.

The ruins consist of a series of rooms defined by stone walls that were built onto a hillside.

Tuzigoot National Monument in Arizona

Tuzigoot National Monument is a 110 room ancient Indian ruin.

It is believed there were 87 first story rooms and 23 second story rooms in this community and that it housed about 225 people. The rooms were terraced and entry and exit from each room was through the roof.

Tuzigoot National Monument in Arizona

Tuzigoot’s rooms are all adjacent. It is thought the residents climbed in and out of each room by a hole in the roof!

A paved path took us to the top of the hill where there were 360 degree panoramic views, and we could look down at the rooms of the ruins below us.

View from top of Tuzigoot National Monument

The hill that Tuzigoot is built on has panoramic views that go on forever.

Heading back down to a lower level, we were able to go inside a room that had been reconstructed with posts and beams to show what it was like when these rooms were occupied and were enclosed with full height walls and ceilings.

Inside Tuzigoot National Monument ancient Indian ruins

A reconstructed room interior.

Mark noticed a mortar and pestle up on a ledge.

Mortar and pestle at Tuzigoot national Monument

This mortar and pestle were originally found at the site.

As with most Indian ruins in Arizona, lots of incredible artifacts have been found in these ruins. A museum on site houses a large collection of pottery that has been carefully pieced back together again. What a treasure trove of handiwork made by the ancients!

Pottery found at Tuzigoot National Monument in Arizona

Pottery found in the Tuzigoot ruins are on display in the museum.

CLARKDALE and COPPER MINING

On another day we took a drive over to the village of Clarkdale. We’d bypassed this town of about 4,200 people dozens of times over the years and never stopped in to see what was there. It is tucked away off the main highway but has a delightful main street and downtown area.

Despite its small size, it is home to one of Arizona’s most famous museums: The Arizona Copper Art Museum which is housed in the old high school building.

Clarkdale High School now the Copper Museum in Clarkdale Arizona

The old Clarkdale High School is now the Arizona Copper Art Musuem.

In years past, Arizona school kids learned about the “5 C’s” that made their state special: Copper, Cattle, Cotton, Citrus and Climate.

The Arizona Copper Art Museum celebrates the first C and is situated in the heart of the old Verde Mining District where the twin mining camps of Jerome and Clarkdale grew up around the United Verde Mine which was owned by William A. Clark.

Bucket of copper ore at the Copper Museum in Clarkdale Arizona

Copper was a huge industry in the Verde Valley at the turn of the last century
as it is elsewhere in Arizona today.

The United Verde Mine and Clarkdale mining camp were just one part of William Clark’s extraordinary holdings. He was a man of vision, energy and drive, and it seems no project was too big or difficult for him to take on.

Besides the copper mine and mining camps he’d built in the Verde Valley, he owned three mines and two banks in Montana, controlled several newspapers in Montana and Utah and owned a sugar plantation in California!

Before he built the United Verde Mine in Jerome, the copper vein there was considered too remote to ever be profitable. However, William Clark managed to make $60 million from his mine! Yet getting the ore out of the ground was just part of the challenge. He also needed to build a railroad to get the ore from the mine in Jerome to the smelter in Clarkdale and from there out to the world. So he built a railroad.

Needing a place to service his trains, he bought a ranch in Nevada and brought in employees to live and work there. That little train maintenance camp and yard is now the city of Las Vegas…in Clark County, Nevada!

And if all that weren’t enough, he then became a US Senator for Montana.

Outside the Copper Museum in Clarkdale Arizona

William Clark was a busy and massively successful man. We kinda like the quieter life!

We had fun roaming around the outside of the museum where we found a large bell, a barrel of monkeys and a huge chess board.

The museum wasn’t open yet, however, so we decided to return to explore the inside of the museum another time.

Barrel of Monkeys at the Arizona Copper Museum in Clarkdale AZ

Who are these guys??

Chess game in Clarkdale Arizona

Buddy ponders his next move.

Clarkdale has a pretty park shaded by several huge trees, and these trees were all in the peak of fall color. Every time the wind blew, a flurry of vibrant yellow leaves would flutter to the ground. A blanket of yellow leaves surrounded the base of each tree.

Autumn color in Clarkdale Arizona

Golden leaves were falling everywhere, leaving a thick blanket of yellow on the ground.

Down one street we discovered Saint Cecilia’s Mission Catholic Church, and we learned later that mass is held here in Latin! If you are visiting the area and want to experience a Latin mass, Saint Cecilia’s is the place to go!

St. Cecilia's Mission in Clarkdale, Arizona

Saint Cecilia’s Mission holds mass in Latin!

Down another street we came across a vintage gas station that is still intact and is a wonderful throwback to earlier times.

Classic historic gas station in Clarkdale Arizona

Clarkdale’s old gas station evokes an earlier era.

An old gas pump served many customers over the years.

Old gas pump at a historic gas station in Clarkdale Arizona

An old gas pump.

A woman came over to chat with us, and we found out she owns a 50% share of this gas station. She told us it was originally built in 1942 and it served gas right up until 2014.

At that time the government gave all gas stations an ultimatum: upgrade the underground tanks or they’ll be removed (for free). The station had been struggling against more modern competition out on the highway, so they opted to have the tanks removed.

Even though gas is no longer sold there, the original gas price sign was still advertising some very appealing prices!

Historic gas prices in Clarkdale Arizona

Old gas prices!

VERDE CANYON RAILROAD

Automobiles weren’t the only way to get around back in the day or even now. The Verde Canyon Railroad takes tourists out along William Clark’s original train tracks that he’d built to transport copper ore from his mine.

The Verde Canyon Railroad is a very popular train excursion that goes through some red rock scenery as it chugs through the Verde Valley, and they have lots of different specialty rides, from starlight rides to chocolate, wine and beer rides to fall color and spring flower rides and a magical ride at Christmas.

Again, we have wanted to do this train ride for a while, but they don’t allow pets, so this particular trip wasn’t the right time.

Verde Canyon Railway in Clarkdale Arizona

The Verde Canyon Railway takes tourists on the tracks that were built to haul copper ore.

VIOLETTE’S BAKERY

But we still got a train ride (of sorts)! In the heart of Clarkdale stands an antique train car that is now home to Violette’s Bakery. Violette specializes in French pastries along with specialty coffees, as well as yummy breakfasts and lunches. We stepped right up to the train car window and put in an order!

Violette's Bakery Cafe in Clarkdale Arizona

Violette’s Bakery is in an antique train car.

Buddy was delighted to order puppaccino. It totally made up for him not being allowed on the Verde Canyon train!

Puppaccino at Violette's Bakery Cafe in Clarkdale Arizona

Buddy orders his favorite treat.

Puppaccino!

Puppaccino!

We really enjoyed our few hours in Clarkdale and will get back another time to see the Copper Art Museum and take the Verde Canyon Railroad ride.

Street lamp in Clarkdale Arizona

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In the meantime, Dead Horse Ranch State Park was calling us back with its its lovely campground and beautiful lagoons wearing their Fall finest.

Dead Horse Ranch State Park Lagoon in Arizona

Fall color at Dead Horse Ranch State Park.

Fall colors at the Lagoon in Dead Horse Ranch State Park Arizona

View from the water’s edge at the lagoon.

RV camping at Dead Horse Ranch State Park Arizona

We enjoyed our stay at Dead Horse Ranch State Park — and we’ll be back!

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Catalina State Park & Roosevelt Lake: RV Camping in AZ

It didn’t take us long after we returned from our summer travels to get the itch to run off in our RV again. So, before the holidays, we packed it up and headed to Catalina State Park in Tucson, Arizona, to do some winter camping, and on the way back we stopped at a longtime favorite, Roosevelt Lake.

Catalina State Park RV Camping + Roosevelt Lake RV Campground

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Catalina State Park is nestled up against the majestic Santa Catalina Mountains and is loaded with beautiful, classic Sonoran Desert scenery. Saguaro cacti stand sentinel throughout the park, watching over the arid landscape with arms held high, and waving to each other on the hillsides.

Golden hour at Catalina State Park Arizona

The Santa Catalina mountains light up at the end of the day.

Catalina State Park Arizona at sunset

A pink blush of sunset settles over Catalina State Park.

The campsites at Catalina State Park are suitable for RVs of any length and have water and electric hookups at each site. This is an extremely popular campground in the cold months, and reservations book up months in advance.

We managed to snag a site in December for 5 nights, and we were very glad we did because the place was booked solid from January through March!

Saguaro cactus slow dance Catalina State Park Arizona

Sweet embrace.

This is a campground we knew and loved from before we began living in an RV full-time. Back in 2006, we took our popup tent trailer there for Thanksgiving, and we fondly remember putting a shallow pan of water at the edge of our campsite under a bush and watching cardinals, roadrunners and a chipmunk stop by for a drink.

One day, as we enjoyed some late afternoon refreshments, Mark put down the jar of shelled peanuts he was munching from, and that brazen little chipmunk came over and helped himself to a few!

That memorable campsite was in a back corner of “A Loop.” This year we got a space in the middle of “B Loop” which was just as lovely but not as conducive to luring animals in for a visit.

All the campsites in Catalina State Park are roomy and have plenty of space between neighbors.

RV camping at Catalina State Park Arizona

Our site in “B Loop” at Catalina State Park.

As soon as we got set up, we hit trails and paths that surround the campground, happily snapping pics here and there.

Saguaro cactus at Catalina State Park Arizona

Wild arms!

Cactus at Catalina State Park Arizona

A barrel cactus listens to a saguaro.

The Santa Catalina mountains tower over the campground and are wonderfully jagged. Buddy was much more interested in what was going at ground level, however.

Photography at Catalina State Park Arizona

“Those mountains are pretty, but what’s back here?”

We went back to that same spot on the trail for more pics late in the afternoon and the mountains were glowing.

Hiking at Catalina State Park Arizona

The afternoon glow was magical.

There are a lot of popular hikes in these mountains, but we decided to head up the less visited 50 Year Trail which starts near the campground. Buddy was our Trail Scout, of course.

Happy dog at the lake

“I’ll show you the way!”

The trail climbs steadily for quite some time, offering wonderful saguaro-filled views of the mountains across the valley.

Saguaro cactus at Catalina State Park Arizona

This saguaro has a great view!

We turned a corner on the trail, and suddenly a saguaro cast a long shadow in front of us and held us up.

Saguaro cactus on the hiking trail Catalina State Park Arizona

“This is a hold up. Put ’em up, Cowboy!”

One morning we woke up to a dusting of snow in the mountains.

Snow in the mountains at Catalina State Park Campground

A thin veil of white blanketed the mountain tops.

Catalina State Park Arizona saguaro cactus in storm clouds

Stormy skies and a touch of snow at Catalina State Park.

At sunset the mountain peaks turned pink.

Catalina State Park Arizona at sunset

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We will definitely take our trailer to Catalina State Park again!

RV campground at Catalina State Park Arizona

Catalina State Park is a great spot for a winter retreat.

On our way home we stopped at Roosevelt Lake, a fabulous recreation area we enjoyed for weeks at a time back when we were full-time RVers.

Roosevelt Lake was formed by a dam on the Salt River that was constructed between 1905 and 1911 (Arizona became a state in 1912). A pretty suspension bridge marks the spot.

Roosevelt Dam Bridge Arizona

The bridge at Roosevelt Dam.

Roosevelt Lake is a big lake, some 12 miles long and 1 to 2 miles wide. The drive alongside it is one of our favorites.

There are several wonderful dry camping campgrounds along the south side of the lake. Cholla Bay and Windy Hill are the two largest, and we always end up at Windy Hill.

Roosevelt Lake Arizona

Roosevelt Lake

Windy Hill Campground has 9 campground loops that offer fantastic first-come first-serve campsites that are either near the water and boat ramp or up on a bluff overlooking the lake from a distance and are very spacious.

Unfortunately, only 3 of the 9 loops are open nowadays. Years ago, we remember times when 5 of the 9 loops were open. But now those additional two loops are open only for overflow camping a few times a year on holiday weekends. We’ve never seen the other 4 loops open.

Great Blue Heron at Windy Hill Campground on Roosevelt Lake in Arizona

A great blue heron fishes for dinner at Roosevelt Lake.


Sadly, whereas Catalina State Park books up months in advance, the campgrounds at Roosevelt Lake stand vacant.

During our stay at Windy Hill Campground, out of 351 total campsites less than 25 were occupied. About 8 or so of those campsites were occupied by work camping volunteers.

All the rest of the campsites were empty.

RV campground at Roosevelt Lake Arizona

The campsites at Windy Hill Campground on Roosevelt Lake are spacious and are equipped with shaded picnic ramadas and campfires rings. There are bathroom buildings with flush toilets and showers, and there are water spigots in every campground loop. All the campsites are lovely!

Up until a few years ago, camping at Roosevelt Lake cost $6 per night and just $3 per night for seniors, an unbelievable bargain. With prices like that, lots of senior winter RVers would spend a few weeks at the lake because it was gorgeous and dirt cheap.

When we arrived this year, we discovered the camping rate had jumped to $50 per night for a “double” site and $25 per night for a “single” site. With the senior 50% discount, it was now $25 or $12.50 per night in “double” and “single” campsites respectively.

Oddly, despite the price differences between “double” and “single” sites, the campsites are generally all the same size as far as an RV and tow vehicle or toad are concerned! The sites are plenty long enough for big RVs and are well spaced out in most of the loops.

However, “double” sites have two picnic tables instead of one and they are usually located in a more desirable spot, for instance at the end of a row of campsites.

Whereas everyone used to camp in the so-called “double” sites in the old days, now no one camps in them because they aren’t worth paying double the price of a single site, especially for working age people who would have to pay $50 a night!

Roosevelt Lake Arizona red rocks at sunset

Red rocks on the far shore light up at dusk.

Fishing on Roosevelt Lake Arizona

Fishermen drifting by at dawn!

It was quite shocking to go from a super popular campground where people book months in advance to an equally beautiful (if not more beautiful) campground where nobody goes and we had our entire campground loop to ourselves.

Ironically, the new rate of $25/night for a dry camping site at Roosevelt Lake–which is 50 miles from the closest city and 100 miles from either Phoenix or Tucson–is now the same as for a campsite with both water and electric hookups in Catalina State Park’s “A Loop” which is just minutes from downtown Tucson.

No wonder Catalina is packed and Roosevelt Lake is vacant! But it’s a shame because Roosevelt Lake is a fantastic place.

Four Peaks at Roosevelt Lake Arizona

Mist and fog swirled around Four Peaks in the early morning hours.

Unfortunately, the US Forest Service, which operates the campgrounds at Roosevelt Lake, has decided that because so few people are camping at Roosevelt Lake these days, they must remove some of the campground loops all together.

That deconstruction is currently underway. Some of the campsites at Windy Hill Campground with the most spectacular lake views are already dismantled: picnic tables gone, campfire rings removed, and gravel camping pads overrun with thigh high weeds. They will soon remove the posts with the campsite numbers on them and, as one volunteer told me, they’re encouraging these entire campground loops to “go wild.”

Windy Hill campsite being removed to go wild at Roosevelt Lake Arizona

Tall weeds, picnic table and campfire ring gone…picnic shade ramada and campsite number post soon to go!
But what a beautiful view this Windy Hill campsite once had!!

Hopefully that trend will not continue. However, a few years ago we watched the Forest Service remove an entire campground on the north side of the lake…

One positive sign is that they are building an RV dump station at Windy Hill Campground, so now you will be able to dump onsite before you leave, a big plus.

Sunrise at Roosevelt Lake Arizona

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Whatever the USFS decides to do in the long run, Roosevelt Lake is a gorgeous place to take your RV and is well worth a visit. The ancient Indian cliff dwellings at Tonto National Monument are right across the street too. As always, we loved our stay.

Roosevelt Lake is also an awesome place for a work camping gig. The volunteers do all kinds of work for the Forest Service besides campground hosting. So, if you don’t want to be a campground host there are other options, and you’ll still get a fabulous campsite in one of the scenic campground loops that is closed to visitors.

If you can work the Grapevine Group Campground a few miles away from Windy Hill Campground, you’ll get a fabulous campsite and have very little work to do since almost no groups ever camp there. I chatted with a very happy volunteer who had been doing just that for a few winters!

There are pretty hiking trails that wind along the edges of the Windy Hill Campground loops, criss-crossing here and there, and Buddy just loved scampering down those trails, his nose following the enticing scents of rabbits and ground squirrels.

As we got ready to go home, I asked him if he’d enjoyed our little winter vacation RV trip. Absolutely — he was ready to go again!

Puppy love

“Did you have fun?”
“Oh, YES!”

We made another pit stop in the mountains as we towed our rolling home back to the homestead. The dusting of snow in Tucson had left a nice thick blanket of snow higher up in the mountains.

Buddy jumped for joy.

Puppy plays in the snow

Buddy loved the snow in the mountains.

And he sprinted across the snow in sheer delight.

Puppy runs in the snow

“Look at me — I’m flying!”

Until next time, happy trails!!

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Lakes and Light in Wyoming and Colorado

August 2022 – We finally began to cool off and slow down towards the end of our summer whirlwind travels when we got to Wyoming, and that’s when we began to discover special places we’d never heard of before.

Wyoming and Colorado RV Trip Highlights

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Intense monsoon rains had hit the southwestern states in July, but the places we’d been visiting at the time in Washington and Idaho hadn’t seen a drop of rain. When the storms finally came to Wyoming, however, the skies got wild and the temperatures became more comfortable.

RV with rainbow and stormy sky

The late summer storms in Wyoming were magnificent!

We’d found enchantment in the small town of Encampment, Wyoming, and folks we met there had recommended we take a drive into the Snowy Range to Lake Marie.

What a fantastic recommendation that was!

Shore of Lake Marie Snowy Range Wyoming

Lake Marie in Wyoming’s Snowy Range

Lake Marie Snowy Range Wyoming

Two happy campers by the shore of the Lake Marie.

Puppy at Lake Marie Wyoming

Buddy was in his element.

There is a hiking trail that goes around part of Lake Marie, so we had to check that out!

The pungent smell of evergreen trees was thick in the air. It reminded us of the balsam fir trees in Maine that gave off such a fabulous fragrance that we deliberately drove around in woodsy areas with our noses hanging out the open truck windows! I’m not sure which trees were giving off such a wonderful scent in Wyoming, but we loved it.

Hiking trail near Lake Marie Wyoming

We hiked the trail along the water’s edge.

This was a beautiful spot to get some pretty pics.

Photography at Lake Marie Snowy Range Wyoming

What a great spot for photography!

Still water at Lake Marie Snowy Range Wyoming

The water was perfectly still.

We met some people who have been coming to this lake for a visit every summer for the last 40 years! They had just done the longer hiking trail that goes up into the peaks of the mountains that frame the lake. We weren’t prepared for a big hike, though, so we made a mental note to check that out next time!

Tree + root at Lake Marie Snowy Range Wyoming

A hiking trail goes up that ridge…

Lake Marie Snowy Range Wyoming

…and continues along the crest.

This is Buddy’s favorite kind of place. He ran up and down the trail excitedly and then rested in the shade.

Regal pup

Buddy takes a break between romps.

Across the road there was a beautiful stream with a bridge crossing it.

Stream near Lake Marie Snowy Range Wyoming

We followed a stream down towards a little bridge.

Bridge and clouds Lake Marie Snowy Range Wyoming

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Buddy, the Trail Scout, ran ahead, of course, and then came back to tell us all about it.

Trail near Lake Marie Snowy Range Wyoming

Buddy tells Mark what’s ahead on the trail.

From Southern Wyoming we dropped down into Colorado. We stuck to the roads we hadn’t traveled before and ended up at Green Mountain Reservoir where we spent some time on the gravel beach admiring the mountain views.

Green Mountain Reservoir Colorado

Green Mountain Reservoir in Colorado

Someone had pitched a tent for daytime shade.

Tent at Green Mountain Reservoir Colorado

A couple brought some shade with them to the beach!

The clouds looked promising, so we stuck around to see what kind of light show nature might bring. Sunset was a true winner!

Green Mountain Reservoir Colorado at Sunset

Some clouds began to turn pink.

Pink Sunset Green Mountain Reservoir Colorado

Wow!

Green Mountain Reservoir Colorado at Sunset

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Sunset Green Mountain Reservoir Colorado

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The people with the tent launched their kayak for a sunset cruise.

Kayak at twilight Green Mountain Reservoir Colorado

An evening cruise…

They came back ashore and packed up their tent, and then a gorgeous orange glow settled across the lake.

Green Mountain Reservoir Colorado at Sunset

Fire and water.

It was startling to realize that summer was almost over. It was such a bittersweet feeling. We’d really enjoyed our travels this summer and had fallen right back into the RV lifestyle that we know and love so much. But we were excited to return home too.

Deer in Encampment Wyoming

Summer’s over?!

We met some folks along the way who told us about special places we’d never been before, and they got us excited thinking about future adventures. After a few weeks at home getting unpacked, getting organized and getting resettled, we began to talk about possible destinations for next year.

What fun — we can’t wait!

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Finding Enchantment…in Encampment, Wyoming!

August 2022 – When we rolled into Encampment, Wyoming, just north of the Colorado border, we’d been driving through miles and miles of wide open land. So, when we passed a sign that said, “Population 452,” we figured we’d stay for a quickie overnight and move on.

Finding Enchantment in Encampment Wyoming! Grand Encampment Museum

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After all, how much is there to do in such a little place?

Moments later, we passed an old fellow whiling away the hours and watching the world go by from a chair in front of a small log cabin with a sign that said, “Visitors Center.” He waved at us as we drove by.

Wow! When does that ever happen?

And then we passed a building with a huge, colorful mural on one end:

Greetings from Wyoming in the town of Encampment

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We were smiling at each other by now and commenting about receiving this surprisingly warm welcome when we spotted some tall, conical metal buildings, one of which was covered with decorations. The town’s High School logo was emblazoned in bright red on one side.

Teepee burner with high school logo at Encampment Wyoming

Home of the Tigers (in flames!)…but what is this building??

On the back of this odd metal building there were a whole bunch of numbers similar to the high school graduation years we’d found painted on rocky hillsides in Arco, Idaho, and Entiat, Washington.

We got out of the truck to take a closer look, and we discovered the numbers were for the years the local high school teams had won their championships. How fun!! Cross-country was blazing…but the football team was still in the hunt for a win.

Yet we still had no idea what the building had been used for.

Encampment Wyoming high school sports championship years on teepee burner

What a clever way to honor the high school sports teams!

As we got back in the truck, we noticed a deer crossing the street in front of us. Our smiles grew wide as we whipped around to catch him on camera.

Buck crosses the street in Encampment Wyoming

The buck stops here…well, over there!

The buck was joining some friends across the street, and we suddenly noticed there was a group of 5 or 6 deer hanging around and sampling the grass!

Young buck crosses the street in Encampment Wyoming

There were bunches of deer!

A young buck peeks out from behind some election signs in Encampment Wyoming

A political stunt?

Young buck in Encampment Wyoming

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Not long after that we saw a small group of pronghorn antelope milling about. This was unbelievable!

Pronghorn antelope in Encampment Wyoming

The pronghorn antelope thought they owned the place too…

Pronghorn antelope at Encampment Wyoming

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As we drove down the main drag, the only paved road in town, we noticed the liquor store was called White Dog Liquors. Now, ya gotta love that — and we realized we were beginning to love this town!

White Dog Liquors Encampment Wyoming

Good name…!

As we cruised down some of the dirt back streets, we discovered someone had a row of antique trailers lined up. Whether they were carefully selected collectibles or just a collection of old cast-offs, we weren’t sure, but there was a fun and funky spirit to this place that was quickly growing on us.

Old travel trailer RV collection in Encampment Wyoming

An interesting collection of travel trailers from long ago!

We decided to head back to the Visitors Center to meet the guy that had waved to us when we pulled into town. He was still sitting out in front of the Visitors Center, and he introduced himself as Cowboy Wadsworth.

A warm welcome from the Encampment Wyoming Visitors Center

We received a warm welcome from Cowboy Wadsworth who volunteers at the Visitors Center.

He regaled us with fascinating tales of the history of the town. Originally called Grand Encampment by fur trappers who settled here, it later became home to “tie-hacks” who logged the surrounding forests into carefully cut railroad ties for the burgeoning railroad industry.

Who knew that making railroad ties was an entire industry unto itself?! But if you consider how many ties were needed to create the vast network of railroads that spread across this country, it must have been a big business in many forests!

Then copper mining took over the area, and a 16 mile long tramway was built to move buckets of copper ore out from the mine. The town grew quickly and became something of a company town, although unlike conventional company towns, deeded lots were sold, giving residents a tangible stake in their community. In no time, 15,000 people called Grand Encampment home.

Around the edges of this bustling town, cattle ranchers and sheep herders soon filled the valley and hillsides with their herds.

Learning the history of Encampment Wyoming

Cowboy gives me the low down on Encampment’s history.

But what about those weird metal conical buildings we’d seen? Cowboy explained that those were “teepee burners” that were used to burn the bark that came off the logs during the railroad tie making process. In the olden days there was no use for the bark — fancy landscaping hadn’t taken off yet — so it was burned.

“Go to the Grand Encampment Museum,” Cowboy urged us. “You’ll learn even more about this town over there!”

Now, we’re not really big on museums, in part because they aren’t typically dog friendly. But we wandered over in the direction he was pointing to see what was we’d see.

This way to the Grand Encampment Museum in Wyoming

“Can I go to the museum too?”

First, we noticed a replica of a stagecoach.

My, oh my. It is startling to see just how small those things were inside. I can’t imagine traveling for any length of time over rutted and dusty dirt trails, wearing a long skirt and hat and squeezed into tight quarters alongside my hubby and nose to nose with people I’d probably just met.

The people who lived in the west in the late 1800s and the turn of the last century were not only outdoorsy and rugged but were very determined!

Grand Encampment Museum Stage Coach replica in Wyoming

Pretty as it is, this would be a rough ride!

Then we rounded the bend, and before us stood the buildings of Grand Encampment, Wyoming, just as they were back in those days.

Wow!

Grand Encampment Museum in Encampment Wyoming

Grand Encampment Museum – Gem of Wyoming!

This isn’t just a “go inside a building and see historic relics and read signs” kind of museum. This is a fully reconstructed town that has been lovingly preserved with family memorabilia from the locals. It is an outdoor museum with a few special indoor spots, and dogs are allowed in the outdoor parts.

What’s astonishing is that the population of the town that hosts this museum is just 452. The streets of modern day Encampment are still all dirt roads. The neighboring town of Riverside located a few hundred yards down the one paved road has a population of 66 people. And there is nothing else around for 18 miles except wide open land.

Talk about a strong community spirit — what an achievement to create this fabulous museum!

It turns out that back in the 1960s two women who loved the town decided the old buildings and relics of Encampment’s earliest inhabitants deserved to be preserved for generations to come.

They set about raising the funds and raising the interest among their friends and neighbors that was necessary to set aside a large parcel of land right in town and move the town’s oldest buildings from where they originally stood to where they now stand on the museum grounds.

Buildings from downtown Encampment at Grand Encampment Museum in Wyoming

These two stores were owned and operated by Encampment residents at the turn of the last century.

The main museum building was erected in 1969, but all the other homes, cabins and stores on site (except the very large Livery building) were moved from elsewhere in the area. There is even an old US Forest Service ranger station log cabin that is painted in the familiar US Forest Service brown. It sports a very cool door knocker.

US Forest Service Door Knocker

What a cool door knocker!

We were enchanted!

Not all the buildings were open, but we peeked in all the windows, and each room of each building had been set up as it would have been back in the day using artifacts that had been carefully stored and passed down through the generations by local families.

Inside a cabin at Grand Encampment Museum in Encampment Wyoming

There are many buildings, and each one has been lovingly set up inside with antiques donated by locals.

Back in the early 1900s, an enterprising merchant opened a mercantile store along with some other businesses. The house he built in 1908 to persuade his wife to stay in Encampment rather than return to Denver is just charming. It is a simple house with small rooms by today’s standards, but it boasted all the modern conveniences of that time, including electricity, heat (via steam piped in from his store), running water and indoor plumbing!

It remained in the family from 1908 until it was donated to the museum in 1996.

Historic buildings at Grand Encampment Museum, Encampment Wyoming

The building on the right was built in 1908 to persuade the mercantile owner’s wife to stay in town!

One building at the museum used to be a stagecoach stop, and the front room is set up the way a boarding room for travelers would have been. Imagine riding in a stagecoach for hours and hours, seeing a lonely cabin in a vast prairie, and being told, “This is where you’ll spend the night!”

In a way, that little cabin must have been so cozy and inviting and such a relief. And yet it must have also seemed so isolated, remote and perhaps even a bit forlorn at the same time!

Out in a field we found a bunch of old farming equipment, and Mark was floored that the tractor had a crank start!

An old tractor at Grand Encampment Museum in Encampment Wyoming

It’s got a crank!

Our greeter at the Visitors Center, Cowboy, told us winter temperatures in this area have hit 75 below zero. Chatting with the Chief of Police a few days later (no, we weren’t hauled in, and yes, it’s super easy to meet people in this town and talk to them for a few hours!), we discovered he’d seen temperatures around 40 below zero. The town clerk we chatted with who’d lived in town for just a few years said she’d seen temps in the negative 30s.

Wow, that is COLD!

The snow piles up in this area too. It’s not uncommon to see 10 or more feet of snow in the dead of winter.

So, back in the day, a ground level outhouse just didn’t do the trick in the wintertime. Grand Encampment Museum has a replica of a two story outhouse on display. Once the lower level got completely snowed in and couldn’t be used any more, the second level became “ground level” and they simply used that level of the outhouse instead!

However, no one explained to us how things worked out drainage-wise when the snow melted in the springtime…!

Double outhouse at Grand Encampment Museum in Encampment Wyoming

A two story outhouse so you can still use the loo when the snow is 13′ deep!

Inside the immense Livery building we found all kinds of vehicles from days gone by. There was a covered wagon, a basque sheep herder’s wagon, and early motor cars.

There was also a one horse open sleigh adorned with Jingle Bells!!

One horse open sleigh at Grand Encampment Museum in Encampment Wyoming

What we all sing about at Christmas!

A horse drawn hearse was on display, reminiscent of the funeral procession and the horse drawn hearse we’d seen in Utah earlier this year (blog post here).

Horse drawn hearse in Grand Encampment Museum Livery building

A horse drawn hearse.

One resident of Encampment kept all of his license plates through the years. It was fascinating to see that the year wasn’t imprinted on license plates prior to 1918, and the familiar Wyoming logo of the bucking bronco first appeared on the license plate in 1936.

Wyoming license plates through history at Grand Encampment Museum in Encampment Wyoming

Wyoming license plates dating back to 1915.

There were all kinds of other intriguing things from beautiful and intricately hand sewn clothing to fascinating antique photos. The photo of a group of women lined up to ski was a hoot!

Skiing in a long dress…with a single ski pole!

Back outside on the Grand Encampment Museum grounds we found a replica of the copper ore tramway. The buckets and all the gear were original but the scaffoldings had been recreated. The original tram went for 16 miles and each scaffolding was a different height because the terrain was hilly!

We first saw an ore tramway like this in Pioche, Nevada, where the original tramway and buckets still stand, frozen in time (blog post here).

Copper ore bucket on tramway display at Grand Encampment Museum in Encampment Wyoming

A copper ore bucket on what was once a 16 mile long tramway!

We went behind some buildings and were surprised to come across two large open boats. These were tie-drive boats that were used to float the newly cut railroad ties from Encampment downriver.

Tie-drive boat at Grand Encampment Museum in Encampment Wyoming

Tie-drive boats were used to push the specially cut railroad ties downstream.

The size, scale and scope of the railroad industry in the late 1800s has never hit us as hard as when we stood in Bovill, Idaho, two months ago and stared at the remains of a railroad crossing (blog post here).

Touching the immense, rusted railroad spikes and imagining what it took to nail millions of them into the thick wooden ties (with the rails precisely spaced so the train wheels would track properly) all across the country suddenly brought the whole creation of the railroad system to life for us. We sang “I’ve been working on the railroad” for a few days after that!

A photo in Grand Encampment Museum shows one of these tie-drive boats with two tie-hacks in action guiding the boat and the newly hewn ties down the river.

Historic photo of tie hacks using tie-drive boat to push railroad ties down river in Encampment Wyoming

In action…

Encampment (and neighboring Riverside) had lots of other things to offer besides the museum. We shopped at the thrift store that’s open two days a week and we had a fabulous lunch at the Bear Trap Cafe in neighboring Riverside.

While we were savoring our meal, we noticed Cowboy Wadsworth coming into the restaurant. He was all dressed up in a freshly pressed cowboy shirt, kerchief around his neck and a cowboy hat, big belt buckle and cowboy boots.

Lots of other people began to arrive, and they were all dressed up as well.

It turned out Cowboy had just turned 95 and all his friends in town were celebrating his birthday with him in style at the Bear Trap Cafe! How cool is that?!

If your RV travels take you to southern Wyoming some day, we hope you too will find enchantment in Encampment!

Deer and dog in Encampment Wyoming

Buddy stalks the deer…and they teased him until the last second when they bounded away effortlessly.

Deer in Encampment Wyoming

Encampment is a very special place!

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Brooks Lake, Split Rock, Adventure Travelers + Wyoming Highlights!

August 2022 – There are several routes in and out of Wyoming’s Grand Teton National Park, and this year we exited on the eastern side of the Park on a road we’ve never taken before: US-287. This goes up and over a mountain pass and swings by beautiful Brooks Lake.

Brooks Lake Wyoming

Brooks Lake, Wyoming

Brooks Lake Wyoming 2

Mountains and cliffs surround pretty Brooks Lake

Brooks Lake is a very scenic spot, and it was a great place to wander around with a camera! Long ago, one of our readers had recommended that we visit Brooks Lake, and we are so glad we were finally able to take him up on his recommendation. It’s lovely!

Boat at Brooks Lake Wyoming

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Truck at Brooks Lake Campground Wyoming

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There are two USFS dry camping campgrounds in the area, Brooks Lake Campground and Pinnacles Campground. Each one is very nice and can fit small to medium sized rigs fairly easily. Unfortunately, there’s a five mile long dirt road to get there. But if you’re up for some back country driving, it’s a wonderful spot.

Truck Camper at Brooks Lake Campground in Wyoming

A truck camper in Brooks Lake Campground

Pinnacles at Brooks Lake Wyoming

The sun and clouds came in waves across the pinnacles.

Brooks Lake, like many lakes in the western states, has a tendency to get toxic blue-green algae blooms in late summer when the temperatures rise, and this algae is lethal to dogs. There were Forest Service signs everywhere warning people not to eat the fish they caught too. But it is a gorgeous spot nonetheless. In springtime the algae wouldn’t be a problem — and there would be snow on the peaks!

Fishing at Brooks Lake Wyoming

Fishing is popular here, but toxic algae blooms in late summer are something to watch out for.

Creek at Brooks Lake Wyoming

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30 miles south of Brooks Lake, a few miles south of the town of Dubois (more about that town in a later post), we came across a fabulous petroglyph. This one is really intricate. It has three fingers and three toes on each hand/foot, and it has a tail. There’s lots of detail on its skin or clothing. I’m not sure if this was a doodle gone wild, or if it has some hidden meaning or if, perhaps, the artist drank some toxic blue-green algae water and had a crazy vision… But whatever it is, it’s cool!

Petroglyph in Wyoming

An elaborate petroglyph pecked into the rocks a few miles south of the town of Dubois.

175 miles southeast of Brooks Lake, also on Wyoming’s US-287 highway, we found another wonderful spot for photography: Split Rock Overlook. It’s just a pullout on the highway with bathrooms and picnic tables, but we loved it. This place was super dog friendly and Buddy had all kinds of fun there.

Split Rock Overlook in Wyoming

Buddy checks out the Split Rock Overlook.

The boulders were a blast to jump around on and were reminiscent of the Redstone Rest Area in Nevada. Kids would love playing on these rocks and they sure brought out the kid in all of us!

Dog playing at Split Rock Overlook in Wyoming

“This is my kind of place!!”

Dog poses at Split Rock Overlook in Wyoming

Buddy takes a breather from running and jumping all over the boulders.

Happy dog at Split Rock Wyoming

In the spotlight.

We had stopped just to get a bite to eat, but we ended up spending the better part of a day there!

Happy Camper at Split Rock Wyoming

The boulders at Split Rock Overlook are just plain fun!

Photographer at Split Rock Overlook Wyoming

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Boulders at Split Rock Wyoming

Cool rocks.

Buddy loves all of our adventures, whether it’s hiking or taking photos. He takes his job as Trail Scout very seriously and always runs in front of us on the trail to scope out what’s ahead.

Fortunately, he waits for us or runs back to check on us if we’re lagging too far behind, and if there’s a fork in the trail, he waits for us to decide which way to go.

Sometimes he runs a little ways down one leg of the fork or the other and then stands there expectantly, letting us know his recommendation for our route. But he always leaves the final decision up to us.

Dog on the hiking trail

“Are you coming?”

He also knows the tell-tale sounds and signs when we get our camera gear out to go take photos. He gets super excited and leaps down off of wherever he’s perched to sit by the door until we’ve got all our gear loaded up and are ready to go out.

Once we’re out taking photos, he goes back and forth between us, checking on how we’re doing, checking how the photos are turning out, and generally keeping an eye on our whereabouts as we move around.

Sunrise photography with a dog

Buddy watches me for a moment before running back to check on Mark.

Several places where we camped in this part of Wyoming were near the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route, the longest off-pavement route in the world, and we watched a steady stream of die-hard long distance mountain bikers making their way down this trail.

The trail starts in Jasper, up in Alberta, Canada, it ends at the US/Mexico border in New Mexico, and it takes a full summer for most cyclists to complete. Most of the cyclists we met had started in Jasper or Banff in late May or early June and were headed all the way to the border. Many were European. We met them on the trail, at our campsites and at the various grocery stores and post offices in the small towns that were near their route.

We chatted with Jenny and Romain from Switzerland for a while one day and were impressed with their bikes, their gear and their nonchalant attitude towards the full day of high altitude climbing that lay ahead of them.

They’d taken a year off to do some traveling as Covid waned, and they’d already camped all around Portugal and Spain for several months before they hauled their bikes to the American West to do the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route.

They’re keeping a blog of their American adventures at this link.

Jenny’s native tongue is German and Romain’s is French, so they alternate the two languages with each other, speaking German together for three days and then switching to French for the next three! How cool is that?! Of course, their English was excellent too…

Continental Divide Mountain Bike Trail cycilsts

Long distance mountain bike adventurers Jenny and Romain.

We also met several hikers walking this same trail, and a few were doing the full distance as well. One hiker was on his fourth pair of hiking shoes so far and the other was on his third.

We are always amazed by long distance hikers and walkers and have now met quite a few people who have hiked the Appalachian Trail or Pacific Crest Trail or simply walked across the entire United States from coast to coast (one gal we met had done it twice!).

One time we met a Lady Long Rider who was riding her horse (and towing a second horse to carry her gear) on a long distance adventure (more about her adventures at this link).

Bikers on the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route in Wyoming

So long!!

While grabbing lunch at Split Rock Overlook, we met a solo road cyclist who was riding his bike from New York to California. That is not the typical direction, since the prevailing wind goes from west to east, but he was having a ball and was very fit. He hailed from England, and his 3-month visa had run out mid-ride in late July. So he flew home, visited family and friends for a week, renewed his visa and returned to finish riding his bike across America. His favorite places so far had been Niagra Falls and Badlands National Park in South Dakota.

The Great Divide Mountain Bike Route is open to motorized vehicles as well as non-motorized, and our new Swiss friends said they had seen lots of side-by-sides like our Polaris RZR. At another campsite we met up with a pair of long distance dirt bike riders who were doing a cross-Wyoming dirt bike ride on a new Backcountry Discovery Route that had just opened up.

Dirt bike adventure travelers in Wyoming

Off to ride the new Backcountry Discovery Route in Wyoming

Sometimes it’s these little discoveries — the backwoods lakes and campgrounds and unique highway rest areas and unusual fellow travelers we meet — are the most memorable highlights of our travels. The big name places like Sun Valley and Grand Teton National Park are stunning but the lesser known places can be just as fulfilling to visit.

Dusk at Split Rock Overlook Wyoming

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Sunset at Split Rock Overlook Wyoming

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Wyoming sunset

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Moon at sunset at Split Rock Overlook Wyoming

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RV under Milky Way in Wyoming

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