December 09, 2018
With a full year of camping and riding behind us, our second trip to the Texas Creek Recreation Area was a hit. We were better prepared and even had a following of friends, making the experience that much better.
What attracts campers to the Texas Creek Recreation Area? The two main benefits of Texas Creek that draws thousands of campers and riders each year are 1) The ease of access to both dispersed camping areas and the many great trails. 2) The ability to use the area year round due to not getting very much snow in the winter.
I am really starting to think that as we camp more often, we get better at it. Here is what we did and learned on this adventure.
We made it about the community.
When I was introduced to camping as a young child, I don’t think I can name a single time we went camping and it was JUST our family. We always had our friends and other family members with us and it just made it more fun. So, community was ingrained into our camping trips from the very beginning.
As most of you may know, I spent 20 years in the Marine Corps and was able to visit wonder places all over the world. Although I saw some great sites, we rarely went camping. It was mostly tourist type of travel, still awesome, but not places you would camp.
When I retired in 2001, I moved back to Colorado to get into the camping and riding scene. It took me a couple of years to get enough money together to get three ATV’s and two motorcycles and our camping gear, but we were back and ready to go.
Just like when I was a child, I wanted to invite my friends and other family members to our camping trip. As evident of this, one of the three ATV’s I purchased was for my mother-in-law whom I had known for over 30 years and I considered part of my immediate family.
My two daughters were also very excited to go camping and ride their ATV or motorcycle, and of course they started to invite their friends to go with us. I would always call the parents to make sure it was OK and I would invite the parents to come as well. This is how I met my great friend Mr. Bob. Of all the parents I invited, he said yes and loved how we camp and before long got motorcycles for himself and his daughter.
It is true that when you are truly excited about something, it is very easy to talk about it. While I was at work I would tell tales of our camping trips (both resent and way back in high school), and my co-workers though they were great. It was because of my willingness to share I was able to make even more friends that wanted to go camping with us.
Know that I had several people asking me “When and where are you going next?” I needed a better way to get the word out. So, I sent out my very first Camp Clever newsletter. It would outline where we were going, when I was going to be there, and most important, detailed directions to the campsite.
What did we bring this year?
With much of our camping equipment already purchased from last years camping excursions, we did not have to make too many changes.
Learning from the previous year that we can take our Chevy Astro van up the trail to a campsite made it a lot easier when it came to the equipment. This time we did not take the little ATV trailer, it was not needed!
Here is a rough list of our camping supplies we had this trip
Having the ability to drive our van to the campsite was a big help. Still this is a lot of gear and I often feel like the Beverly Hillbillies driving down the road as so much of the camping equipment is strapped all over the ATV and Motorcycle trailer.
How did we spend our time on this trip?
Here is an idea of all the activities we did at Texas Creek. Some of our friends and family came out a couple days after I did, and others came out for only a day-trip. One of the advantages of camping close to Colorado Springs.
Here are some of the rides we went on:
Sgt Nulph’s grave site (Trail FCR27) – This is by far the most popular ride, for several reasons. First, it is a relatively simple road to get there. Those just learning to ride an ATV or motorcycle will find this ride a great one to practice on. Second, this is one of the few trails that has some actual history behind it.
Sgt. Frank M Nulph served in the 341 Field Artillery unit in the Army during World War I. After the war, he ended up in the Texas Creek in the mining industry, as evidence of a nearby cabin and mine. Behind the cabin is a headstone that reads:
Frank M. Nulph
Sgt. 341 Field Artillery WWI
July 27, 1896 – April 10, 1959
Because it is only about four miles from our camp (six miles from the lower parking lot), we made this trip several times as new people would arrive into our camp.
Table Top Mountain (Trail 6040) – This mountain is the highest point in the Texas Creek area, right at 9185 ft. Getting there is a 4x4 road from the campsite that climbs rapidly using several tight switchbacks. The road crosses the base of the mountain, about 200 ft. from the summit. We stopped and made the hike the top to have a great view of the Sangre de Cristo Range to the Southeast.
From the top of Table Top Mountain, the trial connects to several other trails in the area.
Tucker Trail and the Loop (Trail T6035B) – This is one of the hardest trails in the area. When we went on this ride, we only had a handful of our group with us.
To get to Tucker trail, we had to go back to the parking area and follow the road west along the train track to Reese Gulch. There we headed north to Tucker trail and onto the advanced sections of Trail T6035B. What makes this trail so fun is one little section that has a series of rocky steps that are quite challenging. We usually spend several minutes here as we are helping each other up this difficult section. Besides the good (I mean rough) parts, the views from this trail are fabulous.
Camping – Although we are here to ride, riding is not the only thing we do here. We also have a great time in our camp.
The highlight of this year’s camp is the grill we put in the campfire and the meals we had as a result. My good friend Bob from England wanted to cook us a meal and he went all out. We had chicken, baked potatoes and corn-on-the-cob. All cooked over the file. It took a while to prepare, but it was worth it. It was fun to see Bob and my mother-in-law fuss over the chicken, and what type of sauce to use on it.
Will we return to Texas Creek next year?
I can honestly say that Texas Creek Recreation Area will be one of our Go-To camping locations for both camping and OHV riding. The main reason we like Texas Creek is it allows us to start our camping season on Memorial Day without worrying about running into snow.
Colorado is a large state and there are millions of acres of public lands (BLM and National Forest) to explore. I have no doubt there are other locations we can camp (snow free) during Memorial Day Weekend, and we will probably explore those from time to time. However, Texas Creek will always be one of our favorites.
How do you to Find Great OHV Dispersed Camping in Colorado? The three great resources for finding awesome dispersed camping for OHV riding: Word-of-mouth - people like to brag and share; local motorcycle and ATV stores - those people are riders too; and on-line - government sites like the National Forest and BLM (and some private sites) have great interactive maps.
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