This week we’re boondocking near Steamboat Springs at the top of Rabbit Ears Pass.
Since this is our first visit to the area I did a ton of research before we arrived on our options for places to stay. Initially, I was attracted to the state park alongside Steamboat Lake. But after studying the coverage map, I decided that the cell signal was simply too weak up there for us. Likewise for the national forest and boondocking spots nearby. So I set my sights a bit further south to an area called Rabbit Ear’s Pass. There I found two suitable national forest campgrounds, Dumont Lake and the Meadows Campground. The Meadows sounded especially nice with open sites, an easy 20-minute drive into town, and a strong Verizon signal. But since we’ve learned that you can often find good boondocking spots near national forest campgrounds (check with the forest service first through because sometimes there are restrictions and pockets of private land that don’t always show up on maps) I decided to see what I could find nearby. A quick Google search and some looking around on the satellite view map confirmed my hunch. Rabbit Ears Pass is a well-known boondocking area with several forest service roads that looked suitable for our needs.
The road we chose had a few spots that looked just about right (from what I could tell from the satellite view images), but the very best spot was at the end of the road. So we drove up 7 miles of dirt road, passing by a few so-so looking spots, eager to see what it looked like at the end. Turns out that it looked great!
The road ended at the top of a hill – or rather a mountain, we are up above 10,000 ft after all – with a large open space containing a building and some towers. Past the building was a short dirt road that traveled to the edge of an overlook. There we found a flat, wide open spot perfect in every way. Except for one small detail. The short road from the building to that perfect spot was riddled with deep potholes and sharp rocks. It really didn’t look like we’d be able to drive over that with the Airstream.
Tim suggested that we could just park in the flat spot next to the building under the tower (which turned out to be some sort of FAA tower), but that view…how could we pass that view up? So we decided to give the road a shot. I crouched down low and watched the clearance under the Airstream as Tim slowly inched his way across the rutted, rocky road. I’ll spare you all the mundane details, but basically, it took three attempts before we found a viable route that would not rip off our holding tanks or puncture one of our tires.
As sometimes happens when we find ourselves in such a beautiful spot, we’ve barely left since arriving. There was one trip into town for groceries and to do some much-needed laundry, but other than that we’ve stuck close to home enjoying the views and a few amazing sunsets.
It’s also been raining quite a bit, which deterred our plans for hiking a few days in a row. But on the plus side, the storms tend to blow through quickly around here with intense bursts of sun between. And we all know what rain followed by sun means. Rainbows!
We plan to stay in this same spot for a few more days and have the best intentions to get out and do some exploring over the weekend. But for now, we’re sticking close to home, watching the clouds and sun chase each other across the sky, and enjoying our view from the top of the world.