Poudre Canyon Boondocking and Steamboat Springs

Boondocking on Chambers Lake

I mentioned before that there were several places we were considering when we left Denver. We ended up at Lowry Campground in the Lake Dillon area. However, one of the potential areas was Steamboat Springs. Instead of spending the week there, we decided to go there for a Friday night date night. It was a ton of fun!

Boondocking at Steamboat Springs

We left Lowry Campground to head toward Steamboat and decided that we would try to boondock on top of Rabbit Ears Pass before descending into Steamboat with the RV. The Jeep does’t handle the passes much better than the Bounder, but it’s a lot easier to maneuver the Jeep! There was still a ton of snow at the top of the pass, but we were able to find a super convenient spot to boondock for the night. We stayed in the Muddy Creek parking lot in the Rabbit Ears Trailhead area. The area has a nice gravel lot with pit toilets not far from the main road. We parked, double checked all of the signs/maps/government websites to make sure we could stay overnight and headed to town.

I have been to Steamboat before to ski, but Austin has never been. We drove downtown and everything seemed a lot newer than I remember. It was a nice downtown street with lots of bars, restaurants and shops. We got super lucky with an awesome parking spot and started exploring and ended up at a bar for a beer before heading to a rooftop Mexican (Austin’s favorite!) restaurant. It was a great date night, and we were on the rooftop for sunset! After dinner we headed back to our parking lot home for the night.

The Poudre Canyon

The next day, we headed over to the Poudre Canyon (pronounced pooder -😂). We had our eye on several boondocking sites to check out and were excited for an off-the-grid couple of days. Our drive took us past real cowboys rounding up their cattle before we reached the neat town of Walden. We decided to stop there for breakfast before heading on to look for a site for the night. The town has such a fun vibe – buzzing with people that were clearly getting set to spend the day outside. There were bikes, rafts and packs everywhere you looked! We had an incredible breakfast at the Moose Creek Cafe and headed on to the canyon.

Cowboys on the way to Poudre Canyon
Cowboys hard at work

We made our way to the first boondocking spot, and the drive was beautiful. Unfortunately, snow covered the road, and we couldn’t drive on it. So, we made our way to the second site we had picked out – same thing….too much snow. Luckily the third site we had in mind was open and it was amazing! We parked the RV and took the Jeep in to make sure the RV could handle the road and there was a spot for us. Both checked out so we went back to the RV and set up for the evening. As soon as we got set up, we went on a hike. On the way to the trailhead we had our first moose sighting of the trip! We have heard that they are most active during dusk and dawn so we were surprised to see one during the day!

Moose in Poudre Canyon
Our first moose sighting of the trip

Moose Everywhere!

We hiked until the trail got too snowy before heading back to the RV. Our site was on a bluff overlooking Chambers Lake and it was awesome. We set up our chairs and just hung out enjoying the view before making dinner. After dinner it was still light out and we remembered what we heard about the moose at dusk and decided to go on a drive to see if we could see any. Boy, did we ever! We saw SO many moose out. It was so fun!!! We rode around until it was too dark to see anything and went back to the RV. Then, we had a relaxing night listening to the radio by candlelight. We just love being off grid!

Sunset in Poudre Canyon

The next morning Austin went on a run and he was back earlier than I expected him. Turns out, he made it to a field where there were several moose out. One of them was staring him down as he approached so he turned around and came back!! Thank goodness he didn’t get charged! As a result, we decided we should go on another moose hunt drive before we left. Not only was it a successful moose hunt, we also saw a bald eagle nest – it was so neat!

Eagle nest in Poudre Canyon
If you look closely, you can see the eagle in the nest

Poudre Canyon to Fort Collins

It was sadly time to leave and head to Fort Collins, but we absolutely loved boondocking on Chambers Lake. We would have stayed longer, but there was no cell service (which we need for work). However, it was wonderful for a weekend to be completely off the grid.

Overlooking Chamber Lake
Relaxing spot to spend a weekend

The drive to Fort Collins continued through Poudre Canyon and it was absolutely beautiful. The views were amazing the whole way and the road followed the river with tons of spots to stop and enjoy the view. If you are ever in the area, we absolutely recommend finding a spot in Poudre Canyon – you won’t regret it!

River runs along road in Poudre Canyon

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