This was our first time visiting Baby Doe Campground. We were told that the campground did not open on time this year due to snow. Baby Doe was dry, thank goodness, and very wooded. The campsites are all well spaced out, but not all of them looked to be level. The campsites that were nearest to the lakeshore had bowed “driveways” (where you would park your camper) and we were grateful that we didn’t stay at those sites. We had Ruby-crowned Kinglets all around the campsite. I was also awoken to the sound of Hermit Thrushes—one of my favorite bird calls.
The first evening at the lake, despite very strong winds, we caught eight big rainbow trout. The next morning I headed down to the same spot with Daisy (sorry, can’t disclose that secret!) and caught another six before breakfast! The fish were certainly biting. The trout seemed to stop rising around 8:00 a.m. In total we caught 21 rainbow trout using my old Missouri fishing gear!
We planned on hiking up to Timberline Lake to fly fish for green back cutthroat trout. Because of all the snow we were able to hike nearly all the way to the top but where forced to turn back to due to the runoff of a creek over the trail. There was no way we could have made it through safely. The hike was great, and it felt good to stretch our legs in a new area.
On the way back to our campsite we stopped at all the different campgrounds in the area. Lady of the Lake is only a parking lot (literally a parking lot) for fisherman. Father Dyer sites were small and close together—best for tents and small popups. Printer Boy is a group campsite, so we did not look into it. However, the dump station is at the entrance to Printer Boy. You can also find fresh water at the dump station (it took at least 10 minutes to top off our tank—perhaps 15 gallons). The mosquitos where thick around the other sites due to snow melt and standing water.
We ventured into Leadville and found a nice coffee shop for a latte (of course!). City on a Hill makes a wonderful latte and they have a variety of goodies. While we sat outside sipping our java we visited with the town greeter, Jim Duke, and the railroad sherif. They were both very nice and interesting people. If you see them walking up and down the sidewalks, make sure to strike up a conversation. A few years ago we took my parents on a train ride in Leadville during the fall colors. Check out the train ride here.
We made our way to Evergreen Cemetery and walked up and down the rows of plots. The oldest tombstone that we found was from the late 1800’s. It was a very interesting bit of history, and we learned about the Woodmen of the World.
We awoke to cloudy skies on Sunday, and gathered our gear up for a walk around the lake. Our trip was cut short when we realized that we locked two sets of camper keys in the car, and two sets of car keys in the camper. AAA to the rescue! We waited around for about a hour until our hero arrived just in time for lunch and to escape an afternoon downpour. Did you know that AAA now has bicycle service? Pretty cool!
Once the rain cleared we headed for Twin Lakes. We found a few campgrounds around the lakes, and took some notes for future outings. We preferred White Star, it is right on the lake, and some of the sites in the Sage loop where big and open. If you want a high view, Lake View would be good. The sites seemed small to us, and the campground was away from the lake. We also found a first-come, first-served campground that sits up from the lake called Parry Peak Campground. It looks like a great place to go for hiking, biking, and walking around. Parry Peak sits right on the white waters of Lake Creek. The creek was roaring, and you could feel it’s power when you stood next to it. We would love to go back for a visit—it is supposed to be a good fishing spot.
If you follow highway 82 through the town of Twin Lakes it takes you up to Independence Pass. We began our accent with lots of low clouds all around, and they eventually gave way to a slight blizzard. Once we got out at the top of the pass, the snow was blowing so hard that it stung when it hit our faces! Once we returned back to the campsite for the evening, it began to snow. 🙂
Our trip to Turquoise Lake (Baby Doe) was excellent, even if we did get locked out of our car and camper. Next time we visit we will wait until July so we can have more adventures to high alpine lakes!
When: Early Summer, 2014
Reservation: Baby Doe Campground, CO
Misc: level, water, dump station