4 Best Geological Sites To Visit In Colorado For RV Campers

The Centennial State of Colorado has some incredibly diverse and road-accessible geology contained within its borders.

Partially due to its altitude, dry climate, and geographic location straddling the Great Plains, the Rocky Mountains, and Plateau belt of the midwestern U.S., numerous opportunities to explore the Earth’s history recorded in its rocks and fossils are available.

1. Dinosaur National Monument

Located in the northwest corner of Colorado on the Utah border, Dinosaur National Monument holds preserved fossil records of over 1,500 of the dinosaurs that roamed the continent.

Colorado
View from Overlook near Plug Hat Butte. Photo by Dinosaur National Monument

The fossils are preserved in the red beds of the Morrison Formation—known to be the most prolific source of Jurassic-age dinosaur fossils in North America.  This formation of large mudstones, sandstones, and siltstones was deposited by rivers and flood events about 155 to 145 million years ago.

Throughout time, these deposits formed into rocks, uplifted when the Rocky Mountains were formed, and subsequently cut into canyons and mesas by rivers and streams, exposing the rocks and fossil records they hold.

The Centerpiece of the Dinosaur National Monument visitor center houses research facilities, a bookstore, and excavation center.  Guided tours and evening talks are available as well.

There are five RV-friendly campgrounds within the Dinosaur National Monument with reservations available at the Green River campground and Split Mountain campground in Utah (the others are first-come spots).

2. Dotsero Volcano

The Dotsero Volcano sits just north of the Colorado River and Interstate 70 between the towns of Gypsum and the Glenwood Canyon.  Dotsero Volcano is the youngest volcano in Colorado and although it appears dormant, it is still considered by USGS to be an active volcano with a moderate threat potential.

Colorado
Dotsero Volcano. Photo via Wikipedia

The crater is about half-mile wide and 600-feet deep, set in the sandstones of Western Colorado.  A hike of about 3 miles each way with a significant elevation gain of just under 2,000 feet on the Dotsero-Ute Trail will get you to the crater.

3. Argo Gold Mine, Mill, and Museum

The Argo mine tunnel in Idaho Springs was completed in 1910 and extends over 4 miles into the heart of the Colorado Mineral Belt.  This tunnel provided drainage to many of the other mines in the area until 1943, and the chemical-laden discharge now requires the ongoing treatment and monitoring of the water before it enters Clear Creek.

Colorado
The Argo Gold Mine and Mill (Photo by Greverod/Wikipedia)

The mill was built at the entrance of the tunnel and was used to process mined gold ore.  The mill is part of the National Register of Historic Places and is open for tours year-round.

4. Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve

At the head of the San Luis Valley in south-central Colorado sit the Great Sand Dunes.  This 30-square mile dune field contains over 5 billion tons of sand and the tallest dunes in North America (750 feet).

Colorado
Dunescape by Michael Rael

Great Sand Dunes is framed by the backdrop of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains with the Crestone Needle (14,197 ft) to the north and Blanca Peak (14,345 ft) and Mt. Lindsey (14,042 ft) to the south.  The Sand Dunes provide both hiking and four-wheel driving routes, as well as on-site camping at the Piñon Flats Campground.

For those interested in additional places of geologic interest in Colorado, visit the Colorado Geological Survey’s POGI map and articles for more ideas!

See also: Visit The Crown Jewel Of Colorado’s National Parks



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4 State Parks In Georgia Off Interstate 75 With RV Campgrounds

Outside of Georgia’s city centers of Atlanta, Athens, and Macon—and beyond the busier, trendy tourist areas, the Peach State encompasses more than 45 State Parks (with six offering RV campgrounds).

All of the parks are ideal for RVers to take a welcome rest from the road. Many of the State Parks are also easily accessible off I-75, further combining convenience with practicality.

State Parks
Paddling in Reed Bingham State Park.

While you can stay and explore on Georgia’s Jekyll Island, or visit historic Savannah, there are many other regions of the state that offer relaxing breaks from the road.

“Georgia has a vast State Parks system with campgrounds that are well-furnished,” Kim Hatcher, Public Affairs Coordinator for Parks, Recreation and Historic Sites Division, told RV Life. “We have modern campsites and many parks are easily accessible, even for larger rigs.”

“There’s a wide range of activities,” adds Hatcher. “Many parks offer kayak, bike, paddleboard, and boat rentals as we are very focused on outdoor recreation. The parks have also recently hired many rangers to provide various educational experiences, including archery, astronomy courses, and many kids programs.”

Outdoor activities abound and many campgrounds are full-service with a range of available services. There are several attractions RVers can experience along U.S. I-75, but when visiting Georgia, you just may want to plan a visit to these areas on your next RV trip in the south.

1. Red Top Mountain State Park

Known for its 12,000-acre lake, Red Top Mountain State Park has more than 15 miles of trails.

Georgia State Parks
Red Top Mountain State Park. Photo by TranceMist/Flickr

In fact, a popular hike is the Homestead Trail. It’s a five-plus mile hike and meanders through hardwood, pine forests with historic homesteads along the way.

Also, the fishing for bass, catfish or crappie is great. So, if you have a boat or an inflatable bring it along. The 111-site campground offers big rig access with pull through sites, 30/50 amp, plus a boat ramp and a marina that are nearby.

Additionally, the park is just 16 minutes from the nearest community of Acworth, in Cobb County. Exit 285 at Acworth

2. High Falls State Park

High Falls State Park is known for its cascading waterfalls on the Towaliga River. It’s even considered one of the “Top 100 Family Fishing Destinations” for its active species of hybrid and white bass.

Georgia State Parks
High Falls State Park. Photo by Yinan Chen/Wikipedia

Additionally, the full service campground in the park offers big rig access, pull-through sites, and a dump station. Activities around the campground include pool access, mini-golf, a playground, hiking trails, and more.

Just 36 miles northwest of Macon, the park’s campground also features lakeside yurts (that are similar to canvas and wood tents). Each features a small deck, a picnic table plus a grill, furniture, and electrical outlets. Exit 198 at Jackson

3. Georgia Veterans State Park

In honor of Georgia’s veterans, this is one of the State Parks that highlights a golf course, plus a military museum that reflects the conflicts from the Revolutionary War through the Gulf War.

Georgia Veterans State Park. Photo by Courtney McGough/Flickr

What’s more, it’s on Lake Blackshear where boating and fishing are popular pastimes. Hiking trails and the on-site golf club (featuring 18-holes) are also popular.

The club has 78 lodge rooms, 10 cottages, and 2 restaurants. At the campground are 77 full-service sites with pull-through and big rig access.

Many other amenities include beach access, a boat ramp, playground, a pet area, and workout facilities. Exit 101 at Cordele

4. Reed Bingham State Park

Located at the south end of Georgia, Reed Bingham State Park also offers excellent fishing. In addition, there is great kayaking and canoeing (that are available for rent).

Reed Bingham State Park. Photo by Michael Riveria/Wikipedia

Further, outdoor enthusiasts can enjoy the park’s Coastal Plain Nature Trail. This features one of the most diverse ecosystems in the country.

Additionally, swimming, mini-golf, geocaching, and birding are other activities. The 46-site pet-friendly campground offers pull-through sites with big rig access, plus a boat ramp. Exit 39 at Adel



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4 Unique Places To Visit Near Austin In Spicewood, Texas

1. Willie Nelson’s Pedernales Cut N Putt

Country music singer Willie Nelson croons about being “on the road again’ and goin’ places that I’ve never been.” When your travels take you on the road to Austin, Texas, be sure to visit Willie’s nine-hole Pedernales Golf Course in nearby Spicewood. The official course name is Willie Nelson’s Pedernales Cut N Putt. The par 36 course measures 3,330 yards.

Austin
Willie Nelson Cut ‘N Putt Golf Course 

There is no pretense of a country club feel to this popular course, just an overwhelming country feel! The course opened in 1968, and Willie purchased it in 1979, along with the adjoining recording studio, hence the Cut in Cut N Putt. Over the years, the singer has given the course its down-home feel.

How can you not like a course that allows you to bring your own cooler or wear flip-flops? Another local rule says that a foursome can have as many as a dozen golfers! Hmmm.

2. Pace Bend Park

While experiencing this unique golf course and the surrounding Spicewood area, park your RV at Pace Bend Park, formerly known as Pace Bend State Park. Offering great views of the Texas Hill Country, Pace Bend Park has nine miles of shoreline along Lake Travis.

Texas
Lake Travis at Pace Bend Park. Photo by Marcus Calderon/Flickr

Though the park features more than 400 primitive campsites, Pace Bend offers 20 improved campsites for RVs. These sites offer water, 30/50 electrical hook-ups, showers, and restrooms. These improved sites, as they are called, are all located on the east side of the park just above Levi Cove.

It’s an easy walk to the lake. They feature plenty of shade trees and flat, grassy areas. All sites are back-in only. Reservations are highly recommended.

3. The area wineries and vineyards

Worth exploring in the area is Spicewood Vineyards. They produce a variety of wines including reds, whites, and a few sweet wines as well.

Austin, Texas
Spicewood Vineyards. Photo via Facebook

Other area wineries include El Gaucho Winery, Flat Creek Estate Winery, and Stone House Vineyards.

4. Hamilton Pool Preserve

Also, many visit the area just to experience Hamilton Pool Preserve. This incredible natural pool with a waterfall is located in nearby Dripping Springs.

Austin
Hamilton Pool Preserve. Photo by david_mah/Flickr

Check out this link for more information about Spicewood. You can also read more about camping in Pace Bend Park on RV Park Reviews.

See also: Seven Reasons Why You Should Go RVing in Texas



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