Creede, Colorado (elevation 8,799′) August 14 – September 12, 2021

We have been talking about finding a nice place in Colorado to visit when it gets in the 100 degrees temperature in Dallas, Texas.  There have been many times we found a nice place to go from recommendations of other campers, often they were people we meet for the first time. Karen was at a Plano, Texas dog park recently with Mayah, our Toy Australian Shepherd, discussing with a fellow dog owner the advantages of having smaller size dogs when traveling in an RV. The conversation included great places to go with the RV and good trout-fishing areas. The friendly dog owner shared that he and his wife had recently been to Creede, Colorado and it is one of their favorite places to fly fish on the Rio Grande River. 

The wheels started turning when Karen shared with Bill what she had learned about Creede.  Karen found a few campgrounds in Creede and more available in South Fork, Colorado, which is only about 23 miles from Creede.  It was viewing the website video for “Mountain Views at Rivers Edge” RV Park https://Mountain that convinced us this was the place we wanted to visit. This park has site rentals as well as RV sites for long-term leases. Site lessees can make their sites available for rent. It was difficult finding an available rental, but we were able to secure a site in the RV Park for 2-weeks.

Our trip began on August 14, driving 450 miles in about 9-hours to Dalhart, Texas where we stayed our first night at Corral RV Park We stayed at this same park in 2017 on a return home from a long road trip. It’s a nice Good Sam’s park with reasonable nightly rates of $29.00 per night for large double-wide sites. Our second day was a 7-hour drive, 392 miles, through northeastern New Mexico where we stopped to read the roadside historical marker about the Capulin Volcano. We then continued on to Ludlow, Colorado where another roadside marker explained about the Ludlow Massacre. A follow-up Wikipedia reading provided more info about the historic labor dispute among area miners. From Walsenburg onward, the drive was magnificent views of the Spanish Peaks and many other gorgeous sites.

We arrived at Mountain Views at Rivers Edge around 3pm.  The beautiful entrance into the park and the friendly front-office staff was assuring that we made the right choice.

One of the primary reasons we were interested in coming to Creede was to fly fish for trout in the Rio Grande. So we brought our waders and fly rods and we were ready to hit the river.  We went to the small city of Creede to check out a fishing guide, purchase a fishing license, and walk around town.  It is a cute town with beautiful mountain views but does not have a lot to offer in shopping and restaurants.  We met Kevin, the owner of Rio Grande Angler in town.  Extremely nice and helpful in explaining that because the river was so low, he is the only business currently offering a guided fly fishing float trip.  Kevin also owns 8200 Mountain Sports, in South Fork which is where our guided fly fishing float trip was booked.  Kevin helped us pick out flies for the season and personally pre-strung the 4-leads with flies that we will use when fishing on our own. Ramble House across the road is another fly fishing store, and we checked into purchasing our fishing license but decided to hold off until we decided on the day to book the fishing guide.  8200 Sports is open year-round for snow skiing apparel and supplies as well as they have rafting trips in the Rio Grande.

We took a nice scenic drive to South Fork where we had driven through on our way to Mountain Views. We visited the 8200 Mountain Sports to book our guided fly fishing float trip and purchased our fishing license at Rainbow Grocery.  Our fly fishing guided trip was a nice day.  We met Finn, our 21-year old guide at the 8200 Mountain Sports Store at 8 am for a half-day trip.  Finn told us that Kevin, who we met a few days earlier in Creede was his Dad and that he has been fishing as long as he could hold a fly-rod.  The float ride was not actually in a raft, as Karen originally thought, but in a small boat that was paddled along the Rio Grande by Finn while we enjoyed not only picking up new tips on fly-fishing from Finn, but enjoyed using his rods, his accessories, and he untangled our lines many, many times and often replaced our many lost rigs.  The float ride was breath-taking beautiful.  Bill and Karen had many would-be catches, unfortunately, there were only two trout (a Brown and a Rainbow) caught, and both by Karen.  It was a nice guided trip and we were encouraged to hit the river on our own with our waders.

The Visitor Center has a small model of the City of Creede from its original townsite of 1892. There is an underground Mining Museum that offers tours. Another popular activity for this area is hitting the many trails in your jeep or Side by Side ATV. Of course hiking or bicycling the trails is also a lot of fun.

Terry and Sue Cooprider from Ocala, Florida were our camp-site neighbors when we first arrived. They reserve a few months every year at Mountain Views, and had just purchased a new side-by-side ATV on this trip.  One of their favorite things to do in Creede is to hit all the many trails in their ATV.  We rented a two-seater for one day and were invited to join Terry and Sue on a guided full-day tour.  Bristol Head  is one of their favorite trails, but there are also quite a few more trails to ride and discover beauty that is unseen by the city streets.  

The day spent in the ATVs with Terry and Sue was fabulous.  They took us to the Bristol Head trail where we drove to the very top where the valley’s microwave towers are located and the views from up top are amazing.  We saw a few mountain sheep from a distance.  One of the highlights for us was the cut-off to the Crystal Lake Trail where we enjoyed having our packed lunches on the banks of Crystal Lake. There were a few anglers fishing in the creek, surrounded by mountains.  At the end of the Bristol Head ride, we met a family of real cowboys on their horses, just returning from herding cattle.  It was cool for a city girl to watch as their horses drank from the river after a long day, their two herding dogs running alongside them.  We visited the North Clear Creek Falls, it’s a must-see while visiting the area.  

Our one-day rental was so much fun, we decided to rent the side-by-side a second day and we went on our own tour of Bachelor Loop, located out of the City of Creede, no trailering the ATV required.  Early on the trail we stopped for photo-taking and met an interesting couple who were sitting on the river banks, breaking rocks and viewing the rocks with a jewelers loop.  They showed us a collection of rocks they had found, one they said was somewhat rare. They showed a vein of silver in one rock which they said was more silver than most found. Almost everywhere we have visited, National Parks, etc., there is strict prohibited collection of anything found in nature; however, the couple explained it was allowed in this area.  The couple encouraged us to visit the Last Chance Mine up on the mountain, visible from where we met them.  Last Chance Mine allows you to search the mining area for rocks, and charges only $2.00 per pound of rock for any you decide to keep. There are tours that can be taken of an actual mine. The proprietor Jack Morris is a very interesting guy who was originally a professional photographer and came upon this old mine in 1998 and has since turned it into a really neat attraction.

As a former professional photographer, he collects old relic photos and acquired an original 1892 photo of a group of legends who were gathered in Wyoming for a hunting trip. They were all together only this one-time. Jack titled the photo “My Legal and Illegal Outlaws” and the group includes the 26th President of the US, Teddy Roosevelt posing with Wyatt Earp, Doc Holliday, Butch Cassidy, Sundance Kid, Bat Masterson, Judge Roy Bean and others. A copy of this photo is posted at Last Chance Mine.

On our way back down from Last Chance Mine, we saw a trail cut-off for Rat Creek Trail and decided to take it.  Early on the trail, we met a young couple who told us the trail was quite long, but at the end of the trail, they had seen a group of moose.  We drove down the narrow, very rugged trail quite a ways when we came into a situation where a few full-size pickup trucks were coming in the opposite direction and needed to pass us on a narrow, steep trail with a mountain on one side and the other side a steep drop-off.  It was a little scary for us beginner side-by-side drivers, and after we delicately got through this situation, we decided it was time to turn around.  We didn’t make it all the way to the end of the trail and did not see the moose.  Besides the unknown of how much further we needed to go and how many scary situations may be before us, we needed to get the ATV back by 4:30 pm.

One of the things we enjoy most about our camping experiences is just sitting out by our fire-pit visiting with fellow-campers.  Sue and Terry came over to our campsite a few times and we enjoyed sharing our faith, sharing about our families, and becoming friends who we hope to meet up with again. They brought a full meal of barbecue, potato salad, baked beans along with dessert to enjoy at our new #229 campsite the last night we were in Creede.

Terry and Sue brought us a full dinner to eat out at our campsite our last night in Creede. Great Christian newly met Friends!

Mountain Views at Rivers Edge has many nice amenities and offers a Bible Study on Tuesday evenings along with church services on Sunday mornings.  Bill and Karen enjoyed the church service. The music leader is Bill Smith, he and his wife do not stay at the campground, they live in the city of Creede and he volunteers to lead the Sunday morning music at the Park which was good.  They are currently looking for someone to pastor this seasonal church service and without a pastor the service was conducted by two ladies sharing their testimonies.  We were happy we attended and met a few fellow Christian campers.

The people are so friendly from the staff in the office to the many campers we are meeting.  So many extra landscaping features throughout Mountain Views make this RV Park amazingly beautiful, in addition to the natural beauty of the mountains and river. It’s a community environment that offers social evenings, game nights, craft shows, and lessees get involved in multiple activities.   There are a few amenities offered to lessees only for example the gym room with showers and a hot tub. Lessee’s may take advantage of being able to fish in the pond without the $4.00 per fish charge.  Lessees have remotes to enter the security gates without having to go through the main check-in entrance that often backs up with lines of people arriving to check-in.

There is an annual Music Festival in the ballpark of Creede that Bob Holt, our newest friend and neighbor, was instrumental in getting started a few years ago.  Fortunately we were here for the Festival that was August 28 & 29 and we enjoyed several good bands.  McLeod Nine, one of the groups performing at the Festival provided a “free” concert at the Elk Lodge, located in the RV Park on Friday night, August 27 before the Festival. Their performance was so much fun, they had several couples up dancing in an organized folk-style line dance.  Meeting them personally, we learned they live in Garland, Texas, not far from our residence.

The Holt’s invited us for dinner with a group of their friends in for the Music Festival at Antler’s which we were told is one of the better places to dine in Creede.  Antler’s has RV site rentals, a hotel and cabins for rent, as well as their casual patio dining with views of the Rio Grande.  Bill met several Texas Tech alumni including Bob Holt.  Bob is an author of a few books and he graciously gave us autographed copies of his books “Cowboy” and “Firebird” both of which are available on Amazon.

Bob Holt and Bill

Bob and a few other musicians in the Park have jam sessions on Wednesday evenings in the Elk Lodge.  It was nice listening to them play and sing along as they casually play, exchange tips and offer advice to hobby-musicians.

There are sites that can be bought with a 39-year lease.  We were so excited about the beauty of this place that we checked out the flyers on the bulletin board of places for sale.  We followed up with the lease owner of Site #229. It is a beautiful 5th wheel only site with views of the mountains, is close to the Rio Grande River, the Resort Pond, and overall is a great centrally located site. This RV Park & Resort is owned by Derold Zimmerman and after talking to the lessee of Site #229, we walked over and talked to Derold where we learned more about our site. We then again talked to the current lessee and after praying and careful consideration, we were able to agree on a price that we all felt comfortable with and agreed to proceed.  So we now have our very own RV site to visit any time from May 1 through October 1 every year.  We truly feel so blessed and fortunate. 

There is new construction across from us on the other side of the Rio Grande River. Several new Resort lots available for lease. We have some landscaping and yard work to do on our lot next year.

The second week of our stay was consumed with finalizing the site sale, working on clearing out the flower beds, and Bill volunteered to help with setting up with Music Festival.  We’ll be shopping for large patio/lawn storage bins, and will continue working to make Site #229 home for a few months out of the year.

Bob and Margarite Holt invited us to join them and a few other couples for a 3-4 day wilderness backpack experience at Freemons Ranch  Other people we have met also talked highly of Freemons Ranch. For one they are famously known to have the best hamburgers, but mostly rated for their guided horseback and hunting trips.  We declined for this year, but may consider to join them next year. 

We made a second attempt at Rat Creek ATV Trail, this time with our friends Sue and Terry.  Bob and Margarite have been kind in allowing us to borrow one of their two ATV’s.  We made it all the way up to the end of the trail where you can view the Continental Divide at 12,871’ altitude.  There is a hiking trail where people will hike the Divide which if you could, would take you all the way to Montana.  We took the ladder stair-case route back down Rat Creek.  There is beautiful, natural water flowing down the rock formations in many areas and the marsh area where we are told moose can been seen, however, we have not seen any on our trip.

Our third week, 1-week longer than our original reserved campsite, because as a lessee, we can stay until October 1, we began discussing purchasing a side-by-side ATV.  We have learned through word-of-mouth and on the Facebook Mountain Views Owner Group page because it’s the end of the season, there are several possible used units. Most are selling to upgrade to 4-seaters instead of their current 2-seater.  It’s something that we will pray about before jumping into another big unplanned purchase.  We visited Outdoor Depot in South Fork and met with Rob the owner to look a new unit pricing.  As we were told before going to the retailer, the inventory is very low and they are taking orders that hopefully will be in by the next season, May 2022.     

We found a 2020 Kawasaki Teryx KRX 1000 side by side with 1,500 miles for sale through a lessee in the Resort.  The owner had already put the Teryx in storage for the 2021-2022 season at Outdoor Depot where she had purchased it last year.  It took two full days to get the titles to both the Teryx and the trailer straightened out since it had not been transferred from previous owners.  However, we are now owners of our very own side by side which we will not start using until the 2022 season.  We decided to leave it in storage because we are heading home in a few days.

They have Bingo games every Friday night at the Elk’s Lodge in town.  We played on our last Friday at the Resort.  The black-out game is up to over $1,500 for a winner, as it keeps growing every week until someone wins it.  There is a story behind this bar in the framed photo at the Elk’s Lodge.

The city of Creede held a 911 parade and the park/resort was invited to participate in side-by-sides which began from the park entrance.  Next year we will participate when we have our side-by-side.  Friends, Sue & Terry, brought brisket over to our campsite our last night and we had a fun time visiting, planning for get-togethers next season in 2022.

We are thankful to have been introduced to this beautiful City that offers us the beauty of the mountains, the many activities, and so very grateful for the wonderful people we met during our 4-weeks in our new second home. There was a double rainbow over our campground, so beautiful!

5 thoughts on “Creede, Colorado (elevation 8,799′) August 14 – September 12, 2021

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