Little Molas Hike Overlook Photo: N 37.75815, W 107.71378
Black Bear Pass RD. Overlook Photo: N 37.89864, W 107.72467
Pets OK on leash
Quiet Time: 10 pm-6AM
Price: Free, 14 day limit
Services: Pit toilets only
Cellular: see report below
Nearest town: Silverton, CO, 7 miles
Nearest dump station: Red Mountain Motel, Cabins, RV Park, 664 Green St., Silverton (according to SaniDumps)
Nearest Propane: Could not determine. Perhaps Silverton.
Nearest gas: Silverton, CO (according to GasBuddy)
Sitting in my chair in the brisk early morning air, the warmth of the day’s early sun on my face, I see what you see in the photo of Little Molas Lake at Sunrise. At something like 11,000′ elevation the nights and mornings here are brisk, but when the sun comes up things warm rapidly. It’s soon warmer outside than inside my RV. The air this morning in late June, like most all mornings here in the Rocky Mountains I imagine, is fresh and refreshing. It’s clear and clean and brisk. It just makes you want to take a deep breath and savor it, and I do.
In the campsite to my left, or right I suppose depending upon which way you face, is a young couple from Seattle, Eric and Karley. They are on a 3 1/2month adventure, traveling in a pickup truck with a camper shell, climbing mountains as they make a loop from Seattle through Montana and Wyoming, now Colorado, then on to the eastern slope of the Sierra Nevada mountains in California as they travel north back toward home. Eric is studying to be a psychologist. Karley works for a clothing manufacturer.
On my other side, a woman traveling solo, Kathy if I recall correctly, who has had something to do with the Colorado trail which runs from Durango in the South to Denver in the north passing right by us here at Little Lake Molas as it snakes its way through the Rocky Mountains.
Jean-Jacque, a gent in his 70s resides a few campsites away. He is here helping to lay out the course of a 100 mile foot race which will be run in the area soon and in which he used to participate himself before arthritis and age asked him to slow down.
Sharing my campsite is a doctor named Phil who just finished a different 100 mile foot race in the area, and his two friends Susan, a therapist and her husband John who are training for the race for which Jean-Jacque is helping to mark the course. Perhaps I should say I am sharing their space because when I rolled into the Little Lake Molas campground it was full. Noticing Phil outside his trailer I asked if he was leaving to which he replied he had just arrived but that I was welcome to share the site. A little while later Phil realized that I had let him pass me on a steep hill along 550 on the way here and had I not done so it would have been him asking me if I was rolling out rather than the other way around.
The campground map posted at the entrance shows only 5 campsites but it also shows 8 fire grates. It also shows 5 camp spurs. I’m uncertain what that’s supposed to mean, but the way things are here right now there are maybe 8 or 10 campsites occupied, about half by tent campers, some marked on the map, some not. Besides the spot I’m sharing which is most likely intended for one RV, there is another, also gravel, which is large enough for perhaps a 40′ RV, one more which is a double wide site which can probably accommodate two large RVs. Then there is a spur area which may be able to accommodate one big rig or a couple smaller ones, or several automobiles. Some spots can handle smaller rigs such as pickups or small trailers.
Camping at this Forest Service campground is free, with a 14 day stay limit. There are pit toilets, but no water, no electricity; no hookups of any kind. It’s dry camping. Access is via a mile of dirt road which as of this writing is in pretty good condition and should be passable by pretty much any vehicle. The turnoff onto the dirt road leading to Little Lake Molas campground from route 550 is 6 miles south of Silverton and a half mile or so, I’m guessing, north of Molas Pass. It might be worth a phone call to the Forest Service for more info about this campground. The nearest office is in Silverton: 1468 Greene Street P.O. Box 709 Silverton, CO Phone: (970) 387-5530 FAX: (970) 387-9870.
Little Molas Lake is stocked with Golden Cutthroat trout, a beautiful fish, and I assume good eating, but the few fisherman I’ve spoken with in the past few days haven’t had much luck hooking any of them.
Cell service is spotty here. Sometimes my AT&T iPhone 5s indicates no service while at other times I have 2 or 3 bars of 4G. My Verizon iPad usually has at least a 3G connection. My Wilson Mobile4G cellular booster usually adds a bar or two or enables my iPad to pull down an LTE signal. A minute ago I had no bars, 4G on my iPhone and could not get email or a web page even with the cell booster on. I restarted my phone and now have 3 bars of 4G with a 1.95 Mbps download speed, .41 Mbps upload and can send /receive mail and surf the web, even stream video. I have a 17Mbps download speed with 2Mbps upload on a 2 bar LTE connection on the iPad with my cell booster on and this is pretty much fast enough for anything and faster than my DSL connection at home by a factor of 3.
I’ve been on two hikes in the area. One on the Colorado trail which runs from Durango to Denver and passes by this campground. I followed the trail in a westerly direction from the day use parking area and jumped off of it to climb part way up a little mountain nearby. The views were spectacular and the wildflowers near the top were just out of control!
Another hike was up a 4WD road, the Black Bear Pass road which I picked up along 550 a little way north of Silverton by Red Mountain Pass. I shared to road with several 4WD vehicles, ATVs, and motorcycles, but they were infrequent. It’s an uphill slog all the way but the views afforded are nothing short of spectacular.
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