Nebraska to California and back road/camping trip (completed w/pics!)

mintswitch

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A friend is having a wedding in California next weekend and I opted to drive and use the opportunity to stop at a few places on the way there and on the way back as well.

Still finalizing the plans, but so far the plan is to take the north route (I-80) on the way there (through Wyoming) and stop somewhere in Salt Lake City, UT. I am not opposed to staying in a regular hotel, but would prefer to camp if anyone has any suggestions. Haven't decided on a specific place here yet.

As far as the route back goes, the plan is to take the longer southern route through the middle of Utah and then straight through into Colorado. We have a camping spot reserved for 1 night in Fishlake National Forest. The next 2-3 nights we planned on staying somewhere in Colorado. We were looking at a place in Fairview, but that's a bit out of the way since the optimal route would have us going through Denver into Nebraska. We haven't finalized anything here yet.

If anyone has any recommendations then I would be glad to hear them. I am hoping to at least scope out an easy trail or two. Hopefully I can get some nice photos to share after the trip as well. Thanks!
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mintswitch

mintswitch

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Finally posting some pictures below from our trip and a rundown of our journey.

Day 1: Medicine Bow National Forest, Wyoming

What a beautiful place! We checked out one of the campgrounds near Centennial, and they were only about 25% full, so we had our pick of some pretty decent spots. By the end of the night, I would say the campground was about 50% full.

We set things up and went for a hike around the forest for a bit. After heading back to camp, we started to get a fire going, but then a storm started blowing in which ended up putting the fire out. We then took shelter in the Jeep for a bit. Luckily we had brought some leftovers which we planned on having the first night. We did want to warm them up a bit, but we were starving, so we just enjoyed the cold leftovers while we sat in the Jeep, waiting out the storm. It blew over quickly, so we were able to get out and enjoy things soon after eating. In the morning, we decided to drive through the forest on the way out towards I-80, which ended taking around 2 hours (including a few stops for pictures).



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Day 2: Angel Creek Campground - Humbolt National Forest, Nevada

This was a pretty long drive from Wyoming, so we arrived pretty late. Unfortunately, all of the campgrounds were taken, and there were not many spots that looked suitable for camping. We decided to explore a bit and ended up taking a drive up a very steep, windy road that lead to Angel Lake. The picture definitely doesn't do it justice, but it was really beautiful! After descending back down, we ended up finding a really nice spot a short distance down a random road dirt road where 2 other people were situated at. We were welcomed, and joined the 'overflow' campers at this spot. it was actually a much better spot than the actual campgrounds themselves, with amazing views. We caught a really nice sunset as we were setting up camp for the night.

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Day 3 and 4: Foresthill, California

So this was our destination for the wedding. We had a much needed shower and hung out with the bride/groom and their family and friends. The wedding itself was awesome, and the ceremony was performed at a lookout in Foresthill with some really great views and scenery. We were able to sneak away one of the days for a few hours to check out a reservoir in Foresthill. The road to get there was, steep, windy and full of great scenery.

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Day 5: Fishlake National Forest, Utah

This was probably the longest drive of the trip, and I believe we also lost an hour here as well because of the time zone change. We ended up getting into camp after dark, and it was very cold. We learned that a cold front had just moved in, so the projected low for the night was 27 degrees! When we arrived, we quickly boiled up some water and had some Mountain House for dinner. It was really late and we didn't want to deal with the tent in the cold, so we just grabbed our sleeping bags and decided to sleep in the Jeep for the night. The next morning, we decided to take a different route out of the forest and explore for a bit, with some more great scenery.

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Day 6: Mosquito Pass - Alma, Colorado

The drive into Colorado from our campground in Utah was pretty short, so we decided to finally scope out a proper off road trail to try out before setting up camp. We ended up at Mosquito Pass in Alma. The pass was actually closed due to snow, but not until about the halfway point according to recent reports.

Aside from the wedding itself, this was probably my favorite part of the entire trip. The scenery here was stunning, and the trail was really fun. We didn't get too far into the trail because it was starting to get late, but we found a perfect spot to set up camp for the night. The cold front was still lingering, and with the high elevation (around 12,000 feet) It got down to a chilly 37 degrees that night.

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Day 7: Back to Nebraska

We had thought about staying another night or two in Colorado, but we were both pretty worn out and wanted a nice warm shower, so we decided to head back home the next morning. We stopped in Breckenridge, CO for a bagel and coffee on our way out, which is just outside of Alma. That is quite the unique little town, but was really beautiful.

Takeaways/Upgrades planned:

Powertank for airing back up. I am pretty novice at off roading and usually don't air down much, but Mosquito Pass was mostly rock and I didn't get too far into the trail until I decided that I definitely needed to air down some more. I would have aired down even more if I had a suitable solution for airing back up, but I left enough air in the tires so I could safely drive back down to Breckenridge to fill back up before jumping on the actual highway.

Lights for camping. I have the AUX package on my Jeep, so I can easily throw some lights on. I was thinking of doing the Mopar a-pillar mounts or the ones that go right in front of the OEM bumper.

Awning for rain. The rain storm in Wyoming definitely wasn't the first time we got caught in the rain while camping. Planning on the Mopar roof rack with an ARB awning.

Thanks you all for reading!
 
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Punknhed

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incredible scenery.
i havent done any camping with my jeep, but, for airing up i plan on doing the ARB twin later this year.
 

jack bauer

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Great report.
How was it sleeping two in the back of the Jeep?
 
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mintswitch

mintswitch

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Great report.
How was it sleeping two in the back of the Jeep?
We actually just slept in the front seats. Not enough room in the back of a 2 door really. Fell asleep ok, but woke up way too early feeling really uncomfortable. Definitely not the best rest.
 

drvn

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Finally posting some pictures below from our trip and a rundown of our journey.

Day 1: Medicine Bow National Forest, Wyoming

What a beautiful place! We checked out one of the campgrounds near Centennial, and they were only about 25% full, so we had our pick of some pretty decent spots. By the end of the night, I would say the campground was about 50% full.

We set things up and went for a hike around the forest for a bit. After heading back to camp, we started to get a fire going, but then a storm started blowing in which ended up putting the fire out. We then took shelter in the Jeep for a bit. Luckily we had brought some leftovers which we planned on having the first night. We did want to warm them up a bit, but we were starving, so we just enjoyed the cold leftovers while we sat in the Jeep, waiting out the storm. It blew over quickly, so we were able to get out and enjoy things soon after eating. In the morning, we decided to drive through the forest on the way out towards I-80, which ended taking around 2 hours (including a few stops for pictures).



P6250003.jpg
P6250015.jpg

P6250013.jpg

P6250016.jpg

P6250019.jpg


P6260033.jpg

P6260028.jpg

P6250023.jpg

P6260040.jpg


Day 2: Angel Creek Campground - Humbolt National Forest, Nevada

This was a pretty long drive from Wyoming, so we arrived pretty late. Unfortunately, all of the campgrounds were taken, and there were not many spots that looked suitable for camping. We decided to explore a bit and ended up taking a drive up a very steep, windy road that lead to Angel Lake. The picture definitely doesn't do it justice, but it was really beautiful! After descending back down, we ended up finding a really nice spot a short distance down a random road dirt road where 2 other people were situated at. We were welcomed, and joined the 'overflow' campers at this spot. it was actually a much better spot than the actual campgrounds themselves, with amazing views. We caught a really nice sunset as we were setting up camp for the night.

P6260059.jpg


P6260080.jpg

P6260068.jpg
P6270085.jpg
P6270093.jpg
P6260072.jpg
P6260081.jpg



Day 3 and 4: Foresthill, California

So this was our destination for the wedding. We had a much needed shower and hung out with the bride/groom and their family and friends. The wedding itself was awesome, and the ceremony was performed at a lookout in Foresthill with some really great views and scenery. We were able to sneak away one of the days for a few hours to check out a reservoir in Foresthill. The road to get there was, steep, windy and full of great scenery.

P6280099.jpg
P6280106.jpg
P6280119.jpg
P6280129.jpg
P6280148.jpg
P6280165.jpg


Day 5: Fishlake National Forest, Utah

This was probably the longest drive of the trip, and I believe we also lost an hour here as well because of the time zone change. We ended up getting into camp after dark, and it was very cold. We learned that a cold front had just moved in, so the projected low for the night was 27 degrees! When we arrived, we quickly boiled up some water and had some Mountain House for dinner. It was really late and we didn't want to deal with the tent in the cold, so we just grabbed our sleeping bags and decided to sleep in the Jeep for the night. The next morning, we decided to take a different route out of the forest and explore for a bit, with some more great scenery.

P6300190.jpg
P6300202.jpg
P6300214.jpg


Day 6: Mosquito Pass - Alma, Colorado

The drive into Colorado from our campground in Utah was pretty short, so we decided to finally scope out a proper off road trail to try out before setting up camp. We ended up at Mosquito Pass in Alma. The pass was actually closed due to snow, but not until about the halfway point according to recent reports.

Aside from the wedding itself, this was probably my favorite part of the entire trip. The scenery here was stunning, and the trail was really fun. We didn't get too far into the trail because it was starting to get late, but we found a perfect spot to set up camp for the night. The cold front was still lingering, and with the high elevation (around 12,000 feet) It got down to a chilly 37 degrees that night.

P7010278.jpg
P7010290.jpg
P7010292.jpg
P6300229.jpg
P7010277.jpg
P6300253.jpg
P7010266.jpg


Day 7: Back to Nebraska

We had thought about staying another night or two in Colorado, but we were both pretty worn out and wanted a nice warm shower, so we decided to head back home the next morning. We stopped in Breckenridge, CO for a bagel and coffee on our way out, which is just outside of Alma. That is quite the unique little town, but was really beautiful.

Takeaways/Upgrades planned:

Powertank for airing back up. I am pretty novice at off roading and usually don't air down much, but Mosquito Pass was mostly rock and I didn't get too far into the trail until I decided that I definitely needed to air down some more. I would have aired down even more if I had a suitable solution for airing back up, but I left enough air in the tires so I could safely drive back down to Breckenridge to fill back up before jumping on the actual highway.

Lights for camping. I have the AUX package on my Jeep, so I can easily throw some lights on. I was thinking of doing the Mopar a-pillar mounts or the ones that go right in front of the OEM bumper.

Awning for rain. The rain storm in Wyoming definitely wasn't the first time we got caught in the rain while camping. Planning on the Mopar roof rack with an ARB awning.

Thanks you all for reading!
Great documentation. Sounds like a nice trip. Awesome pictures!
 
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