As with all kid-related questions, the answer is “it depends!”
Valmont Park mostly caters to school-age or older riders, but the toddler options are totally appropriate for toddlers who enjoy riding their bike independently and like to pick up a little bit of speed.
My kid was 2.5 years old when we took them. They’ve always been more of an observer and slower to try new things, so I think we could’ve waited another six months to a year before taking them to Valmont.
Every kid is different, and I couldn’t find any pictures or details about the toddler area of the park to help us decide ahead of time. Thanks to yet another illness-related daycare closure, we made the trip to Boulder on a weekday to see what it was like!
Gateway RV Park is just outside of Carbondale in the Roaring Fork Valley of Colorado. Sandwiched between Aspen and Glenwood Springs, your options are endless for outdoor activities. Those two locations aren’t known for their affordability, so staying at Gateway made a normally splurge-y destination much more budget-friendly.
Gateway has all the RV amenities you need (hook-ups, bathrooms, dump site, etc) plus extremely friendly and knowledgeable campground hosts. The campground has great views of Mount Sopris and the Roaring Fork River, plus it’s easy to grab dinner in town in Carbondale if you don’t feel like cooking.
A few caveats first. Running strollers are bonkers expensive, so it’s a privilege to be able to consider “which $600 stroller is the best for me?!?!?” I know that, and if you can’t swing spending this much money on a stroller, I get that.
Also, baby gear companies lead you to believe you have to get a stroller for every scenario: a running stroller, a walking stroller, a travel stroller, a convertible bassinet, etc etc etc. My spouse and I were philosophically opposed to accumulating a bunch of cumbersome sh*t for our new babe.
We wanted ONE stroller to do a lot of things well, even if it wasn’t *perfect* for running. That’s where we started our search.
Chatfield Lake State Park is a great off-season escape for trailer or RV camping. It’s a particularly good place if you’re a trailer/RV newbie like my family! We chose Chatfield for our first outing because it was easily accessible from 470, had pull-through campsites, and was also close to civilization in case we needed to bail.
You can tent camp at Chatfield, but I wouldn’t recommend it since you’re in a sea of RVs and trailers. There also isn’t a *ton* of shade, so I think summer camping would be pretty toasty. All that sun was exactly what we wanted in March, but on a 90 degree day, it could be a little overwhelming.
When my kid was still a baby, my partner and I tried tent camping. Once. It did *not* go well, despite all those hot tips online for making camping ~so simple~ with your little angel. When they were an older baby (six-eight months), we went on a few camper van trips to see if we could still get out there like we did pre-baby….with a few more amenities.
The vans made camping with a little one significantly easier, but we realized the vans were unwieldy for getting around once we arrived somewhere. Plus, we had to take down/reassemble the camping part of the van anytime we wanted to drive anywhere. So we took the plunge and got a travel trailer to give us the flexibility to leave a camper behind and drive around in a normal car to trailheads or into town.
Our kid is now a toddler and we took our R-Pod 176 for its maiden voyage this weekend. Here’s what I learned.