I took this shot looking west towards Walden from the campsite/trailhead.
North Park is a sparsely-populated section of Colorado near the Wyoming border that doesn't get many visitors. In the 2010 census, the were 1394 people listed as living in Jackson County. In addition to being the headwaters of the North Platte River, the basin includes numerous other rivers and streams and is rimmed by three mountain ranges—the Park Range, the Rabbit Ear Range, and the Medicine Bow Range. The idyllic-named county seat of Walden is about 3 hours (142 miles) from Denver. Moose were re-introduced here in 1979 and there's now an estimated 600 of the massive beasts wandering around the area. I can't guarantee moose sightings but they're considered hard to miss inside the state park. The huge Arapaho Federal Wildlife Refuge south of town provides habitat for numerous migratory birds.
We will be based at the Muddy Park Trailhead (known to locals as either Three Sisters or Elk Mountain) which is located right beside the unimaginatively-named State Forest State Park. The campsite will be at approximately 8600 feet elevation and the GPS coordinates are 40°42.824/106°01.439. There are no toilets (except for one in the little white trailer) and no potable water at the trailhead. Several trails begin there including the Muddy Park Trail to a small lake and the Jack Dickens Trail which heads up to the crest of the impressive Medicine Bow Mountains and on toward the Rawah Wilderness. Please note: These are established trails but probably don't have signs or other indicators. That's why we call this event exploratory.
There's at least six motels in Walden, ranging from basic at $45 a night to the delightfully plush Antlers Inn. A quick Google will turn up lots of options. There's also a couple good restaurants and a grocery store. The trailer will be heading up on Thursday to secure a campsite and folks are welcome to arrive any time during the weekend. Stop by and say hello when you reach the campsite. On Saturday night, we'll have our usual potluck/beer bust around the campfire. Expect hikes to set off from the TH around 9 AM every morning. Well-behaved dogs are always welcome but should be leashed while inside the state park. There are some lakes in the area for dogs that enjoy swimming.
How to get there:
There are three different ways you can get from the Denver/Boulder area to Walden. You can take US-287 north from Fort Collins, turning on to CO-14 at Ted's Place, then up Poudre Canyon past the oddly-named town of Gould. Or you can go up US-40 over Berthoud Pass through Granby then North on CO-125. In summer, it's possible to travel over the Trail Ridge Road from Estes Park through Grand Lake and up CO-125. Consider a loop trip and/or maybe a soak at Hot Sulfur Springs on the way back.
From “downtown” Walden, follow 5th Street straight East as it becomes CR-12E. Continue on as it turns into dirt road CR-19A. As the road gets closer to the mountains, it will climb up a steep grassy hill before arriving at a small valley with trees. The total distance from town is about 15 miles, all on easy dirt roads. As is becoming standard for these campouts, the maps (including the one in your your GPS) are not accurate for county roads. Follow the blue arrows at intersections and if you arrive at a ranch, you've made a wrong turn.