Borrego Springs, CA

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Red Rock Lakes National Wildlife Refuge

What an adventurous drive Pam and I had today on our trip to visit Red Rock Lakes National Wildlife Refuge.IMG_1444

The refuge was only 22 miles from the RV park, so we thought we’d take a quick drive over to have a look.  Ha!  We were in for quite a surprise.  After a little over a mile, the pavement ended, and we continued on good gravel roads.  That didn’t last long, though.  That 22 miles took us well over an hour to traverse.  The nice gravel road soon deteriorated.  We found ourselves behind a grader working on the rough road.  We soon passed him, and continued up over the mountain.  Top speed was about 20 mph as I dodged rocks and holes in the roadbed.  After about five miles, we found ourselves crossing over into Montana.

IMG_1446Eventually, we made it to the Upper Red Rock Lake.  The lake itself was a very unusual color.  It was opaque and kind of milky looking.  Not the pristine blue that you might expect up in the mountains.  As you can see, clouds were flying past with an occasional sprinkle.  We pressed on to the refuge headquarters.


After viewing the displays at the headquarters, we drove on to view Lower Red Rock Lake.  There were two campgrounds on this refuge that are most suitable for tenters.  There are no hookups of any kind, but there is a pit toilet at the Lower Lake campground.  I wouldn’t suggest the drive for any motorhome or fifth wheel to get here.  There is a fifteen day limit for camping, but apparently no fee involved.  If you like tent camping, what a magnificent location these two little campgrounds would be!

I was hoping to see some trumpeter swans and Western grebes during our visit, but it wasn’t to be.  :(  This refuge was established to help the dwindling population of trumpeter swans back in the 1930’s.  It also exists as an undeveloped wilderness tract that serves as a corridor for migrating elk, bison, and other animals between the Yellowstone area and the northern Rocky Mountains.  I just may try to make another trip back to this refuge earlier in the day in the next couple of weeks.  It all depends on whether or not I want to do another bone jarring 50 mile trip in my little low to the ground car.  :)  There were a couple of places where I couldn’t avoid scraping bottom.  :(

As the skies began to look ominous, we headed back for Red Rock RV Park. 
IMG_1456This time we stopped for a picture at the Continental Divide.  Wouldn’t you know it, the skies opened up and the rain began in earnest just as I snapped a picture of Pam.

IMG_1457In the time it took us to get to the refuge and visit, the grader was able to make two passes up the road to Red Rock Pass.  That made for a slightly easier drive down the mountain, but I’m glad we got it done before too much of the rain came down.  What a muddy mess it would have been in a short time.

So, our quick trip to the refuge ended up taking a little more than four hours.  Stan didn’t accompany us on this trip as he wanted to just relax today in preparation for his and Pam’s getting back on the road tomorrow.  They will be heading out to the Grand Tetons, Utah, and then back home to Illinois.  It has been very enjoyable for me to have fun traveling companions for the last two weeks.  I will be sad to see them go.  :(  And Emma will be sad to see her boyfriend, George, leave.  I’m thinking she won’t miss little crabby Mitzi, though.  (I’m going to try to get some pics of them in the morning.  George is a smooth collie and Mitzi is a Corgi.)

A little update for all you helpful folks about my dry, cracking hands.  I’ve always used bag balm for this problem, but it just wasn’t cutting the mustard this time.  So, I took the suggestion about the cortisone cream, and it is having a positive effect.  Thank goodness!!  Now, if it would just work on the arthritis in my hands, I’d feel like a young whippersnapper!  :)

Thanks for stopping by….talk to you later,  Judy


  1. lol... could have told you that! but everyone deserves their own adventure!!

    watch out for putting a hole in your oil pan tho.. we did that once pre-RVing days! not a fun event!

    hope you get to see a trumpeter! we saw some on jenny lake once. how are your friends going to the tetons? last year the road from YNP south gate on for miles was completely out and being redone and a TOTAL mess (Sept.)! in reverse, we went from Jackson west and then north to red rocks after going thru that!

    happy trails!

  2. You are a brave soul for going all of the way down that horrible gravel road!
    We started to and got 5 miles (this was last Sept.), it was so rough in our 4X4 dually diesel that we turned around and went back to Red Rock RV Park.
    Ain't worth it. Besides it was late in the year, there were hardly any birds around!
    They knew it was time to head south before we did! LOL

  3. Mighty fine looking country you are in. Have you noticed in your posts that the pictures quite often cover up parts of your narrative. I think that can be fixed with extra spacing above & below the pics. Also have noticed for awhile it's difficult to place a comment in this box. It takes repeated clicks to get the cursor working in the box itself. Almost as if you had some very large audio visual programs slowing things down in here but you don't. Just wondering if anyone else is having a problem with this.

  4. Hi Judy,

    I enjoy your blog. I' writing one for RedRock RV Park. Here's the latest from my visit yesterday to Red Rock Lakes National wildlife Refuge. Stop by and say hi in site 28. http://www.redrockrvpark.com/blog/Blog2010/rrBlog_061410B.html

  5. Beautiful area!! Love the NWR but looks like it was a rough road to navigate. Sorry you didn't get to see the trumpeter swans and the Western grebes. Too bad.
    Glad you had a good time!

    Mike & Gerri (happytrails)