At only 9,484 acres, the Cache La Poudre Wilderness may seem like it does not have much to offer, but it is definitely one of Colorado’s hidden gems. Located in the Roosevelt National Forest, the Cache La Poudre Wilderness was designated as a wilderness area in 1980 and is under the governance of the U.S. Forest Service.
The wilderness was named after the Cache La Poudre River, which flows along the northern boundary of the wilderness. The Little South Fork of the river flows directly into the wilderness, and water from the river has carved a canyon into the bedrock.
It’s Colorado’s only designated Wild and Scenic River Drainage, and the river’s abundance of trout has made fishing the most popular activity in the wilderness.
Human use is low in the Cache La Poudre Wilderness. The harsh terrain along the Cache La Poudre River and the Little South Fork makes hiking a bit of a challenge. The wilderness only features one trail known as the Mount McConnel National Recreation Trail.
Despite this, the wilderness does offer some exciting sights and wildlife. The landscape is adorned with ponderosa and lodgepole pine forests, while bears, coyotes, and mountain lions can be seen occasionally depending on the season.
However, The U.S. Forest Service warns visitors to be careful when visiting Cache La Poudre Wilderness. The wilderness was burned almost entirely in 2012, and floods in 2013 have impacted certain areas of the wilderness and have changed its landscape.
Despite all this, the Cache La Poudre Wilderness is still worth visiting, especially for fishing. It can easily be accessed from the town of Fort Collins. Hikers can reach the Mount McConnel National Recreation Trail by departing from Fort Collins via U.S Highway 287.
Nearby Towns: Fort Collins
Season: Year round