Nine miles of the Little South Fork of the Cache la Poudre River, a part of Colorado's only designated Wild and Scenic River drainage, flow through Cache la Poudre Wilderness. The water has cut a deep and tortured canyon into granitic bedrock, typical of the Front Range of Colorado, to join the Main Fork of the Cache la Poudre River, which forms the northern boundary of the Wilderness. Elevations range from about 6,100 to 8,700 feet, and a dry climate keeps this area snow-free for much of the year, especially on south-facing slopes. Douglas fir and ponderosa and lodgepole pine dominate the forest. Celebrated for their trout, the rivers draw the most human visitors, but lack of trail access and rugged topography make this small Wilderness one of the state's least explored areas. State Highway 14 along the Main Fork of the Cache la Poudre River sees many campers and even more fly-casting anglers. Once inside the boundary, you'll find the ground marked by only two short maintained paths. The Kreutzer Nature trail is about 2 miles. The Mount McConnel Trail, which loops off of the Kreutzer Nature Trail is about 3 miles. In 2012 the High Park fire burned 95% of the Cache la Poudre Wilderness. In 2013 floods have impacted the backcountry areas of this Wilderness and changed the landscape. Please be careful when traveling through this Wilderness.
Leave No Trace
How to follow the seven standard Leave No Trace principles differs in different parts of the country (desert vs. Rocky Mountains). Click on any of the principles listed below to learn more about how they apply in the Cache La Poudre Wilderness.
Digital and paper maps are critical tools for wilderness visitors. Online maps can help you plan and prepare for your visit ahead of time. You can also carry digital maps with you on your GPS unit or other handheld GPS device. Having a paper map with you in the backcountry, as well as solid orienteering skills, however, ensures that you can still route-find in the event that your electronic device fails.
Motorized equipment and equipment used for mechanical transport is generally prohibited in all wilderness areas.
This includes the use of motor vehicles, motorboats, motorized equipment, bicycles, hang gliders, wagons, carts, portage wheels, and the landing of aircraft including helicopters.
Colorado Wilderness Act - Public Law 96-560 (12/22/1980) To designate certain National Forest System lands in the States of Colorado, South Dakota, Missouri, South Carolina, and Louisiana for inclusion in the National Wilderness Preservation System