Fort Collins is known for its parks and open spaces – especially its proximity to Rocky Mountain National Park. The beautiful Northern Colorado landscape lends itself to countless outdoor activities like hiking, swimming, camping, and biking. One outdoor area well-known for its beauty and fun activities is the Cache la Poudre River.
The History of Cache la Poudre River
The river gets its name from an incident in the 1820s, when French-Canadian trappers hid their gunpowder along the banks of the river during a snow storm. In French, “cache la poudre” means “hide the powder.” When the river flooded in 1864 and destroyed a nearby military post, a new camp was started and named Fort Collins. The fort was never built but the city of Fort Collins was established.
Since the 1930s, residences have popped up along the Cache la Poudre River, and in the last 100 years, it’s gone from being a summer vacation spot to hosting permanent residents year-round. In 1983, the area officially became the Cache la Poudre National Heritage Area, in recognition of its historical and natural significance.
Today, the area attracts tourists in the summer and winter months for all kinds of recreational activities.
Things to Do at Cache la Poudre River
The Cache la Poudre National Heritage Area, including Poudre Canyon, has tons of outdoor fun. You can go whitewater rafting, with class I-V rapids. There’s also plenty of stunning trails to hike or bike, and areas for camping and fishing. The Poudre Canyon is also perfect for kayaking. As you head to Poudre Canyon from Fort Collins along the scenic byway, you’ll also see plenty of places to stop and have a picnic or take the stunning scenery.
Poudre Canyon has plenty to keep you busy in wintertime too. The area offers snowshoeing, cross country skiing, and snowmobiling for winter sports enthusiasts.
Getting to and from The Poudre
From Fort Collins, you can take Highway 14, which follows much of the Cache la Poudre River. This part of the highway, between Fort Collins and Walden, is a Colorado Scenic and Historic Byway. This picturesque drive winds through plains and hogbacks and into Poudre Canyon, passing massive forests and tall peaks.
Whatever time of year it is, the Cache la Poudre River offers an outdoor escape for recreation and sports lovers. At only a 30-minute drive from Fort Collins, the Cache la Poudre National Heritage Area is the perfect place to spend a day outdoors.